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Articles

Let Someone Strike Me

   Let me begin by asking who in your life has complete consent and permission to rebuke and correct you at any given moment?  Of everyone you know who has that permission and more importantly knows that they have that right?  Does anyone have that permission and ability?

    I’m sure the answer to that question will vary from person to person.  For some, if not all, I think one person that would be on that list of people would be our spouse.  Maybe one of those people on that list is a close friend, one of the shepherds at the congregation you worship with, maybe a family member. 

    In 2 Samuel 12 one of David’s friends has such the ability.  In 2 Samuel 12 we of course know this is following David’s sin(s) with Bathsheba and Uriah and that entire mess.  David has gone about a year without confessing to the Lord and as a result the Lord sends Nathan to rebuke David.  Nathan of course knows David well enough to employ a certain tactic of getting the point across in a way that He would appreciate and understand.

    I love what David says in Psalm 141 as he is praying to the Lord to “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!  Do not let my heart incline to any evil; to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!  Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it…”(141:3-5)

    Like in most of the psalms David isn’t using literal language in that he wished someone to literally strike him in the face or pour oil on his head.  David is using poetic language to describe his desire to do what is right in the eyes of God and the blessing of having those who will aid him in keeping that course.

    You and I have been there plenty of times I’m sure.  Someone, whether they had permission to do so or not, comes and heavily rebukes you and afterwards you can’t help but feel like someone had literally struck you.  Its not a pleasant feeling but from those whom we know truly love us and are acting in our best interest we can appreciate their concern and courage to set us straight when need be.

    To you and I having oil poured on our heads doesn’t sound very pleasant but in David’s day and his culture it was a pleasant thing.  No doubt David recalled back to the time he had been anointed as King by Samuel in 1 Samuel 16.  He likens the joy of being anointed as king to be corrected by a righteous man to keep him from evil.

    Again I’d like to ask the question who in your life has your complete consent and permission to rebuke you, correct you, can call you out at any given notice regarding things going on in your life?  What we can learn from David is that if we too desire to guard against evil and keep away from evil deeds we need those in our lives that will help us do that.  We need those in our lives that know that we expect them to correct us when necessary and help us see error or dangerous situations that may jeopardize our holiness.

   This is in line with passages like James 5 where we are told to confess our sins to one another and to pray for one another.  Like in Matthew 18 where if we see one in sin we are to go and seek to correct them.  We need to be people who allow others to “strike us” and consider it a kindness.  We need to be people that seek to have the relationships with others that we too can correct and rebuke out of love those that may need it at that time.

    David concludes with “But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!  Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!” (Psa. 141:8-9)  That’s done by seeking to do God’s will and by having those who are ready to help us do God’s will by encouraging and rebuking when necessary.

Who’s your “righteous man”?

--E