Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 22 May 18:
1. 2 Samuel 15:1-6 – In yesterday’s readings, David and Absalom are finally reunited – “So he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.” However, there was never any real reconciliation between David and Absalom, and the relationship only continued to erode with inevitable and deadly consequences looming.
2. 2 Samuel 15:2, 3 — “And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, ‘From what city are you?’ And when he said, ‘Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,’ Absalom would say to him, ‘See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.’” It appears that David was not adequately fulfilling his responsibilities as the king, and Absalom was quick to take advantage of the leadership void. It also appears David’s guilt and Absalom’s animosity helped create an environment of division.
3. 2 Samuel 16:3 — “And the king said, ‘And where is your master’s son?’ Ziba said to the king, ‘Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father.’” Not everyone will return your mercy, grace, and kindness. Don’t be surprised, just do what you know you are supposed to do.
4. 2 Samuel 16:12 –“It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.” In humility and repentance, David surrendered to the will of God and left his defense and fate to God. Surrendered to God, he responded to critics completely differently than the way he used to and the way others did. How do you respond to those who curse you?
– “David was guiltless of the crime of which Shimei accused him; but his conscience reminded him of other flagrant iniquities; and he, therefore, regarded the cursing of this man as a chastisement from heaven. His answer to Abishai’s proposal evinced the spirit of deep and humble resignation–the spirit of a man who watched the course of Providence, and acknowledged Shimei as the instrument of God’s chastening hand. One thing is remarkable, that he acted more independently of the sons of Zeruiah in this season of great distress than he could often muster courage to do in the days of his prosperity and power.” (Robert Jamieson)
5. 2 Samuel 16:20 — “Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, ‘Give your counsel. What shall we do?’” Absalom trusted in the counsel of a godless man rather than seeking counsel from God. Ahithophel counseled Absalom to sin greatly.
6. 2 Samuel 15:21 — Ittai was a model of love and faithfulness to David while David faced the consequences of his own infidelity and suffered from his son’s unfaithfulness. Meanwhile, God brought David to rock bottom in order to deal with his prideful heart.
7. 2 Samuel 15:25, 26 – “…If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place…. let him do to me what seems good to him.” David recognized that his fate was totally in God’s hands, regardless his actions or anyone else’s. Previously, David was desperate to receive the Ark, not as much to be in the presence of God but in order to gain personal power. Now, finally, David’s priorities are reversed. He now wants a renewed relationship with God rather than simply the blessings of God.
8. 2 Samuel 15:31 — “O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.” David recognized that God influences the thoughts of people to bring good circumstances to His people.
9. 2 Samuel 16:3 — Showing someone kindness does not guarantee they will return kindness.
10. 2 Samuel 16:5-14 — Once again, David saw all circumstances within God’s control and relied upon God for the outcome, for protection, and for vengeance. Notice how differently David responds to circumstances and to people after he has been truly humbled by God.
11. Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” Your character is your most precious asset.
12. Proverbs 22:2 – “The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all.” Riches mean nothing on Judgment Day.
13. Proverbs 22:4 – “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” Riches and honor and life are in the hands of the LORD. He gives them to the humble.
14. Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The formative years of a child’s life are critical to life-long success.
15. Proverbs 22:9 – “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Giving requires trust that God will richly provide. Generosity is a measure of faith.
16. Proverbs 22:10 — “Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.” Strong teams, churches, or organizations cannot tolerate divisive people.
17. Proverbs 22:11 – “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.” Gracious speech comes from a pure heart; a pure heart is to be greatly valued.
18. Proverbs 22:14 – “The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit; he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.” Adultery is a punishment from God against the adulterer who has already been unfaithful to God in his heart. “…none who touches her will go unpunished.” (Proverbs 6:29)
19. Proverbs 22:21 — “…to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?” God’s word will give you a true answer.
20. Proverbs 22:29 – “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” God expects you to be excellent in what you do. Your excellence will give you influence and magnify your testimony as you glorify God.
21. 1 Corinthians 14:1 — “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” Often those who are quickest to boast of their spiritual gifts are the most unloving. Love is the measure of the person.
22. 1 Corinthians 14:6 – “Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?” Our spiritual gifts are meant to benefit others more than ourselves.
23. 1 Corinthians 14:37 — “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.” Many of God’s commands seem foolish to people. Many have developed clever arguments to refute God’s commands based on current cultural standards. You will have to choose what you will believe and upon what you will act. “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15, 16)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 May: Don’t respond negatively to criticisms, insults, slights, or other forms of unfair treatment. Bear the burden, and leave your defense to God. (2 Samuel 16:12)