~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Samuel 18:1-19:10 ~ John 20:1-31
Psalm 119:153-176 ~ Proverbs 16:14-15
Old Testament - Wow. Intense readings today. As could be expected from Absalom's pursuit of his ego and pride the past few chapters, his sin catches up with him. Zondervan's commentary today had the interesting point that Absalom's "pretty head & long hair" (as you'll recall from 2 Samuel 14:25-26) ironically ended up being his undoing as his long hair got caught up in a tree. This seems very symbolic of how pride and ego can be it's own undoing. This image I think it sums up well where unchecked pride and ego can ultimately lead...
Well, Absalom did incorporate some long term ingenuity in his pride & ego - like the Egyptian Pharaoh's of old, Absalom decided to make sure he built a monument to himself! as we read about in verse 18 today: "During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King's Valley, for he had said, "I have no son to carry on my name." He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom's Monument to this day." Below is an image of Absalom's Monument (Pillar) -
While on one hand I do appreciate David's grace and love for his son Absalom, I have to say that I really do appreciate Joab's boldness & wisdom in rebuking David in verses 5 through 8 - "We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed, as though we had done something wrong. You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that we mean nothing to you. If Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. Now go out there and congratulate the troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don't, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than you have ever been." That is quite a speech by Joab to David! And I believe he was right. David's love for his son was admirable in one sense - but it also could be seen as selfish in another sense. David seemed to care more for his son than for the nation of Israel, and Joab called him out on this. It is interesting how sometimes our love for one person can cloud everything else going on in our lives. Love for one person is a beautiful thing. But it seems that we should also be cognizant of others around us too - and love them. And sometimes, like David, we may need to realize that there is a greater good - a greater love - than the singular love we have been focusing on. This is not easy to discern of course... hopefully this makes some sort of sense or doesn't sound too harsh? Below is a portrait of David mourning for his son Absalom with Joab in the background, giving his speech in the verses above, by artist Guy Rowe:
Bible.org's commentary on today's Second Samuel readings titled "The Darkest Days of David's Life" is at this link.
New Testament - Today we read about Jesus' glorious resurrection! Verse 18 is awesome - "Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, "I have seen the Lord!""
Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion gives a great list today of the order of Jesus' 11 appearances after his resurrection -
1. Mary Magdalene and the other women
2. the disciples on the road to Emmaus
4. the ten disciples in the upper room
5. the eleven in the upper room with Thomas present (Below is an oil painting by Carravaggio from the year 1601 titled "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas")
6. the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius
7. the eleven on a mountain in Galilee
8. five hundred of the brethren
10. all of the apostles
11. those present when he ascended into heaven
Psalms - We finish Psalm 119 today... :( I am sad. I loved reading through this Psalm again. For some reason it meant so much to me these past few days. I pray this Psalm has been good for you as well this go round. I think the last 3 verses of this Psalm are worth us camping out on here for a moment. In verses 174, 175 & 176 the author of Psalm 119 closes out the Psalm with what I think is a prayer and a confession all in one - "O LORD, I have longed for your salvation, and your law is my delight. Let me live so I can praise you, and may your laws sustain me. I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands." Wow... not a bad prayer and confession to close out this amazing Psalm, eh? Is God's Word your delight? Do you wish to live so you can praise God? Does his Word sustain you?
Proverbs - Proverbs 16:15 today is nice: "When the king smiles, there is life; his favor refreshes like a gentle rain." What else in our life today refreshes like a gentle rain? When a baby smiles at you? When you smile at someone else? When someone else smiles at you when you're having a rough day? Let us be like gentle rain for each other!
Comments from you & Question of the Day - What is your reaction to David's grief over his son Absalom today? Why do you think he grieved so much? Do you think David's grief almost cost him the kingship? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!