1 Kings 2:1-3:2 ~ Acts 5:1-42 ~ Psalm 125:1-5 ~ Proverbs 16:25
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Old Testament - Dramatic readings in First Kings today! David's final instructions to Solomon include some strong words about how Joab & Shimei should die. And later in today's readings, these words come to fruition. An image is below for David giving his final instructions to Solomon in today's readings:
In verse 10 in today's readings, we read this simple verse that concludes our readings of David's life (for now... we'll read more about David later in the Bible this year) - "Then David died and was buried in the City of David."
Today we read about Adonijah's request to marry Abishag. You'll recall from yesterday's readings that Abishag took care of David in his old age. She was a virgin, but still considered part of David's harem. And, in those days, to inherit the harem was to inherit the kingdom. (I know, strange stuff to talk about harem's... it was the way it was back then - even though God's plan from Genesis with Adam & Eve was 1 man & 1 woman - not 1 man & many women... us humans - even David - do not always pay attention to God's plans...) So, Adonijah's request to marry Abishag was essentially his attempt to gain back the kingdom again. Hence, Solomon got upset...
Joab proved the maxim of "those who live by the sword, die by the sword." David knew Joab had killed Abner and Amasa and passed on his disdain for Joab to Solomon. Solomon knew Joab was in cahoots w/ Adonijah. Joab was seeking sanctuary at the altar - and there was indeed sanctuary in the Law for those who accidentally killed someone else. There were sanctuary cities. However, Joab's killings of Abner and Amasa could in no way be viewed as accidental. His attempt at sanctuary at the altar did not stand up in Solomon's eyes. Below is a fascinating piece of artwork of Joab running for the altar - with what appears to be a shadow of a person running in the background... As if Joab's past was haunting him & pursuing him? I'm not sure, but an interesting piece of art here on this Joab scene in any case!
It is an interesting thing to read about the blood and deaths caused by some of our fathers of our faith - David & Solomon and the list will go on. I think the thing I take away from all of this is that in the B.C. age, "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" ruled the day. People "got what they deserved" so to speak... It essentially kept the peace in a barbaric age. But, we were fortunate to have Jesus Christ come into our world and be the final sacrifice and change the rules. Jesus died on a cross. Jesus got what WE deserved. He changed the whole eye for an eye Law to a higher law of love & grace. We deserve condemnation. Thanks to Jesus, we are given eternal life through the free gift of faith in his life, death and resurrection. I think it is always important for us to remember that Jesus got what we deserved... this is why Jesus is called Savior!
New Testament - Today in Acts 5 we continue to read about the early church. It's important for us to note that Ananias and Sapphira's sin was that they acted as if they were giving 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their land to the church - when in fact they weren't - so that they would be glorified for this very generous act. The sin wasn't what percentage they were or weren't giving - but that they were acting as if they were giving 100%, which was a lie. In verse 3 we read – “Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”” One thing of note from this verse is that Satan was active in the hearts of men and women in the early church. After Jesus died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, Satan was still on the loose. Do you believe Satan is still on the loose today tempting the hearts of men and women? Do you pray daily for God to “lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil?” Do you think this should be a daily prayer? (maybe not in these words exactly, but they are from the Lord’s Prayer, so not a bad choice of words to pray...) Below is a painting of "The Death of Ananias" by the Italian artist Raphael from the year 1515:
Recommended Blog Post for you to read: It is rare that I reference another blog's posting in this blog. However, today's readings about Ananais reminds me of an incredible blog posting by Tim Challies titled "Little Evil, Little Sins." It is an incredible reflection on how we must not ignore seemingly "little" sins in our lives, because they will invariably lead to bigger sins. And, all sin is an afront to God. Please take 5 minutes to read this incredible blog post and please pray about and confess to God any "little" sins you might have in your life and repent. Here's the blog posting link:
Also, I just listened to a terrific sermon by Dr. John Piper titled "Be Killing Sin or Sin will be Killing You." You can listen to this powerful sermon online here: http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/guests/be-killing-sin-or-sin-will-be-killing-you.
I love verse 29 in today's readings, when the apostles are yet again before the Sanhedrin: "But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than human authority." How powerful of a statement is this! And how often in our lives do we truly practice this? Do you obey God rather than human authority? Consistently? Verse 41 brought tears to my eyes: "The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus." This is an incredible thing to consider! The apostles rejoiced that they were given 39 lashes - this is no joke as we all know - because they were proclaiming Jesus. They rejoiced that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus! This is something that should definitely bring tears to all of our eyes. Let us pray that God also counts us worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus!
Psalms - Psalm 125 has great verses in 4 & 5: "O LORD, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you. But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O LORD. Take them away with those who do evil. And let Israel have quietness and peace." I love that closing line - let us have quietness and peace! What a great prayer. Don't we all wish for quietness and peace in our lives? One thing I'll recommend - which I am trying so hard to learn myself - is to take a Sabbath day of rest each week. Just rest. Just be peaceful. Just be with God. One day a week. It will dramatically change the other 6 days of your week without a doubt. Will you join me on this quest for quietness and peace in our lives by taking a Sabbath day of rest once each week?
Proverbs - Proverbs 16 verse 25 today teaches us: "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." This is a great reminder that it is so important for us to pay attention to what path we are on! Really, examine the path you are on this very day... where is it ultimately leading you? To Life or death?
Worship God: Today's Psalm today reminds me of the Robbie Seay Band song "Song of Hope:"
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Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Proverbs 16:25 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you are examining the path you are on today, and every day. Pray that you are not on a worldly path that lead to death, but on the path that leads to eternal life. Pray that you are on Jesus' path, following in the footsteps of your Savior.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Back to Acts 5 verse 41 again: "The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus." Have you ever suffered dishonor for the name of Jesus in your life? Will you rejoice if indeed someday you do suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus? Is it proper for a Christian to want to actually suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus? Should we want this? Expect this? Seek this? Rejoice in this? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!