Saturday, 26 April 2014

(117) April 27: 2 Samuel 15-16 & Luke 20:27-47

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
As you read note how David’s faith in God is expressed.

To ponder:
As 12v11 continues to be fulfilled, David now shows the calibre of his faith, submitting to God’s will throughout.
            Some time after his return Absalom seeks to usurp his father’s throne, and with calculation and effort. He gave himself the trappings of kingship (15v1), and got up early to meet those coming to the king, promising that if king he would ensure “justice.” He also feigned grace, and so “stole” the Israelites’ hearts. After four years he then deceived David to let him go to Hebron, where he gathered key people and offered sacrifices (as if king), within the intention of having those throughout the tribes proclaim him king at the sound of a trumpet. Similarly, false teachers and even the false Christ’s of other religions, can wear the right trappings, promise good and be gracious, and so lead people from the Lord Jesus.
            On hearing of the growing conspiracy David fled Jerusalem with his officials and entire household – but for ten concubines. Israel are shamed by the foreigner, Ittai, refusing to go back when encouraged by David, but declaring by God that he will stick with David whether it means “life or death.” When some even within the church seem to be rejecting Christ, our call is to be like Ittai, and keep others and our families with Christ as he did (15v22).
            Given that Israel had rejected David, “the whole country” who “wept” on seeing David passing must have been the area of Judea around Jerusalem, dominated by David’s tribe. The ark symbolised God’s presence with David. So by sending it back to Jerusalem, David showed himself free from superstition, acknowledging that his future didn’t depend on the ark, but on God’s favour, yet hoping to see the ark and the tent it dwelt in again. It is not rituals or objects that ensure God’s presence with us, but faith and his grace.
            David is however prepared to act shrewdly, sending Zadok the priest and his sons to be spies, and Hushai to be a false advisor, who could pass information to them. Moreover, he prayed that Ahithophel’s advice to Absalom would become foolishness.
As David climbed the Mount of Olives, from which you can see the city, it is not surprise that he and the people mourned. On the way down, he met Ziba, the servant tasked with farming the land of Jonathan’s son Mephiposheth (see ch 9). Ziba brought provisions and said Mephibosheth had stayed in Jerusualem hoping he would regain Saul’s kingdom. David accepts this as true and gives Mephibosheth’s lands to Ziba.
As a man from Saul’s clan then pelts David and his officials with stones, cursing him as being repaid by God for taking Saul’s throne, we see David humiliated and mocked rather like Christ on the cross. David’s response is astonishingly restrained and gracious, affirming the man’s right to do so if the LORD had moved him to, and entrusting himself to God who may yet grant him good for the cursing he was receiving. This submissiveness to God’s will enables us to respond with equivalent grace to our persecutors.
            Absalom and “all the men of Israel” now enter Jerusalem with Ahithophel (the traitor) and Hishai (David’s spy) as advisors. Ahithophel’s first piece of wicked advice is for Absalom to sleep with his father’s concubines. This would stress he is firmly against David, so strengthening any followers who might wonder whether Absalom could back down, returning David to the throne,  putting them in a difficult position for abandoning him. Ahthophel’s wisdom was regarded as that coming from God, so Absalom did as suggested and in full sight, fulfilling God’s word of 12v11, and proving again that God in some sense governs even evil acts.
Praying it home:
Thank God that Christ remained gracious to us even when we were in rebellion against him. Pray that you, your family and those within the church would be like Ittai.

Thinking further:
None today.

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