Friday, January 20, 2006

what radical leaders and their followers see.

During the time when David was fleeing from Saul for his life, he had men, warriors, which joined him by the hundreds. He was always at risk that some infiltrator allied with Saul, the king, would join his ranks for the purpose of betraying him and ultimately ending his life disgracefully.

Here is the account from 1 Chronicles 12 of his address to a group of men wishing to join him.

16 And some of the men of Benjamin and Judah came to the stronghold to David. 17 David went out to meet them and said to them, "If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be knit to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you." 18 Then the Spirit came upon Ama'sai, chief of the thirty, and he said, "We are yours, O David; and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you." Then David received them, and made them officers of his troops.

One thing strikes me about this interaction.

Both David and the men who seek to join him as well as the narrator all appeal to the unseen presence of parties not immediately present. Particularly, David puts it to the men bluntly, you are here to help me or to harm me—but if you betray me, God will bring you justice.

David’s appeal to God who will bring justice to him, if it should be true these men are present to betray him is a faithful appeal to the God of justice, who only holds the power of making right the wrongs of a potential betrayal. It is not unlike other such assertions of the Hebrews, where someone wronged spoke out against his persecutor who is about to execute him, “Justice will be served to you for putting me to death undeservedly. I will rise from the dead and you will be judged by my God who will raise me back to life.”


Peter said...
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Anonymous said...

Parting comment. An observation.


espíritu paz said...

I almost don’t know what to say to you. I checked out your site and liked it. You have a lot to say and it was a good idea. Welcome to blogosphere! A few months ago I was reading a post on a friend’s blog when something written there-in grabbed my attention and stirred my anxiety to the point where I against reason wrote him demanding an explanation. As it turned out, it wasn’t about me at all. While there was obviously an explanation for my response (personal anxiety) I wrecked something between us which could only be forgiven.
As for this post being a response to you—I turned back to read what you mentioned ans still don’t see a connection. This blog is like the receiving room of my house. On the wall I have my two paintings, a wolf, a rose, an empty frame, a porcelain cross, an iron cross with a candle, a huge print of a Spanish soldier and lots of books and plants and various Bibles and Bible study books. I am a Seminarian. And Seminarians do linguistic and textual studies of the Bible. Some simply study the Bible as literature and Christian history as history. However, many others have a communal and personal connection with the things they study and attempt to draw meaning and significance out of the Bible. I am the later. Recently, I have been again reading the Bible voraciously—a book or two in a sitting. I thought I picked out a fairly harmless passage on which to draw out a leadership principle. But then again some say that nothing from the Bible is harmless.

espíritu paz said...

Thanks for the explanation, Peter. I suppose some people assemble puzzles in manners I might never conceive of. I suppose I’ve seen real life situations where the preacher is preaching at particular congregants seated before him. By inherited tradition, I am more direct. I’ve been experimenting with subtlety recently—parable and story. Many have trouble with that. My mom, for one, gets confused to tears with analogy and metaphor. How about, for you, I will simply dedicate the post to you, if it is for you.

As for the subject matter—on infiltrators with harmful intentions. I think the only thing David is saying here is the matter is out of my hands, I have done what is right (with respect to my conscience), yet, you, if you intend to harm me—it is a matter between you and God. In other words, “I forfeit my right to judge you”—God will judge you according to his agenda, remembering specifically that David’s God is the creator of both him and his enemy, the all-knowing one etc. It is a lesson to me—that I don’t need to determine if someone else is wrong or not, I am responsible for myself and those who depend upon me. Thus, as for those who would cause me to doubt—I’ve never considered that to be a sin or a tool of the devil. It’s a tool of God! (subliminally saying—“the devil? who’s that?”) Jesus went into the desert, in the Spirit, to be tempted. He resisted. And came out of the desert with power! To incite one to doubt has other possible consequences. I had an acquaintance I met via the techno-rave scene with whom I discussed Nietzsche. He believed evil did not exist for the same reasons I demonstrated above. A person would be stupid or simply uninformed if he/she did not introduce him/herself to a good dose of resistance to their own belief system. That’s my point in “the fatal flaw” I believe, my own heritage does not expose itself enough to resistance but shields themselves and cuts off anyone of their own who displays signs of being one of “them.” The one cut off lacks any possible resistance to that which engulfs him/her. I have great compassion for those people. For a demonstration of the phenomenon read Amish Deception by David E. Yoder.
As for David and his handling of those who carry the possibility of betraying him? He says, “hey, come and manage my troops.”
As for your presentation of your intentions—(I’m humoring you here). If you are here to incite doubt and secure a betrayal? Hey come on in! Sit down have a cup of tea. Your intentions are between yourself and your self-talk and perhaps ultimately between you and my God (if my God is ultimately real). We’ll have to see, won’t we? I personally don’t feel threatened by doubt and betrayal. Other things yank my chain.