2 Samuel 14:1-15:22 ~ John 18:1-24 ~ Psalm 119:97-112 ~ Proverbs 16:8-9
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Old Testament - Well.. this is a tough couple of chapters to read today! On one hand we see David showing much grace to Absalom and meanwhile Absalom is plotting to rebel against his father and then does so! At first glance it makes me wonder what on earth was David thinking? Why did he bring Absalom back to Jerusalem? But, I believe David was doing the right thing. Absalom was his son. David was trying to restore that relationship. I think about this with people in my life who have maybe "stung" me in some way. On the one hand I want to write them off - believing that they will sting me again. And maybe they will... but, I don't think writing people off is healthy ultimately for me and I don't think it is the right thing to do. I think showing grace, forgiveness and compassion is the right thing to do. I think David did this - and then he wisely got out of town when he realized Absalom was up to no good! So, he didn't completely let Absalom walk all over him. He still used wisdom. I don't know... this is a tough couple of chapters. What do you think? Did David do the right thing by bringing Absalom back to Jerusalem? Do you see any parallels in your life where someone has stung you - and then perhaps stung you again? Was it still maybe the right thing to do to show them grace and forgiveness? And maybe even to do so again? Below is twentieth century Russian painter Marc Chagall's "David and Absalom" from today's readings in 2 Samuel 14:33 - "So Joab came to the king, and told him; and when he called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom."
Bible.org's commentary on today's Second Samuel readings titled "Absalom" is at this link.
New Testament - Sad to see this parallel... David was betrayed by Absalom in today's readings and Jesus was betrayed by Judas... David kissed Absalom, his betrayer. Judas kissed Jesus to betray Him. Seems that betrayal has been a part of our human condition for maybe all time? Well, since the Fall to be sure, which is pretty much all time for us humans... (you'll recall just after the Fall Cain murdered Abel - yet another betrayal... ) Do betrayals continue today? Why do you think this is? What can free us from betraying each other? Or should I ask Whom can free us from betraying each other? Below is the nineteenth century "The Judas Kiss" by French artist Gustave Dore:
Bible.org's commentary on today's John readings titled "Jesus, Lord at Thy Death" is at this link and "Did Jesus take the Fifth Amendment?" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 119 verse 105 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible! "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path." Do you believe God's Word, the Bible, is a lamp for your feet? A light for your path? To help put this in perspective - without God's Word, the Bible, is it possible that we would have no lamp for our feet? No light for our paths? That we'd essentially be groping in the darkness without God's Word, the Bible?
Verse 111 wow... "Your decrees are my treasure; they are truly my heart's delight." What is your treasure? Where is your treasure? Is God's Word, the Bible, truly your heart's delight?
Proverbs - Proverbs 16 verse 9 is one of those seemingly simple Proverbs, that I think has a lot more depth to it than first glance: "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." Do you think this is true? We make our plans - but God determines our steps. Do you see this to be true in your own life? Have you made plans before, but then seen your steps somehow be guided in perhaps a different direction - perhaps a more godly direction? And then do you realize that it was God determining your steps? I have experienced this in my life - thankfully. I have made some interesting (i.e. bad) plans in my life in the past - and probably am still making some bad plans even today. But, I am trying to pray regularly to God to "lead me." I want God to determine my steps - and truly, I want God to determine my plans as well. But, if God's plan is not immediately clear for my life, I do believe he gives wisdom to discern direction - and then ultimately I believe God will determine our steps. Thank goodness!
YouTube: Psalm 119:105 reminds me of the song "Thy Word is a Lamp," sung here by Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith: (note the first 15 seconds of this video doesn't have sound, but then it picks up the sound)
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!
2 Samuel 14:1-15:22
As a shepherd, there is one thing that David knew, protect the sheep. As king of Israel standing as the chief shepherd to God’s people, was David protecting the sheep of God’s pasture by bringing Absalom back to Jerusalem? Mike, I am going in the opposite direction that you have taken regarding the restoration of Absalom. And my premise is this: You cannot make peace with someone who has war in their heart I don’t care what the relationship is or with whom.
Clearly Absalom continued holding a grudge against his father (Hindsight is always 20/20), and David was operating out of his emotions and sentiment grieving for Absalom, not based on a godly or biblical principal. In the pattern of sacrificial offerings, there is a clear outline of the way to godly reconciliation/forgiveness and it is not by presenting a “Fellowship” offering first. What is offered up first is the Whole Burnt offering, and then the Sin offering, after that the Thanksgiving and Fellowship offering can then be presented. The pattern for establishing intimacy with people can be found in how God directs us to establish intimacy/restoration with Him. There is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. Nothing like that was ever initiated by Absalom. Or if it was, then the “sacrifice” was one only in act and not heartfelt.
David’s relationship with Absalom was never broken David was always his father. What was broken or what needed to be established was their fellowship. Was there really ever any fellowship, true fellowship and intimacy with his children outside of Solomon?
Yesterday I spoke of the elephant being in the room and no one acknowledging it or speaking of it. What David did was to bring the elephant back into the room and that room was probably already crowded with a lot more of them all he did was increase the size of the heard.
Internal sores/abscesses must me lanced no matter how painful the procedure. When we leave them to fester inside the body, we cause more problems, possibly death, then if they were attended to. You can’t heal a would by saying its not there it must be attended too and that was not followed. Because Absalom could gather together an army of co-conspirators, including Bathsheba’ grandfather, shows how the internal wound festered inside the body of Israel.
If the son was to be brought back then the reason why he killed and ran should have been addressed with all the pain that would bring.
If a man willfully sheds the blood of a person [and keeps the guilt of murder upon his conscience], he is fleeing to the pit (the grave) and hastening to his own destruction; let no man stop him! (Proverbs 28:17 AMP)
Posted by: Ramona | May 28, 2009 at 09:26 PM
consequences of sin...David though forgiven had to bear painful consequences of his sins...it makes me wonder sometimes when he go through what we sometimes call wilderness experience,challenges...etc...could it not simply be that we're getting what we had sowed in the past?True God turns out everything for our good if we love him...but sometimes suffering makes us bitter and at war with God forgetting who the real enemy is.
"Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard, 16but Peter had to wait outside at the door."
I can't help thinking...(Bob Deffingbaugh thinks this disciple is John as do a few other commentaries I read)this disciple if known to the high priest then it must have been common knowledge that he was a follower of Jesus who followed to the end inspite of the trouble ahead.He didn't seek to save his life,he just followed.He may have not understood why his teacher had to go through this but in his heart the vow"for better for worse"was engraved.In the gospel of John,love is often mentioned...this must have been a man after Jesus heart....
Posted by: Anka | May 29, 2009 at 06:47 AM
Awesome choice for worship, this song helped light my path when I was a young Christian in the early 80s.
Posted by: bajo | May 29, 2009 at 10:08 PM