Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 22: 2 Samuel 1 – 2:11; Psalm 118:15-29; Proverbs 15:27-28; John 12:20-50


            2 Samuel: David returned to Ziklag. A man came from Saul’s camp telling him that Saul and Jonathan were dead and the Israelite army defeated. When asked how he knew Saul was dead, the man said Saul asked him to kill him and he did. David and his men wept, fasted, and mourned until evening. Then David had the man killed because he killed God’s anointed.
            Then David wrote a lament for Saul and Jonathan.
            David then asked the Lord if he should return to Judah and to which city. The Lord told him to go to Hebron. The men of Judah came there and anointed him king over Judah. He blessed the town of Jabesh because they buried Saul. He also let them know he was now king of Judah.
            Psalm: Salvation comes to the righteous from the Lord’s right hand. Even though disciplined, the Psalmist will survive to tell of God’s deeds.
            God’s righteousness is like a gate he must enter. When he does, he gives thanks to the Lord for his salvation. The Lord has made the rejected stone the cornerstone. It is marvelous and in the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice.
            The one who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed. For the Lord is God and his light shines on us. The Lord is our God so we thank and extol him for his goodness and love.
            Proverbs: People who look for bribes are not just and their families will suffer for it, but not the ones who reject bribes. A righteous person will take time to consider how to answer a question but a wicked person will blabber all kinds of things and it will be evil.
            John: Some Greeks wanted to see Jesus. They asked Philip. Philip told Andrew and they told Jesus. Jesus responds by saying it was time for him to be glorified. Grain must be buried before it can bear much fruit. A person must lose his life and not love it, rather he must hate his life in this world to have eternal life. Serving Jesus is following him and the Father will honor him.
            Jesus said his soul is troubled but he came to this time to glorify the Father’s name. A voice from heaven said he has glorified it and will again. Some people thought it was thunder and others an angel. Jesus said the voice was for their sake. Judgment has come and the ruler of this world is cast out and Jesus will draw people to himself when he is lifted up, the method of his death.
            The people asked how this could be if he is the Messiah because the Messiah must live forever. Jesus told them the light would only be with them a short time and they should walk in his light so they can become sons of light.
            Jesus then hid himself because many didn’t believe even with all the signs. This fulfilled prophecy asking who would believe and the Lord blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so they wouldn’t understand and repent.
            However, some of the authorities believed but didn’t admit it because of fear of the Pharisees. They loved the glory of man more than the glory of the Lord.
            Jesus tells the people that if they believe in him, they believe in the one who sent him and they will not remain in darkness. If they reject him, then the words he spoke will judge them because they come from the Father. He is following the Father’s command about what to say, which brings eternal life.

What Stood Out

            2 Samuel: “And Abner said to Joab, ‘Let the young men arise and compete before us.’ And Joab said, ‘Let them arise’” (2 Sam 2:14).
            Psalm: “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord” (Ps 118:19).
            Proverbs: “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things” (Prov 15:28).
            John: “So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus’” (John 12:21).


            2 Samuel: The Bible tells history the way it happened. Some of it is very strange to our way of thinking and some of the accounts were certainly not meant to be an endorsement of the way we should conduct our affairs. David killed the man who brought news of Saul’s death because he reportedly killed Saul, even though it was Saul’s request. The man probably thought he would be rewarded because he had killed David’s enemy, but he didn’t know David’s loyalty to Saul. I don’t think David was right in killing him, but that was the way it happened.
            David’s lament over Saul and Jonathan reminds me that we don’t have to remember the bad deeds of dead people. Certainly, there are some things that must be remembered like the Holocaust to make sure things like that don’t happen again. We can learn from Saul’s mistakes too. However, when it comes to personal feelings, especially for family members, we can look on the good and remember them for that.
            Psalm: Salvation comes from the Lord. It doesn’t come because of anything we can do. Our righteousness is accomplished by the Lord’s right hand. Righteousness is like a gate and we must walk through it. That can’t be construed to be any kind of work or merit on our part. Once saved and declared righteous by the blood of Jesus, we are then to give thanks and extol the Lord for what he has done.
            Proverbs: It is very important for us to consider how we should answer people. It could be an accusation about our faith or it could be a question about the Bible. Maybe it is just a question about why we did what we did. Peter says we should be ready to tell people about the hope we have in Jesus but we must do this gently and respectfully (1 Peter 3:15-16). Paul says we should be gracious in the way we talk so we can make the most of our opportunities (Col 4:5). We don’t want to become defensive even when we are accused.
            John: You would think that Jesus would welcome anyone who wanted to come and see him. But that doesn’t appear to happen with the Greeks who want to see him. In the same way that he diverted the conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus uses the occasion to teach a truth about himself and his mission and what it takes for salvation. Just as Jesus had to die like a grain of wheat so that he could bear much fruit, so we must be willing to give up our lives to follow Jesus. It is even more than just giving up our lives, we must hate our lives in the world. Do you hate your life in this world?
            If you do, then you have the right attitude toward sin. Hating our lives in this world is hating the sin that dwells within us and keeps us from being 100% sold out to Jesus. It means looking around in this world and hating the sin that causes atrocities as people massacre one another because of race, religion, or profit. It hates seeing sex trafficking and other sexual sins being flaunted.
            It means loving God with our whole being and our neighbors as ourselves. That is the cornerstone of following Jesus. It doesn’t mean self-loathing but putting other first. It means walking in the light as Jesus is the light. It means paying attention to what Jesus said because we will be judged by his words.


            I want to live here the way the Lord wants. I want to be able to encourage and answer others carefully and wisely. I want to make the most of every opportunity to steer people to Jesus.

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