Today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 14-15:22; John 18:1-24; Psalm 119:97-112; Proverbs 16:8-9
The dysfunction of David’s family continues today. Approached by a strage woman with a false story, David demonstrates that he is willing to offer forgiveness to a man (her son) that he does not even know while being unwilling to reconcile with his own son, Absalom.
David clearly had leadership issues. He seems to either be too soft or too hard with his children. He did not punish Amnon for raping Tamar And he seems to be punishing Absalom too harshly for taking vengeance into his own hands.
2 Samuel 14:14 is a great verse about the salvation that God offers all people. God does not ignore those who are separated from Him. This is all of us. We are all born separated from God because of our sin. Instead God came up with a plan to reconcile us to Him. That plan was the work of Jesus dying on the cross, spending 3 days in hell to pay for our sins, and rising to life again as demonstration that our sins had indeed been paid for.
Absalom returns to Jerusalem but King David refuses to see him (2 Samuel 14:23-24). Again we see David not behaving like a leader. His childish behavior will only create more problems. It is important to take an active role in solving the problems in our relationships. A pastor I once knew used to say “if you bury pain you bury it alive” meaning that pain not dealt with will come back at some point in the future. Sure enough, David’s problems with Absalom are not over.
The woman from Tekoa implied that the people of Israel were upset because of Absalom’s exile (2 Samuel 14:13). With Amnon dead (and no mention of David’s second son), Absalom was the crown prince of Israel. Additionally, he was very good-looking (2 Samuel 14:25) just like Saul was. The people of Israel are still choosing their leaders based on superficialities., much like we do in the U.S. today.
But Absalom is not a man of character. He is bitter and quick to anger (2 Samuel 14:30). True, David has not acted properly towards him. But we should never let someone else’s bad behavior affect our own. Absalom should not have killed Amnon. And he should not have burned Joab’s barley. Our behavior is always being watched by God who wants us to act just like Jesus did – when we are wronged we should take the high road.
This reminds me of my favorite verse in the Bible: “Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:27 NIV)
Even though Absalom and David are reunited (2 Samuel 14:33) the relationship is irrevocably broken. In 2 Samuel 15 Absalom plots to overthrow his father. He creates an image of himself as exciting, hard-working, a man of the people, and sympathetic while at the same implying (but not directly stating) that David was not (2 Samuel 15:1-6).
Jesus is arrested in John 18. Notice how He identifies Himself to the arresting officers: by saying “I AM” (John 18:5, 6, 8). This word that Jesus used is the same word God used for Himself at the burning bush (Exodus 3). It was a highly revered word in Israel – the name of God Himself – which is why the men fell to the ground upon hearing it. Jesus is saying that He is God.
So many of Christians are quick to get angry when we see Jesus being attacked by our society. Yet we don’t profess Him enough to others. We see Peter behaving similarly. He is all to quick to slice of the soldier’s ear but he will deny even knowing Jesus 3 times in the next couple of hours (John 18:11, 17). God isn’t asking us to fight for Him. He is asking us to tell others about Him so they can be saved.
Notice that Jesus corrects Peter (John 18:11). Going to the cross was God’s plan. Peter (and the other disciples) still didn’t understand that even though Jesus had told them repeatedly.
Nothing Jesus ever did was done in secret (John 18:20). All His teachings and miracles were done publicly for all to see. There was no insurrection going on. Jesus was God and His life simply demonstrated that through words and actions.
Psalm 119 continues today with more praise of God’s commandments which make us wise (Psalm 119:98). Anyone who reads and follows God’s instruction is wiser than those who don’t.
God’s commandments help us understand life (Psalm 119:104) and change us from loving sin to hating it. One of the main reasons why the world loves sin so much is that they ignore God’s word. The Bible has the power to change hearts. It has changed mine.
Finally the Bible is a light to guide our life (Psalm 119:105). The world is off course because it has chosen to go its own way rather than to follow the way that God has designed. I can’t even imagine what God originally intended this world be. When I get to heaven I’ll finally find out.
I often find myself wanting more money, or a bigger place to live, or a better job. But in reality I’m better off as I am because I have God. Its better to have little than to have more without Him (Proverbs 16:8).
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