Tag Archives: Humiliation

It’s Not About Me

When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered Judah and Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam.
2 Chronicles 11:1 (NIV)

As a follower of Jesus, I am aware that God is at work in my life and in the lives of those around me. “You are not your own,” Paul wrote to the Jesus followers in Corinth, “Therefore honor God.” The practical application of this is that I think about the life decisions Wendy and I make. I not only concern myself with what we want, but also with what we sense God doing in our lives and the lives of others.

I found it fascinating this morning that King Rehoboam of Judah, having experienced the humility of having ten of the tribes of Israel rebel against him, immediately musters is fighting men for war. This is such a classic male reaction. This is the stuff of boys on a playground. “You wanna fight about it?” 

In describing Rehoboam’s reaction, the Chronicler is careful to also share with us Rehoboam’s motivation. Rehoboam wanted to regain the kingdom for whom? God? The legacy of his father and grandfather? Nope. Rehoboam wanted to regain the kingdom for himself.

What a contrast Rehoboam is to his grandfather David who, having been anointed King as a boy, refused to claim the throne for himself. David waited for God to arrange the circumstances and make it happen. David was all about honoring what God was doing and waiting for God to raise him up. Rehoboam was all about acting out of his momentary rage and humiliation to get what he himself wanted.

Do I want to be a Rehoboam, or do I want to be a David?

That’s the question I find myself asking in the quiet this morning. Of course, I choose the latter. I want what God wants for my life and the lives of my loved ones. It means that it’s not all about me and what I want, and that’s exactly what Jesus taught, to love others as I love myself and to treat others as I would want to be treated.

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 140

The law of the playground. I prayed, "God, you're my God! Listen, God! Mercy! Psalm 140:6 (MSG)

I remember, as a kid, playing a game called "Mercy." It was your typical alpha male, king of the mountain, game of physical domination and abject humiliation. I'm sure it was created by some bully named Zeke who thought it up after he'd already given wedgies to every kid on the playground. Basically, two people face each other and put their hands together as if they were giving each other high fives. However, they lace their fingers together so that their hands are now clasping. Then they try to bend the other person's hands back until one of them is on their knees in submission and cries, "Mercy!"

How easily we come to equate "mercy" with defeat and humiliation. How quickly mercy becomes a cry to be avoided as we hang desperately to our pride and rugged self-sufficiency. As a child on the playground I learned that asking for "mercy" was a repugnant admission of defeat.

But, God is no school ground bully. If life were a mere playground game, God would have sent Jesus to be King of the Mountain. From his throne, Jesus would tyrannically force people in submission to his will. Instead, God sent Jesus to suffer humiliation and death on our behalf. The way of salvation became, not a meritous reward we earn in the dominating power of our own goodness, but an undeserved gift to any who are willing to pick up their own cross, follow Jesus and cry to God: "Mercy!"

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and mangee