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29 May 2010

being like a lamb

This morning I read 2 Samuel 15 (as part of a daily Scripture reading plan), in which David's son Absolom, after being reconciled to his dad, begins to stir up rebellion in Israel in order to take over the throne.

For a warrior king, as he is so often thought of, David had a tremendous soft spot for his family and for his close friends. As Absolom put the conspiracy into motion and much of Israel began to follow him, David made the decision to leave Jerusalem, essentially abdicating the throne to his son so that they and the city would be spared from the disaster of civil war.

In the long run, Absolom's plans are squashed and Absolom is killed, by the way. David returns to the throne.

It was interesting that today's passage from the New Testament was John 18, which bears the subject heading "Jesus is Betrayed and Arrested." It's one of the Gospel accounts of the entourage of Roman soldiers and temple guards arresting Jesus.

Both accounts immediately brought to mind the passage from Isaiah 53:7, "He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth." (NLT)

I believe that this kind of thing is one of the reasons that David was called "a man after God's own heart," even though we read that David had some remarkably low points in his life. In almost a prophetic way, King David lived out the principles Paul wrote about in Philippians 2:3-5: "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." (NLT)

It's a grim realization that I stand up for myself -- my own interests and opinions -- far often than I turn the other cheek. If this becomes our modus operandi, there's a good chance that we're undermining our own own faith in the power of our Father. "No thanks, God, I'd better handle this one. Looks like a pretty big job..."

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