2 Samuel 17:1-29 ~ John 19:23-42 ~ Psalm 119:129-152 ~ Proverbs 16:12-13
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Old Testament - Interesting readings in Second Samuel today! The dynamics between Ahithophel's advice and Hushai's advice is fascinating. Hushai plays smartly to Absalom's ego and insecurity with the advice he gives. Ahithophel seems to realize that he's lost his status in Absalom's kingdom - and I wonder if maybe perhaps Ahithophel realized this kingdom of Absalom's would soon fall? And thus decided to kill himself? It was probably more of an ego / pride / status thing though that played into Ahithophel's tragic decision. Ahithophel, a betrayer of David, ended up taking his life in the same manner Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, does. (Not to be morbid here, but just fyi that there are 7 suicides documented in the Bible - you can view this list of 7 on bible.org at this link.) It does make me very sad to read about suicide, even in the case of Ahithophel or Judas. I know obviously suicide happens still in our world today at alarming rates, which makes me incredibly sad. I just feel like all of us can have some serious down times in our life and maybe sometimes feel like just giving it up completely. I pray that if ever we really do get that down in our life, that we always remember there is redemption. There is hope. There is love. There is forgiveness. There is Jesus. No matter what we've done or what we've failed to do, let us not every give up on the everlasting hope that is Jesus in our lives. Jesus saves. Jesus even saves us from ourselves.
For some reason the readings today about Hushai trying to get a message to David reminded me of the 1st Lord of the Rings movie when Frodo & crew are leaving the Shire and traveling on foot trying to avoid the wraiths. Maybe it was Ahimaaz and Jonathan hiding in the well that triggered this for me. Seems like hiding in the well is something Frodo & crew would have done! :)
Bible.org's commentary on today's Second Samuel readings titled "The Darkest Days of David's Life" is at this link.
New Testament - I read an interesting commentary on John 19 verse 25: "Standing near the cross were Jesus' mother, and his mother's sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene." Zondervan's commentary says that Mary Magdalene appears in the crucifixion and resurrection narratives of all four Gospels, but outside of these narratives we only read about her in Luke 8:2-3. It is interesting to note that these are the only places in the Gospels where we find Mary Magdalene - though crucially important places in the Gospels! Below is an oak painting by an unknown artist from Cologne, Germany from the year 1465 titled "Christ on the Cross with Mary, John and Mary Magdalene":
It is amazing to read about the actions of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two secret followers of Jesus on the Jewish council, in verses 38 through 40 - "Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus' body down. When Pilate gave him permission, he came and took the body away. Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night, also came, bringing about seventy-five pounds of embalming ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Together they wrapped Jesus' body in a long linen cloth with the spices, as is the Jewish custom of burial." That is a beautiful scene - these 2 men. They were risking much to do this. They were risking this for Jesus. What about you and me? Would we have taken this type of risk back then? Would we take this type of risk even today? What might be a risk - for Jesus - that we could take but that we are not taking today? Below is an image of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus carrying Jesus' body into the tomb:
Bible.org's commentary on today's John readings titled "The Crucifixion" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 119 is continuing with its amazing verses about God's holy Word, the Bible, and how it can transform our lives. Verse 138 is just one more small example from this incredible Psalm - "Your decrees are perfect; they are entirely worthy of our trust." Do you believe that God's Word, the Bible, is perfect? Is it entirely worthy of our trust? Would you consider the Bible to be a perfect book of counsel for your life?
I love verse 130, which I used to have at the top of this blog in the NIV translation: "The unfolding of your words gives light..." Do you believe this is true? Does reading God's Word, the Bible, bring light into your life? If you did not read God's Word would you be in darkness?
Proverbs - Proverbs 16:13 today teaches us: "The king is pleased with righteous lips; he loves those who speak honestly." This Proverb reminds me of a worship song we sing in my church on occasion that goes: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight." Which, now that I type this I realize is Psalm 19:14. How are the words of your mouth these days? Are your lips righteous? Is speaking honestly pleasing to your King? Today, who is your King? Is your king yourself? Is your king Jesus?
YouTube - Today's readings in John remind me of the song "Jesus Paid It All" sung here by Kristian Stanfill at Passion 2006:
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." Psalm 119:130 NIV
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!
This thought came into mind as I went through the OT reading..I may be wrong though....Now if Ahithophel led some men to kill David,then automatically Absalom would be declared king.Did the public possesion of the concubines really need to take place?Now I couldn't help thinking if what had happened to Bethseba was a consequence of her father's sins...if Ahithophel could give such "godly" counsel then surely,his life in the past was as depraved as his advice to Absalom was...
God's mercy to David seems unmargined.While David is reaping what he sowed,God answers his prayers that Ahithophel's council be turned to foolishness,provides loyal friends who stick with him through his trials and also supporters from foreign lands who tended to his needs!True David is going through pain,it would have been alot worse if he went through it alone......................
The disciple Jesus loved watched him die.It must have caused great agony for those who loved Jesus to see him disrobed,the object of contempt and in great pain.It would have been easier I guess on them to have not watched the crucifiction yet I couldn't help but wonder if they were there to let Him know that "where ever you go,I go"...maybe they sustained him in prayer...Nicodemus and Joseph who had been disciples in secret now were prepared to blow their cover by asking for the body of Jesus.Did they finally realise that Jesus didn't shy away from the cross so they could be saved and in a gesture of worship honored his body?
I've made alot of assumptions today and would welcome any corrections:)The words of Jesus "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."today seems to take a new meaning.
Posted by: Anka | May 30, 2009 at 10:03 PM
Do you believe that God's Word, the Bible, is perfect? Is it entirely worthy of our trust? Would you consider the Bible to be a perfect book of counsel for your life? ~ The Bible for me can be considered as a perfect book of counselling. Many many many services in church helped me doing the right thing in my life. I know that I am a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend ... because of God's Word! Whatever is going on in my life, I know I can sit down with the Bible and find a book, a chapter, a verse ... that will help me through the day, or intensify (is that a word?) the happiness that I feel inside. It's amazing to read the Bible, I enjoy it every day!
Posted by: Mae | May 31, 2009 at 08:34 AM
1) [an aside] When Jesus said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" it is the only time Jesus did not refer to God as the "Father".
2)Jesus's garment that was cast for by lot was - SEAMLESS. Compare that with:
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;.."NIV
"Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel."NIV
3) It is finished - Gk. "tetelestai". In Greek it is what was stamped on business document when "paynment in full" is received. Also stamped on person's document when leaving prison. I have looked this up enough to know it is true - so I am pasting something from an apologetic site.
"Nailed to the top of the cross was an official notice, a certificate of debt to Caesar, a public display of Jesus' crime: “The King of the Jews.” The certificate of debt was a list of crimes committed against the state that required payment. When punishment was complete, Caesar's court would cancel the debt with a single Greek word stamped upon the parchment's face: “tetelestai.”
Being king of the Jews was not the crime Jesus paid for, however. Hidden to all but the Father was another certificate nailed to that cross. In the darkness that shrouded Calvary from the sixth to the ninth hour, a divine transaction took place; Jesus made a trade with the Father. The full weight of all the crimes of all of humanity-every murder, every theft, every lustful glance; every hidden act of vice, every modest moment of pride, and every monstrous deed of evil; every crime of every man who ever lived-these Jesus took upon Himself as if guilty of all.
At the last, it was not the cross that took Jesus' life. He did not die of exposure, or loss of blood, or asphyxiation. When the full debt for our sin was paid, and the justice of God was fully satisfied, Jesus simply gave up His spirit with a single Greek word that fell from His lips: “Tetelestai.” “It is finished.” The divine transaction is complete. The debt was cancelled. (Colossians 2:13-14)"
All one needs now is to believe IN Him.
4) John 19:37
"And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced."
future tense? what verse?
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." NIV
This will be in the future - "on that day" refers to Christ's second coming. One reason why I believe in prophecy - the nation of Israel (what's left of it) in the end will come to Christ.
BTW in the Hebrew text there is a two letter word following Zech 12:10's "look on me" - the word is two letters - "aleph" and "tau". The first and last letters of Hebrew Alphabet.
'They will look on me, THE FIRST AND THE LAST, the one they have pierced,'
"By the way, there are two un-translated letters in the Hebrew text following the phrase "look upon me" in Zechariah 12:10.....The same two un-translated letters appear in the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1 following the phrase "In the beginning God …"."
"The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe."
Posted by: John | May 31, 2009 at 03:10 PM