2 Samuel 14&15

Psalm 55

 When Only a Story Will Do

Again, in 2 Samuel 14, we see that David is influenced by a story told to him by a woman that Joab, the commander of David’s army, conspired with to bring David’s son Absalom back from a self-imposed exile after he killed his brother Amnon. It seems that David may have a stubborn streak that only a story can penetrate. Earlier we read that Nathan the prophet had to use a story to get David to realize he had taken advantage of his position as king to commit multiple sins.

David’s stubborn streak caused him to be blind to the reality of what was really going on and  deaf to God’s direction. This is usually caused by pride which leads to a hard stubborn heart. Nathan the prophet used a story and got through and now Joab does the same. The only problem is that Joab is not a prophet and likes to do his own thing. Still the story seems to work and Absalom is brought back but the restoration process is incomplete and Absalom remains in modified exile which ultimately leads to rebellion Forcing David to leave Jerusalem.

 Every dysfunction comes out in a crisis and that is certainly true in this situation. Apparently the 10 tribes of Israel feel they are not fully a part of the combined nation and Absalom is able to take advantage of their frustration and get the tribes to join him as he rebels against his father. David’s trusted counselor Ahithophel, also joins with Absalom. Turns out he is the grandfather of Bathsheba. Apparently he had some resentment buried from the past that is now coming to the surface.

Could all of this been started with a story? I doubt it, but the story plays a part in the process. The real problem was the sin David committed way back and the hard stubborn heart that is leading him into poor decisions.

Jesus had to resort to stories to get his message across to the religious rulers in His day.  They too, had stubborn hard hearts. They were not really focused on serving God but were only interested in serving themselves and taking advantage of their position in leadership. Focused on themselves, they were blind to God’s Son Jesus being in their midst and they refused to hear and believe His words. All the while they were thinking they were serving God. Jesus had to resort to parable after parable trying to get past their stubborn streak.

Nathan’s story and the parables of Jesus were meant to engage the listener so a spiritual truth could be taught and understood. Sadly, only a couple of the religious rulers seemed to recognize the truth in the message to the point where they committed their life to Christ, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Now, the other religious rulers knew the stories Jesus told to the point where they were afraid the disciples would come and steal the body of Jesus, but they did not learn from what they heard and that is what concerns me.

 As a Pastor I am a story teller and use them to illustrate the truths contained in the Bible. My fear is that if my story is clever or funny people will remember the story and miss the point. It is important that when we hear the stories from the pulpit that we get past the story to the truth they are meant to illustrate. My greatest fear is that people will come to a service and listen to the message but never open their Bible.  If that is the case, how will one know if a prophet like Nathan has spoken or a well-intentioned but marginally godless Joab? How will they know if they are being taught the Word of God if they have no real knowledge of the Word of God? This is why we are doing this Chronological Bible Study and why I teach chapter by chapter and verse by verse at every service. My task is to try to present the Bible in a way that we will gain a greater understanding of God’s Word and to also apply it to situations we all are facing today. But, there is no substitute for reading the Bible.  My hope and prayer is that these studies will inspire us to read the Bible daily in a systematic way. If you are reading the Bible you are hanging out with Jesus. What could be better than that? Here are some verses from one who hung out with Jesus.

 John 1:1-5&14; 1 John 1:1

Be blessed by the Word of God

Pastor Dave