~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Samuel 9:1-11:27 ~ John 15:1-27
Psalm 119:49-64 ~ Proverbs 16:1-3
Old Testament - Interesting set of readings today in Second Samuel. We start off with David showing kindness to Saul's crippled grandson Mephibosheth and we end with David committing adultery, ordering the murder of one of his warriors, and making God very unhappy. What happened to change the course of events like this?? I think this is something that each one of us should take heed of - even when things are going very well in our walk with God, things can suddenly go the wrong direction if we are not vigilant in fleeing from sin and temptation. David was obviously tempted when he saw Bathsheba from his rooftop. He should have left that temptation there, and fled from it immediately - but instead he gave into it. He asked about Bathsheba (entertaining temptation...) and invited her over and then committed adultery. Then... things got worse. That's how sin goes. Once we let it start to run our life it can quickly start to ruin our life. David thought he could trick Uriah into thinking Uriah got his wife pregnant - but Uriah in chapter 11 was behaving much more honorably than the king! He would not sleep with his own wife when he knew other warriors were sleeping on the battlefields. Uriah acted honorably. David did not. David allowed sin to run the show. Below is a powerful painting by James Tissot showing the moment on the rooftop where David allowed temptation to take over...
Again - back to our lives - have you ever seen a pattern of sin running the show in your life? I know I have in the past. It's a dangerous pattern to see taking place in our lives. It can lead to all kinds of pain and suffering for ourselves and those around us. If you are perhaps even in the midst of sin running the show in your life now, there is hope. There is confession and repentance. David does give us this example in Psalm 51. Psalm 51 David wrote after the events in chapter 11 took place with Bathsheba & Uriah. Psalm 51 is a powerful Psalm of confession and repentance. You may be at the point where you need to pray this Psalm to God now. I think each of us does well when we pray this Psalm to God regularly. We certainly may not be at the point where David was in chapter 11 - but, we likely have sin to confess to God - even right now. Click here if you'd like to pray Psalm 51 now.
New Testament - Today we read one of my favorite chapters in the Bible - John 15. I cannot tell you how much this chapter means to me and I hope to you as well. John 15 takes place just after the Last Supper, the night before Jesus dies on the cross, so this is one of Jesus’ last teachings to the disciples – and to you and me. It is so beautiful. My quick personal story on this chapter is that I have only preached verbally once – and it was when I was in Bulgaria a few years ago on a short-term mission trip. Our team ended up going to a small Roma church – and I mean small – in a village outside of the capital city of Sofia. As we drove up to the village where the church was located I saw rows and rows of grape vines in and around the village. I knew I would be preaching that evening – each person on our team took a turn every night. And initially I was planning to preach from a Psalm – but, when I saw the vineyards I quickly decided to preach from John 15, and it turned out to be so beautiful. I literally ended up outside of the church – all of us could not fit in the tiny 1 room church - under some grape vines preaching from John 15. God showed up. I cannot even remember what I said, but God moved. I pray that as you read John 15 today God moves for you as well. John 15 is something special. (John 16 & 17 are something special as well. . .)
Today in John 15 verses 12 & 13 we will read these words of Jesus - “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Why would Jesus give us such a command as this? Why would Jesus give this command the night before he died on the cross? How did Jesus show his love for us? Do you agree that there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for his friends? Did Jesus do this for you and me? If we are to love each other as Jesus loved us, how do we do this? When we look at Jesus’ life and how he lived it, what might we be able to model in our lives? When we look at Jesus laying down his life for us, how might we be able to “lay down our life” for our friends? Do you love others as Jesus loved you? Below is a moving painting by Spanish Baroque era painter Francisco de Zurbaran from the year 1635 titled "Agnes Dei":
Psalms - Wow. I love Psalm 119 verse 54 today - "Your principles have been the music of my life throughout the years of my pilgrimage." What a beautiful metaphor - God's principles being the music of our lives through all our years as we are on our pilgrimage. Great stuff! How might God's principles actually become the music of your life? Do you think you'd need to be reading God's Word frequently to tune into his frequency? (did you catch that - frequently & frequency? :) I commend you for reading the Bible each day this year as we go through the One Year Bible. I pray you'll continue to read the Bible daily in all of your years to come. I pray God's principles are and will be the music of your life.
Verse 59 today is a great verse for each of us to consider - "I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your statutes." Have you ever reached a mid-life or maybe even a quarter-life crisis where you pondered the direction of your life? Do you like the direction your life is heading now? Do you want to change that direction? Will you turn to follow God's way? God's Truth? God's life for you? Do you believe that God's plans for you are so much bigger than any plans of your own that you could dream up on your own?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 16 verse 3 is so very wise for each of us - "Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed." When it comes to plans for our lives, let us not model the behavior in this image below...
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on today's Proverb, do you commit your work to God? Do you pray about your work and pray that it will be pleasing to God? Do you pray for others at your work? Do you pray for specific projects and meetings? Do you commit your work to God each and every day? If you do so, do you think your plans will succeed? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!