When Grace Surrenders to Self-Protection

Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 2.8-9
8 “‘When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ 9 But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”

Reflection: When Grace Surrenders to Self-Protection
By John Tillman

Many parents leave their children valuable possessions and wisdom. Some leave only bad debts and inherited controversies. David left Solomon a mix of things, including a hit list of enemies to wipe out.

David’s final instructions to Solomon show us the limits of David’s human grace. In the past few chapters, David has seemed magnanimous, humble, forgiving, and gracious, however, his deathbed speech sounds hurt, petty, vindictive. Many people forgiven by David during his lifetime would soon find out that the grace extended to them died with the king. 

There were good and practical reasons for David’s hit list. David was being protective. Solomon was young and would be seen as weak. He was not the oldest son, and by legal tradition was ineligible to inherit. He was also a child of controversy. David took Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, as his wife after the state-sanctioned murder of her husband.

Perhaps David was just being practical, reasonable, and protective of his son and God’s kingdom. However, in his attempts to protect Solomon from Joab and other dangerous men, David nudged Solomon towards becoming like Joab. Practical, reasonable, and protective Joab was meticulous about killing others before they killed him or potentially David. 

Solomon would become renowned for wisdom, but the first signs of his wisdom were his shrewd arrangements of the murders advised by his father. Where Joab made politically necessary murders without David’s explicit approval, Solomon gave Benaiah direct orders for all three of these killings. Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei all fell to Solomon’s sword. 

Practicality and self-preservation don’t automatically lead to good things. These kinds of things often earn a rebuke from Christ.
Peter striking and taking off the ear of Malchus was protective. 
The disciples’ concern about not having bread in the boat was reasonable.
The marketplace set up in the Temple was practical.

Are we more like David or like Christ? Do we have human, David-like grace? Or do we have divine, Jesus-like grace?

The grace of king David died with him. 
The grace of Christ lives on with him. It should also live on within us.

May we learn to extend Christ’s undying grace past the limits of our own.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled. — Matthew 5:6

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Kings 2 (Listen – 7:45)
Galatians 6 (Listen – 2:18)

Read more about Grasping for Mercy
We reach out to grasp the edges of mercy. Through Jesus, forgiveness is at our fingertips..through Christ, we are healed by faith

https://theparkforum.org/843-acres/grasping-for-mercy

Read more about Grace Displaces Retribution

The kind of humility and gracious forgiveness often shown by David is as greatly out of place today as it was in his own time.

Limits of Human Grace

Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 2.8-9
“‘When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”

Reflection: Limits of Human Grace
By John Tillman

One could read the scripture through the lens of any major figure of the Bible. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had chosen Moses as their lens. But it would be just as possible for them, or us, to look at scripture with a Davidic lens. 

Today’s passage highlights one reason we use Christ as our lens for viewing scripture. Because every other lens is flawed.  Moses, and David after him, were sinful, flawed leaders.

Last week, we reflected on the grace God grants to us. This week, in our reading of David’s final instructions to Solomon, David shows us the limits of his human grace. David had been gracious and forgiving to many people during his lifetime. But some will find out that the grace extended to them died with the king. 

David, when dealing with these offenders, had seemed magnanimous, humble, forgiving, and gracious. But on his deathbed, David sounded hurt, petty, vindictive. David discussed this unsettled and unsettling business with Solomon. Many parents leave their children valuable possessions and wisdom. Some leave only bad debts and inherited enemies. David, left Solomon a mix of things, including a hit list.

David is being protective. There are good and practical reasons for David’s instructions. Solomon is young and may be seen as weak. He is the child of a woman with great influence and power, whom powerful men may wish to silence. She also happens to be a woman David stole from a friend thorough adultery (many believe rape) and state sanctioned murder.  

Is David just being practical, reasonable, and protective of his son and God’s kingdom with which they are being entrusted? Perhaps. However, in his attempts to protect Solomon from Joab and other dangerous men, David gives Solomon a push towards turning into Joab. Joab understood that being practical, reasonable, and protective, usually meant killing others before they killed you.

Peter striking and taking off the ear of Malchus was protective. 
The disciples’ concern about not having bread in the boat was reasonable.
The marketplace set up in the Temple was practical.
These kinds of things often earn a rebuke from Christ.

The grace of king David died with him. 
The grace of Christ lives on with him and within us.
May we learn to extend Christ’s undying grace past the limits of our own.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory because of your faithfulness. — Psalm 115.1

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Kings 2 (Listen – 7:45)
Galatians 6 (Listen – 2:18)

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Read more about Grace Displaces Retribution
The kind of humility and gracious forgiveness often shown by David is as greatly out of place today as it was in his own time. 

Read more about Dealing with Joab
Joab’s kind of loyalty is a twisted form of “honor” that cripples accountability, truth, and justice.

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