Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30: 2 Samuel 15:23 – 16; Psalm 119:113-128; Proverbs 16:10-11; John 18:25-19:22


            2 Samuel: As people flee, Abiathar, Zadok, and the Levites bring the Ark. David tells him to take it back. If the Lord will grant him favor, he will see it again. If the Lord has no pleasure in David, then he is willing to accept whatever happens. David also told Zadok to go back and be a spy. He is to send his and Abiathar’s sons as soon as they know what Absalom is planning.
            David finds out that his advisor and friend, Ahithophel, has sided with Absalom. David prays that God will confuse his advice. Hushai, another friend and advisor, comes to him ready to leave. David sends him back to counter Ahithophel’s counsel and inform Zadok.
            Mephibosheth’s servant, Ziba, meets David with supplies for the trip and donkeys. David asked where Mephibosheth was. Ziba said he remained in Jerusalem because he thought Israel will give him back his father’s kingdom. David gave all of Mephibosheth’s possessions to Ziba.
            Shimei, a relative of Saul, cursed and threw rocks at David. Abishai wanted to decapitate him but David said the Lord told Shimei to curse him and the Lord will repay him.
            Absalom and the men of Israel came to Jerusalem. Hushai met him saying, “Long live the king!” He explained to Absalom that the Lord and Israel has chosen him so he will serve him the same as he did his father.”
            Absalom asked Ahithophel for his counsel. Ahithophel advised him to lay with David’s concubines on the roof top and the people will know he is odious to David. That will strengthen his position. So, Absalom did so because Ahithophel’s counsel was held in high regard, like an oracle of God, by David and Absalom.
            Psalm: The Psalmist continues to provide reasons for his delight in God’s law. He hates the double minded and doesn’t want evildoers around to distract him. He asks God to uphold him. God doesn’t have anything to do with those who ignore his statutes.
            He has done right so he wants to be saved and not oppressed by insolent people. He wants God to act against those who have broken his law. He loves God’s commandments more than gold.
            Proverbs: When God’s word is spoken by a king, he will not make and error in judgment. When the Lord judges, it is like a perfectly calibrated scale because it is his work.
            John: Peter is twice more accused of being with Jesus, he denies it both times, and then a rooster crows.
            They then take Jesus to the governor. They won’t go inside because it would defile them and they wouldn’t be able to eat the Passover. He asks them what Jesus has done and they only say it is serious. Pilate tells them to judge Jesus by their own laws, but they explain they don’t have the right to kill him.
            Pilate asks Jesus if he is the king of the Jews. Jesus ask him if he is asking for himself or if it is only because he heard it from others. Jesus then explains that if his kingdom were earthly his servants would be fighting for him. But his kingdom is not of this world. He came to bear witness to the truth. Whoever is of the truth listens to Jesus. Pilate scoffs and ask, “What is truth?” Pilate tells the Jews that he finds no guilt in Jesus and will release him as part of the Passover tradition. They demand Barabbas instead.
            Pilate had Jesus flogged. The soldiers put a purple robe on him, made a crown of thorns for him, mocked, and beat him. Pilate brought him out like that and told the Jews he found no guilt in him. The chief priests and officers yelled out to crucify him. Pilate asked why and they said that Jesus made himself out to be the Son of God. That scared Pilate so he asked Jesus where he came from. Jesus didn’t answer and Pilate reminded him that he had authority to free him or crucify him. Jesus told him that authority was given to him from above, so those who delivered him had the greater sin.
            Pilate tried to release him again but the Jews threatened Pilate by saying he wasn’t a friend of Caesar because Jesus claimed to be a king. He asked if he should crucify their king and the said they had no king but Caesar.
            They took Jesus to Golgotha and crucified him. Pilate wrote, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” and put it on the cross. The Jews wanted Pilate to change it to say, “This man said he is King of the Jews.” Pilate refused.

What Stood Out

            2 Samuel: “If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place” (2 Sam 15:25).
            Psalm: “It is time for the Lord to act, for your law has been broken” (Ps 119:126).
            Proverbs: “A just balance and scales are the Lord's; all the weights in the bag are his work” (Prov 16:11).
            John: “The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar’” (John 19:15).


            2 Samuel: At this crucial time in David’s life, he shows remarkable trust in God’s sovereignty. He tells Abiathar that the Lord will bring him back if that is God’s plan. However, even in trusting God’s plans, he doesn’t lay back and do nothing. He plans for Abiathar and Zadok’s sons to be spies and couriers for him by sending Abiathar and Zadok back to Jerusalem. He competes the plan by sending Hushai back to confound Ahithophel's counsel and also be a spy. He shows remarkable grace to Shimei by not letting Abishai kill him. His reasoning is also a demonstration of his trust in the Lord.
            This kind of trust in the Lord isn’t something that a person gets magically. It is based on seeing God work in our own lives and in the lives of those in the Bible. We will never face the trials David did while on the run from Saul and in his battles with enemies. We will not likely see God’s provision during these kinds of trials, but we can learn from David’s. We can also learn from David that trust in God is not always passive. His trust was also active as he established his spy network. It also was exhibited in his trusting the Lord to take vengeance instead of immediately reacting and killing Shimei. In the midst of our trials we need to remember to act mercifully as well as wisely.
            Psalm: Psalm 119:126 is a prayer that many of us pray every day. We see God’s Law flaunted and ridiculed more and more as time goes on. We cry out to the Lord to come back and bring justice, holiness, and righteousness to the earth. We want to see an end to the sin that seems to be growing. So, we cry out to Jesus to come back, not because we don’t want the wicked in the world to be destroyed so much as to see God’s holiness on the earth. However, we do know it will mean the punishment of many people when he comes. We are torn between wanting to see them saved and God’s kingdom come. We can only trust the Lord to do what is right in his timing.
            Proverbs: I always thought Proverbs 16:11 was all about being fair in our business dealing. Then I had this thought that it was allegorical after reading about David’s trust that the Lord would do what is good. He is the only one that is completely just and fair. We always have some ulterior motives or preconceptions when we try to make a judgment. We never know all the facts or the motives of a person’s heart. God know it all and he also knows how history must conclude. We can trust him completely.
            John: Throughout Jesus’ trial and brutalization, we shudder at what they did to Jesus. However, we know that all this was predicted long before by Isaiah (Is 52:14, 53:3-7). This reveals the depth of our sinful nature, but the cause of that sinfulness is revealed by the chief priest and officers when they shout that they have no king but Caesar. This is the root of our sin, not yielding to God as our King. The sin goes back as far as Israel demanding a king instead of judges that God had used. It goes back even to Mount Sinai when they made a golden calf and proclaimed it was their god. For the rest of us, it goes back to Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve rejected God’s authority over them by eating of the forbidden fruit.
            We like to think that we are better than the Jews who wanted Jesus crucified, but the truth is (and Jesus came to bear witness to the truth) that we are all sinners and as such have rejected God as our King. It is only after salvation that we can even start to submit to his authority and we have a hard time doing that. We need to acknowledge that each time we sin to get what we want, we are declaring ourselves to be our king.


             I need to make sure my trust in Jesus is not a passive trust that expects him to take care of everything. I still need to be active in my trust. That includes asking him for his direction and yielding my plans to him. It means carrying out those plans as well. I need to make sure he is my King.

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