Daily Office Readings forFriday of Proper 13 Year 1
“Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7)
When Nathan tells King David about the rich man who would not slaughter one of his own live stock (of which he had thousands) to feed his guest but took the precious lamb of a poor man who loved his animal as his child, David was furious. Then Nathan explains that it was metaphorical, and that he (David) was the person who, although he had many wives, took Uriah’s only wife, Bathsheba, and more than that, had Uriah killed. (2 Samuel 11) Nathan tells David, “You are the man!” I think David might have needed a moment. David lamented that he did not discipline himself, he did not respect Uriah or Bathsheba, he did not act with integrity, he didn’t seek God’s counsel and he did not give himself time to ponder about what he was doing or about to do.
I have heard stories about me many times. Most of them used my name and were flattering. However I do remember one person telling a story about a seminary student who had a lapse in judgment without using a name and the details sounded very familiar. I was the man!
Nathan’s story about David’s misdeed was spot on and by not using David’s name (or any name) he caused David to be objective, so objective in fact that as the king with absolute power, he wanted to correct the action as soon as possible. He was not able to see the parallel between himself and the man with many sheep.
We are people of stories. Can you make up a fictitious story about a real incident by changing the names of some of the players and details but making it just as serious? I ponder sometimes what skill I might have in telling about a real experience in my life, altering it enough so as to not give away identities but at the same time make it plausible enough to cause people to have an opinion about what happened.
Jesus used metaphor in many of his parables. They were, and are, great teaching tools. It may be easier to start this exercise by retelling a good story where the protagonist (you) are doing something good. But later let’s take something less flattering and change out your name and tell the story to a friend that does not know the experience and cannot associate it with you. What is your friend’s reaction? If it is condemning, remember, “You are the man.”
Nathan was really good at telling his story about David. We may have to work a bit harder. But I think if we want good stories about ourselves we must act them out first. Our lives are real stories. We are on the world stage. God is watching. Act in honest ways with integrity. I use DRIPP as my guide for decision making. It’s “drip” but with two (p)s. It is for Discipline, Respect, Integrity, Prayer and Patience. All that David lacked. If you apply this DRIPP in your life you will be happy to hear your story being told, and take great pride in knowing that, “You are the man or woman.”
Let us ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+