Growing Old is Not for Wimps

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 24:1-1 Kings 2:12

Here we find David nearing the end of his life and having some problems.  He makes a disastrous decision to insist on taking a census.  His health has deteriorated and he has very poor circulation.  He delays making an orderly transition of power to his son, Solomon, giving a competitor the opportunity to mount a takeover that nearly succeeded.

Certainly, it is not easy to grow old.  Those who have held high positions of power and authority can cause serious problems.  We need wise and loving people we can trust at the end of life. We need to listen to them.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Words from God Through David

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 22:1:23:39

The assertions which the Bible makes for itself may not be easily dismissed.  This book of books claims to be God’s Word given by His Spirit through human authors.  We read it over and over because in it we have light for our walk in this world, essential truth for salvation.

Those who wrote the Bible were God’s scribes.  They, like us, were under the Word, answerable to its proclamations and commands.

Keep reading, thinking, and obeying.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Small Sin; Big Consequences

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 19:8-21:22

Despite the title above, there are no small sins.  Any sin is rebellion against a Holy God.  Yet there are sins which are subtle and often go undetected until they grow into a major problem.  Sheba, the rebel in today’s reading, exploited pride and jealousy (small sins?) and used it to mount an almost-successful overthrow of the kingdom.

Beware of small sins with big consequences.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

The Teachable Leader

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 16:1-19:8

Godly leaders desperately need wise counselors who will speak the truth to them.  It’s easy for leaders to find “yes men” but where are those who will tell the truth even when it hurts?

If you are a leader, would those you lead say you are receptive and approachable?

Be sure you follow a teachable leader.  Be sure you are willing to be a Joab to your leader when necessary.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

David in a Lose-lose Situation?

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 13:23-15:37

David’s world was turned upside down as a consequence of his sins of adultery and murder.  Now his kingdom and his life were in danger.  The villain?  His own conniving, bitter son, Absalom.  But David faced this apparently impossible (lose-lose) situation with humility, decisive action, and wisdom.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Weekend readings

Saturday, April 9 reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-10:19

Sunday April 10 reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-13:22

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Have a great weekend.  See you again on Monday!

[For more reflections on these passages see the corresponding readings in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

The Burdens of Leadership

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 3:22-6:23

A Christian leader, no matter whether in the church or in a secular setting, will hold Jesus Christ as his example.  For the believer, a position of leadership is not so much a position of power and honor as an opportunity for service and humility. [See Mark 10:35-45].

David’s experience shows that being king brings a flood of burdens and trials along with opportunities to do good and to glorify God on a larger scale.  How do you look at the leadership roles you fill?

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Seeing Life Differently

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 1:1-3:21

We were created in God’s image to glorify Him.  Whatever does not glorify Him is not only counter to His purpose for us, it is sin. [See Romans 3:23].   As we consider our lifestyles and decisions, we ought to always be asking ourselves,  “what will glorify God?”

In today’s reading, the unnamed Amalekite seems to have been thinking, “what will glorify me?”  He paid for this way of thinking with his life because David saw life differently – through the lens of God’s glory.

[For more reflections on this passage see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

God’s Wisdom and Sovereignty

Today’s reading: I Kings 1-2; Luke 22:54-71

So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon. I Kings 2:46b

61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61-62

Human history is filled with foolishness and wickedness, but God rules over all and uses even the wrath of man to praise Him (Psalm 76:10).

Adonijah, yet another spoiled son of David, like his brother Absalom, attempted to grasp the throne of his elderly father. He had significant support from Joab and Abiathar. David acted quickly and successfully to thwart Adonijah and set up Solomon as the new king. Solomon did not immediately put Adonijah to death, but he did put him on probation.

It wasn’t long before Adonijah made his move. He asked permission to marry Abishag, the beautiful Shunnamite woman, who had cared for David on his death bed. Solomon saw where Adonijah was going with that request. He had him executed immediately.

Adonijah’s death led to Joab’s. Within three years, Solomon had cause to execute Shimei for his violation of probation. The result of all this: the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon. God used the evil of people to bring about His purpose for the kingdom.

In a similar way, God used Peter’s denial to contribute, in a small way, to the purpose of salvation through the offering of Jesus Christ on the cross. Perhaps even more importantly, God used Peter’s denial to teach him how great his need for mercy and salvation was. Peter was so sure of himself a few hours earlier (Luke 22:33), but he had to learn the depth of his sin and the greater depth of God’s grace toward him. God again used evil to bring about His good purposes both for Peter and for all His elect people.

Do you despair when confronted by sin in yourself and in the world? Remember that God is wise and sovereign. He will do all that He decrees. He will be glorified even in the evil that goes on day in and day out. His kingdom will be established  forever.  It will far exceed that of Solomon in every way.

 

Just and Unjust Rulers

Today’s reading: II Samuel 23-24; Luke 22:31-53

3 The God of Israel has spoken;
the Rock of Israel has said to me:
When one rules justly over men,
ruling in the fear of God,
4 he dawns on them like the morning light,
like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,
like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.         II Samuel 23:3-4

But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”            Luke 22:53b

Unjust rulers have their day, but ultimately God will bring justice on them and blessing on those who have ruled justly. Woe to the ruler who ignores his date with the Judge of the whole earth.

David, at the end of his life, had reassurance from God that just governance would not be overlooked. The Lord blesses the king who rules justly, that is, in the fear of God. The despot is a law to himself. The tyrant recognizes no higher authority than himself. He rules without fear of a final judgment day before a completely informed eternal deity.

The blessing of God on the god-fearing leader is described in terms of beautiful weather and a lush harvest. There is sun and rain in just the right amount. The human heart fills with energy and joy in the anticipation of a good day and a good future.

By contrast, in the darkest moment of human history, the Son of God was surrounded in the Garden of Gethsemane with hard-hearted, treacherous rulers who had come to escort Him to His death. They epitomized unjust rulers, lacking in any fear of God.

Jesus was not surprised. He was not fearful. He spoke directly to them showing that their actions were cowardly, done under cloak of night, away from the crowds of attentive listeners who sought His teaching. He made it clear that they operated only by permission of God the Father, Who allowed them their hour to act and freedom to carry out the dark deeds they had contrived.

Give thanks that just rulers will not be forgotten and unjust ones will not escape unpunished. Their hour and power will end. Live and exercise your authority in the fear of God.