Rules and Exceptions

King David broke a rule. In 1 Samuel 21, we read he entered the temple and ate consecrated bread, reserved for the priests. How disobeyed the law, and profaned the temple. Even Jesus admits this behaviour was ‘unlawful’ (Matt 12:4). Before this incident, David lies, and afterwards, he is involved in further deception.

Jesus cites the actions of David as evidence that sometimes it’s OK to break the rules. At times there are exceptions.

Some of us are inclined the follow the rules. We enjoy finding biblical principles, rehearsing orthodox truths. We find safety and certainty in the known and familiar.

And then something happens that is unexpected. Or an idea emerges that does not fit our paradigm. We can be unsettled, and disorientated by this. This may in turn lead to disappointment with God, or to a lack of energy to do anything, or cynicism.

Others of us are wired differently. We find normal to be boring, and rules constraining. We love to push the boundaries. We enjoy exploring the edgy controversial doctrines of our faith or have an inclination towards risky strategies to get the job done.

Such an approach to life invites another set of vulnerabilities. In looking for exceptions and not patterns, life can become haphazard, and lack structure and direction. In seeking to understand or experience the exceptional, we lose the scaffolding of the normal, and the value of the important.

Disciples have habits. Practices that are regularly rehearsed, creeds that are reaffirmed, and that stand you in good stead. Sure, life throws us all curveballs, and at times we need to step away from routine, and the known. We need to look at, think about, and do things differently. This may last for a season.

But then it is time to affirm timeless truths, and practice core habits.

Rev David Rietveld

Senior Minister


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