~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Samuel 17:1-29 ~ John 19:23-42
Psalm 119:129-152 ~ Proverbs 16:12-13
Old Testament - Interesting readings in Second Samuel today! The dynamics between Ahithophel's advice and Hushai's advice is fascinating. Hushai plays smartly to Absalom's ego and insecurity with the advice he gives. Ahithophel seems to realize that he's lost his status in Absalom's kingdom - and I wonder if maybe perhaps Ahithophel realized this kingdom of Absalom's would soon fall? And thus decided to kill himself? It was probably more of an ego / pride / status thing though that played into Ahithophel's tragic decision. Ahithophel, a betrayer of David, ended up taking his life in the same manner Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, does. (Not to be morbid here, but just fyi that there are 7 suicides written about in the Bible - you can view this list of 7 on bible.org at this link.) It does make me very sad to read about suicide, even in the case of Ahithophel or Judas. It makes me sad because even though these 2 sinned, I believe they still could have repented and been forgiven. But they just gave up completely. I know obviously suicide happens still in our world today at alarming rates, which makes me incredibly sad. I just feel like all of us can have some serious down times in our life and maybe sometimes feel like just giving it up completely. I pray that if ever we really do get that down in our life, that we always remember there is redemption. There is hope. There is love. There is Jesus. No matter what we've done or what we've failed to do, let us not every give up on the everlasting hope that is Jesus in our lives. Jesus saves. Jesus even saves us from ourselves.
For some reason the readings today about Hushai trying to get a message to David reminded me of the 1st Lord of the Rings movie when Frodo & crew are leaving the Shire and traveling on foot trying to avoid the wraiths. Maybe it was Ahimaaz and Jonathan hiding in the well that triggered this for me. Seems like hiding in the well is something Frodo & crew would have done! :)
Bible.org's commentary on today's Second Samuel readings titled "The Darkest Days of David's Life" is at this link.
New Testament - I read an interesting commentary on John 19 verse 25: "Standing near the cross were Jesus' mother, and his mother's sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene." Zondervan's commentary says that Mary Magdalene appears in the crucifixion and resurrection narratives of all four Gospels, but outside of these narratives we only read about her in Luke 8:2-3. This probably stood out to me due to all the Da Vinci Code stuff floating around the media these days. :) But, it is interesting to note that these are the only places in the Gospels where we find Mary Magdalene - though crucially important places in the Gospels! Below is an oak painting by an unknown artist from Cologne, Germany from the year 1465 titled "Christ on the Cross with Mary, John and Mary Magdalene" -
It is amazing to read about the actions of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two secret followers of Jesus on the Jewish council, in verses 38 through 40 - "Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus' body down. When Pilate gave him permission, he came and took the body away. Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night, also came, bringing about seventy-five pounds of embalming ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Together they wrapped Jesus' body in a long linen cloth with the spices, as is the Jewish custom of burial." That is a beautiful scene - these 2 men. They were risking much to do this. They were risking this for Jesus. What about you and me? Would we have taken this type of risk back then? Would we take this type of risk even today? What might be a risk - for Jesus - that we could take but that we are not taking today? Below is an image of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus carrying Jesus' body into the tomb -
Bible.org's commentary on today's John readings titled "The Crucifixion" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 119 is continuing with its amazing verses about God's holy Word, the Bible, and how it can transform our lives. Verse 138 is just one more small example from this incredible Psalm - "Your decrees are perfect; they are entirely worthy of our trust." Do you believe that God's Word, the Bible, is perfect? Is it entirely worthy of our trust? Would you consider the Bible to be a perfect book of counsel for your life?
I love verse 130, which I used to have at the top of this blog in the NIV translation: "The unfolding of your words gives light..." Do you believe this is true? Does reading God's Word, the Bible, bring light into your life? If you did not read God's Word would you be in darkness?
Proverbs - Proverbs 16:13 today teaches us: "The king is pleased with righteous lips; he loves those who speak honestly." This Proverb reminds me of a worship song we sing in my church on occasion that goes: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight." Which, now that I type this I realize is Psalm 19:14. How are the words of your mouth these days? Are your lips righteous? Is speaking honestly pleasing to your King? Today, who is your King? Is your king yourself? Is your king Jesus?
What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!