2 Samuel 2:12-3:39 ~ John 13:1-30 ~ Psalm 119:1-16 ~ Proverbs 15:29-30
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Old Testament - Today's Second Samuel readings are quite dramatic! We start off with the beginnings of what I think you could call a civil war between Judah and Israel in chapter 2 verses 15 through 17: "So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Swords. A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David."
In chapter 3, it is interesting to see how David got so mad at Joab for killing Abner. Understandable for many reasons - murder being the main one - but also Abner was working to bring David's kingship to all of Israel. Joab's murder of Abner threatened the civil war between Judah and the rest of Israel to start up again. To the right below is a wonderful image from an illuminated Bible from the year 1250 of David dining with Abner before the murder. In the smaller left hand frames you can see David sending Abner back to Israel, and then in the lowest left hand frame you can see Abner stabbing Joab.
And below is an image of David mourning at Abner's graveside as we read in 2 Samuel 3 verse 32 today: "They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king and all the people wept at his graveside."
Bible.org's commentary on our Second Samuel readings today titled "Two Bald Men, Fighting over a Comb" is at this link.
New Testament - Wow. Jesus' teaching in John 13 verses 14 - 17 are so powerful today: "And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. You know these things--now do them! That is the path of blessing." Are you on the path of blessing? What might it mean to "wash other's feet" today? Yes, perhaps at times it literally means wash other's feet. Could it mean other acts of service as well that perhaps we maybe think we are "too good for" or "above" in any way? Jesus humbled himself to wash other's feet. Are you humbling yourself to serve others in ways that your ego might not like?
Bible.org's commentary on our John readings today titled "Menial Service" is at this link and commentary titled "Judas" is at this link.
Psalms - Whoo-hoo! Today we begin Psalm 119, the longest Psalm and chapter in the Bible! This Psalm is a beautiful meditation on God’s Word and how it helps us stay pure and grow in faith. Almost every verse in this Psalm mentions God’s Word. I pray that this Psalm is encouraging to you as you read through the One Year Bible!
Today in Psalm 119 verse 11 we read: “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Have you hidden God’s word in your heart? So that you might not sin against God? Do you realize that all sin is indeed a sin against God? Are you memorizing Scripture on a regular basis? And, more importantly, reflecting on Scripture? Check out this link for some great free online resources to help you memorize Scripture - http://www.memoryverses.org/
Proverbs - Proverbs 15 verse 30 today teaches us: "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones." This is a great reminder to spread good cheer to others and to not hesitate in sharing good news with others whenever possible. It brings joy to the heart and health to the bones! And, well, no, I don't think this Proverb is talking about this kind of healthy bone below... :)
Worship God: Today's readings in John remind me of the Chris Tomlin song "I will Rise:"
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
Some thoughts on Joab and Abner:
It's interesting to me that both these guys were second in charge, but took ultimate authority into their own hands. Their first conflict at Gibeon almost seemed to start as sport. It seems that the battle was not "authorised" by either David or Ish-Bosheth. (Please correct me if I'm wrong because the rest of this post is based on this thought!)
Ish-Bosheth seemed to be more of Abner's puppet than anything else, but then again, it was Abner who arranged Ish-Bosheth's kingship in the first place. So there was probably quite a lot of dependency there. It was Abner who made the decision to unite with Judah, albeit by creating fear in Ish-Bosheth.
When Joab, under David's kingship, was expected to unite with Abner, this was of course very difficult because of the hot blood between them generated by "unauthorised" conflict. So Joab takes ultimate authority into his own hands and does what he sees fit, which we see is catastrophic.
Now the interesting part to me is David's comment: "And today, though I am anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me." It makes me wonder where David was in all the above goings on. Did he know that there was something he could have done to prevent it? Ch 3v1 says: "The war between the house of Saul and the house of David dragged on and on." (Msg Bible). David must then have been party to this war? Should stricter discipline/ guidelines have been laid down by David after the "unauthorised" conflict?
I think that every great leader relies on people around them, but ultimately, the leader should be making the final decisions. I get the feeling that neither David nor Ish-Bosheth were acting within their full authority here.
One last comment: Ramona, your thoughts yesterday on Jonathan's loyalties got me thinking, although I don't know if I agree with you on them. My thoughts today made me wonder about whose authority Jonathan was under. As son of king Saul whom David revered as Israel's king, was Jonathan not right to remain under Saul's leadership until God raised up David as king?
Posted by: Caryn | May 22, 2009 at 08:01 PM