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We Will Fail

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Today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 19:11-20:13; John 21:1-25; Psalm 120:1-7; Proverbs 16:16-17

David’s behavior in 2 Samuel 19 is a great picture of God. With the insurrection against him now defeated he returns home to reclaim the throne but only after Israel expresses a desire for him to once again be their king (2 Samuel 19:11,14). David could have triumphantly returned and forced his rule on the 10 tribes of Israel that had joined forces with Absalom. But he didn’t. In a similar way God could force Himself on everyone but chooses not to. God will only be the Lord of our lives if we want Him to be.

Back in 2 Samuel 16:5-13 we met Shimei who cursed David as he was fleeing Israel. When David returns he again meets Shimei but this time he falls down before David, admits his sin, and asks David for forgiveness (2 Samuel 18b – 23). This is a great picture of how sinners are to repent before God: we are to be humble (fall down before Him), be honest (admit our sin), and ask for forgiveness. Shimei knew how much he had sinned (2 Samuel 19:20) so he took action to be forgiven.

Shimei reminds me of myself back when I was an atheist. I mocked God and thought Jesus was a hoax. But then I realized that I was wrong. One Tuesday night in June 1992 I fell on my face, bawling like a baby, admitting my sin and asking God to forgive me, which He immediately did. God’s forgiveness is available to anyone for the asking. But we do have to ask.

As David crosses the Jordan back into Israel the 10 northern tribes, who sided with Absalom, feel slighted that they are not part of the company escorting David home (2 Samuel 19:41). Unable to resolve this dispute, the division between Israel and Judah (the southern 2 tribes) that started with Absalom’s insurrection will eventually lead to civil war and the division of the nation in two.

David has to deal with another insurrection when Sheba claims that David has no right to rule over the 10 tribes and the people of these tribes should have nothing to do with him (2 Samuel 20:1). Sounds very similar to people today who want to kick God out of our society. Such people are only leading others astray and straight to hell. Sadly, like many do today, the people of Israel listen to this poor advice (2 Samuel 20:2).

Once home David secludes the ten concubines that Absalom had defiled and they live as widows for the rest of their lives (2 Samuel 20:3). Here we see more of the unfortunate consequences of sin. Our effects of our sin are never isolated – our sin affects other people. I think David is beginning to realize that the choices he has made in life have hurt many people.

Jesus appears to the disciples again in the final chapter of John. Notice that even after having taught them for 3 years, and dying on a cross for them, Jesus is still serving them (John 21:13). Jesus came to serve, not be served. When He comes for the second time He will reign on this earth for 1,000 years.

Previously Peter has denied knowing Jesus three times. Now, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him (John 21:15-17).

There are five words for love in Greek, two of which appear in this passage. Jesus at first asks Peter if he loves (“agape”) Jesus. Agape is an unconditional, unselfish love. Peter responds by saying that he loves (“phileo”) Jesus. Phileo is a brotherly love (from where we get the name of Philadelphia – city of brotherly love). Peter seems ashamed of his previous behavior and doesn’t want to over-commit himself.

Jesus had this conversation not to remind Peter of his failure but to make Peter realize that Jesus loves him and always did, even when Peter was denying him. We will all fail God. We will fail Him many, many times. But the truth is that through it all He still loves us. We can beat ourselves up over our sins and failures. I am great at doing that. That is one of Satan’s best tactics.

But God wants us to move on. We cannot do that if we are wondering if He still loves us. That is why it is important for us to know that He does and that is why He will confront us about our sin as Jesus did to Peter here. Once we know that we still have God’s love our relationship can be restored. Here Jesus lets Peter know that their relationship is not broken (John 21: 19) and that He still wants to use Peter to do great things (John 21:15, 16, 17, 19). It is always a pleasure to serve someone who forgives us after we’ve wronged them.

Jesus also gives Peter an insight into his future and how he will die (John 21:18). After Jesus ascended into heaven all his remaining disciples, except for John, will be martyred. Peter will be crucified (his hands will be stretched out).

Sometimes it gets tiring to be living in a country and a world that is so violent. I sometimes just want to get away to a peaceful place but there isn’t any on this earth (Psalm 120:7). When God is pushed out of our lives He has to be replaced by something. That something is self. But human being are evil to the core and, hence, our fate cannot be peace.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post


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