(Ezekiel 19:1-14; 20:1-49; 21:1-32: 22: 1-31)
Storyteller Hans Christian Andersen
Photographer Unknown – public domain photo
I love a good story. Don’t you?
I love to read stories, write stories, tell stories and listen to stories.One of my favorite storytellers of old is Hans Christian Andersen, whose fairy tales have inspired imaginations for many years.
It fascinates me to see how a passage of Scripture may affect each reader in a different way. One may peruse a passage and immediately begin worshipping the Lord. Another may become overwhelmed with spiritual conviction. Still another may be drawn to repentance and recommitment to God.
The Word of God is true and powerful.
When the Lord spoke to His people through the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, they responded in a number of ways. Some accused the prophet of mere storytelling.
“The word of the Lord came to me:
‘Son of man, set your face toward the south;
preach against the south and prophesy
against the forest of the southland.
Say to the southern forest:
“Hear the word of the Lord.
This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
‘I am about to set fire to you,
and it will consume all your trees,
both green and dry.
The blazing flame will not be quenched,
and every face from south to north
will be scorched by it.
Everyone will see that I the Lord have kindled it;
it will not be quenched.’”
Then I said,
‘Ah, Sovereign Lord!
They are saying of me,
'Isn't he just telling parables?’”
(Ezekiel 20:45-49, NIV, emphasis added)
What’s wrong with storytelling?
Didn’t Jesus Himself teach in parables?
Storytelling can be an excellent tool for teaching. Still, the people accused Ezekiel of crafting fiction, rather than accepting the truths of God. Instead of heeding the Lord's truth, the people attempted to write off the prophet's message as mere storytelling.
Although allegory may add details to emphasize a point, it must be based in truth, if it is to teach. And the hearts and hearing of listeners must be quickened, or the prophet may remain unheard.
How might this story ring true today?
Will you pray with me?
All Your words are true.
Teach us Your truth,
And urge us to speak truth.
Grant us creativity,
Even as You are creative,
That we may use stories,
And other creative communication
To share Your truth with others.
That others may know You.