Prayer for the day
May these words of mine please him; I will rejoice in the LORD.
Scripture for the day
Jesus seems out to confuse us sometimes. In one place, he’s called the Prince of Peace. He tells us that the peacemakers will be blessed in the kingdom of God. He constantly refers to the peace of the kingdom, yet every once in awhile, we get a curveball thrown our way.
Jesus says in the passage for today that he did not come to bring peace. No, he came to bring division! Some translations use “sword” in place of “division.” How are we supposed to interpret this, particularly in the light of David’s actions in our First Testament story?
Jesus’ statement certainly gives us pause. It moves us from the place of safety into a life of risk and danger. If Jesus came to bring division, what is our place in that division and what exactly is our responsibility?
In David’s story, David recognizes that he has not sinned against king Saul, but that something has happened that has brought a division into their relationship. Instead of forcing peace on Saul, or reciprocating in kind (killing Saul when he has multiple opportunities to), David decides to view Saul’s position as he always has: Saul is the Lord’s anointed, and until that position is changed, David respects him.
It is because of David’s righteousness and because of his unwavering commitment to the things of God that Saul hates him. A life lived in service to Christ will likely produce the same result.
Jesus is not claiming that he loves division or wants people to hate each other, but that the natural outworking of the holiness Jesus stamps on our lives will cause us to be hated, it will bring the division of righteousness, and that this will be a painful division because it will not be an easy-to-resolve division. It will split us apart from those to whom we have previously belonged.
What is our responsibility in the midst of this pain?
Our responsibility, our place, as always, is faithfulness. We are to stick to Christ, to his command, and to seek the best for all because that is the ultimate goal to which we’ve been called.