Today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 17:1-29; John 19:23-42; Psalm 119:129-152; Proverbs 16:12-13
Ahithophel gives Absalom some very good advice (2 Samuel 17:1-4). He proposes a quick attack against David that would likely have worked considering David’s weakened physical and emotional state. But notice that Ahithophel is leading the attack in this plan.
But God moves Absalom to seek a second opinion form Hushai, who we know is acting as a double-agent and spy for David (2 Samuel 17:5). Hushai’s plan is different. It requires more time as he suggests that David is a mighty warrior with an organized following. But that is the old David. The current David is nothing like this.
Notice too that in Hushai’s plan it is Absalom who is going to lead the fighting and who will, therefore, get the glory (2 Samuel 17:11-14). Absalom accepts Hushai’s plan because it appeals to his vanity. But in reality it is an inferior plan because it doesn’t capitalize on David’s present vulnerability.
Here we see that God has answered David’s prayer from 2 Samuel 15:31. God was with David even though at this moment it may have seemed that He wasn’t. God had chosen David to be king of Israel and He wasn’t going to go back on that promise. It was David’s own behavior that caused all this trouble. God wasn’t going to take the kingdom from him, but He was going to allow this difficulty in order to humble David and correct him.
As Christians, when difficult times come in our lives we have to realize that God isn’t trying to get us back. He is trying to win us back. Most likely the difficulty is the result of our own on-going sin.
In 2 Samuel 17:28 we see God bringing some people into David’s life to help him. Even when we are being disciplined God will take care of us and will bless us. God’s mercy and blessings during these times is proof that He isn’t trying to punish but to correct.
Crucifixion victims were nailed to the cross naked to further humiliate them as they hung there for hours. The soldiers divided Jesus’ clothes and cast lots for His seamless robe (John 19:23) – worn by high priests (Exodus 28:31-32). This fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy in Psalm 22:18.
While hanging on the cross in intense physical pain and mental anguish, Jesus did not think of Himself (John 19:25). Jesus (who was God in a human body) came to serve. And He served right up until the end. Its amazing to realize that the God of the universe came to earth to serve an ungrateful, sinful bunch of people.
Jesus’ last words, “It is finished!” indicate that His work was done (John 19:30). He had completed what He was sent to earth to do. On the cross Jesus not only experienced physical and emotional anguish but He also took on spiritual punishment as He took the judgement from God that we deserve. It should have been me, and you, and everyone on that cross.
We have seen that Jesus willingly went to the cross. Even when He died His life was not taken from Him – He freely gave it up (John 19:30). Jesus had control over His own life and death. Clearly He was no ordinary human being. He was God in human flesh.
By not breaking Jesus’ bones (John 19:33) and by piercing His side (John 19:34) the soldiers fulfill more Old Testament prophecy (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Psalm 34:20, Isaiah 53:5, Zechariah 12:10). Obviously these men had no idea what the Hebrew Scriptures said. Those people who claim that the prophecies of Jesus were manipulated by Him are wrong.
I think a lot of people believe that the Bible is some mystical writing that is open for interpretation because it is so hard to fathom. I used to think that. That was before I read it. But the message of the Bible is simple – anyone can understand it (Psalm 119:130).
Christians should be saddened by the reality that so many people disregard all that God is trying to teach them through the Bible (Psalm 119:136). We tend to spend our time like the world – watching TV, working too much, chasing after things that, compared to eternity, are temporary. We’d be better off spending our time teaching others how much God loves them.
A while back I read a comment by Billy Graham that the “secret” to the Christian life is total dependence on God. I think that is true. Every morning we should wake up and before we do anything else we should acknowledge our need for God’s help for that day. We should put our trust and hope in Him one day at a time, every day of our lives (Psalm 119:147).
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