But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord, and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb four fold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel…I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom…and if that had been too little, I would have added much more..You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife.)
There has been a large, white, NO in my back yard for some time, fashioned from the snow that fell in one of the numerous storms in February. My sons made it when the snow was soft; single digit temperatures and a light ice fall made it impossible to knock down with mittened hands and boot-encased feet. With no thaw in sight, the snow NO wasn’t going anywhere.
Yesterday, my sons took a different approach. They slid the blade of the grass edger into the icy snow, eventually cutting through. The letters’ own weight toppled them. After that, it took little time to turn the NO into a pile of snow lumps.
I think Nathan did the same, slipping a parable into David’s denial, knocking it over incisively – without brute force. David’s deception and denial toppled from its own weight once Nathan’s parable found its mark.
That’s why this story was told and saved: it felled the dangerous self-delusional NO of a holy flawed man when a direct blow couldn’t.
It does the same today for me and countless others. That makes it sacred.