Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 28: 2 Samuel 13; Psalm 119:81-96; Proverbs 16:6-7; John 17



Overview

            2 Samuel: Absalom, David’s son had a beautiful sister and David’s other son by a different wife, Amnon fell so much in love with her that it made him sick. Rather than ask David for her in marriage, he listened to bad advice and got David to send her to cook food for him so he would get well. He raped her. He then hated her and set her away.
            David did nothing when he heard about it other than become angry. Two years later, Absalom took revenge and killed Amnon at a banquet he arranged for all of David’s sons. David heard that all his sons were killed but Jonadab told him it was only Amnon. Absalom then fled. David mourned for a long time and after three years, he started to miss Absalom.
            Psalm: The Psalmist expresses more in these verses about the affliction he has faced from others. He is concerned about how long it will last. In all of these problems he expresses hope and confidence in God’s word. He then reflects on God’s eternality and faithfulness shown in creation. He identifies as part of God’s creation and through his word he has life. He is still asking for help as he keeps an eye on God’s word.
            Proverbs: Sin is forgiven by steadfast love and faithfulness; fear of the Lord keeps one from evil. When a person pleases the Lord, the Lord makes his enemies to be at peace with him.
            John: Jesus begins a lengthy prayer to the Father. He first asks for the Father to glorify him because the Father has given him authority to give eternal life to those who are his. When they know God and Jesus they have eternal life.
            He prays for all those that God has given him, not the world. They know that Jesus came from the Father and have received the truth. Jesus is leaving the world and going to the Father so he asks the Father to keep them. Jesus guarded them and didn’t lose any except the one that was specified in Scripture.
            He has given them the Father’s word and the world hates them. Jesus doesn’t want them taken out of the world but to keep them from the evil one. He asks for them to be sanctified by the word which is truth. Jesus consecrates himself so they may be sanctified.
            Jesus doesn’t ask just for the Apostles but for all people who will believe in Jesus through the Apostle’s word. He asks that we will all be one just as the Father and Jesus are in each other and that they love each other in the same way the Father loves the Son. Then the world will believe the Father sent Jesus. He wants us to be with him and see his glory given to him before the foundation of the earth.

What Stood Out

            2 Samuel: “When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry” (2 Sam 13:21).
            Psalm: “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction” (Ps 119:92).
            Proverbs: “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for” (Prov 16:6).
            John: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word” (John 17:20).

Insight

            2 Samuel: There is nothing in this account that says David did anything other than get angry when he discovered that his firstborn son, Amnon had raped his half-sister Tamar. The Dead Sea Scrolls provide an explanation, “Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint add But he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, since he was his firstborn” (2 Sam 13:21 ESV notes). Regardless of other reasons, David’s inaction in the face of this grievous sin may very well be because of his own sin with Bathsheba.
            This is one of Satan’s schemes for paralyzing Christians. We sin and blow it. We do something that everyone would agree is a nasty sin. Then, when we are faced with having to deal with someone else who has done something, especially in our own family, we freeze. We don’t want to be a hypocrite and punish someone when we’ve been spared.
            Maybe it was because of David’s love for his son that he didn’t punish him. That’s another way Satan disables Christians. He tells us that if we really loved that person, we wouldn’t punish them as they deserve. After all, God didn’t punish David with death. We forget that David was punished.
            Then our mishandling of the situation escalates later. In David’s case, Absalom became a murder. We need to remember that sin must be confronted as soon as possible. Just becoming angry about sin isn’t enough. There is a reason for the justice of the Law and that was to deter others. That doesn’t make it any easier when the offenders are your own children. We are too eager to excuse and become enablers.
            Psalm: Each one of us has to go through different afflictions in our lives. If we examine what this Psalm reiterates, we discover that delight in God’s word helps us through these times of trouble. We get our hope from God’s word. If we didn’t have Jesus in our lives, and he is the Word, we would most likely surrender to despair. You can read the statistics in the newspaper or look them up on the web. More people are committing suicide than ever before. 5% of kids as young as 6th graders admit they have attempted to kill themselves. The percentage goes up to 10% for 12th graders. 17.5% of seniors have thought about killing themselves. This is for Snohomish County, Washington.[1] In this generation when the Bible is not preached, when God is eliminated from public life, the loss of hope brings despair and suicide. Our hope is in the Lord and the Lord reveals himself in the Word. No wonder the Psalmist could say that he would have perished in his affliction without his delight in God’s word.
            Proverbs: I had to take a second look at Proverbs 16:6. Really, can my steadfast love and faithfulness atone for iniquity. But then I remembered references to God’s steadfast love and faithfulness is repeated many times in the Psalms. Our love is not steadfast and our faith is fickle. We can never atone for any sin. It is only the Lord’s steadfast love and faithfulness that atones for sin through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross. He is the only one who can atone for our sins. Praise God that we can turn to him and have our sins forgiven.
            John: The unity of the trinity is expressed by Jesus in these last two chapters. In this one, the relationship of the Father and Son becomes exceedingly clear. The great part of it is when Jesus says he is in the Father and the Father is in him (John 17:21) and that’s what he wants for us. He also speaks of the Father’s love for him (John 17:23-24). This love is in Jesus and he asks for it to be in us (John 17:26).
            Everything in Jesus’ prayer is for us as well as the Apostles (John 17:20). Therefore, we know that when we accept Jesus into our lives and our hearts we not only have Jesus living in us but we have the Father as well. We don’t have to be concerned about whether or not we have the Holy Spirit or Jesus or the Father. We have all three. We are in them and they are in us. This is spiritual, not physical so don’t get concerned about an infinite God living in a finite person or Jesus having a physical body and living in us. Rejoice that the fulness of God is in us (Eph 3:19).
            Oh, by the way, we really ought to be loving each other and in unity because Jesus is praying for us to be that way just as he and the Father are.

Application

             I need to be careful about not letting my past sins keeping me from doing what is right now. While I need to extend mercy and grace, I can’t overlook sins and neither should our churches. Because we have God living in us, though, we should be living in unity and love of each other. It is not easy to balance all these things this side of heaven. However, my hope is firmly fixed on God’s word.


[1] Sharon Salyer and Kari Bray, "More county teens say they’ve seriously considered suicide," HeraldNet.com, May 28, 2017, , accessed May 28, 2017,http://www.heraldnet.com/news/more-teens-in-county-reveal-theyve-seriously-considered-suicide/.

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