One of the things we’re going to do on this blog on Mondays is look back and forth at the Daily Office readings (or lessons) so we can better process together what the Scriptures are saying. I’m not always going to touch on all four reading tracks, much less give a play-by-play review of the week past or preview of the week to come, but just look more generally at where we’ve been and where we’re going. I can’t turn this blog into a group Bible Study, especially since not all of you are actually using the daily office lectionary from the 2019 prayer book. Plus, by sticking (usually) to a larger scale review of recent or upcoming readings, there’s a better chance of recent overlap with other similar lectionaries, and the ability to keep this weekly theme from going stale after a while.
Last week: 1 Samuel 24-29, Romans 5-10, Hosea 2-8, John 7:25-11:44
This week: 1 Samuel 30-2 Samuel 5, Romans 11-16, Hosea 9-14, Joel 1, John 11:45-15:17
Special lesson for St. Mary the Virgin (15 Aug.) = Luke 1:26-38
One of the big “story arcs” here, so to speak, is the dramatic saga of David and King Saul in the morning OT lessons. All of last week and for a few days this week we’ve been reading about the tension between the two of them: King Saul is frequently hunting his former bodyguard and musician, David, often with intent to kill. And yet, David twice refuses to kill Saul when he has the chance even though he knows that God has chosen him to be the next king. I mean, don’t get me wrong, David was quite a sinner himself; we’ll see more of that later. But in the interactions between David and Saul, David is clearly in the right nearly 100% of the way through. He understands that as long as Saul lives, he is the current anointed one of God to be king over Israel.
This sheds light on the interaction between Jesus and the scribes and pharisees and priests. He knew that he was the Messiah – the Christ, the Anointed One – to whom their ministry pointed, and must eventually yield. And although he exchanged words with them many a time, he never overthrew their authority. For the time being, they were supposed to be “the clergy”, as we might say; they were supposed to be the teachers of the things of God. And once Jesus ratified the New Covenant in his blood, only then did he cease to pay them the respect of their God-given office. Indeed, the New Testament barely ever mentions them again after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
For us we learn the virtue of patience, of waiting, of respect for the present while anticipating the future. We often like to “move on” once a deal is signed, and live and act as if The Future Is Now. But if that’s really what we do, then we never actually respect and live in The Now. This is especially important in spiritual things: we are now regenerate, adopted children of God. We are now God’s people, cleansed by the blood of Christ. But for now we are also still sinners, and we cannot deny that reality. Just as David and Jesus kept their hands off their rightful crowns until God’s appointed time, so should we not pretend to have attained to sinless perfection, or the full consummation of the glory of Christ-in-us before the Kingdom of God is actually fulfilled when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead. As David was persecuted by King Saul, and Jesus scorned by the Jewish rabbis and priests of his day, so too do we suffer under the reign of sin and death.
So, by all means, read these Old Testament stories with a keen interest in what David is demonstrating here. He is not always such a clear typological picture of Jesus, but for many of these chapters he definitely is.