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Old Testament: 2 Samuel 15:23-16:23
Shimei threw his dust, it was the same as David being cussed.
2 Samuel 15:23-37 Hush, Hush Job
Zadok, not to be confused with Dr. Zarkov or Dr. Zorba or even Zorba the Greek, brought the ark to David. David did not want to use the ark as a good luck charm so he told Zadok to return it to Jerusalem. David was going to trust God alone.
David wept (cf. Jn. 11: 35) on the way up the Mount of Olives and covered his head. All his people followed his example. When he found out that his advisor, Ahithophel, had switched sides, he prayed that God would make his counsel “foolishness” (v. 31).
David enlisted Hushai to infiltrate Absalom’s brain trust and report back to him. His job was to offset the advice of Ahithophel.
2 Samuel 16:1-4 Ziba, A Zippo
Ziba, not to be confused with Zadok or Dr. Zarkov or Dr. Zorba or even Zorba the Greek, came to David with gifts to report Mephibosheth’s defection. David didn’t have any way to check out Ziba’s report so gave all of Mephibosheth’s belongings to Ziba. Ziba’s report was bogus (19: 24-28). He was just an opportunist trying to take advantage of the situation.
2 Samuel 16:5-14 Shimei’s Dust
There used to be an article in Christianity Today magazine called “Shimei’s Dust.” There had been many “Shimei’s” over the years. The purpose of the article was to critique Christianity and I suppose to stand up under the scrutiny. Not a bad idea.
The reference is to the fiend who followed alongside David while he was in exile casting stones at David and all his followers. He was a relative of Saul’s and obviously resented David’s kingship. He cursed David saying that he was a man of bloodshed and that God had taken the kingdom from him and given it to Absalom.
Abishai wanted to off him . . . immediately. David believed Yahweh had actually sent Shimei to harass him. David thought perhaps he would be blessed if he just accepted the affliction (v. 12). Paul also felt like God had sent him affliction to strengthen him (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
2 Samuel 16:15-23 A Wrench In The Works
Hushai, David’s spy, was in Jerusalem to greet Absalom when he came to town with his people and his advisor, Ahithophel. Absalom asked Hushai why he wasn’t with his friend, David. Hushai persuaded Absalom that he believed Yahweh had put him in place as king. “Long live the king,” Hushai said leaving things a bit ambiguous as to which king he meant (v. 16). He meant David! He also implied that Absalom had a right to the throne since he was David’s son (v. 19). Of course, it was only an implication!
Ahithophel advised Absalom to take David’s concubines whom he had left behind in the palace and “have his way,” so to speak, with them. Unbeknownst to Absalom, he was about to fulfill Nathan’s prophecy that another would take his wives in broad daylight (2 Sam. 12:11-12). A tent was pitched on top of the palace for this very purpose. It was a brash statement that Absalom had taken over David’s dynasty. Although getting advice was like getting advice from Yahweh, it was not identical.
New Testament: John 18:25-19:22
Nothing could Pilate’s conscience sooth, and did he really want to know the truth?
John 18:25-40 What Is Hip?
Peter denied Jesus a second time while warming himself. One of Malchus’ relatives heard him and said, “I saw you in the garden with Him not long ago, didn’t I?” Peter denied him again for the third time and a rooster crowed just like Jesus said it would happen.
Next stop for Jesus was the Praetorium, Pilate’s palace. The religious leaders didn’t enter the Praetorium themselves so they wouldn’t defile themselves and be disqualified from eating the Passover meal later that weekend. Isn’t that just the way religion is? They were totally missing the point that the Passover meal was going to be served but they were going to reject it.
Pilate asked them what charge they brought against Jesus but they didn’t give him a straight answer. Pilate told them to handle the matter themselves but they retorted that they couldn’t put Him to death by Roman law. BKC cites three reasons Jesus had to be put to death by the Romans: 1) to fulfill prophecy that no bones be broken (stoning would have broken bones) 2) to include all people in the guilt of the act, both Jews and Gentiles 3) to fulfill the symbol of being “lifted up” (cf. John 3:14, see also Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13).
Pilate asked Jesus if He was king of the Jews. Jesus asked if that was his own question or someone else’s. Pilate said that he wasn’t a Jew so who did Jesus think had brought the charges? Jesus told him that His kingdom wasn’t of the current world system. If it were, his disciples would be fighting at that moment. Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered in the affirmative, that He came into the world to show everyone the truth. Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”
Pilate didn’t wait for an answer but stated that he found no guilt in Jesus. He tried to get out of his predicament of finding Jesus innocent and pleasing the Jews. There was a tradition to release a prisoner at Passover. Strangely, the crowd chose the low-down, dirty dog, Barabbas. Barabbas was a robber (v. 40) but was also known to be an insurrectionist and murderer (Luke 23:19). How could the people choose Barabbas over Jesus? The religious leaders put them up to it (Matt. 27: 20). But John has also told us that humankind chooses darkness over light (John 3:19).
John 19:1-15 Scourged
Pilate had Jesus scourged. Who knows why if He was innocent? He again tried to appease the Jews. Pilate told the Jews to take Him back and kill him. But the people said Jesus made Himself out to be the Son of God. That scared Pilate so he went back and asked Jesus where He was from. Jesus didn’t answer. Pilate tried to persuade him with logic, that he had authority over Him. Jesus corrected him, that he had no authority that wasn’t given him “from above” (v. 11).
Pilate again tried to persuade the Jews to release Jesus. They pinned him saying he was no friend of Caesar’s. That last thing Pilate wanted was to be perceived as rebelling against Caesar.
So Pilate brought Jesus out before the people and cried out, “Behold, your King!” (v. 14). Their response: “Crucify Him! We have no king but Caesar” (v. 15).
John 19:16-22 King of the Jews
Pilate sent Jesus out to be crucified. He had to pull His own execution device, the cross. He was led to the Place of the Skull, so-called because it looked like a human skull. They crucified Him there with two other men, one on each side. Pilate put an inscription on the cross, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” It was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, all the major languages at the time.
The chief priests were offended. They didn’t want “King of the Jews” written on the sign but wanted clarification that He had said He was King of the Jews. But Pilate wouldn’t budge on it, saying, ““What I have written I have written” (v. 22).
Psalm 119:113-128 A Wisdom Psalm By Anonymous
The psalmist loved God’s law, the double-minded had a fatal flaw.
Psalm 119:113-128 Ayin‘ching For Trouble
Today’s acrostic stanzas begin with the Hebrew letters Samekh and Ayin. A Samekh is like a “S” in English and the Ayin is just a silent letter.
Double-minded people won’t ever receive anything from the Lord. James said that (cf. James 1:6-8, cf. Rom. 14:23). The psalmist hated double-minded people (v. 113). He knew he couldn’t trust people who weren’t sure about what they were doing. A prototypical double-minded person is an unbeliever. They certainly don’t know what they’re doing.
The psalmist would much rather trust God’s Word. He knew it was firm and stable and could be trusted (v. 113b). Do you trust what you hear on TV or see in movies? Do you notice how they contradict themselves all the time. Recently, a major national news operation was in town covering contemporary events. They got all kinds of information wrong about local city names and landmarks. I wondered how I could trust them on other stories if they couldn’t get things right that I personally knew about.
The Word is so important. It should be our life (v. 116). It trips up the wicked but protects us (vv. 117-119). The psalmist lives the way he should. He shakes at the thought of God’s dealings with people (v. 120). He loves believers and will discipline them but the wicked need to really watch out. Better yet, they should turn toward God and trust Him.
In the Ayin stanza, the psalmist pleads with God to protect him from fakers (vv. 121-128). He only wants to do God’s will (v. 121). Hesed, “lovingkindness,” is again mentioned in verse 124 because it is through God’s grace and love that the psalmist is protected. He’s apparently having trouble again with the arrogant who are also lawbreakers (vv. 122, 126).
The psalmist’s priorities were right (v. 127). He’d rather have a good Bible than be a millionaire (v. 127). When a person has that kind of attitude, God will watch out for him (vv. 121-122).
He not only disliked double-minded people (v. 113), he also found abhorrent those who take a “false way” (v. 128, see yesterday’s verse 104). Who do you hang with? Are they people that are itching for trouble? Are they double-minded doubters? Maybe it’s time to find new friends.
Proverbs 16:10-11 A Standard Concern
Best to measure everything’s weight, best to be honest and get things straight.
Verse 10 is a little like verse 9. When a king of Israel spoke, it was supposed to be as God Himself speaking (Deut. 17:18-20). Of course, we’ve already seen that, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Prov. 21:1). So even the king’s words are under the control of God. And that includes the kings or leaders of any nation.
Much of the problem in the world today is that there are no standards. The moral standards all go back to God someway (v. 10). The Ten Commandments are the basis for much of our morality today as are many of the Mosaic laws. If atheists have good moral standards, it is because they just happen to be the same as God’s. The decline of our nation can be tied to the failure of the church in America. As the church has failed to be salt and light in the world (cf. Matt. 5:13-16), the nation has declined and lost God’s blessing.
People have said that “everything is relative.” Have you ever heard that? Try to cheat those people, though, and you’ll find out that they, too, believe in standards. God is not happy when people are cheated. He really is not happy when His moral standards are violated (v. 11b).
Scripture: 2 Samuel 16:12 NASB “How To Survive A Dusting”
“Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” 2 Samuel 16:12
Maybe you’ve met someone like Shimei. He followed David around cursing him and throwing dust on his head. He was a relative of Saul’s and blamed David for everything that had happened to Saul. Of course, Saul had brought all his bad fortune on himself. David’s entourage wanted to off Shimei for his disrespect for him.
David told his entourage to leave Shimei alone. David thought maybe God had sent Shimei to curse him. David was humble enough to accept God’s chastening. As mentioned in today’s blog, Paul thought God had sent him a “thorn in the flesh.” The purpose of his affliction was to humble him and keep him trusting the Lord rather than himself (2 Cor. 12:7-10). By the way, Shimei got was coming to him (check out the blog, Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe for a commentary on 1 Kings 2:36-46).
How do you treat people that harass you? Do you try to eliminate them or get revenge against them? Another alternative would be to “kill them with kindness” and let God have His way (cf. Rom. 12:17-21). David was willing to turn Shimei over to God and let God handle the man.
Are you up to following David’s example? Can you take Paul’s advice to, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you”?
If you can, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!
Peter writes that, in general, no one will hurt us for trying to do the right thing. Then he says, “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, [you are] blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED” 1 Pet. 3:13-14).
Is there anyone in your life today that you need to turn over to the Lord and let Him deal with? He can do a lot better job than we ever could. Turning things over to him will save us a lot of stress and anxiety.
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: What Is Hip?