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; 1 John 2:15-16). There is a pattern to, and a dynamic behind, temptation and sin (James 1:12-16). The consequences of sin can echo down to succeeding generations.
REFLECT. It should not be surprising to us that certain sins may repeat themselves through subsequent generations within a family. It may be sexual sin, drunkenness, anger, lying, pride, theft, gluttony, etc. These patterns need to be recognized, confronted, and renounced. We must be active (especially the fathers) in putting an end to generational sins. Here's help: the puritan leader John Owen wrote in depth about the nature of temptation and sin. Kris Lundgaard, a modern writer, has distilled many of these great insights into a current book, The Enemy Within (P & R Publishing, 1998). I recommend this book as a good resource. Ask yourself today, what sins in my family need to be confronted and forsaken? Am I being passive in dealing with these? What help do I need?
2 Corinthians 6.
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)
SEPARATION. Paul's concern for the Corinthians is that they "not receive the grace of God in vain" (v 1). That means that he does not want God's grace toward them to be an empty thing, resulting in no change of life. As an apostle and dedicated church-planter Paul has sacrificially been teaching and modelling for them purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, love, and the power of the Holy Spirit (vv 1-13). These are things the Corinthian believers sorely need in their lives. He teaches that the biblical concept of separation applies to them as well as to the OT saints (vv 14-18). In a paraphrased summary of a number of OT passages, Paul teaches that the principle of separation (which we read so much about in Leviticus) applies to all believers for all time.
REFLECT. It seems the idea of "separation" has fallen on hard times in the postmodern church. This seems too judgmental, proud, or unforgiving of us. Many of us don't want to be viewed by our culture (family, friends, co-workers) as being narrow and bigoted. But we should remember that God takes this personally -- when we seek approval from the world while denying our calling as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven (James 4:4). We must ask ourselves these hard questions: where have I blurred the lines of light and darkness, of righteousness and lawlessness? Where have I compromised God's truth with the lies of the world? Where am I seeking the approval of those who hate God, while hiding my own identity as God's child? Why am I so eager not to offend other people but not concerned that I might offend the Lord?
Image credit: photo by Ernest Brillo on Unsplash. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.