Read 2 Samuel 12:1-7, Isaiah 28:24-28, Jeremiah 13:12-14, and Ezekiel 15:1-7. How do these parables and allegories expand our understanding of God’s relationship with humankind? Which objects or settings utilized by these prophets later appear in Christ’s parables?
As we can see, Nathan tells a parable in order to disguise the real purpose of his visit. David implicates himself as the transgressor, thereby pronouncing his own sentence. Using a literary device (a parable), Nathan accomplished something that otherwise might have produced confrontation and, perhaps, even execution (his own!).
Isaiah’s poetic story draws from the agricultural background familiar to his listeners. Centuries later Jesus would employ those same settings. Isaiah’s parable teaches about God’s unlimited mercy during times of punishment. The twelfth chapter of Hebrews likewise understands God’s punishments as tools for correction rather than weapons for vengeance. Divine punishments reflected their redemptive purposes; they were sufficient to encourage repentance, revival, and reformation. Nevertheless, when greater stubbornness and rebellion occurred, greater punishments followed.
Jeremiah’s parable is a terrifying illustration of judgment. Whenever human beings frustrate God’s redemptive purpose, God eventually releases them to the consequences that they have chosen. Christ likewise shared judgment parables with His listeners. Ezekiel uses a different symbol to convey a similar message.
What is it about storytelling that makes it such a powerful way of expressing truth? What are some of your favorite stories, and why do you like them? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.