Bread – Calm

July 24, 2013


Readings for Wednesday, July 24, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 1 Sam. 25:23-44; Acts 14:19-28; Mark 4:35-41; Psalms 49,53,119:49-72

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There once was a fool who insulted a man bound to be king, and the king was angry and gathering his army of men, decided to eliminate the fool and his followers. Seeing the disaster to befall her family, a woman confronted the future king and said to him, “Blame me, for I am the one at fault,” even though there was no fault in her at all because she did not know what the fool had done. And the future king acknowledged her gift, thanked her for keeping him from revenge, and did not kill the fool or his followers. Later, God took care of the fool as he deserved.

The story above is the story of Nabal (whose name means “fool”), Abigail, and David (on his way to becoming King David) from our reading today in 1 Samuel.

But it is in a sense our story as well. God came to us and we, the fools, insulted Him. Someone else, a person without fault in the circumstances, goes to apologize for us and the king stays his hand and a temporary calm came to the situation. However, God will not be mocked and, if we do not repent and put our faith in the King Himself, God will take care of us in a way we will not like, at a time of His choosing.

Fast forward to the New Testament. In our reading today in Mark, Jesus is asleep in a boat which is in rough waters. The disciples become full of fear and wake Him up, asking Him why He doesn’t care for their safety. He rebukes the wind and wave and calm is restored. The disciples are in awe and wonder who is Christ, for He has just commanded the forces of nature. In a sense this question is an insult to the King, because man, the fool, dares to question whether God has power over creation, which He created.

When we are in the midst of storm and seeking calm, what can we learn from these examples from Scripture today? Well, for one we can realize our part as the fool. We are the ones who do not recognize who God is, we do not recognize His power and authority, we do not recognize His abilities. We are often the ones who create the mess, who create the storm. Even if we do not create the storm, as fools we increase its intensity through over-reaction, fear, or avoidance. Then there is something which happens to interrupt the flow of events. In the story of Nabal, it is the self-sacrifice of Abigail. In the case of Jesus and the storm, it was the disciples asking Jesus for help and Him rebuking nature. Then there is the action of the king. In David’s case, he found Abigail’s apology sufficient. In Jesus’ case, the action to interrupt nature and the action to bring calm are the same action, because God is both the sacrifice and the King.

But there is another element in this as well. Nabal and Abigail were married. Even though Abigail had nothing to do with the insult to David, her action to ask the King for calm was in a very real sense Nabal’s request as well. Nabal created the storm; Nabal through Abigail asked the king to substitute calm for the storm. In the boat, it wasn’t the disciples who created the storm but it was the disciples who asked for peace.

Do you want calm? Ask the King. After all, He is the one in control.

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© 2013 GBF

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