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  1. We Have a Friend (II Samuel 16,17)

    October 17, 2012 by Pito

    Because of Absalom’s rebellion, David fled Jerusalem. His journey brought him into contact with some of Saul’s family. First Ziba, a servant of Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, deceived David. By lies and subterfuge he talked David into giving him all the land of Mephibosheth. David erred in failing to hear the testimony of both sides. In his sad situation, David easily believed the report that another friend had turned against him. We are to believe the best of each other until proven otherwise. “Love thinks no evil.”

    Next, David met Shemei, a man of the house of Saul. He was about as offensive as a person could be, cursing David, rejoicing in his fall and throwing stones at him. Unlike his revengeful men, David let Shemei speak because he knew that God is just, that “He might look on my affliction and repay me with good for his cursing this day.” This we have been commanded: “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ” VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. ” BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS UPON HIS HEAD.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    As David made his way toward the wilderness, he met  a group of obscure men who came to his rescue with “beds and basins, earthen vessels and wheat, barley and flour, parched grain and beans, lentils and parched seeds, honey and curds, sheep and cheese of the herd,” for the people to eat. These inconspicuous men helped David in a time of great need. They were sent by God to comfort David in his affliction. When “friends” betray you, God raises up others to come to your aid. We all need friends and God, in His grace, has sent us a Friend that sticks closer to us than a brother.

    As we flee our persecutors we too have a refuge-far beyond the Jordan, higher than Mt. Hermon, deeper than the depths of the Great Sea. We have a friend who has come down from heaven and filled our souls with peace, goodness and joy beyond measure. Jesus is the friend of sinners who makes us whole. Jesus is a help in sorrow when the billows of the sea roll over us; when our heart is breaking, He helps our soul. He has granted us forgiveness. He is with us to the end. Thanks be to God.


  2. Absalom’s Rebellion (II Samuel 15)

    October 10, 2012 by Pito

    Like many of our politicians today, Absalom knew how to create an image of a “man of the people.” He cunningly lobbied the people at the gates of the city by working hard, procuring a great location, appearing to sympathize with their troubles, taking personal interest and never attacking David personally. He won their hearts by presenting an exciting image and by promising to “change” things for the better.

    Absalom, following David’s path to the throne, went to Hebron to conceal and promote his treason. He deceived 200 supporters of David to come to Hebron under false pretenses to project the image of succession, not treason. Divisive men never see themselves as divisive.  “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.” John 16:2

    Absalom also recruited Ahithophel, one of David’s beloved advisors, to support his rise to the throne. Ahithophel, in apparent bitterness against David for his adultery with his granddaughter Bathsheba, sided with Absalom, a move he would later regret.

    As Absalom entered Jerusalem, David and a small troupe of supporters exited and traveled through the wilderness across the brook Kidron. David chose to preserve the city rather than see it destroyed by war.

    We do not like going over to Kidron. When it comes to taking up our cross, how we struggle against suffering and especially against dishonor and slander! Like Demas, it is easier to turn back, having loved this present evil world.  “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:38,39

    God made sure that David continued to learn even as a king. God took him back into the wilderness to increase his faith. Here near the end of his reign as king of Israel, God was faithful to discipline his son whom he loved. David was learning to trust God no matter how difficult the circumstances, including even the violent and foolish rebellion of his son. You would have thought that David had already learned this in his frequent flights from  murderous King Saul, but here in his old age, he must learn it again.

    Like David and all the saints of God, we have been called to believe God, to lean on Him in every situation. God has ordained to increase our faith by giving us His body and His blood each week as we worship together. We partake by faith, a symbol that our entire lives are lives of faith, as we trust God in all things.

     


  3. Like Father, like Son (II Samuel 13,14)

    October 2, 2012 by Pito

    After David sinned with Bathsheba and against Uriah, his rule, especially over his family, suffered greatly. His oldest son, Amnon, took David’s example to the extreme when he forced his sister, Tamar, to lay with him.

    Amnon said he was in love when all the time he was in lust. This became obvious after the deed when he evicted her from his presence, saying, “Put this woman out…bolt the door.” All of Tamar’s efforts to resist Amnon’s attack were of no avail and after the fact she bewailed her virginity, tearing her royal robe as a symbol of her virginity being torn from her.

    David was angry with Amnon, but out of his own guilt he did nothing. His sin had weakened him and his sons reaped the consequences. God had promised David that “the sword shall never depart from your house,” and here we have it.  A man never sees the worst of himself until it reappears in his child.

    Absalom, Tamar’s natural brother, knew what had happened and cunningly waited two years for revenge.  Absalom told his servants, “When his heart is merry with wine, strike him.” So they did.

    In one story we have two fulfillments of God’s promise to David. One son raped his sister. Another son murdered his brother.

    So fathers, how do you avoid raising such sons as Amnon and Absalom? Remember that your sons are watching you. They see your impatience. They see your frustrations. They see your anger and stubbornness. And they are learning to be just like you. In order to raise our sons to be godly men, we must imitate God the Father who keeps promises, who is loyal to his family, who sacrifices, who loves and protects, who rescues through consistent discipline and who gives his life for his family.

    It is our calling to be like our Glorious Heavenly Father. There is nothing wrong with being glorious. This is what man is made for. The problem is men and women seek glory as an end, not as a reflection of the Father. Jesus reflected the Father and showed us how to do it. This is what we must do for each other as we die to sin and live to righteousness.

    There are and always will be Amnons and Absaloms and Joabs in this world. May none of us be guilty of raising such men. May none of us be guilty of failing to love our families, our wives, our sons and daughters. By the grace of God, may it never be. God help us. Amen.


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