Bread – Yield

July 2, 2015


Readings for Thursday, July 2, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 1 Sam. 13:5-18; Acts 8:26-40; Luke 23:13-25; Psalms 131-135

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There are remarkable parallels between the United States Supreme Court’s five to four ruling redefining marriage as something other than the Biblical definition and today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel.

Luke describes the decision by Pilate to release Jesus to the people for crucifixion. Here is what happened. “Pilate … said to them ‘..behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against Him [Jesus]. Neither did Herod…’…But they all cried out together, ‘Away with this man…’…Pilate addressed them once more…but they kept shouting ‘Crucify, crucify Him!’ A third time he [Pilate] said to them, ‘Why, what evil has He done? I have found in Him no guilt deserving death…’… But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that He should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.” Lk. 23:14-23

“And their voices prevailed.”

How often do people raise their loud voice against something which is wrong? Whether we call them lynch mobs or left-wing activists, aren’t they the same? They have a single objective and drown out all rational debate and conversation. Ultimately, they are so loud and so persistent that people of good will find it easier to give up than to resist. Pilate was one of those people. He had a heart for justice but just not the stomach to say “no,” afraid for something – maybe afraid for order in the streets, afraid of becoming entangled in religious debate, afraid of the mob, afraid of himself being tested and perhaps destroyed by the yellers.

Similarly, our United States Supreme Court has gone out of its way to give in to the yellers, to the mob, to the cries for “justice” to crucify God’s definition of marriage on the altar of “compassion,” giving up even that word by giving the loud voices what they want rather what was right.

Not only is there a parallel between the circumstances of the mob, the independent judiciary failing at their task, and the death of God’s Word (in Luke, the Word incarnate and with respect to the definition of marriage, the Word written), but there is also another parallel even more important.

And that parallel is that God let it happen. God’s sovereignty took Jesus to the cross – not the mob, not the words of the judiciary (in Pilate), not the actions of the soldiers driving the nails. Oh they had their part, but the play was written by God for His purposes and His glory. God not only let it happen, God caused it to happen.

The truth is that the Supreme Court would not have spit on God’s Word but for the fact that God caused it to happen.

Why, we don’t know.

But before we are so ready to take things into our own hands, in the hubris of self-centered thinking, maybe we should contemplate another of our readings today, the one from 1 Samuel. In 1 Samuel, Saul, the king, is confronted by the Philistines. Saul had started with three thousand men and by the time we get to the end of the lesson, he has about six hundred. That is an 80% attrition rate; 80% of the people abandoned Saul. The enemy, the Philistines, on the other hand had 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and troops. Overwhelming odds against Israel and Saul. On top of that, Samuel the prophet had not shown up even though he said he would. Because Saul was getting nervous, God had apparently not shown up yet (through Samuel), Saul decided that he would take matters into his own hands and offer a sacrifice to God to get His good favor. Samuel immediately shows up and condemns Saul for disobeying the Lord and then tells Saul that he has lost his kingdom by failing to obey, even during the dark times just prior to the battle. 1 Sam. 13:5-18.

This Bread is called “Yield” for a reason. When we have yield sign on the road, it tells us to let the other car pass first. Sometimes that requires us to wait. When we jump ahead because we are in a hurry, there is an accident hiding right around the corner.

Jesus yielded to His Father’s desire that He go to the cross to atone for our sins. Saul did not yield to God and took the response into his own hands.

These two lessons teach us one thing. When we yield to God’s purpose and His will, good things happen although they may seem bad at the time. When we don’t yield to God’s purpose and His will, bad things happen although they may seem good at the time.

My suggestion to the marriage issue and, in fact, to all of life is this – why don’t we fall on our knees, ask for wisdom, yield our will to His, and then follow Him where He goes. We know from Scripture that when we do this, though the way seem rough and uneven, the results are grand because they are the Lord’s.

Let’s not be the mob which yields to their feelings at the moment or the secular society which increasingly yields to the mob, but let’s instead yield to God, listen for His Word and seek His good pleasure, be obedient to what God has given us in His Word, and follow where He leads after suiting up in His full armor.

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© 2015 GBF

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