One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked. “Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied. The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.” “Where is he?” the king asked. “In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.” 2 Samuel 9:1-4
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:59-60
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
In the account of David and Saul, David’s approach paid off. His playing his “Reverse” card led to Saul playing his “Reverse” card. Through the kindness that David extended to Saul a bridge was built between them. Saul acknowledged his sin toward David and the terror stopped. He also acknowledged that David would be established as king of Israel. At this point, Saul essentially asked for a vow from David to extend kindness as well to Saul’s descendants after David would take charge of the kingdom of Israel. Our passage above is an account of David fulfilling the vow he made to Saul. Letting God be in charge of justice for those who do evil puts us in the position of being ones who can extend love and kindness that builds bridges to the hearts and lives of those who might otherwise be forever prisoners to evil. The need for putting our “Reverse” cards into play over and over again is what the Kingdom of Christ is all about.
Stephen clearly took Christ’s revolutionary approach to responding to evildoers seriously. Stephen did not resist the evil of those who were stoning him. There is not a shred of anger, hate, or vengeance in Stephen but rather he is filled with love and kindness toward these people as reflected in his prayer, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” He not only followed Jesus instructions but he followed Jesus in death and his model for responding to evil even right down to the words that were uttered. What magnificent portrayals of triumph over the conventional way of responding to those who perpetrate evil.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I see what you want to be true of me and I know I am not able to do it on my own. I guess that’s the point: you are in my life to make this very kind of difference. I am so prone to getting angry and holding a grudge. Help me to trust that you will deliver me and produce in me a genuine response of love and kindness toward those I would naturally react poorly. I surrender to you and the amazing kingdom plans you have for me. Amen!
Posted on Wed, February 22, 2017
by Ken Hart