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Old Testament: 2 Samuel 20:14-21:22
A lady spared a town by what’s she said, “I’ll throw you down the the troublemaker’s head.”
2 Samuel 20:14-25 One Way To Move A Head
Joab had usurped control of the army and become its commander again. He approached a town that they were willing to destroy to put down the rebellion of Sheba. However, one of the women intervened and started negotiations with Joab. Joab said if the town could cough up Sheba, everything would be fine. The lady said, “Sure thing.” They tossed Sheba’s head over the wall and the town was spared.
2 Samuel 21:1-14 Hungry For Revenge
For three years there was a famine in Israel so David sought the Lord. Yahweh answered David that the cause was Saul’s putting the Gibeonites to death. Way back in Joshua 9, Joshua was tricked by the Gibeonites to agree to a peace treaty. Saul violated it. But Yahweh expected Israel to hold to the end of the promise even though He told them not to enter into such agreements in the new land.
David asked the Gibeonites if they wanted to atone for the wrong imposed on them by Saul. They asked for seven of Saul’s relatives to be hung to make up for Saul’s sin. David allowed it and chose seven of Saul’s relatives born of one of his concubines and from his daughter.
Rizpah, the concubine, kept the bodies covered. Although the law required that the bodies be taken down at sunset, David had them remain until the first rain after harvest began. The rain symbolized the removal of Yahweh’s curse on Israel. David had the bones collected of all the victims along with Saul’s and Jonathan’s bones for burial. They were brought to the area of the tribe of Benjamin, Saul’s tribe.
2 Samuel 21:15-22 A Giant Uprising
David once again found himself at war with the Philistines. One of the Philistines, a giant named Ishbi-benob, came against David with a seven and a half pound spear. Abishai noticed that David was wearing down and came to his rescue, dispatching Ish. Everyone realized that David was too valuable to have on the battlefield after that so that was the end of that.
Supposedly one of the Philistines had killed a giant named Goliath. Most likely, it should read like the NIV, that the man killed was a brother of Goliath (cf. 1 Chron. 20:5).
Another Philistine giant, a relative of Goliath, was seeking revenge on David. He had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot in addition to being a Brobdingnagian. He was offed by David’s nephew, Jonathan.
McGee proposes that Isbi-benob, Saph, the man killed by Elhanan, and the guy with twenty-four digits were all brothers of Goliath. He suggests that that is why David had four extra stones with him when he killed Goliath. He was expecting revenge from Goliath’s four brothers.
New Testament: Acts 1:1-26
Whenever the disciples seemed to be in perkles*, they moved out in concentric circles.
Acts 1:1-8 Acts-ing Questions
The book of Acts is so named because it is the acts of the apostles after Jesus ascended. Luke is the author. He was a medical doctor and his writings have been considered by skeptics to be more detailed than other Scripture. They figured he would be more educated. Of course, all Scripture is totally accurate though Luke includes more technical medical language at times.
He wrote for the sake of a fella named Theophilus about what “Jesus began to do and teach” (v. 1). That was called the Book of Luke. He wrote that book about what Jesus did “until the day He was taken up to heaven” (v. 2). He wrote the book of Acts to recount what Jesus did after He ascended. Of course, what He did after He ascended was done by the Holy Spirit through the disciples. He told the disciples not to leave town, Jerusalem, until they were baptized by the Holy Spirit (v. 4-5).
Jesus had been talking about the kingdom and appearing to many to prove He had risen. The disciples asked Jesus if it was time for the kingdom to be restored. He told them that the answer to that question was on a need-to-know basis and they didn’t need to know right then.
Jesus did, however, tell them that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit in just a few days (v. 8, 5). Then they were to witness to his resurrection, first in Jerusalem, and then in the out-lying areas of Judea and Samaria, and finally, to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:9-11 Going Up
After the Q and A, while the disciples were watching Him, He rose up into the sky so high that they lost Him in the clouds.
While they were gazing up, two men in white clothes asked them why they were looking up into the sky. They thought Jesus would come back in exactly the same manner, coming down out of the clouds onto terra firma.
Acts 1:12-26 Winning The Lottery
The boys came back from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem. The apostles went back to the room they had been in and started praying along with the women who had been with them and Jesus’ mother and brothers.
About a hundred and twenty people were there and Peter stood up to address them. He said they had to pick someone to replace Judas who had offed himself. This account says that Judas bought a field with the money the religious leaders had given him and fell headlong, his guts bursting out. Matthew 27: 5 says Judas hung himself. He probably hung himself, didn’t do it right, and fell ahead with the resultant intestinal eruption.
Peter quoted Ps. 109: 8 as a justification for filling Judas’ spot amongst the twelve. Peter said it should be someone who was with the disciples from the beginning with Jesus up until He was taken up and also had seen Him in the flesh. There were two candidates: Joseph and Matthias. They prayed and then chose lots. Matthias won.
* you try to rhyme something with “pickles” . . .
Psalm 121:1-8 A Song Of Trust By Anonymous
Whether day or night you can be secure and God you will keep, He will never rest, slumber, or sleep.
Psalm 121:1-8 Sleepless In Sion
Yes, Sion is a synonym for Zion so I could keep the aliteration and the pun on the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, Psalm 121 is one of the fifteen songs of ascent, Psalms 120-134. The songs of Ascent or Songs of Degrees, are also known as Pilgrim Psalms because they were recited on the way to Jerusalem to the feasts of Tabernacles, Pentecost, or Passover.
Psalm 121 was a song of trust or confidence though it could also be viewed as a thanksgiving psalm.
The psalmist, while walking to Jerusalem, looked up at the mountains (v. 1). He may have been afraid of robbers or even weather changes since he was outside without shelter. Whatever the nature of his fear, he could look at the hills and remember that it was Yahweh who had made the mountains (v. 2).
He affirms his trust in the Lord to keep him from turning an ankle or breaking a foot on the craggy paths leading to the capital city (v. 3a). He encouraged himself that the Lord over all the Israelites would not fall asleep while watching over him (v. 3b-4).
Do you ever think that the Lord has turned away from you? Do you think He has forgotten about you? Jesus assured us that even a tiny bird like a sparrow does not confront tragedy without the Father knowing about it (cf. Matt. 10:29). A sparrow was not worth a dime. We are worth infinitely more to God than a tiny bird, so wouldn’t He watch over us even more closely, if such a thing were possible? The Scripture states that God cares about us (cf. 1 Pet. 5:7) but such propositions are only ink on a page without our faith. Do you believe that God cares about you? You as in _____ (fill your name in the blank).
God Himself watches over you (v. 5). He keeps you and sustains you (cf. Heb. 13:5; Deut. 31:6; Josh. 1:5, 8-9; Col. 1:17).
A traveler would be concerned about weather and exposure. There were no sunglasses, baseball caps, or tinted glass. Thus, the promises of verses 5 and 6. The Lord would protect them from the sun and even the moon at night. Moon sickness is going crazy. But to mention both sun and moon means that God would protect the pilgrim writer all day long.
God would protect the pilgrims from physical harm but also spiritual harm, if they trust Him (v. 7). No form of evil would be able to hurt them or their spiritual lives.
Verse 8 is a reference to Deuteronomy 28:6. The pilgrims will be blessed throughout their entire trip. And as they trust the Lord, they will be protected into eternity.
Psalm 121 is a great poem to recite as a reminder of God’s constant care while traveling. Which they were.
Proverbs 16:18 Nice Trip, See You Next Fall
Pride always eventuates in a slide, it will always hurt you to have too much pride.
This is not only one of the most important verses in Proverbs, it’s one of the most important verses in Scripture. It is one of the most important sentiments ever written in the history of the world!
Think of anyone who has had a fall from grace or power or prestige. Were they prideful before their fall? Let’s see: Nixon, Napoleon, Hitler, various televangelists, various celebrities? Various, you fill in the blank?
A wise person is cautious. A wise person is a learner. It is not possible to be prideful and think you know more than your teachers. You might (cf. Ps. 119:99). But if you do, it should come as a surprise as you listen and try to learn from others.
The second part of verse 18 says the same thing as part one but in other words. God thinks the idea is important enough to repeat. Remember that Hebrew poetry doesn’t rhyme. It is poetry because it restates the idea in the first line somehow in the second line of the verse. It does that through repeating the thought somehow or through a contrast of some kind. There are other types of parallelism but those are the two main ones.
When I was a kid and someone stumbled, we used to say, “Nice trip, see you next fall.” I still think that is humorous. But people who keep toppling over their own feet, and don’t realize that they are prideful, will keep doing it. Perhaps, that is why God honors the humble (cf. James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5-6).
Choose Life: Scripture: Acts 1:8 NASB “Taking The Stand”
“ . . . but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Charles Stanley claims that witnessing to Christ can make you feel better. I think he’s right. I’m not sure it’s a cure for substantial mental issues, but it can certainly be an emotional lift.
There are different ways to witness. One is by your life. Do people know that you are a Christian? Are you acting like one? That is a witness.
I liken witnessing to being like a running back in football. A running back is supposed to look for “hole in the line.” He is supposed to let his blockers block for him and he should run in the holes they create. In the same way, we should look for openings people give us in their conversations with us to mention Christ or something Christian. You can be as subtle as you are comfortable with. Look for the Holy Spirit to block for you and give you an opening.
Almost anything can be a cue to talk to someone about Christ. I won’t give specifics because you need to mold your witness to the other person. Sometimes even carrying a Bible in public can be a witness.
Are you feeling down today? Try witnessing to Christ.
If you do, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!
The day after I was saved, I got on a plane to head home for Easter. The fella who led me to the Lord gave me a Living Bible New Testament. I held it up while reading it on the plane. I felt like people were looking at me. I think they were. Of course, I have been a lot more overt since then (cf. blogs, Face Up, The Gospel, and David Denied).
If God is urging you to say something to someone, step out on faith and try it. At the least, pray for someone to be saved.
What else do we have to do while on earth that’s more important?
The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: A Giant Uprising