Breaking the Rules, Jesus-Style

Read it!: I Samuel 21

…The men’s things are holy even on missions that are not holy.

How much more so today!

(vs 5)


Think it through:

David made several questionable decisions in I Samuel 21. At the start, he lies to a temple priest about being on a mission for Saul. In the next chapter Saul kills the priest (and many others), an act that might not have happened if David had told the truth.

At the end of chapter 21, David pretends to be insane in order to escape the notice of a Philistine king. When you boil it down, this is another form of lying and seems like the cowardly way out of a bad situation. But David was known for his bravery—this is the guy who stood up to Goliath and then led many, many troops into battles where the odds were against him. So perhaps this pretense originated in a Holy Spirit nudge that David followed obediently.   It’s impossible to know.

But one odd decision David made in Chapter 21 has the stamp of approval from Jesus Christ himself! Tired and hungry from his impromptu flight, David ate bread that had been consecrated to the Lord. Generations later, when the disciples were criticized for picking wheat to eat on the Sabbath, Jesus used David’s meal as an example of God’s very nature (Matthew 12:1-8). God is not all about rules for rules’ sake; His higher law is the love and care of His people.

Can I become all about the rules?  Is there a bit of Pharisee in me?  Admittedly, my type-A nature lends me to “follow the rules above all” thinking. Stay in the routine. Keep things neat. Be kind to others far beyond what is expected by society. But sometimes the fun is outside of the routine, the joy is in the mess, and the love is in firm boundaries.

I need to look for the higher law—the love and care of His people.


Live it like you mean it:

Do you ever become a too-strict rule follower, a bit of a Pharisee? What’s one way you can loosen up and embrace the Spirit of God? Make a plan to do something specific this weekend (yes, I’m telling you to plan to be fun).

This weekend I’m going to break a few of my own rules with the kids. I’m going to let them stay up and watch a movie past bedtime, give them an unexpected sweet treat, and tell them how much I love them. I’m going to spend the weekend ignoring the toys on the floor and the dishes in the sink. I’m going to be board-game-and-eye-contact-crazy! It will be a special weekend to love up my kids, and to let them see that Mom can cut loose a bit.


Lift it up:

Lord, You gave us laws that are above reproach, laws that keep us safe in Your care and away from consequences. I want to teach those laws to my children, and at the same time I want to show them Your lavish love. Please help me to obey Your laws in Your spirit, with the desire to love and care for Your people utmost in my heart.  Amen.


Tell Me About It:

Am I the only one who needs to loosen up sometimes? Tell me how you reflect God’s joy! (I need the ideas!)

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