Monday, August 30, 2010

Man Up = Serve God

The Scripture indicates that King David's middle son, Abonijah, was raised to do his own thing (1Kngs 1.6) without direction or correction from his father. This left Adonijah with a squishy middle, without the strength and depth of a godly man. What C.S. Lewis would call "a man without a chest." Abonijah's chestlessness plays out when David is near his final days. Abonijah takes the opportunity to crown himself king of Judah and Israel. With partying, celebration, and self-indulgence he proclaims his paper crown. It was all done without God, by a man without a chest. And it all failed miserably. When Solomon, the rightful heir calls Abonijah to the mat Abonijah quickly wilts and cries in fear because he (to his credit) realized he acted thoughtlessly and without God. In humilitaion he bows before Solomon and spares his own (miserable) life.

The Bible shows that men (and women) who serve God prosper. Those who 'man-up' succeed. In Biblical terms to "man up" is to be a man with a chest, a strong man who serves God.

Shortly before his death, King David gave Solomon this advise. "Be strong, show yourself a man (man-up) and observe what the Lord your God that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go." (1 Kings 2.2-4)

The Bible is clear, Man up = serve God.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Proximity is not Reconciliation

God does not take away life; instead he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him" (2 Samuel 14.14)

From this text I am reminded of how much God values genuine reconciliation. King David, for all his success as a military and political leader, was not an exemplary father. In fact, he stunk! Absalom, David's son, murdered his brother. David forgave him, but never communicated that forgiveness. In place of the confrontation that might have led to genuine reconciliation, he merely ignored the sin. He allowed Absalom back in Jerusalem but never addressed anything to do with Absalom's bloody offense. The guilt of Absalom, and the silent treatment of David combined to create an explosive mix that would rip a family and kingdom apart.

I think David mistook proximity for reconciliation. People can live in the same town and still be estranged from each other. Shoot, I've known people who slept in the same bed but could not have been further apart. The Scriptures reveal to us the God who devises plans to reconcile people. And as his followers, he leads us away from estrangement toward reconciliation. God is a master reconciler! He devised a plan of reconciliation for sinful people to be reunited with their Holy Heavenly Father- the plan of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. The Bible is filled with stories of reconciliation. A few examples- Jacob and Esau, Jesus and Peter, Paul and John Mark.

I guess I am just reminded today that closeness is not intimacy, proximity is not reconciliation. And ignoring a persons problem (sin) is not the same a offering forgiveness. Ignoring leads to destruction, forgiveness leads to healing.