Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 19 October 2022:
2 Samuel 23:2 — The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; His word is on my tongue.
The Bible is the inspired (God-breathed) word of God given to men to record. We were created by God in the physical form for the express purpose of translating (through word and deed) His Spiritual truth and will into the physical world for His purposes and for His glory. When David operated in the Spirit, he performed His purpose. As stated previously, Jesus only spoke and did what the Father told him to say and do. He is our example. We should seek to do the same.
2 Samuel 23:3, 4 — When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, 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.
God called us to be the primary influence on earth. To govern world affairs through our influence that “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It is impossible to rightly govern world affairs, a household, or any situation apart from a “fear of the Lord” and the power of the Holy Spirit. When Christians obey God, and influence others to obey God, they are the light of the world, and they promote life.
2 Samuel 23:5 — For does not my house stand so with God?
Is your house a house of God?
2 Samuel 23:6, 7 — But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken with the hand; but the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire.
Some people will refuse to accept the authority of God or the truth of God’s word. You will not be able to convince them because they have rejected the conviction of the Holy Spirit. In their rebellion, they have rendered themselves worthless, and they will only destroy themselves and influence others to follow the path of destruction. We will face inevitable conflict with such people as we seek to promote God’s will on earth and as they seek to counter it. We must resist evil and counter the influence of evil people, but we must never condemn those trapped in evil, always praying and hoping for their salvation, not knowing what God might do with them.
2 Samuel 23:8 — These are the names of the mighty men whom David had….
God ensured that the names of the faithful were recorded for eternity. Their reward was eternal. Note that Uriah the Hittite is the last name listed. (2 Samuel 23:39) Also, note how God sets the record straight in the lineage of Jesus recorded in Matthew: “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” (Matthew 1:6) God makes it clear, even though David married Bathsheba and had children with her, she was Uriah’s wife. What God joins together, no one can separate. A man and a woman who marry are married in God’s eyes until one of them dies. Jesus was clear about divorce and remarriage, though it is common today — “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” (Luke 16:18)
2 Samuel 23:12 — But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory.
The faithful are willing to face impossible odds, trusting God with the outcome, which is hope.
2 Samuel 23:15-17 — And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord and said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?”
David reflects on several leadership lessons in these verses. First, leaders must be very careful not to communicate in a self-centered way to others, even casually. Second, all good leaders are first great followers, willing to do whatever it takes to be obedient and to obey their leader — our leader is Jesus who always seeks the perfect will of the Father. Finally, leaders must never put their own desires ahead of the needs of others. David refused to drink water that was not available to his troops. Leaders take care of themselves last. This, of course, is contrary to the example of worldly leadership. Do our politicians have more or less than those they presume to lead? Does your pastor have a bigger or smaller house than those with his congregation? Did Jesus have more or less than those who walked with him day by day? Note that coincident with the fall of David was his pursuit of materialism and comfort.
2 Samuel 23:39 — Uriah the Hittite was one of David’s mighty men. Uriah’s character, competence, and fidelity did not prevent him from becoming a victim in the worse possible way. His integrity did not guarantee His security. However, his reward is eternal. If our motivation or incentive for fidelity is earthly reward, we do not have real fidelity, we are deceiving ourselves, and we will be sorely disappointed. Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, was murdered by David who had taken from him the one thing he cared most about on this earth, his wife. Yet, God directed David, Uriah’s murderer, to list Uriah in the honor roll of the faithful. Within God’s eternal, public record, David’s secret sin has been exposed as has the fidelity of David’s victim. Only through complete humility, a total reliance and faith in the grace of God, and complete surrender could David write the name, Uriah.
2 Peter 2:3 — And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.
People who tell others what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear about Jesus are acting selfishly, seeking personal comfort, security, or gain. An unselfish person is willing to leave their comfort zone for the sake of others. False teachers pervert the truth in order to build a following and gain something for themselves, even if that something is only personal satisfaction, feeling good about their own apparent righteousness. God shares the glory with no man.
2 Peter 2:5-10 — He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned in both the Old and New Testament readings today – “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction.” (Romans 15:4) “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) “Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7)
“He rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked….” Lot was a righteous man, tormented in his heart by the perversion of his nation, which included rampant promiscuity, adultery and homosexuality. However, though Lot was a leader in his community, he apparently did little to counter the culture around him. In fact, he had become so assimilated into the culture the angels actually had to force him out of the city before destroying it; Lot lost his wife and his sons-in-law, and his daughters were completely and shockingly perverted by the culture around them.
- Mark 9:50 — Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again?
How is the church influencing society today? How is society influencing the church? What do we accept in our homes that would have been unthinkable decades ago? How urgently are we seeking to share the Gospel with those facing the Judgment of God? “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17)
2 Peter 2:12 — But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction.
Those who quench the Spirit and allow the flesh to rule are no different than animals, denying their spiritual image of God.
2 Peter 2:18 — For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.
Have you noticed how loud and boastful the ungodly are?
2 Peter 2:19 — They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
Our current sexual, humanist revolution which is overtaking our nation is proclaimed in the name of freedom while placing more and more people into bondage. Many are celebrating freedom from laws which once maintained a higher moral order in our society, not realizing that this freedom from law and order only serves to enslave more and more people to destructively sinful lifestyles. Popular opinion and social morality is doesn’t nullify God’s commands.
2 Peter 2:20 — For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
Many justify their worldly compromise by proclaiming ‘freedom through grace,’ but if they have asked for forgiveness for their sins through the blood of Jesus Christ and then continue in that sin, they not only trample on the blood of Christ, they also having nothing left to hold them back from the destructiveness of sin. They have denied the love of Christ through their willful disobedience, and without the motivator of love, nothing will stop their downward spiral. 2 Peter 2 goes on to say, “For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.’” What hope is left for the person who proclaims Jesus and yet continues in willful sin? There is no such thing as ‘cheap grace.’ Grace came at the price of the blood of Jesus and, for that, we should tremble at the thought of disobey Him.
2 Peter 2:21 — For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Pray that God shows mercy on the nation that once proudly proclaimed, “No king but King Jesus,” and “In God We Trust.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 October 2022: Today, ask yourself how you might have compromised your purity due to the influence of the culture in which you live. Consider what you will watch or listen to for entertainment today. Does it make light of the sin God abhors and for which Christ paid the penalty? Consider how clear your message of the Gospel is as an Ambassador for Christ in this corrupt society. Are you holding back? Why? (see 2 Peter 2)
Don’t be like Lot who was vexed but not valiant, influenced by not influential. Don’t be surprised by the spirit of divisiveness you see in the world today, but keep yourself in the love of God, grow in your faith, pray, and wait for and proclaim the mercy of the Lord. Speak the truth in love, and stand for the truth with confidence in the power and authority of Jesus Christ. “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:17-23) “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'” (Matthew 28:18-20)