Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A theology of creativity pt II

In part one of this look at creativity in the Bible it was noted that God has made us in His image. He is creative and therefore so are we. This time we'll look at some specific examples of God speaking creatively to His people.

Sometimes God uses our own imagination to speak to us. I don't mean that we imagine that He is speaking, but that the message is not necessarily blunt, but more symbolic, using the imagination He has given us to engage with us more fully on an individual level. This makes us wrestle with the message and ponder it. Then comes a flash of understanding, a moment of conviction, or a flood of strong emotion. The sudden realisation of what the Lord is saying.

Let's look at Nathan and Joseph.

In 2 Sam 12 Nathan rebukes David over his affair with Bathsheba. Does he go in to see the king and tell him straight out that he is in the wrong? No. Nathan values his life. Instead, he tells a story that instantly gets David on his side. The king is enraged by the story and pronounces the death sentence. Imagine the dawning of truth in David when Nathan declares, 'You are the man.'
I imagine (it isn't stated in the Bible) that when God told Nathan to confront David that the prophet was horrified. But God insists, and inspires Nathan to tell the story. Nathan doesn't tell David, 'This is the word of the Lord,' as usually accompanies a prophetic announcement in the OT. This makes me think that the story is Nathan's imagination in the service of God. The rebuke is given in a slightly obscure form to improve the impact. Had Nathan baldly accused the king, he might have been murdered, too.

Now let's look at Joseph. We all know about Joseph and dreams. He had ones of his own but also interpreted for others such as Pharaoh. Pharaoh knew that his dreams were important and contained a message, but he didn't know the One who had given them. He had no idea where to start in interpreting the dream until his cupbearer remembered Joseph. Joseph asks God and receives the meaning of the dream. Pharaoh recognises the truth of the interpretation even though he doesn't know God. The truth resonates with him. Would he have received that message if it had been given by other means? Personally I think if a prophet of God had turned up with the message he would have received a frosty reception.

So what can we conclude? That God inspires us to be creative in our speaking (Nathan), and He speaks to us in creative ways (Joseph). God will use whatever means necessary to get through to us. He has not given us an imagination for nothing, and I have no problem believing that He will use it to speak to us, and wants us to use it to speak of Him.

Be encouraged to use everything you've been given, especially your imagination, inletting people know of our Great and Glorious God. Be bold in your creativity.

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