Spiritual Rants: May 29 “A Joab In The Side” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 2 Samuel 14:1-15:22 John 18:1-24 Psalm 119:97-112 Proverbs 16:8-9

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Old Testament: 2 Samuel 14:1-15:22

Absalom, David’s son, was supposed to stay in his cell, instead he left and began to rebel.

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2 Samuel 14:1-33  A Joab In The Side

General Joab came up with a plan to facilitate Absalom’s move to the throne.  He convinced a woman from Tekoa to approach David as a mourner who had lost one of her sons to his brother.  Joab was using the same tactic that Nathan had in using a story to communicate the king’s sin to him.

The woman’s story was that her family wanted revenge on her remaining son which would leave no heir for her husband.  David promised to protect the widow’s remaining son.

Now the truth came out.  The woman was really trying to show David that he should allow his son, Absalom, to come back from exile to Jerusalem.

David rightly guessed that Joab was behind the woman’s request. So he allowed Joab to retrieve Absalom and allow him to come back to Jerusalem on two conditions.  Firstly, Absalom had to stay in his home and secondly, he was not allowed to come to see the king.

This arrangement worked for about two years until Absalom went stir crazy.  Absalom sent for Joab to seek his help on more than one occasion but to no avail.  His next plan worked.  He set his neighbor’s barley field on fire.  His neighbor happened to be Joab.  The law called for an arsonist to provide remuneration for a field he had destroyed (Exod. 22:6).  Joab now had a valid excuse for talking to Absalom.

Absalom told Joab he would rather be executed than to continue to be cooped up in his house.   He asked to Joab to intercede on his behalf to David.  It all worked.  Absalom was allowed to see the king.  They were reconciled and Absalom was set free.

2 Samuel 15:1-12   Absalom For King

The first thing he did was to start campaigning for the kingship.  Anyone who had a dispute, he would promise justice if he became king.  The people loved him.  He was tall, handsome with long, blonde hair (v. 25-26).  That didn’t hurt his cause.  People love a good-looking leader.  The weight of Absalom’s hair was probably about five pounds before his annual haircut.  Fabio had nothing on Absalom.

After four years (“forty” in some translations are most likely a copyist error in the Hebrew), Absalom asked David if he could pay a vow in Hebron that he had made while in exile in Geshur.  Absalom double-crossed David.  He had a plan to sent out compatriots who were to shout that “Absalom is king in Hebron” when they heard a pre-determined sign of a trumpet call.  Absalom had already stolen away David’s counselor, Ahithophel.

2 Samuel 15:13-22  Absconding Absalom

One of David’s men brought him news of Absalom’s rebellion.  David absconded, fearing Absalom would have him killed if he remained.  He took his family with him but left ten of his concubines to take care of his house.  David let all his servants pass before him but he allowed the Gittites to stay if they wanted.  He said it seemed like just recently that they had become part of the community and David wasn’t going to force them to accompany him in exile.  But Ittai the Gittite volunteered to go with David.  The Gittites were Gentiles from Gath who followed David out of Gath.  They symbolize the Gentiles who would someday follow the Savior.

New Testament: John 18:1- 24

Jesus was not king as they thought but on their knees they were brought.

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John 18:1-11  All Fall Down

I love this passage.  The Gospel of John was written so that people would know that Jesus is God and trust Him for salvation.  That’s why there are the seven sign miracles pointing to His deity.  That is also why there are the seven “I Am’s” pointing to His being One with the Great I Am in the Old Testament.

Jesus left the Garden of Gethsemane and came to the ravine of Kidron where there was a garden.  Get it?  Garden.  Where things die but then growth results (cf. John 12:24).  Judas knew Jesus would be there and informed the authorities.  He came back with Roman soldiers and officials of the Jewish leadership.  They had torches and weapons.  Dig what happens next.

Jesus asked the party that had come to get Him, “Whom do you seek?” (v. 4).  Do you think He didn’t know whom they had come for?   They were coming for Him!  But He made them say it to protect the disciples.  If they had come for Him, they should be leaving the disciples alone.  Who was in control here?

The answer came back from the darkness, “Jesus the Nazarene.”  Jesus replied simply, “I AM” (literal Greek).  Sound like anything?  “I Am”?  Judas was with the crowd.  Dig what happens next.

“They drew back and fell to the ground” (v. 6).  They all fell down!  That is the normal posture when in the presence of Deity.  They didn’t worship but they did fall down.  Scripture says, “every knee shall bow” (cf. Rom. 14:11 quoting Isa. 45:23,   “For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL ,GIVE PRAISE TO GOD, Phil. 2:10, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”).

So Jesus asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” (v. 7).  He wouldn’t lose any of those that God had given Him (cf. John 6:39; 17:12 and v. 9).  He made it clear, “I told you that I AM; so if you seek Me, let these go their way” (emphasize mine, v. 8).

Peter thought he needed to help Jesus but actually got in the way.  He took his sword and cut off the high priest’s helpers’ right ear.  He was probably aiming for his neck.  Good thing Peter was a fisherman and not particularly good with a sword.  Jesus covered him and stuck it back on.  This is the only gospel that names the man.  He was Malchus (v. 10).

Jesus told Peter He was going to have to submit to what the Father had for Him.  Great lesson for us!

John 18:12-24 Petering Out

Jesus was bound and taken away.  But the disciples were safe!  The beginning of the series of illegal trials began.  This happens still today.  Satan doesn’t necessarily follow the rules.  Even churches do things that are against their own bylaws sometimes.

Here is Ryrie’s chart of the trials:


Jesus was taken to the High Priest Annas who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who made the great theological statement that, “it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people” (v. 14). This was an eminently profound pronouncement.  Caiaphas thought he was saving the nation of Israel but the death of Jesus actually redeemed the entire world from sin if they would trust Him.  One man who just happened to also be God could die in the place of sinful humanity and save them.

Peter was following Jesus along with “another disciple.”  John was being modest.  He was the “other disciple” (v. 15).  John had worked for the Jewish council and was known so he was let in (v. 15).  Peter had to wait outside until John could pull strings and get him in, too.  Unfortunately, a slave-girl recognized Peter and asked if he was a disciple of Jesus.  He denied it, “I am not” (v. 17).  He was out warming himself over the fire  used by the council servants and officers.  He was in the wrong company.

The high priest asked Jesus about His disciples and what He was teaching.  Jesus answered what was obvious, He had been teaching in public so how could anything He said be misunderstood.  Our study of the gospels has revealed numerous encounters between Jesus and those sent to try to make Him stumble and incriminate Himself.  Jesus recommended that they question the ones who had heard Him.

After Jesus said that one of the cops said, “What?  Are You a Wise Guy talking that way to the High Priest?”  He slapped Jesus.  Guess the officer didn’t know Who he was talking to!

Jesus said, “If I’m getting something wrong, tell me.  What if I’m understanding all this aright, why do you slap me?”  Annas didn’t know what to do so he sent Him on to Caiaphas.

Here’s my question.  How many high priests can you have?  If Annas was the hp, how could Caiaphas be the high priest?   A high priest was supposed to be an office held for life.  But the Romans did not like power being held by just one person and changed out the priests to keep that from happening.

Psalm 119:97-112   A Wisdom Psalm By Anonymous

Concentrate on the Scripture to live the way straight, on the Word we should always meditate.

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Psalm 119:97-112   I’ll Have Nun Of That

I love the Word.  So did the psalmist who wrote Ps. 119.  He liked acrostics.  So do I.  I used them to get through school.  I also used them in sermon outlines.

The psalmist started each stanza of this poem with a consecutive letter of the Hebew alphabet.  So he wrote 22 stanzas of eight lines each.  Today we look at Mem and Nun.  Can you guess what letters they are in English?  Here’s a hint.  They are almost in the middle of the Hebrew alphabet just as they are in English.  M and N.  You’re right.


The psalmist says outright that he loves the Word (v. 97).  That is his theme in verses 97-104.  Like we couldn’t tell.  He uses different words to mean the Bible and the Word.  He calls it the “law” (v. 97), “commandments” (v. 98), “testimonies” (v. 99), “precepts” (v. 100), “word” (v. 101), “ordinances” (v. 102), “words” (v. 103), and “precepts” again (v. 104).

Knowing the Word made him smarter than his enemies (v. 98) and even brighter than his teachers (v. 99).  I think it takes prayer and the Word to stay ahead of your enemies.  But I was always surprised that a lot of my Christian teachers didn’t know the Word like I thought they would have.

Being older doesn’t always make you smarter (v. 100).  Someone has to use their experiences, mixed with the Word, to have wisdom.  You also have to try to grow in the Lord and avoid evil (v. 101-102).

John ate the Word and it was sweet, then it was bitter (v. 103, cf. Rev. 10:9).  It was sweet because it was the Word but in application it gave him a stomach ache.  A similar thing happened to Ezekiel (cf. Ezek. 3:3-11).   It’s always great to read the Word and contemplate it.  Often we run into trouble after that!

However much trouble we may encounter as a result of studying and living the Word, we gain wisdom (v. 104).  But I’ve found that the closer I get to Christ, the more I hate the “world system” and “every false way.”


There used to be a TV program when I was a little kid called Lamp Unto My Feet.  The name must have been based on this psalm.  In fact, the Word as a guide is the theme of this section.

Lamp Unto My Feet was a cool name for a program but probably didn’t light things up like this psalm does. The Word is better than any TV or radio program or book or dare I say it?  It’s better than any blog.  Always check whatever you hear by the Word itself (cf. Acts 17:10-11).

The psalmist mentions again that he is “afflicted” (v. 107).  He asks God to revive him.  God gave me Ps. 71:20-21 right before I went in for six heart bypasses.  He’s been reviving me since though it’s been a slow process.  It was good for me to be afflicted (cf. Ps. 119:71).  It still is!  I’ve been learning a lot and getting closer to Him.

Do you know the hymn “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms”?  What book do you think the title comes from?  I would have guessed Psalms.  Wrong.  It’s from Deut. 33:27.  OK.  Now you know.  But verse 109 sounds a lot like Deut. 33:27.  We can’t fall too far because God is there to catch us (cf. Ps. 37:24 NIV).  Do you believe that (see Interview With Reggie Jackson)?

Didn’t we just cover that wicked people trying to trap us stuff (v. 110, see Ps. 119:85, 95 yesterday’s reading, cf. Ps. 7:15; 57:6; 26:27; Eccles. 10:8).  Usually, they end up falling into the same trap themselves if we are trusting the Lord (cf. talionic justice in Boomerang Slang).  The wicked are a pain.

I love the Word.  Have I mentioned that?  So did the psalmist.  I said that already (vv. 97, 111).

Do you know what eternal life is?  It is doing what God wants you to do.  True life is knowing Jesus (cf. John 17:3).  Do you really want to live?  Don’t believe what you hear on TV.  The Word is good.  Performing it is life.

Hell is not a party.  Heaven is.  That’s why the psalmist didn’t care what others thought.  He didn’t want to live like the heathen and evil.   He geared his heart to do God’s Word, now and forever, until the end (v. 112).  He knew that’s where the true fun was.

Proverbs 16:8-9  An Enigma

We don’t have to eat every time we get an itch, better to live frugally than be rich.

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Poor people don’t know how good they have it.  It’s better to be a believer and have the riches of the Lord (v. 8a) than all the mess that comes with being rich (v. 8b).  Look what happens to people who win the lottery, for example.  It usually ruins their lives.  And all kinds of relatives and friends come out of the woodwork looking for handouts.

I love verse 9.  It really is a comfort.  You might think you are running your life but you’re not.  You can make your own plans but God is the One Who really guides believers and sets the course of unbelievers (v. 9).

During World War II, the Germans used a code to direct all their military actions.  The machine that the Allies used to break the code was called “The Enigma machine.”  The English couldn’t break the code at first.  Then they did crack it later and knew everything the Germans were going to do in advance.  But they had to disguise what they knew or the Germans would come up with another way to communicate.

The Englishman who was most responsible for interpreting the German messages met with one of the Germans responsible for the code after the war.   The German bragged about how the English could never really break the code.  The Englishman just smiled.  Even years after the war, he couldn’t let on that the English had broken the code in case another war broke out and enemies started using the Enigma code again.  The Englishman knew but he couldn’t say anything.

I’m sure God just smiles whenever we think we know more than He does.  We don’t (v. 9, cf. 1 Cor. 8:2).

Choose Life: Scripture:   John 18:6    NASB    “The Battle Of Bent Knee”

“So when He said to them, ‘I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.’”     John 18:6

This is one of my most favorite verses in the Bible.

First, it says that Jesus is God.  I love that.  I love the thought of Jesus being God.  I love to study the doctrine of His deity.  Why?  Maybe because it is the foundation of truth.  It is the truth of all truths.  Jesus is God.

Another reason is because this is the account of Jesus being taken away to be crucified.  He could have just walked away from the soldiers.  How do I know?  Because when He said He was God, they all dropped.  Blewey!  Right to the ground.  That is a foreshadowing of what will happen at the end of time.  Every knee will bow before Christ (cf. Phil. 2:9-11).

Every knee will bow before Christ in the end.  It’s better to just bend the knee now in worship.  Have you already bowed your knees to Christ?

If you have, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

Many Indians were slaughtered in 1890 at the Battle of Wounded Knee.  It is also known as the Wounded Knee Massacre.  Due to a misunderstanding, many Indians and quite a few soldiers were killed needlessly.

As bad as that event was, there will be another event much more horrible when many who refused to bend the knee to Christ will be sent to a godless eternity.  Just today a person in our hometown was crushed under a car.  People die everyday.  Sometimes we attend events with thousands of unsaved individuals.  Do you think about how people all around you may end up suffering throughout timeless time?

You might not be able to share the gospel (though you should, cf. 1 Pet. 3:15) but can you pray for someone to be saved today?

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:   All Fall Down

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