~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Samuel 15:23-16:23 ~ John 18:25-19:22
Psalm 119:113-128 ~ Proverbs 16:10-11
Old Testament - More sad readings today in Second Samuel. However, it is impressive to see David's countenance in the midst of all of the chaos going on around him. I love David's words in verses 10 through 12 when Shimei is cursing David - "If the LORD has told him to curse me, who am I to stop him? My own son is trying to kill me. Shouldn't this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it. And perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses." That is incredible faith in my view! David says first that perhaps God has told Shimei to curse him, so why try to stop it. Then at the end David basically says if God has not told Shimei to curse him, then perhaps David will be blessed by God because of these wrongful curses. Great stuff... How do you act in your life today if someone is cursing you or wronging you? Do you act like David does here? With patience and wisdom? Or, do you "react" with anger and spite? Which is the better way to go?
At the end of today's readings we read about Ahithophel advising Absalom to sleep with David's concubines. It is sad to read about this. I actually saw the new Star Wars movie last night and this reminds me of the "advice" that the governor Palpatine gives to Anakin right after he turns to the dark side. Advice to commit a horrible act that is "beyond hope of reconciliation", as verse 21 says in today's readings. What a sad thing to do - to commit an act so atrocious that it goes beyond hope of reconciliation.
Bible.org's commentary on today's Second Samuel readings titled "A Friend in Need or the Trail of Tears" is at this link.
New Testament - In John chapter 18 verse 38 we come across what many say is the most ironic question asked in all of history, as Jesus stands before Pilate - ""What is truth?" Pilate asked." Why is this ironic? Because Pilate asks what is truth, when Truth is standing right before him! Jesus is truth! And Pilate couldn't see it. It's interesting to keep this in mind when you watch The Passion of the Christ movie. It's subtitled of course, but train your ears to hear Pilate saying "Veritas", which is Latin for Truth. There is a scene where Pilate is with his wife Claudia in the movie and without watching the subtitles, you can hear him ask "Quod est Veritas?" What is truth. And this is a question asked of you and me today. What is truth? Who is truth?
Below is a painting from 1890 by Russian artist Nikolay Gay titled "Quod Est Veritas?" Christ and Pilate. This is a fascinating painting! At first glance I do not like it because Jesus is painted so darkly. But... maybe that's the point of this painting. PIlate is asking What is Truth - and he cannot see Truth right before him.... wow... think there are others in our world today who see Jesus like Pilate does in this painting? I pray you and I see Jesus much more clearly... much more in the light!
Psalms - Psalm 119 verse 127 today is powerful - "Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold." I think this is something each of us needs to ask ourselves. Do we love God's commands - his Word - the Bible - more than we love any and all material possessions? Do we value the Bible above all the money this world could every offer us? This is an important decision to make... I pray we realize the eternal worth of God's commands compared to the passing and transitory nature of "even the finest gold."
Proverbs - Proverbs 16 verse 11 is important for each of us to keep in mind in our daily work lives - "The LORD demands fairness in every business deal; he sets the standard." God cares about our work. He cares about our business deals. He knows if we are conducting our work fairly or not. If we are not fair in our business deals - if we are cheating our employer of our full and diligent work during our hours worked - then we are sinning. God sets the standard. Work fairly and honestly as if you were working for God as your boss. Because, truly, you are working for God in all that you do. No matter where you work.
Like this image below, work each and every day as if you have a halo above you and keep that halo going strong!! :)
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!