Saturday, August 7, 2010

Custody Battle

The pagan god Justice
I know what you’re thinking, whose kids are in the crossfire now? Even in our modern day we understand someone is fighting for control and someone is resisting. Two parents.

There’s the general topic of Satan vs. Jesus in the classic custody battle. We were the children of darkness, now we are the children of light and Satan wants us back. But this is not about that battle, well, not directly. This is about another that rages in the hearts of men, far more insidious and cruel, carrying greater consequences. This is the custody battle we have with God when we want control over someone else. It doesn’t sound pretty does it? And right about now you’re probably chuckling to yourself thinking, Aha, this isn’t about me, I never have this problem.

Hmm, said the new man to the old man nature…it’s time to kill the beast.

Have you ever noticed that God is big on boundaries? Many people don’t realize just how many boundaries he has. The greatest of these is parentage. God is parent. You step over his parentage and you’ll be wishing you could turn back the hands of Time. The problem comes when you receive consequences and don’t know why. I’m willing to bet a lot of folks get burnt who never even saw the electrical fence they busted through. The meaning of ‘lacking understanding’ becomes clear in those instances. It’s always a question of lordship in one way or another. It’s still the same lie the enemy promoted to Eve way back when.

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t hear about some authority figure doing something wrong. This is not new; it’s all over the Bible starting with Genesis. And Ezekiel 34 practically screams off the pages these days. Plug in any political figure you can think of. So what does God say about these bad puppies? David had Saul. Saul wanted to kill him, for crying out loud. I used to think David was so brave and compassionate, so utterly righteous that he didn’t kill Saul when he had the chance. I don’t feel that way anymore. Now I think it was David’s penchant for lordship that made him cut Saul’s garment and lord it over the King of Israel. So, does this mean we are relegated to knuckling under the Saul’s in our lives? How can we lessen that sentence?

I think the answer is in David’s blunder. He took vengeance in that act. Oh, it wasn’t the vengeance due him, the old man nature cries, so it was ok to take a little vengeance, right? Hell, no… David took custody when custody belongs to the parent. Was David Saul’s parent or his king? No. Perhaps his time in flight and the caves of Israel would have been much shorter if he handed custody over to God where it belonged in the first place. It was that act of taking lordship over Saul when he cut his robe, that finally made him realize his sin, that he was stretching his hand against the Lord’s own. Nothing like waking up in vomit…

Maybe then he stopped talking bad about the king to his entourage of criminals, who had their own authority issues. Maybe then he stopped pitying himself and felt compassion for Saul, the human plagued by an evil spirit that David originally tried to heal. Maybe then he stopped thinking of all the ways he could do it better and tried to see what God wrought in his mentor for him. Maybe then he stopped relishing the thought that the man’s own ally (son) betrayed him and David chose to stop betraying God.

It was absolutely then that he finally understood the lesson. Custody belongs to God. Man, I’d like to have been privy to his prayers that night.

Don’t we love all those things about David when we’re in the throes of bitterness?! Of course we do, they justify our position. After all, David was supposed to be king, and, ugh, Saul should get out of the way! Makes you wonder if David’s later problems stemmed from all that. Not that he wasn’t a great guy, a phenomenal leader, but his mistakes teach us to avoid his errors.

Do you have an authority figure trying to kill you? Let him do it, spiritually speaking. Die to self. Give custody back to God. I’ve seen errant husbands and wicked pastors wake up quickly when Jesus visited them, once everyone else got out of the way. It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Be aware, God will keep you in that relationship or another equally irritating one until you get your spiritual ducks in a row. Find out what he’s trying to teach you. There’s nothing like an unrighteous leader to expose the weakness in your own soul. Submit to the lessons and you’ll be rewarded for a lifetime. Resist God and you’ll be complaining for the rest of your life about someone somewhere.

Is the custody battle between you and God rather than Satan and God? It means you bought the lordship lie somewhere. You aren’t alone, we all do it sometime. God will rescue you when he feels the need to do so, but if you keep trying to be him, he can’t do a thing. Here’s the way out. Give up the custody battle. Step back and let God be the parent. You’ll be happy you did and free from all the junk that goes with trying to control. Here’s to your freedom, not from the awful authority figure in your life, God will take care of that, but from the tyranny of your old man nature. Aren’t you glad that beast is dead now?

Wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, page 50.

photo credits:


  1. Thank you for this great post. I am still thinking it through or I would come up with a better word than "great". I truly needed this right now... I will re-read it again this evening to make sure it gets through to my stubborn brain as I have been trying to "control" much about my separation and looming divorce.

    Thank you.

  2. Oh Sari, my heart is with you. He is your beloved and you are his. :) much love, Karen

  3. What an intriguing post. You have thoughts in there that hadn't entered my head in quite the same way before--especially the reason David sliced off a piece of Saul's garment. Thanks for the post.

  4. Thank you for bringing us back to where true freedom lays, let go for the old man is dead, and we are joined to Christ.


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