God reels us in.


I love things that remind me of my father. Today’s chapter reminded me of the topic of voice inflection that he covered in his Speech classes. He would hand out slips of paper to different students—all with the same phrase, but each indicating a different mood in which to utter the phrase. Then, we would go around the room, each of us saying the same thing—but with very different results. It is true that the actual words comprise only a fraction of communication.

And what a familiar phrase I found in today’s reading! You are the man! It’s something I say often to my husband, especially when he has done something that I am particularly proud of him for doing. Who knew that popular saying was Biblical? Yes, I often say, "Honey, you are the man!"

However, I have a feeling that that’s not quite the meaning that was conveyed when the prophet Nathan uttered those words to David. I imagine his tone of voice was more convicting, accusatory: You are the man! (Can’t you just see the finger pointed in David’s direction?)

Photo © Unsplash/Adi Goldstein

Photo © Unsplash/Adi Goldstein

This has to rank right up there as one of my most favorite stories in the Bible, because I love what God does with David—and what it reveals about how He deals with us in the context of our relationship with Him. As we discovered at the end of the previous chapter, the Lord was severely displeased with what David had done. In fact, in 1 Kings 15, this incident is singled out as the one incident in which David was not a man after God’s own heart.

And I love the way God chooses to make His displeasure known to David. He doesn’t show up and furiously announce, "I’m angry with you!" He doesn’t "go off" on David. Instead, He sends a prophet to tell David a story. And in the course of the story, David is reeled in. He personally becomes incensed at the actions of "the rich man," leading him to declare, "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity." (vs 5-6)

What God did, here, was genius. He reeled David in and got him to agree on the principle of the matter. And once David agreed that such behavior was despicable, then David was in a position to hear the awful truth: "You are the man!" (vs 7) Wow, talk about lowering the boom!

Photo © Unsplash/James Wheeler

Photo © Unsplash/James Wheeler

This is how God deals with us, and though it may sometimes be painful, it’s remarkable. For our own best good, He is interested in helping us understand more and more of the truth—even when it is hard truth to hear. And He does this so effectively, by reeling us in, by helping us see the principles behind His way of doing things. In so doing, we have the opportunity to come to the place where we agree with Him and His way of doing things... and then we are open to allowing Him to address the things within us that are out of harmony with that.

Huh. Who knew God was such a great fisherman?