i will not throw spears....

i will not throw spears...
i will not throw spears...
i will not throw spears...
i will not throw spears...
i will not throw spears...
i will not throw spears...
i will not throw spears...

(...um.... is archery an option?!) (just kidding!! . . . . mostly. . .)

Back in September, Linda wrote a post entitled The Horrible Art of Javelin Throwing. It was about a book she'd read - one I'd read in the past as well - and it got me thinking that it was probably high time I went and got myself a copy. (I'd read it on loan from a friend.) So sometime this year I finally did; it came a few weeks ago, and I thought as I opened the box, I have a friend I should give this to... and then I thought, no fair! I just got it. I want to at least read it first!!! So I kept it. And read it on the train on the way into the City yesterday. Got almost all the way through it; finished the last three chapters on the way home, and had a good cry the rest of the way. Yes, on the train. (Hey, what's the use of living near a big city if you can't provide as much people-watching entertainment to others as they provide for you?)

The book is called A Tale of Three Kings, by Gene Edwards, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It isn't necessarily theologically nor historically accurate straight through, but the message of the book is priceless. It's billed by Edwards himself as a book that should be read by Christians who are suffering at the hands of other Christians. Which says something, right there.

It's the story of three kings: Saul, David, Absalom - and how they related to each other. The book extols David's brokenness - and his humility in allowing God to teach him that brokenness. It also warns against the foolishness of an unbroken life, as demonstrated in the various prideful and arrogant attitudes displayed by Saul and Absalom. Much of the book cut me to the core, in terms of convicting me about my own heart towards a couple of people, and how completely self-centered I can be in general.

God sent Samuel to anoint David king years before David set foot in the palace. When David did go to the palace, it was as a giant-killer and a musician, not as king... but David waited. He didn't plot, he didn't plan, he did not usurp authority and take the kingdom by force. He waited on the Lord. He trusted that if God had anointed him king over Israel, God could make him king of Israel. Over the years he spent in Saul's service, the king went mad, became incredibly jealous of David, and began to throw spears at him, trying to kill him. What do you do when someone throws spears at you? Well, you've got a couple of options - you can duck and see what happens next, you can run as far and as fast as possible, or you can rip the freaking spear out of the wall next to your head and throw it back.

David chose to duck. (He was pretty quick on his feet.) He also acted as if it hadn't happened. Forgiveness on a very literal level. "Spear? What spear? Hey, I wrote this new song yesterday, want to hear it?"

Why did he do it? Well, Saul was God's anointed king at the time. He was David's king. You don't kill your king; you shut up and do what he says. So that's what David did. And it's what we're to do. Edwards suggests that we should always ask ourselves, when we find ourselves the target of an authority-bearing spear, "Is this the Lord's anointed?" Only God knows, and time will tell, he says. But you still need to ask, and you still need to act as if the answer is yes. "Asking this question may not seem difficult," he writes, "but it is. Especially when you are crying very hard...and dodging spears... and being tempted to throw one back...and being encouraged by others to do just that. And all your rationality and sanity and logic and intelligence and common sense agree. But in the midst of your tears and your frustration, remember that you know only the question, and not the answer." (p. 22)

So David did not throw spears, and he did not run until Saul forced him to. He did not take advantage of any opportunity to take the kingdom by force, and he wept when Saul died. Then he stepped into the role God had called him to years before. And years later, when his son rose up against him and staged a rebellion, David walked away from the city, because he knew something that few around him understood. Edwards puts these words in his mouth: "The kingdom is not that valuable. Let him have it, if that be the Lord's will... God put me here. It is not my responsibility to take, or keep, authority... If He chooses, God can protect and keep the kingdom even now. After all, it is His kingdom." (p. 78)

I am in a situation right now that is breaking my heart, but I will not engage in the horrible art of javelin throwing. I refuse. I would rather stand here and get nailed with spear after spear until I literally shatter than actually act on my stubborn, selfish, hell-bent pride and fight back.

"The throne is not mine. Not to have, not to take, not to protect, and not to keep." (p. 98)

God can have it. He can take it. He can protect it. And He can keep it.

I really don't have to do anything... except maybe this:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV)

7 comments:

Amy said...

Happy, that's such a beautiful message and particularly relevant for me as well! Thank you for sharing.

Happy said...

Hi, Amy! I think I am sorry that it was relevant to you.... but I am glad that it was helpful! :)

Mike said...

Happy, it was relevant for me as well, but in the opposite way. You opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes in my impatience, I chuck spears and try to take the kingdom by force. *sigh*

Thank you for allowing the spirit to once again humble me!

Rachel said...

Hey Hap! It's so hard isn't it, to not fight back even when we could and everthing is urging us to!

Reminds me of Ephesians 6 where Paul says "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, AND AFTER YOU HAVE DONE EVERYTHING, TO STAND."

Ultimately we are called to trust God and hang in there! It hurts enough that I often want to run away or fight back, but thank God he gives us HIS strength and it keeps us steady and on our feet, still pointing in the right direction!

Happy said...

Mike, I'm pretty sure *you* did that. So ... good job. :)

Rach - "after you have done everything" - sometimes I wonder exactly *what* that means ... please pray for me that i'll get it right this time. I have this unshakable sense that I am supposed to learn something serious from this situation - one of my friends put it quite succinctly last night, "Wow, Hap, this is one of the major markers in your life - I'm glad I get to be here for it."

I'm glad she's glad - and I share that viewpoint, but I don't know WHY. Probably anymore than David knew why singing songs in a dark, cold, cave was better than storming the castle...

Rachel said...

You definitely have my prayers and thoughts. I believe in you and your ability to hear God in the midst of the storm, and to move forward to the "wide and spacious place" God promises! My vision is so imperfect, therefore if I believe in you, how much more so does God??? Hang in there my friend.

Ruth said...

What an amazing post! Thank you for sharing so honestly.

That sounds like a goodbook. Faintnot's post was great to. I took this from it. I believe this is your heart in this matter and it's my prayer for you.

"And, if javelins are being thrown at me, may I learn how to dodge them with integrity, never letting them keep me from moving forward in the Kingdom..".