‘And the Lord sent Nathan to David’
In Second Samuel chapter 12 we’re told a fascinating story about a prophet named Nathan who was sent to David to rebuke him for committing adultery and also for murdering the woman’s husband to cover the fact that she was pregnant. It’s intense, man.
Let’s just imagine for a moment: you’re the one the Lord has asked to go share this message of correction, in a time when you could be killed for pretty much anything if the king was unjust, and at this point, the King is (how would you put it?) extremely unjust! He caused another man to die to prevent his own sin being revealed. This is a hardhearted king.
How would you address his wrongdoing without losing your own head?
I think we can learn a lot from Nathan in this time. He doesn’t first come with a Bible verse, telling David how evil he is. He doesn’t hold up a sign and demand repentance or stand on a soapbox declaring hellfire. No, he shares a simple parable telling David about a man who only had one sheep that he loved, and how another man with many of his own took it for himself. Notice how David then becomes indignant and demands justice for the poor man.
Then the boom moment comes as Nathan declares ‘That man is you!’
In my last article I wrote about the Power of Narrative to speak truth to us, but now I’m pointing out how narrative can be used to speak truth to those who will otherwise not hear it. Even those in power.
Whether we like it or not we’re all involved in politics. Some in the church want to make a difference and run for a political position (which is great if the Lord is calling them to it) but even those who don’t have that call may still have influence through creating life-changing stories.
I believe the Lord is calling his people to influence in creative fields in a greater capacity. We’re in a time when stories can be heard, or read, or seen by anyone at any time. Most people in our society have a mobile phone they can watch Netflix on, or an iPad they can hire movies with. The Word of God can be shared to almost anyone at any time.
Of course, we may be offending people with the truth if we just slap them with verses or passages from the Bible, but if we prayerfully craft beautiful stories, people’s own hearts will see where it applies to them. Deep down we all silently crave the correction we need to be the people we should be.
David needed the prophetic correction. Lacking healthy boundaries he had slid into an abuse of power. That can happen to any of us.
Yesterday my daughter told me her teacher hates a certain political leader. I asked her why her teacher felt this way about him. It was the usual mainstream media narrative response. Turning off my punk music I began my rebuttal.
I shared with her how privilege and power works. When someone has been given so much, has been in charge for decades and is not used to any form of correction, he can fire people or destroy them in court. There’s very little accountability which results in more and more unpleasant behaviours. We don’t judge people in this position because we all have the capacity to do the same… even a ‘man after God’s own heart’ like David.
Our politicians need the boundaries God offers, with truth shared in love. I believe powerful story tellers are being raised up to speak with true authority; authority that springs from God, not privilege.
Luke Sparrow is a photographer, teacher and avidly studies the Bible.