Formations Lesson for Oct- 31- Defending the homeland
October 19 2010 by Christopher Moore, minister of education, children and senior adults, Durham Memorial Baptist Church, Durham

Focal Passage: 1 Samuel 30:1-4, 11-20  

Fortunately for me, my parents used very clean language. 

I would have known otherwise. 

As a child I listened intently to their speech, believing that if they ever slipped up and “cursed,” then I would have license to do the same. 

The logic is questionable to be sure, but then again, my adolescent brain was often more concerned with what I could get away with rather than what would edify my character. In any event, I gauged a lot (but not all) of my behavior on the basis of what my mother and father did.  

When we read of David’s fight with the Amalekites in 1 Samuel, our knee-jerk reaction may be to deem his battle a justifiable “rescue mission,” and then keep reading. Yet we should not gloss over the fact that David’s life story includes a lot more fighting! 

Furthermore, we should not assume that because David fought his enemies, we automatically have license to fight those who wrong us.

Consider last month’s reading from Ecclesiastes 3.  Just because there is a “time to kill” (v. 3) and a “time for war” (v. 8) does not mean the author is sanctioning either. These “times” are descriptive, not prescriptive; they remind us how the world is, not necessarily how the world should be. David did fight on numerous occasions, but we must be careful not to use his actions as blind justification for the battles we long to wage.

If you read the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 30 you’ll notice that before David sought out the Amalekite marauders, he sought out God. David first asked if he should pursue the raiders, and secondly if his pursuit would be successful. God gives him the go-ahead on both counts (v. 8).

Instead of side-stepping God and charging into the Amalekite camp “swords a blazing,” David seeks the Lord’s wisdom. Here his actions give us more pause than permission.

How do we discern when it is acceptable to fight? Is fighting acceptable when we are on a “rescue mission” like David, or when we are provoked, or when we have simply exhausted every other option? Or does the way of Christ demand that we suffer violence and gross injustice by “turning the other cheek?”

These are difficult questions, and the Bible doesn’t provide easy answers.  Perhaps it is here that we should take our cue from David. Are we, like David, willing to take time and ask God’s permission before retaliating against our enemies?  If so, I suspect we’ll be surprised how few times God gives us a “yes.”  
10/19/2010 3:39:00 AM by Christopher Moore, minister of education, children and senior adults, Durham Memorial Baptist Church, Durham | with 0 comments

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