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 permitted by God but they themselves are driven by ravenous desires. Absalom is a lesson that the masses can be won over by charismatic leaders whose real intentions are evil. As we face national elections soon, how do we go about making wise choices? How do we come to know the truth about candidates?
2 Corinthians 8-9.
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)
CHRISTIAN GIVING. These two chapters are important for us in understanding the ministry of giving, specifically as it applies to believers today under the new covenant. As a pastor I've often been asked about giving a tithe, whether or not that was still the pattern in the New Testament. I think a tithe is a great place to start in giving but the emphasis that Paul gives is upon generosity as patterned by our Lord Jesus (8:9). There is to be a freeness, a joy, and a generosity in our giving which comes from living under God's abundant grace. Here's a good summary: "whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." (9:6-8)
REFLECT. As you read these two chapters, what other principles of giving do you see? Are there any changes you need to make? What will help you be more free, joyful, and generous in your giving?
Image credit: photo by Elliott Stallion 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. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.