Today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 4-6:23; John 13:31-14:14; Psalm 119:17-32; Proverbs 15:31-32
Abner had propped Ishbosheth up as a puppet king and when Abner died Ishbosheth had no support and lost his courage (2 Samuel 4:1). His faith was in man, not God. Anytime we trust in a human being to provide for us we will be lost when that person leaves our life. Better to trust in an eternal and loving God who never leaves us.
In 2 Samuel 4:12 David again demonstrates that he will not tolerate someone doing evil on his behalf. Sinning is never a valid means to a justified end.
David is made king over all of Israel in 2 Samuel 5:1. Prior to this only 1 tribe, Judah, recognized David as king. But once their other choices are removed (i.e. killed) the rest of Israel chooses David. In a similar way, people will often try other “gods” in their life and won’t come to Jesus until all their other options fail them. I sure wish I had come to Christ long before I did. My life would have been so much better.
The leaders of Israel had also apparently forgiven David for his defection to the Philistines. But they had seen David’s heart and leadership skills. They knew God was with him so it was right for them to forgive him. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done. It matters if we are repentant and are walking with God. If so, then we can be used by God to do great things.
David was 30 years old when he became king (2 Samuel 5:4). David was anointed at about age 15. God spent about 15 years preparing him for this day. All the delay and trouble in those years may have made David wonder at times if God was going to keep His promise to make him king. But God always keeps His promises. He just may not do it in a way that makes sense to us.
After hundreds of years of living in the Promised Land, the Jews had still failed to conquer Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:6). But David takes care of that. Even in our own lives there are areas of sin that are not conquered either because we don’t try or because they seem too strong. But God wants us to remove all sin from our lives and He will help us do so.
The Ark is moved to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6, but it is moved inappropriately. God had commanded the Ark be carried, not put on a cart. Nor was it to be touched. We are not free to ignore God’s commands. Disobedience to God is a statement that we don’t trust Him or have faith in Him.
When the Ark is finally brought to Jerusalem a huge procession follows it, including King David who dances along the way (2 Samuel 6:14). There are many ways to worship God. What matters is our heart. Our manner of worship must be a demonstration of our love for God, not our love for ourself.
The rest of the words spoken by Jesus are without Judas present (John 13:31). When Judas left the room only believers remained (Judas was never a true believer). Hence, Jesus’ words from this point forward apply only to believers.
In the Bible Peter is portrayed as a rather spontaneous and emotional guy. He lives up to that billing in John 13:37. Peter didn’t understand who Jesus was at this point. His relationship with Jesus was based on emotion. But emotions can only carry us so far. They can’t carry us through difficult times because our emotions change. In the near future Peter will have nothing to fall back on when trouble comes and will deny Christ three times, just as Jesus predicted.
I think that is why Jesus’ very next statements (John 14:1) instruct His disciples not to be troubled, but to trust in Him. When difficult and confusing times arrive (and they will) we need to stay focused on Christ, who never changes. He always loves us. He is always there for us.
Jesus has already told His disciples that He is going away. In John 14:3 He tells them that He will come back to get them someday. That day has not yet arrived. We’ll read some very specific prophecies about Christ’s future return later this year.
In John 14:6 Jesus emphatically states that He is the only way to heaven. In the very next verse He equates Himself with God.
Psalm 119 has so many great truths. Verse 21 is one of them. Those who wander from God’s instructions are cursed. The only way to receive true blessings in life is to walk with God and obey Him. God’s instructions are given out of love – they are for our own good. If a person (or a nation) disregards them, they can only experience problems. As Psalm 119:24 says – God’s laws are, in fact, pleasing because they give wise advice.
One way to wisdom is to listen to constructive criticism. When I was younger I didn’t want to hear any advice. I wanted to figure life out on my own. That didn’t go so well. When I learned to respect and even seek out the advice of others, I began to grow and become a better person. As Joyce Meyer says, it’s better to endure a little discipline now than to experience a lot of regret later.
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