Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 11 October 2022:
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 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.
2 Samuel 15:25-26 – Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. 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. But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.”
“After David’s fall into sin with Bathsheba and his consequent attempt to cover it up (2 Sam. 11), Jesse’s most famous son was far from a model of faith and discernment. He could not see the sin in his own household, and he failed to keep Absalom under control (chs. 13–14). However, with Absalom’s coup attempt against David, things began to change. Apparently, Absalom’s play for the throne shocked David back to reality (15:1–17). From the point of David’s fleeing Jerusalem onward, it seems that the old David, the pious and wise leader of God’s people, was mostly back.
We see evidence of this in today’s passage, which describes David’s journey out of Jerusalem and away from danger. First we have the king’s encounter with Ittai the Gittite. He was a supporter of David’s from Gath, and when David was exiled, he went with him. David tried to persuade Ittai to do otherwise, for he had been with the king for only about a day and should not have had to suffer for supporting David because he had not really had a chance yet to stand with David. But Ittai refused to go back to Jerusalem. He would be loyal to the rightful king. David showed himself magnanimous to Ittai, and he was rewarded with loyal friendship (vv. 18–23).
David also had the priesthood on his side. The priests Abiathar and Zadok, along with the Levites, tried to go with David, bringing the ark of God with them. Yet David was not willing to have the ark leave its designated city. His charge to the priests shows a remarkable surrender to the providence of God. David was confident that if it was the Lord’s will, he would come back to Jerusalem and see the ark again. If not, he was content for God to do to him what seemed good (vv. 24–29). That is the kind of faith the leader of God’s people should have. After being absent for so long, the man after God’s own heart had returned.
Ittai and the priests were loyal to David, but his adviser Ahithophel was not, having betrayed the king to stay with Absalom. Upon hearing this, David prayed for Ahithophel’s counsel to be turned to foolishness. God answered this prayer, but not by striking Ahithophel directly. Instead, he provided Hushai the Archite, whom David commissioned to be his man on the inside to report what the conspiracy was up to and to frustrate its plans (vv. 30–37). In doing this, David showed wisdom and a good understanding of providence. He knew the Lord would work things out as He saw fit, but that did not mean he had to sit back and passively watch things unfold.
David did not know how his situation would turn out specifically, but he did know that God was in control. That trust in God’s sovereignty did not lead to passivity but to wise action according to what he could see at the time. Our wise planning and trusting in the Lord’s providence are not opposed. In fact, we are not really trusting in God when we fail to plan wisely and to do what His revealed will tells us to do.” (Ligonier Ministries)
Here is a short video overview of 1 Peter: https://youtu.be/WhP7AZQlzCg
1 Peter 1:22 — “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”
How often have heard people use ‘love’ as an excuse or justification for sin? Sinful behavior is never loving. Love comes from a pure heart, purified by obedience to the truth. “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)
- Matthew 5:8 — Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
- Ezekiel 36:26-27 — And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
- 2 Timothy 2:22 — So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
- Hebrews 10:22 — Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
God is love (1 John 4:8), and only God can enable us to truly love others from a pure heart – “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) Through faith in Jesus, we receive God’s love and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to love. Our love for God compels us to draw near to Him and to obey Him, desiring to glorify Him, enjoy Him, and please Him. When we grow in our love for Him, we naturally grow in our love for others and despise sin, which is ALWAYS counter to love. When we truly love others, we abide in Him, He abides in us, and our hearts are increasingly purified —
- 1 Timothy 1:14 — …and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
- Galatians 5:6 — For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
- John 15:8-17 — By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
- 1 John 2:6 — Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
- 1 John 2:10 — Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
- 1 John 3:9 — No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.
- 1 John 3:14 — We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
- 1 John 3:24 — Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
- 1 John 4:12 — No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
- 1 John 4:16 — So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
- 2 John 1:9 — Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
- Romans 12:9 — Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Having “our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience” through faith in Christ, God calls us to hold onto and protect our clear conscience by abiding in His love through obedience –
- Proverbs 4:23 — Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
- 1 Timothy 1:19 — …holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith.
- 1 Timothy 3:9 — They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
- 1 Timothy 4:1-2 — Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared….
- 1 Timothy 1:15 — To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
Remember, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 October 2022: Today, aim to love with a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith in Jesus Christ who loved us so we could love as He loves.