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Old Testament: 2 Samuel 9:1-11:27
David should have been in battle but watched Bathsheba in a tub, the end result was from God an enormous snub.
2 Samuel 9:1-9 I’ll Have the Mephibosheth
Am I the only one who thinks that Mephibosheth sounds like a type of hamburger helper? I’ll have the Mephibosheth. OK, I guess it is just me.
Years ago when I worked in radio, our manager came in one day all excited because he had heard a sermon on Mephibosheth. He was excited to find out that Mephibosheth was a type of Christian in the church today. I can see why he was so excited.
Here’s the story in a nutshell. David wanted to honor a relative of his dear friend, Jonathan. He found out that Mephibosheth was one of the survivors and sought him out to take care of him. Turned out that Mephibosheth was only five when his father was killed but also was dropped when the nurse received the news. Thus, he was lame in both feet (v. 13). He was crippled and couldn’t provide for himself.
David wasn’t providing for Mephibosheth because of anything he had done but solely because he was related to Jonathan. God acts on our behalf only because we are related to Christ. Mephibosheth ate at King David’s table and David provided servants for him. God, of course, supplies all the resources that we need for the Christian life. Everything we need spiritually, God provides (cf. Eph. 1:3; Rom 8:32).
What a beautiful picture this is of the believer to Christ and the Father.
2 Samuel 10:10-19 High Noon for Hanun
The king of the Ammonites died and David thought he would show honor to his son who had become the next king. So he sent his ambassadors to them. But the young king’s advisors told him David was only spying out the land to overtake it. The young king, Hanun, returned the ambassadors with only half their beards and cut off half their robes with their rear lights exposed. David told them to hang in Jericho till their beards grew back.
Hanun realized he was in trouble for disgracing Israel and would have to go to war with Israel. But his army wasn’t large enough. So he made an alliance with the Arameans and the Syrians. They would attack Israel from the north while the Ammonites would attack from the south. David split his forces and attacked the northern forces first. After a great victory, the southern forces fled to Rabbah, the capital of Ammon.
A really bad thing happened between the the first victory agains the Syrians and Arameans and the fall of Rabbah . . .
2 Samuel 11:1-19 Taking A Bathsheba
David messed up royally. Instead of being with his troops, he was back at the palace soaking up rays and drinking mint juleps (figuratively speaking). One night when he couldn’t sleep, he went up on the roof. He looked out over the town and the image of a gorgeous woman bathing. He asked one of the servants who she was and found out that she was Bathsheba who was bathing and that she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of his commanders.
What was Bathsheba thinking? We don’t know. Was she luring David? Was she hoping that she could get permission for Uriah’s return? Was she hoping to be part of the royal family? Speculation abounds.
David sent for her and not so long afterward she returned with the news that here was a potential prince on the way.
David thought quick and came up with a plan. He would bring Uriah home from the siege so he would sleep with his wife, covering up things. What he didn’t count on was Uriah’s integrity. Even though David got him drunk after a night of extreme partying, Uriah refused to be with his wife while his men were out on the battlefield. Fail number one.
David’s next plan was to have Uriah sent into battle in the front lines and where the fighting was the heaviest. He sent a message to Joab that when the battle was at its worst, the soldiers around Uriah should pull back leaving Uriah exposed and with the greatest chance of being killed. He had the sealed note delivered by Uriah himself! How vile! Plan number two was a success.
David told the messenger who brought him the report to tell General Joab not to feel bad about the whole thing since, “that’s the way the ball bounces” (lit. “the sword devours the one as well as the other,” v. 25).
Bathsheba mourned her husband for the prescribed time. After that, David sent for her to become his wife.
Yahweh considered it a heinous affair.
New Testament: John 15:1-27
If you stay in Jesus as a branch in a vine, you will have answered prayer and end up just fine.
John 15:1-17 Branching Out
If you serve the Lord well, you will prosper right? Well, not according this passage.
Notice if you bear no fruit at all, you get “take[n] away” (v. 2). If you bear fruit, the Father will “prune” you. S0unds like it might hurt. Jesus said the disciples were already clean but if they stay with Jesus they will bear “much fruit” (v. 5) and “apart from Jesus” you can do nothing that pleases God. If anyone does not continue in good fellowship with Jesus, they will be taken away like dry branches and burned (v. 6). This could be a false disciple similar to Judas who will be taken away and burned or it could be a disciple who bears no fruit and is as useful as a dead branch that is taken away and burned.
If someone continues in a good relationship with Jesus, they will have their prayers answered (v. 7). The result of being good disciples is that they will bear “much fruit” that will glorify the Father (v. 8) This will all be done by keeping Jesus’ commandments and the result of that will be joy.
So notice the progression: “no fruit” (v. 2a), “fruit” (v. 2b), “more fruit” (v. 2c), “much fruit” (v. 5, 8), and finally, fullness of joy (v. 11).
If a Christian is faithful in service, he or she can expect to be “pruned” which may hurt but ultimately will bear much fruit and glorify Jesus and His Father.
Jesus expects his disciples to love each other but they can not outdo the love of the Savior. No one has more love than to lay down his life for friends (v. 13). Jesus has elevated his disciples from slaves to friends (v. 15). Jesus tells His disciples that He chose them to bear fruit and to love one another. He will answer prayer accordingly (v. 16c).
John 15:18-27 A World Of Hurt
Jesus warned His followers about the world. The world will not accept them or show them any love. The world will hate them. They should not expect love from the world just as they could see that the world did not love Him (v. 20-21). They will want to put the disciples in a “world of hurt” the same as they did to Jesus (v. 20b, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,” cf. 2 Tim. 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”).
It was Jesus’ miracles that brought the hate out of the world because they point to Him being the Master. They want to be their own gods and so hate Jesus “without a cause” (v. 25).
When the the Helper, the Holy Spirit, comes from the Father as a gift from Jesus, He will point to Jesus. The disciples who have been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry will also bear witness to Jesus being God and worthy of praise and worship.
Psalm 119:39-64 A Wisdom Psalm By Anonymous
Treat the Word as soap and in life you will have great hope.
Psalm 119:39-64 What’s He Zayin?
Psalm 119 is a wisdom psalm about the glories of Scripture. It is a teaching poem that has 22 stanzas corresponding to each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Today we look at the Zayin stanza. Zayin is like an “Z” in English. It’s pronounced “Z” like in Zebra.
The second grouping for the day is based on the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Heth. It sounds like a “ch” like in the word church.
The psalmist says that the Word is his comfort (vv. 49-56, especially v. 50). He mentions comfort twice in this section in verse 49 and 52. He didn’t run to a shrink (though that might be necessary in extreme situations). The psalmist says that he derived comfort from obeying God’s law. That is certainly an alien idea these days!
In the Chet section (Heth in the NASB), verses 57-64, the psalmist confesses that the Lord is his life (cf. John 14:6; 17:3). To know the Lord is to obey His commandments (cf. John 14:21; 1 John 2:3).
Are you feeling like the “cords of the wicked” are tripping you up (v. 61)? We have seen that kind of phrase before. In Ps. 18:4-5 and 116:3, it was the “cords of death” or “cords of Sheol” (same thing). Jonah was entangled in seaweed (Jonah 2:5) at the bottom of the sea which he termed the depths of Sheol (Jonah 2:2).
If you have immersed yourself in the Word, like the psalmist, then you will always have it on your mind. Even when you wake up in the “middle of the night” (v. 62). I find it most helpful when I’m in an MRI. Maybe you haven’t had one of those yet but when you do, and if you stored up the Word in your heart (cf. Ps. 119:9), you’ll be thankful!!
Are you down? You have a resource that unbelievers don’t have. It’s called the Word! Learn it! Memorize it! Meditate on it! When you get depressed, go back to it!
Don’t act like those who don’t know the Lord! Trust in the Lord with all your heart (cf. Prov. 3:5-6; Jer. 29:13; Ps. 119:10)!
Proverbs 16:1-3 Man Proposes, God Disposes
Make the Lord your hope and stay otherwise God could get in your way.
You can want whatever you want. Others can want whatever they want. When you pray, what you get is what the Lord wants (v. 1, cf. Prov. 16:9)! In other words, as Thomas a Kempis put it in Imitation of Christ, “Man proposes, God disposes.”
Everyone thinks whatever they do is right (v. 2a). God knows what is really right (v. 2b). I’ve only met two people who said they were sinless. Both later changed their minds. But mind-blowing anyway, isn’t it?
Verse 3 is an all-time classic: Do whatever you do as if you’re doing it for the Lord Jesus (v. 3a, cf. Col. 3:23-24). If you do, you will be secure (v. 3b).
Choose Life: Scripture: John 15:7 NASB “Not A ‘Catch 22′”
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
Jesus is explaining to the disciples that they have been chosen for a mission. Their mission is to bear fruit and lots of it (John 15:8, “much fruit”).
Many promises of answered prayer are taken out of context. They are taken to mean that God is like a genie that will answer any request we have.
Here are some of the promises we have for answered prayer:
John 14:12-14, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. ‘Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us [in] whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
John 16:24, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
Here are the catches:
1) The Father must be glorified in the answer (John 14:13, 15:8)
2) The request must be made with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6)
3) The request must be according to God’s will (1 John 5:14)
4) The request must be made in Jesus’ name, that is, according to His character and wishes
So it’s not quite a “Catch 22” situation in which case you would never get an answer to prayer. But you can only get whatever you want if it’s good for you and glorifies God.
What are you asking God for? Is it good for you? Is it good for God? Then you will get a positive answer.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Many people are looking for joy. Jesus promises us joy in answered prayer. The reason is that God will only answer our prayers if they are good for us and good for Him. When we are in sync with God, we will have true joy.
Start asking God for stuff. Keep a record of your answers. You can write them in your diary or in your journaling Bible. Your answered prayer will bring you joy.
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: Taking A Bathsheba