Like Father, Like Sons

Scripture Focus: 2 Samuel 13.13-14
13 “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.

“He’d grown up just like me…my boy was just like me…” — “Cats in the Cradle, Harry Chapin Carpenter

Reflection: Like Father, Like Sons
By John Tillman

David’s sons turn out to be very much like him. Amnon becomes a carefully plotting rapist. Absalom becomes a murderer, a rebel, and a rapist as well. And that’s just a starter.

Nathan prophesied that David’s sins would “never leave his house.” (2 Samuel 12.10) So as we read of the history of the kings of Judah, we frequently find the sword cutting people down and women being abused.

David’s passing down of abuse and violence to his children is no surprise. Neither is the escalation of violence. We see a pattern of escalating evil laid out in Genesis. Evil grows from the taking of the fruit, to unreasonable anger, to the taking of Abel’s life. Then Cain’s descendant, Lamech, “takes” two wives (with implied violence) and multiplies Cain’s murderous ways. This escalating violence leads eventually to the destruction of the flood.

Sin always sets in motion more sin to follow. Often, the sins of fathers and mothers have lasting effects. Sometimes these can be self-replicating, damaging behaviors that are passed down through generations such as abuse, addictions, and other harmful actions. Sometimes they are consequences, debts, or mental or emotional handicaps that leave the next generation at a disadvantage.

The natural inheritance from David is not pure or holy. However, there is another heritage from David because there is another Son of David. Jesus came to be the son that David could never raise and the king that David could never be. The incarnation is God stepping in to fulfill all the commands and expectations God had for David’s dynasty. Jesus is the king David was supposed to be and fulfills all that David failed to do.

In Jesus, there is a new royal dynasty that inherits his footsteps of righteousness. We join this dynasty as siblings of Jesus, heirs together with him. (Romans 8.17; Galatians 3.29; Ephesians 3.6)

We have within us twin destinies from our twin dynasties. From David, we have lust and violence and power that takes for itself. From Jesus, we have love and service and righteousness, which is power that provides for the weak.

Who will deliver us from this body of death? (Romans 7.24-25) Jesus. We can be redeemed siblings, sons and daughters who are like God our Father as revealed by Jesus. 

May we humbly abdicate the throne of our lives and learn to allow Jesus’ power to flow through us, doing righteousness that we cannot do on our own.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Our sins are stronger than we are, but you will blot them out. — Psalm 65.3

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

Today’s Readings
2 Samuel 13 (Listen – 6:39)
2 Corinthians 6 (Listen -2:31)

This Weekend’s Readings
2 Samuel 14 (Listen – 5:57), 2 Corinthians 7 (Listen -2:58)
2 Samuel 15 (Listen – 6:06), 2 Corinthians 8 (Listen -3:25)

Read more about Two Lamechs, One Jesus
Cain’s Lamech multiplies violence. He is proud of being more violent than any other man.

Read more about Be Yoked to Christ, Not Politics
May no party or human leader be permitted to yoke us or Christ’s church to their cause.

Be Yoked to Christ, Not Politics

Scripture Focus: 2 Corinthians 6.14-16
What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

Reflection: Be Yoked to Christ, Not Politics
By John Tillman

As American culture becomes less Christian, both of our political parties have become less Christian. It is increasingly difficult to defend being yoked to either the Republican or Democratic party while also being yoked with Christ. What fellowship can light have with darkness? 

Christians don’t have to bemoan feeling politically exiled and homeless. Caesar’s representatives say to us, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Christians must recognize that this is a deception and our kingdom is from another place. 

Voting in elections is only one form of political expression. As Christians, an important element of our political expression is how we care for the “polis,” the people. We vote with Christ’s hands and feet as we serve and care for image-bearers of God. What does this look like?

It would be a strikingly Christ-like thing if the powerful, no matter their political affiliation, came to know Christians as people who always seem to be standing in their way, defending the powerless. 

When governments try to starve people out, Christians move in to feed them. 
When “health care” experts champion abortion as a “solution” to having disabled children, Christians seek to adopt and care for these children. 
When governments put children in cages and separate them from their parents, Christians work to reunite them and to provide for their needs.
When disasters strike, natural or otherwise, Christians are the first ones in to help and the last to leave.
When others respond with fear and hatred towards immigrants and strangers, Christians welcome and serve them.

These actions (which are real and occurring today) are true acts of worship and enact the gospel in front of a watching world. 

Christians who care about the whole Bible must care about the whole of humanity. Every image-bearer of God, not just the white ones and not just the brown ones, and not just the unborn ones, and not just the immigrant ones should find in Christ’s church a compassionate helper. If we neglect or threaten one of these groups, then we are neglecting and abandoning part of the Bible’s teaching.

May no party or human leader be permitted to yoke us or Christ’s church to their cause.
May the only yoke we take on, be the yoke of Christ, in service to others.
May politicians know us by the people we help, not by the people we hate.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Morning Psalm
Sing to God, sing praises to his Name; exalt him who rides upon the heavens; Yahweh is his Name, rejoice before him!
Father of orphans, defender of widows, God in his holy habitation! — Psalm 68.4-5

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

Today’s Readings
2 Samuel 13 (Listen – 6:39)
2 Corinthians 6 (Listen – 2:31)

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Herods offer influence with Rome. These men are masters at “influence.” But neither Jesus nor Paul exploited it.

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Modern Balaams do their best to put words in God’s mouth that are pleasing to the powerful.