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Showing posts from September, 2020

bible reading oct 1

Bible reading for October 1.  1 Kings 3. "Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?" (1 Kings 3:9) A WISE KING. Solomon considers the task before him and asks God for wisdom. Already, he is wise (1 Kgs 2:6, 9), but he asks for more wisdom to rule the people of God, now a great nation (vv 1-15). The wisdom God gives him would be seen in the story that followed (vv 16-28). The nation would begin to see "that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice" (v 28). One example of his wisdom that we might overlook is seen in his approach to worship. At first Solomon participates in the popular worship at the high place in Gibeon (vv 2-4), but after his encounter with God he comes before the Lord in Jerusalem at the ark of the covenant (v 15). He has begun to discern the right way to worship the Lord. A caveat: wisdom means being able to discern right and

bible reading sept 30

Bible reading for September 30.  1 Kings 2. "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn..." (1 Kings 2:2-3) A NEW REIGN. David gives his son Solomon a simple but straightforward charge (cf Deut 31:7-8; 2 Tim 4:1-2). He then dies and is buried in the City of David, which was the lower slope of the temple mount in Jerusalem. Though there is a traditional site of David's tomb in Jerusalem (I visited there in 1997) some archaeologists believe the tomb is yet to be discovered in the excavations of the older section of the City of David.  UNFINISHED BUSINESS. Solomon's reign will begin with a clean slate, and so his first actions are to conclude unfinished business from David's reign. Joab will fina

bible reading sept 29

Bible reading for September 29.  1 Kings 1. "And Solomon said, 'If he will show himself a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the earth, but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.'" (1 Kings 1:52) A NEW KING. Yet another of David's sons, Adonijah, seeks to take the throne. David is aged, always cold, and seems unaware of the political intrigue. Solomon is designated the true heir of the throne and anointed at Gihon, the only natural spring on Mount Zion. Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, a close associate of David and commander of the palace guard, were in attendance. Solomon's first judicial ruling, that of probation for Adonijah, was fair and merciful by the standards of his day. Had Adonijah succeeded in his bid, the rest of David's sons, including Solomon, may have been killed. Through the wisdom and timely action of Bathsheba, Nathan, and others the rightful heir ascends to the throne.  REFLECT. There was a threat t

bible reading sept 28

Bible reading for September 28.  2 Samuel 24. "And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel." (2 Samuel 24:25)  WHAT'S WRONG WITH A CENSUS? In the previous chapter we read David's "last words", but here the book ends by looking at another failure in the latter part of his life. Though David is a biblical hero, there are no sinless heroes except Jesus. David, a "man after God's own heart", must be viewed in the context of his times. There is a progress of revelation in biblical history: David, though not qualified to be a church elder in the NT period (too many wives!), yet he was different from other Mideastern kings of his day. His commitment to the one God, to the law, to righteousness and justice, and his compassion toward people in need excelled in his day and age. We end 2 Samuel, however, with a note of fa

bible reading weekend sept 26

Bible reading for weekend September 26-27.  2 Samuel 22-23. "Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel: 'The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: 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.'" (2 Samuel 23:1-4)  SIGNATURE PSALM (ch 22) . "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies" (vv 22:2-4). This is a nearly-verbatim parallel version o

bible reading sept 25

Bible reading for September 25.  2 Samuel 21. "Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, 'There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.'" (2 Samuel 21:1) WHO'S RESPONSIBLE? Here we read about judgment upon the house of Saul for breaking covenant with the Gibeonites. God is concerned for the just treatment of all people. The Bible teaches that there is both an individual human responsibility (Deut 24:16; Jer 31:29-30; Ezek 18:4, 20; Rev 20:15) and a corporate human responsibility (Ex 34:7; Josh 7:24; Rom 5:12-21). For example, we are sinners by our own choices and actions, but we also have sinned "in Adam" and thus are born sinners (Rom 5:12). The flip side of this corporate connection is that when we are "in Christ" his righteousness and life becomes ours. There are times in Scripture where family, or people con

bible reading sept 24

Bible reading for September 24.  2 Samuel 20. "I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the LORD?" (2 Samuel 20:19) ANOTHER REVOLT. Sometime later there is another uprising against David's reign, this time led by a man named Sheba. Joab, a loyal but violent man, kills Amasa (who was delaying in his task) and leads the army again to a successful outcome. The real victory, however, goes to an unnamed "wise woman" who knew how to bring things to a head (sorry, couldn't resist the pun). The city of Abel is spared a siege, and peace returns to the kingdom. This woman displayed the character traits of the woman Wisdom (Prov 8:12-21), described by King Solomon later.  REFLECT. Why is this story recorded in Scripture? And what are we supposed to do with it? For one thing, it shows God's continued preservation of David's kingdom from yet another

bible reading sept 23

Bible reading for September 23.  2 Samuel 19. 'And the king said to Shimei, 'You shall not die.' And the king gave him his oath." (2 Samuel 19:23)  RETURN AND FORGIVENESS. For once, Joab gives good advice to David, to honor those who stood by him (vv 1-8). King David begins his journey back to Jerusalem (vv 9-15). Along the way he shows mercy to Shimei (vv 16-23), and divides property between Mephibosheth and Ziba (vv 24-30). Since it was a case of he said / he said, could David ever know the real story? The king honors the kindness of Barzillai by taking Chimham into royal service (vv 31-40). There is, and will be, continuing animosity between the southern tribes (Judah and Benjamin) and the northern tribes (Israel)(vv 41-43). But David is magnanimous in receiving his place back from the hands of many of those who rejected him. If ever he could have been bitter toward the people it could have been at this time. His heart is inclined, however, to reconciliation and th

bible reading sept 22

Bible reading for September 22.  2 Samuel 18. "And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, 'O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!'" (2 Samuel 18:33) ABSALOM DIES. The conspiracy fails, Absalom's army falls to David's, and Absalom is caught by his head (or long hair) in a tree: "...suspended between heaven and earth..." (v 9). It was a humiliating death as he hung there and was speared multiple times. There is much tension in this story between the gentleness David desires for his son and the judgment Joab inflicts. The characters in this story vacillate between the bad news of the loss of David's son and the good news that the insurrection was over. It was the most emotionally wrenching time of David's life.  REFLECT. I cannot say with certainty that this event is a "type", that is, a divinely-intended prop

bible reading sept 21

Bible reading for September 21.  2 Samuel 17. "For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom." (2 Samuel 17:14)  THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD is seen in the ways David is protected from the schemes of Absalom. The counsel of Hushai rather than Ahithophel's is acted upon (vv 1-14). The unnamed woman hides the messengers from Absalom's soldiers (vv 15-21), reminding us of the actions of Rahab (Josh 2:1-7). And David's company is able to cross the Jordan, and were supplied with food, bedding, livestock, and other supplies by friendly supporters (vv 22-29). This foreshadows our own rejected King, Jesus. Even from birth our Lord was protected from the evil schemes of violent rulers (Matt 2:12-16). He was appointed by God to be Messiah, and though his reign was (and is) rejected by many, his kingdom will never be destroyed (Psalm 2; Isa 9:7; 49:23; 52:14-15). God guides the events of history for his good pur

bible reading weekend sept 19-20

Bible reading for weekend September 19-20.  2 Samuel 15-16. "Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." (2 Samuel 15:6)  ABSALOM'S CAMPAIGN. Talk about a political campaigner, Absalom took the prize. He was relational, smooth, and he spoke wonderful words of promise. He looked good and presented well. But then his treachery is revealed in a calculated takeover. One of David's worst enemies has arisen from his own family (Matt 10:36). But David still has loyal friends working on his behalf. He humbly receives the curses of Shimei, resigning himself to the Lord's mercy: "Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. 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" (16:11-12). REFLECT. Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 portray certain world rulers as beasts. Their period of rule has been permi

bible reading sept 18

Bible reading for September 18.  2 Samuel 14. "Now Joab the son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart went out to Absalom." (2 Samuel 14:1)  CONFLICTED. Joab is imitating Nathan the prophet (12:1-7), but his counsel was not good. David's dilemma was the result of a long period of neglecting the counsel of God: as king he was not to take multiple wives (he did). He could not have known his children well. As king he should have vindicated his daughter Tamar and brought Amnon to justice (he did not). He is obviously conflicted about Absalom. Does he love his children more than God? Was he over-indulgent or absent as a father, neglecting the godly discipline they needed? Even with the return of Absalom, David is compromising and not dealing with things.  NICE HAIR. Absalom is a train wreck about to happen. He is winsome, charismatic, handsome. When his long locks were cut once a year, his hair weighed five pounds. He'll soon rank high in the polls and win the hearts

bible reading sept 17

Bible reading for September 17.  2 Samuel 13. "But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day." (2 Samuel 13:37)  FAMILY SINS. This event likely took place some years later but is recorded here, following the events of chapter 12, to show the fulfillment of God's words to David through the prophet Nathan: "Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife" (12:10). We read of Amnon's sexual assault upon his half-sister. Then nothing is done about this. Two years later Absalom conspires to murder Amnon, does so, and flees the territory. Again, it appears that David is passive. Surely, this is something of a replay of Genesis 3-4, with temptation presented (with shrewdness), an appeal to sight and pleasure, the passivity of male leadership, and resulting family violence (see also James 4:1-3;

bible reading sept 16

Bible reading for September 16.  2 Samuel 12. "Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate." (2 Samuel 12:20)  DISCIPLINING THE KING. After David's grievous sin, the Lord brings judgment, but does not forsake David (2 Sam 7:12-16). David's confession is shown in more detail in Psalm 51. After the child dies, David goes first to the house of the Lord to worship God. Later in the chapter we see him return to his proper place in defending Israel. The consequences of his sin will reverberate throughout the rest of his years. In reading this story we cannot help but feel badly for Bathsheba, who lost both a husband and a child because of David's sin. His selfishness and violence forever changed her life. Comfort will come to her later as her next child, Jedidiah ("loved by the Lor

bible reading sept 15

Bible reading for September 15.  2 Samuel 11. "It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful." (2 Samuel 11:2) SEX AND POWER. Most Christian men know the story of David and Bathsheba better than the story of David and Goliath. This story is especially relevant to men... the pitfall which comes with idleness, a beautiful and forbidden woman, opportunity, and lack of accountability. David should have been doing something productive rather than sleeping in the afternoon and channel surfing the rooftops. David, like many near-eastern kings, felt entitled to the extra pleasure that came with power and authority.  How many leaders down through history (and today) have fallen through affairs, pornography, or some other sexual sin. The evil mounts up: sight is followed by the deed, then there is deception and cover-up. Others are involve