Bread – Rebellion

August 13, 2015


Readings for Thursday, August 13, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 2 Sam. 15:1-18; Acts 21:27-36; Mark 10:32-45; Psalm 105

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Absalom, David’s son, stands out in the public, at the gate to the city, telling the people coming into the city that king David is essentially not available to hear their pleas and their cases, but that if he were judge of the land (i.e. king of the land), then they would get justice and their day in court. “So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” 2 Sam. 15:6b

Now the gate is in a public place, so it is fair to assume that David, the king, heard what was going on. He could not have approved it, because Absalom, his son, was undermining David’s authority and setting himself up as king in place of David. And yet David did nothing to correct him and nothing to stop him.

Why does God tolerate our rebellion? We rebelled in the Garden of Eden by listening to Satan instead of hearing God. We rebel on a daily basis as we set ourselves up as king of the little kingdom of self and run our lives according to our wishes and lusts. We stand in the public square and pronounce to the world, “if I were in charge (or if my government were in charge), there would be justice in the world… so let me take over and rule.” All the while this is going on, God appears to be in retreat, seeming to disappear from the stage, exiting the hearts and minds of men to leave them to their own devices and to implement their own schemes. When man rebels and says to God, “I don’t want you anymore…go away!,” why does God appear to say “OK,” and then appears to exit stage left?

In today’s lesson from Daniel and Absalom, we begin to see how this develops. David decides to leave and those people who want to come with him he lets do so. These “disciples” of David abandon their home and become wanderers. Later, however, in another day’s lesson, we discover that Absalom reaches his full stage of rebellion and wickedness, dies in battle, and David returns to his rightful place. The faithful are displaced but never replaced and end up being victorious.

We are in rebellious times. The winnowing of the church is occurring. Will we follow the usurpers or stay with the King? Will we be displaced, knowing that our home is with Him and not with the world, or will we reap the temporary benefits of rebellion and suffer the eternal loss as well?

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© 2015 GBF

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Bread – Gloating

August 21, 2013


Readings for Wednesday, August 21, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 2 Sam. 18:19-33; Acts 23:23-35; Mark 12:13-27; Psalms 119:145-176,128,129,130

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In our reading from Samuel today, two runners come to him with the news that the insurrection against him as king is over. When he finds out that the leader of the insurrection is dead, he weeps.

The reason for this is that the leader of the insurrection against David and his authority as king is his son, Absalom. The leader of the insurrection who is now dead is David’s son, Absalom. So he weeps for his son, saying “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 2 Sam. 18:33

Absalom hated his father so much that he led a group of men who wanted to kill David and take the throne. However, David wanted to defeat his son, not kill him. He had given strict orders that his son not be killed, but Absalom died anyway.

Even though this Bread is labeled “gloating,” it is not about gloating but the opposite of gloating. There is no celebration of victory by a father over a son who is proven wrong and dies. There is only sadness, with a heartfelt desire that, if the father could give his life for his son, he would do so if it would restore the son to wholeness.

Wait a minute! Doesn’t this sound a whole lot like God the Father? Haven’t we as children of God taken up arms of rebellion against Him, leading others into a similar opposition? Didn’t God the Father send God the Son to die in our place so that, by faith in Him, we could be restored to proper relationship?

The answer is “yes.” We have engaged in open conflict with God, denying His relationship and His authority and holiness, even denying His very existence. We have disobeyed God and reaped the consequences of a broken world as a result of that disobedience. We are engaged in a battle which we will not win against a Father who loves us so much that He, as God the Son, died for us, in our place, so that God’s wrath at our disobedience might be satisfied on the cross. But we will die like Absalom on the battlefield for all eternity if we do not have faith in Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection.

Is there gloating by the Father when a sinner dies without having put his or her faith in God the Son? The answer is “no.” Instead, there is God saying “George, my son….” or “Julie, my daughter…. Would you have accepted My death for you.”

Is there gloating in heaven when a sinner dies without having put his or her faith in Jesus Christ? The answer is “no,” but there is celebration – “…there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Lk. 15:10

David did not die for his son, but God did for us. Now, what is our response? Is it to die on the battlefield in rebellion or to repent and place our faith again in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and return to grateful obedience for God’s gracious act on our behalf to restore us to relationship and obedience and to save us for eternity with Him?

No matter what we choose, there will be no gloating in heaven. But there will be joy over those who are saved.

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© 2013 GBF

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