~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Samuel 12:1-31 ~ John 16:1-33
Psalm 119:65-80 ~ Proverbs 16:4-5
Old Testament - We read a great parable from the prophet Nathan today to start the chapter! Wow. Convicting stuff for David... You'll note that David said in response to this parable in verse 6: "He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity." Well, sure enough, David paid for the death of Uriah 4 times over through the future deaths of 4 of David's sons: the unnamed son who dies in this chapter, Amon dies in chapter 13, Absalom in chapter 18, and Adonijah in First Kings 2:25. I read a commentary that said God forgave David of his sin, but God did not negate all the consequences of David's sin. Below is a portrait by Guy Rowe of David being confronted by Nathan. You can imagine Nathan saying verse 9 in this image: "Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites."
New Testament - John chapter 16 is amazing today! I love verse 8's teaching from Jesus about the Holy Spirit: "And when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment." Zondervan's commentary on this verse and verse 9 today says: "Apart from the Spirit's convicting work, people can never see themselves as sinners." Wow. This is powerful to reflect upon. Did you ever have a time in your life that you did not see yourself as a sinner? Was this time before you experienced the Holy Spirit? Do you believe this to be true - that many in our world today cannot see themselves as sinners, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit and Jesus? This I think should demonstrate to us who is truly doing conversion work in our world - not us, but Jesus and the Spirit. We cannot convert anyone on our own human power. The Holy Spirit must enter the room...
Bible.org's commentary on our John readings today titled "The Ministry of the Holy Spirit" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 119 verse 71 has an interesting take on suffering - "The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles." Do you believe suffering can be good for you? Can it teach you to pay attention to God? Christianity Today magazine had a great article on Suffering a while back, which you can read at this link. (Note that the article starts out with this provacative statement - "God loves you and has a difficult plan for your life.") Also, I did find some reflections on Suffering & Grief on ChristianityToday.com that are worth reading at this link.
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 16 verse 5 today teaches us: "The LORD despises pride; be assured that the proud will be punished." This Proverb reminds me of a talk I recently heard by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great. I am a huge fan of Jim Collins work and had the good fortune to hear him talk about his recent monograph titled "Good to Great and the Social Sectors", which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone who works in full time ministry or for a nonprofit - or even anyone who volunteers for either. It's only 42 pages long, but packed with incredible incredible insights. (secular business insights - but great stuff) Anyhow, Jim Collins wrapped up his talk with something that reminded me of this Proverb. He said something along the lines of, "As we go about our work and move our nonprofits/ministries from good to great, let us never fall into the trap of thinking that we've arrived. Let us not fall into the trap of ever thinking that we are great."
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Have you ever fallen into the trap of thinking you are great? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!