Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 29: 2 Samuel 14-15:22; Psalm 119:97-112; Proverbs 16:8-9; John 18:1-24


            2 Samuel: Three years after Absalom flees, Joab has a woman from Tekoa present a request to king David to pardon her son who killed his brother. When David grants it, she then accuses David of hypocrisy for not bringing back Absalom and pardoning him. David realizes Joab set him up and tells Joab to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem but he won’t see Absalom.
            After another two years, Absalom can’t even get Joab’s attention so he sets Absalom’s field on fire. When Joab asks about that, Absalom tells him he might as well have stayed in Geshur where he fled. So, Joab arranges for Absalom and David to meet and there appears to be reconciliation.
            However, Absalom made a show of himself with horse and chariot and fifty men to run before him. Absalom also gains the trust of Israel by telling everyone that comes to David with requests, that if he were a judge in the land he would give them justice. After four years, he asks David to go to Hebron and fulfill a vow. Absalom secretly sends messengers throughout Israel telling them he is going to be anointed king at Hebron.
            When David hears about it, he flees Jerusalem rather than fight there and endanger all the people. He leaves ten concubines behind to take care of the palace. Many people flee with him including Ittai the Gittite and his men even though they are foreigners.
            Psalm: The Psalmist extols the word of God to make him wise, understanding, and keeping from him evil. Again, he relies on God’s word when he is afflicted and evil people try to trap him. Since God’s word is his heritage, he has sworn to uphold it.
            Proverbs: Getting rich by evil devices is never as good as being poor and righteous. We can plan whatever we want, but God is the one who makes it happen.
            John: Jesus and the Apostles go to the garden across the Kidron Valley. Judas brings troops and some of the chief priests and Pharisees’ officers. When Jesus asks them who they want they ask for Jesus of Nazareth. When Jesus says, “I am he,” they all fall down. He asks again and they reply the same. He says again, “I am he,” but he also tells them to let the others go. Peter uses a sword to cut off Malchus’ right ear, the high priest’s servant. Jesus tells him to put the sword away.
            The soldiers take Jesus to Annas the father-in-law of the high priest, Caiaphas. Peter stood outside but John was known to the high priest and was able to get in and came back to let Peter in. The servant girl at the door said Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples but he denied it. He then warmed himself by the soldier’s fire.
            The high priest questioned Jesus about his teachings. He answered by telling him he had taught openly and he should ask the people what he taught. One of the officers struck Jesus asking if that was the way to answer. Jesus replied said if what he said was wrong then why hit him? Then Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest.

What Stood Out

            2 Samuel: “Now Joab the son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart went out to Absalom” (2 Sam 14:1).
            Psalm: “I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law” (Ps 119:109).
            Proverbs: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Prov 16:9).
            John: “Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself” (John 18:18).


            2 Samuel: The consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba are coming full force in the way he deals with Absalom. David turns a blind eye to what Absalom is doing to gain the trust of Israel. God’s prophecy of a sword not passing from his house is continuing to be fulfilled but this time, David is the one on the receiving end.
            In many ways, we are like David. We don’t want to believe bad reports about our kids. We believe them when they say they have or have not been doing different things. Without a close relationship with them, we end up being blindsided when they get into trouble. We then do everything we can to keep them from facing the consequences of their sins. We bail them out of jail, we cover up for their addition, we simply don’t want to see them face the hurt of their consequences. Unfortunately, that kind of help his not help but enabling.
            Psalm: Everything we need for life and godliness is found in God’s word. We don’t need to look to other places. Even though we make daily decisions that affect our lives, we should be doing that in accordance with God’s word. When we do that, we can make good decisions whether we are afflicted, ensnared by evil people all around us, or everything seems to be going well.
            Proverbs: Keeping on with the truth of Psalm 119, we can make plans every day. We can decide what we are going to do but those things will not happen unless the Lord makes it happen. When we make our plans in accordance with God’s word, then we can know that whatever happens, we will be doing God’s will. If our plans are interrupted by even seemingly insignificant things, that is God directing our steps.
            John: We all want to seek our own comfort, even when we should be doing something else. When Peter mingled with the soldiers to warm himself, it is a picture of what we do every day when we mix with the world and do the same things as the world. It is more comfortable to do that than it is to stand up against injustice and sinful behavior. When someone starts a conversation at the office, neighbor, or relative and the subjects of homosexuality, racism, or other things come up, do we present a biblical view or do we hide who we are and what the Bible has to say? Peter was acting pre-Holy-Spirit-indwelling so we can’t really blame him. But we have the Holy Spirit in us and we don’t have an excuse.
            Peter saw a crowd of soldiers and officials fall back when Jesus said, “I am.” Jesus’ awesome power was demonstrated in that moment. Jesus was not arrested by the power of human agencies. Jesus willingly gave himself. When we are afraid of countering the world system, we need to remember who Jesus is and that he is living in us. We don’t need to be afraid to stand up for Jesus.


             I need to trust the Lord with my plans. Small interruptions or large are divine appointments and should not be a source of grumbling or complaining. I need to have more faith in Jesus when it comes to opposing the world’s standards or lack of them.

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