Saturday, April 6, 2024

April 6, 2024

Have you ever wondered why you were going through seemingly unending trials? Israel was in famine for three years before David asked God why. When he finally asked God, He answered and gave him the remedy. David found out that Saul had reneged on a promise made to the Gibeonites, who were not Israelites, and after consulting with them, he realized that they required blood to avenge the blood that was shed during Saul's reign. They wanted seven of his sons, which included grandsons, and they were sacrificed by hanging to avenge that blood. They were not guilty of a crime, yet it was what was required to satisfy the guilt and bring rain for the crops. I found it hard to make this make sense, but we must remember that Israel was under the Old Covenant, which required that the sins of the father be passed on to the children. From this story, we can reflect on the similarity to the crucifixion of our Savior, Jesus, who died to avenge the blood we shed by our sins. Because of his sacrifice, the father's sins are no longer required to be passed on to the children.

One of the lessons I learned from this chapter is to ask God what might be causing our trouble so we can ask forgiveness and hopefully alleviate our pain. The relief may not happen immediately; it took several days for these men to hang in the open before the rain fell, but surely God will tell you so you can make amends if that's what He requires. We are not randomly bouncing through the atmosphere; everything has meaning and is part of a greater plan. 

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:8

Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. 2 Samuel 21:1

Friday, April 5, 2024

April 5, 2024

A man named Sheba rebelled against David. When David returned to Jerusalem, he gave Amasa the task of assembling the men of Judah within three days to go after him. When he wasn't back in the allotted time, Joab's men went out to pursue Sheba. However, Joab was jealous of Amasa because David had appointed him captain of the host over him. When he met up with him, he tricked him by pretending to be his friend and killed him without hesitation. Then Joab went after Sheba, who was locked behind his city's walls. Joab was going to destroy the town to find this man when an intelligent woman called to him, chastising him for planning to ravage the city and hurt a mother in Israel. He told her he wouldn't harm the city if they delivered Sheba to him. She told him that his head would be thrown over the wall, and the people cut off Sheba's head and threw it over the wall. Joab was satisfied and blew the trumpet, and they left without harming the city or the people. This unnamed woman saved the town. 

David's ten concubines, whom he left to manage the house while he was gone, that Absolom slept with while rebelling against him, ended up in confinement until they died, living like widows because they were defiled. 

Much like David returning to Jerusalem, we wait patiently for our King Jesus to return to rule and reign. However, the enemy has defiled many, and they will be locked away forever. Rejoice that you are sealed within Jesus and protected from destruction because he has pardoned all our sins.

am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD? And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy. 2 Samuel 20:19-20

Thursday, April 4, 2024

April 4, 2024

Joab strongly chastised David for not cleaning himself up to meet and compliment the men for their victory over the usurper, Absolom, and his army. He grieved his son. However, David saw his error, acquiesced, anointed his head with oil, and went to the gate to meet the people. Even though David could rightfully regain access to his home and throne, he wanted all the tribes to invite him back rather than retake it by force, so he waited for them to agree before assuming power. He sent his priest to encourage them to invite him back. David pardoned his servants who rallied against him because they begged forgiveness. 

Remember Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul? Ziba lied to David about him, saying he was waiting in Jerusalem to take over the kingdom. Because of his lies, David gave Ziba everything that belonged to Mephibosheth, but Mephibosheth met him and told him what Ziba had done, so David made them split his estate between them. 

David was a fair king and forgave his enemies just like Jesus did. If David could forgive all those who came against him, why can't we forgive minor issues? We must learn from David, follow Jesus' words, forgive our enemies, and live a life of peace. We do not have to entertain those who've grieved us, but we must forgive them and move on. 

Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him. 2 Samuel 19:23

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

April 3, 2024

The unusual death of Absolom is a story that has stuck with me since I heard it as a child. In the heat of battle, which took place in the woods of Ephraim, Absolom’s donkey ran him under a tree with very low branches, and they caught his luxurious hair and snatched him off the donkey who left him hanging there. And being unable to untangle himself, he was left vulnerable. Some of David’s men saw him there and reported it to Joab. They feared killing him because David had given orders to deal gently with him, just as any parent might respond concerning their child; no matter how evil they might be, most parents don’t want to see their child’s life end. However, to save the kingdom and do the will of God, Joab shot him with three darts and wounded him, and his men finished him off. They buried him in a pit and covered him with a heap of rocks. Joab sent Cushi to deliver the message of victory to David, but Ahimaaz, a young priest who was a fast runner, wanted to deliver it. Joab preferred Cushi deliver it, probably because he didn’t know how David would react to the message of the death of his son. Ahimaaz outran Cushi but allowed Cushi to give him the news of Absolom’s death. Even though this was a victory for David and his small army, he was crushed by the news and retired to his room in grief. 

I understand David’s reaction because our family has also dealt with a child turning and fighting against us, but at no point have we ever wanted them dead. The pain is unbearable, but we are thankful they are still alive. However, David’s kingdom was at stake, and the victory ensured that he continued as king and owed his fighting men praise. When God hands us victory, even if we are sad, we must remember to thank the Lord because He is the One who saved us. 

And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! 2 Samuel 18:33

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

April 2, 2024

David's good friend, Hushai, had made himself a friend of Absolom, too. So when Ahithophel, another of Absolom's wise counselors, gave him advice to go after David and kill only him and bring the rest of the people back who had fled with David, Hushai came up with a better idea, which Absolom decided to take. Ahithophel later went back to his hometown and killed himself because Absolom liked Hushai's counsel better. Hushai reminded Absolom that his dad was a brave warrior, and so were the men with him, and it would be better to take them all out. Hushai then told the priest to send word to David and tell him not to stay out in the open because Absolom would be coming for him. A young man saw them and reported the priest to Absolom, but they both disappeared quickly and went into a friend's home, where a woman hid them in a well and covered the well with a cloth and corn to disguise it. The women told the men that they had gone over the brook. When they left, the priests ran and told David and all who were with him crossed over the Jordan and lodged there. Shobi and Machir brought them beds and provisions. 

Absolom knew Hushai was very good friends with his dad, so why did he trust him? I believe God stopped him from reasoning well so He could provide a way for David to escape. Once again, God's plans prevailed for the one He loved. Those outside of our faith in Jesus will not win against us; God's plans are not to harm us. Though we may be troubled like David at times, everything falls together for our good in the end. 

Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan. 2 Samuel 17:22

Monday, April 1, 2024

April 1, 2024

In 2 Samuel 16, David is on the run because of Absolom. Ziba brings provision to King David and his servants and lies about Methebocheth waiting in Jerusalem to take over the kingdom. So David gave everything that Methebocheth had to Ziba. Then, another of Saul's family, Shimei, came out of his house and began cursing David. David turned the other cheek because he believed God had told him to curse him. When Absolom came to Jerusalem, one of David's good friends committed to serving him, but Absolom questioned why he would betray his dad. He said he would serve whoever the people had appointed king. 

After that, Absolom asked Ahithophel to counsel him on what he should do, and he told him that he should sleep with his dad's concubines to prove he was now taking over. So, they set up a tent on the roof, and he slept with them. This situation is alarming because these women had probably helped raise Absolom and were most likely around his mother's age. God had not appointed Absolom, so we know God won't allow his kingdom to stand. We learn from this that nothing good comes from going against God and making your own path to power because further in 1 Samuel, we will find out that Ziba and Absolom ended up paying the price for their treachery. We know that David was a man after God's own heart, and even though he found trouble, God still loved him and afflicted those who came against him. We can expect that same kind of love because we trust His Son, Jesus.

It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. 2 Samuel 16:12 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

March 31, 2024

Today, we celebrate the proof that Jesus is our King. Who else could allow himself to be executed when he had committed no crime and then come back from the dead? And though this happened over two thousand years ago, we are still discussing it! No creature or human should be honored above Jesus; today is not about Ishtar, also known as Easter, the fertility goddess; it is to honor the Resurrection of Jesus. He is worthy of our respect. Celebrate only Jesus today. He is holy. 

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. Mark 16:9-11

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. Mark 16:14