October 29, 2013
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 29 October 2013
René Girard first proposed the theory that desire is mimetic (“imitative”) and is a primary impulse in human motivation. According to Girard’s theory, desire is based upon what others desire, especially when such individuals are model examples. For example, the desire of children may be formed by the desire of their parents. Dad and mom’s passion become the passion of their children. The danger with mimetic desire is that a “thing” may be often possessed by only one person, which means that competition will likely result. The greater extent to which one mimics the desire of another will ultimately manifest in the sinful expression of vicious rivalry. Mimetic theory, of course, was not known in Old Testament times; however, Scripture does address the modern theory, when it commands, “you shall not covet” (Exod 20:17). While not either affirming or denying Girard’s model of desire, it is interesting with regard to the historical account of Saul, Jonathan, and David because all three men to some extent desired the kingship of Israel.
Jonathan’s victory (1 Sam 14) demonstrated his potential rivalry to his father (Saul). Jonathan’s courage and faithfulness was heroic, whereas Saul was not faithful to God’s covenant and consistently disobeyed the Lord. The “beautiful eyes” and “handsome appearance” of David introduce him as a legitimate rival to King Saul (1 Sam 16:12-13). God’s words to Samuel indicate unequivocally that David was chosen to replace Saul, who certainly became envious of David (18:6-8) and looked upon “David with suspicion” (18:9). David’s successes made Saul fearful of him (18:12, 15, 29). Saul eventually became suspicious of his own son (Jonathan) as potentially helping David (20:33-34) and blamed him for conspiring against him (22:8). Saul is certainly a “textbook example” with regard to the vicious rivalry of mimetic desire.
Jonathan is a remarkable contrast to his father because he resisted the jealousy and maliciousness of such desires. He rejoiced in David’s successes (1 Sam 19:4-5) because he loved David as himself (18:1; 20:17; cf. Lev 19:18; Mark 12:30-31), and even encouraged him to find strength in God (1 Sam 23:16) while his father was seeking his destruction. Jonathan knew David would be the next king over Israel and that Saul would not be able to harm him (23:17). Jonathan is an example of how godly friends can be a tremendous encouragement in times of adversity and hardship. In the words of John 3:30, David must increase, but Jonathan must decrease. Jonathan surrendered his own ambitions for the sake of another. We must also be willing to forsake personal ambitions for the best interest of others. The means to do so is reliance upon prayer and God’s Word as the means of our strength and foundation for our success.
Jesus said, “He who loves father of mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 10:37-39). Jesus stated unambiguously that his followers must treasure Him over everyone and everything else. Those who reject the commands of Jesus will find the words of John 3:30 to be unintelligible and impossible because the actions and attitudes it demands are the opposite of natural tendencies. However, when the glory of God becomes our greater ambition in this life, and humility characterizes our life, we find our joy increases (John 3:29).
REMINDER: next Tuesday (5th of November) isthe monthly (interim) Capitol Commission Bible StudyRoom 123 CAP, Georgia Capitol, @ 12 Noon
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Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.