Sunday, April 28, 2013

love trumps

Written by Daniel Triestman

Read I Samuel 21 and Matthew 12

I tell you something greater than the Temple is here. And if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, you would have not condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath. Matthew 12:6-8

In reviewing the life of Saul we have seen that Saul was something of a “complex” individual. David, as well, seems to have his share of complexities. In chapter 21 of Samuel we find David at what appears to be a physical and spiritual low point. Not only is David's situation complicated -living in exile of his own kingdom, running for his life from his father-in-law/best friend's dad- but his response to his situation also seems to have a measure of complication. David responds to these challenges by lying to a priest, violating the Levitical law, defiling the tabernacle, fearing for his life, deceiving two kings, feigning insanity and drooling.

When the disciples were confronted by the Pharisees for picking heads of grain on the Sabbath Jesus easily could have challenged their interpretation of law. Jesus was certainly able to explain what the Sabbath really meant and how it ought to be followed. However instead of just correcting their understanding of the Sabbath, Jesus countered the Pharisees by pulling rank. Jesus presented Himself as Lord of the Sabbath and demonstrated from David's situation in Sam. 21 that status is greater than commandments. In quoting from Hosea 6 Jesus seemed to be telling the Pharisees that what matters is not just what you do, but who you are.

Yesterday Larry spoke of love as being exclusive, divisive and “hateful” by nature. He argued that in order for us to demonstrate love we must also show a measure of neglect or disdain for everyone that is not the direct recipient of our love. This does not mean that we need to behave rudely or unkindly to everyone that is not our spouse. In fact we are commanded to love neighbors, enemies, the brethren, God, etc. But even though we may be expected to have a universality to our love, we still reserve a practical distinction with special considerations and benefits for those with whom we share a deeper, more intimate love.

I like everyone. I may even say I love everyone. I never lock my door and have come home to all manner of persons in my house over the years. I love them all, but some I love better than others. Some I invite to stay for dinner. Some get to stay the night. One of them I even let share my bed. A few of them have spit on me or vomited on me -to no effect. Some of them I have asked to leave just for belching.

David had a special relationship with God. More significant than anything that David did in his life was the fact that God loved him. David may have made more good choices than bad, but his blessing was not merely the net outcome of his virtue, but rather his status of being a friend of God. My friends are allowed to come into my house, eat my bread, even drool. The question is not whether their behavior is right or wrong, the question is whether or not they are my friends.

John 3 tells us that God loves the world. Romans 9, however, seems to say that God loved some more than others. Does loving the world mean that He must love us all the same? Are our sins all treated the same? Are our efforts all regarded the same? Do we all have the same privileges/blessings? What does it mean to be “loved of God?”

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