a little heaven on earth
By Susan Orloff
May 19, 2020
Passages of the day: Click HERE to read today’s passages.
1 Samuel 24:1-25:44
Last month in Michigan, a Dollar Store customer shot a security guard to death when the guard tried to encroach on his freedom to shop without a mask.
Across the ages, this dark and inescapable urge to assert our freedom over the will of another has been at the very heart of every shattered relationship – from the one between a fallen angel and his God, to the one between YOU and the next person who gets in your face.
Our culture openly encourages this deadly urge by telling us that OUR freedom always comes first. (It’s all about MY views! MY choices! MY rights!) Worse yet, this same culture insinuates that we can only be liberated by asserting this freedom.
But the Biblical definition of freedom is very different. Because the Bible tells us that we can find TRUE freedom only through submission to authority. And although this may seem counter-intuitive, when it comes to nearly everything beyond human relationships -- we readily accept this premise every day!
Case in point. A few years ago my son, Jason, took up golf. And he was entirely free to swing the club in any way he chose. (Hack away, Jason. Enjoy yourself!) But only when he submitted to the authority of proper technique was he truly free to delight in the game. And the greater the submission -- the greater the delight.
Nor would we think of suggesting that 2+2=5, that Z should come before A in the alphabet, or that the laws of gravity are optional. Why? Because we intuitively submit to the authority of mathematics, language and science. And the greater our submission -- the greater our success.
Yet when it comes to other people, we cringe at the thought of submitting; even knowing that with each new encounter, our split-second decision to “submit” or “assert” can lead to only one of two possible outcomes:
A little bit of heaven on earth – or a little bit of hell.
The Scriptures overflow with illustrations of this premise, and one of the greatest appeared in today’s reading. David was free to assert his power over the vulnerable King Saul as they stood side-by-side in that cave. David had motive, opportunity, and justification. Yet he willingly chose to submit to Saul’s authority.
And in so doing, David went on to become Israel’s greatest King – a man uniquely beloved by God, and a man whose reign foreshadowed the Ultimate King who (on the cross) would model perfect submission to Divine Authority. And in so doing, He would free humanity to fully delight in life -- both now and for all eternity.
David offers the prototype; Christ offers the power; and this SIP offers lots of opportunities to practice.
So with His help, let’s exercise some TRUE freedom today -- and create a little heaven on earth!
Sheltering in His Sovereignty,
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
— Psalm 116:5
Prayer to start with: God, thank you for freedom in you. Your authority is above everyone else and everything else. Help us submit to authority, even when we may not understand. Open up our minds and give us wisdom to understand. Amen.