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 opponent, in fulfillment of 2 Sam 7:16. Support for David comes from two unexpected sources: Joab, a man of questionable character who had been fired from his job; and an unnamed but very wise woman who saved many lives. What do we do with this? We serve a King whose reign endures forever (Isa 9:7) and we too experience God's protective care over our lives (1 Thess 5:23-24; Rom 8:37-39; 2 Tim 4:18). But this may be realized in unexpected ways. Who can tell what twists and turns our lives will take and who the Lord will use to keep us safe on his path?
2 Corinthians 13.
"For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God." (2 Corinthians 13:4)
IN CONCLUSION. The Apostle Paul will come to Corinth again for a third visit (Acts 20:2-3). He planted the church there (Acts 18:1-11), made a brief "sorrowful visit" (2 Cor 2:1), and will visit on his way to Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:3-7). Paul asks the Corinthians to examine themselves -- were they saved? If so, it was through the gospel that Paul himself proclaimed. He trusts God to vindicate the truthfulness both of the gospel and of his authority as an apostle, since, he says, "...you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me" (v 3). He prays for their restoration (vv 9, 11).
BENEDICTION. The OT priests would proclaim God's name three times in placing a blessing upon God's people (Num 6:22-27). Here, Paul closes his letter with a three-fold benediction that invokes the three Persons of the Trinity: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (v 14). The triune nature of God is not something concocted by the later church, but is seen in the New Testament itself (Matt 28:19; 1 Pet 1:2). The later church councils helped articulate what that truth meant.
REFLECT. John Wycliffe, English reformer and Bible translator (d. 1384), once wrote, “I believe that in the end the truth will conquer.” This was Paul's confidence as he worked with the Corinthian believers. And this should be ours, as well. We like Paul should be patient with young though misguided believers. If God's Spirit is in them he will bring them around. As well, many in our world today reject our Lord Jesus Christ and the authority of the Scriptures. But in due time God will vindicate himself, his Son, and his followers before the watching world. We can be patient.
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. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.