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Posts Tagged ‘stability’


2 Samuel 8Bureaucracy

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Commentary will explain for us that what we read today will both settle and unsettle us.  After reading the accounts of combat, the writer brings us to a kind of resting place where he summarizes for us the results of recent warfare; we have the borders of David’s new nation defined.  We also see how David determines to administer his newly-forged kingdom, and with this description of personnel and policy we have a foreshadowing of what is to come.  An uneasy feeling may flicker through us when we realize that David – who has been so faithful to God – now allows himself to nibble at the edges of his authenticity.

From THE HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY, page 267: “Skirting the edges of Deuteronomic law (“nor is he to multiply greatly for himself silver and gold,” Deut. 17:17), the king dedicates gifts and booty of silver and gold to Yhwh [Yahweh] (8:11).  So “Yhwh gave David victory everywhere he went (v. 14) . . . For David’s sons to be priests is to flout the Mosaic law that draws the priesthood exclusively from the tribe of Levi . . . Many versions, like many commentators, have attempted to smooth the text by rewriting it”.  It seems that with David – just as we find in our own lives – with every gain of stability there will be a fluttering of worry.

Almost daily in our world of instant, mass communication we have word that more nepotism has been exposed.  Another leader falls to the noisy masses; one more plot of corrupt practices covered by officials is revealed.  There is nothing new in our modern headlines and today we see that bureaucracy breeds its own end.  Transparency may be the present watchword for leaders, but dishonesty appears to be the practice.  There is something about power that corrupts even the best of us.

In Jesus’ early church the structure was horizontal; it lacked a hierarchy of platoons and divisions; there was no ladder for priests to climb.  Jesus names Peter as the rock (Matthew 16:18) on which the church will be erected by those who accompany him . . . and by billions of kingdom-builders to come.  Christ does not lay out an elaborate bureaucracy of functionaries.  Instead, he charges each of us with our own participation function in his community according to our gifts.

In 2 Samuel 11 we hear of David’s sin with Bathsheba.  Can it be that we begin to see David wobble in chapter 8 once he establishes the kingdom of Israel, once he becomes comfortable?  Perhaps we can learn a lesson from today’s story, and perhaps it is this.  When we find ourselves on firm ground and feeling confident in a newly-formed strength, we will want to pause and reflect on the subtle snares that lie hidden in our success.  This is not to say that we ought not enjoy the satisfaction that comes from having achieved stability in our lives; but it is to say that once we humans conquer our enemies and our fears . . . we must remember who it is who makes all of this conquest and all of this steadiness possible.  And so we pray . . .

Good and patient God, Remind us that when we celebrate stability after chaos, we celebrate you.  Tell us often that when we find peace after struggle, that peace is you.  Guide us in the remembering that layers of power do not govern well but that a convoluted structure leaves many little places for little demons to hide.  We know that you want to erase fear from our lives.  We know that you want to bring us stability.  We know that you are present to us and in us directly.  We know how much you love us.  Keep us from creating labyrinths that separate us from one another and from you.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, together with the fellowship of the Holy Spirit who lives in each of us.  Amen. 


Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 267. Print.

Image from: http://www.visualsermons.co.uk/

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Imperishable_Seed[1]1 Peter 1:23

Imperishable Seed

You have been born anew, not from perishable but imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God . . .

We yearn for immortality and yet we are immortal.  We want to leave a mark that generations to follow recognize and yet we are part of a chain that has no end and no beginning.  We amass material goods thinking to make ourselves secure and yet we receive the gift of eternal guidance and care from the moment of our inception.  We ask God for endless gifts that in the end will gain us nothing and yet we ignore the gift of God’s presence that brings us surety, eternity and serenity.   We plant perishable seed and leave the imperishable seed to languish.

God says: Comfort, peace, stability.  These are the imperishable gifts that many of you struggle to gather about you and to pass on to loved ones. Fame, fortune, power.  These are the perishable seed that others of you covet, gather, sow and reap.  What you do not see is something that Nature is constantly teaching.  What you sow, you will also reap.  When you control loved ones they pull away from you leaving you alone. So who is left to you?  When you amass wealth you leave little for others.  So who abides with you?  When you cause chaos and fear you sow distrust and anxiety. So who remains with you?  And what is your legacy?  You have within you my comfort, peace and stability.  If it is fame you seek above well-being you will be disappointed.  If it is power you seek before stability you will be disillusioned.  If it is fortune you want rather than peace you will be frustrated. You need not amass anything.  You already have and already are what you seek.

We have surety in that God nerve waivers from the lesson of love.  We have eternity in our union with God.  We have serenity in our relationship with God.  These gifts are indescribable.  They are given to us freely.  All we need to is follow, love one another, and trust in God.

For another reflection on this verse, click on the image above or go to: http://gdwm.org/index.php/2012/03/imperishable-seed-2/

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