Amnon commits an egregious sin against his half-sister and though David is hurt and angered by Amnon’s actions, he doesn’t punish him. The most likely cause? Because David had sexual sin in his past as well and felt as if he couldn’t judge Amnon. Do you see how our sins affect us far beyond the initial act? And they don’t just affect us, but many around us as well. Though are sins are forgiven, consequences are real.
2 Samuel 13:1-39:
- 2 – Amnon and Tamar were half brother and sister. They shared David as their father.
- 3-14 – Jonadab’s plan is successful and Amnon rapes Tamar. In verse 13, Tamar even pleads with Amnon to ask David if they can marry one another so this won’t be a violation. Amnon still overpowers her.
- 15 – Not only does he violate her, but then he kicks her out of bed and hates her fiercely. Amnon’s sexual sin begins to cause a downward spiral of destruction.
- 20 – Once a woman was no longer a virgin, whether by choice or not, she was cast aside. Absalom’s kindness towards Tamar was far better treatment than most women received.
- 21 – David is angry but does nothing to Amnon. He may have felt unworthy to judge or enact justice upon Amnon because he had committed his own sexual sin.
- 26-33 – Absalom takes matters into his own hands and kills Amnon. Though Amnon’s sin was egregious, Absalom’s actions are also sinful.
- 6-20 – Jesus’ final prayer for his followers.
- 20-26 – Now Jesus prays for all those who will come to believe as the disciples continue to share the gospel after Jesus’ death. Isn’t it cool to know that Jesus prayed for us?
- 81-88 – The first section is crying out to God for help because the psalmist is being persecuted by those who don’t follow God’s commands.
- 89-96 – The psalmist has a deep reliance on God’s word and laws. The psalmist also seems to remind God of his own faithfulness while asking God to return the favor.
- 6 – We often wonder how we can quit a certain sin or be more faithful. This proverb gives good insight – fear the Lord and you can turn away from evil.
Today’s psalm reminds us of a pretty crucial concept and one that is questioned a lot. We believe that God is a good God and thus does good things. The two make sense together. You can’t really believe one without the other. Often, the fact that bad things happen is used as an argument that God is not good. But what if there’s more to the story than what we can understand? What if God is working those bad things for good, like he says he will? The psalmist raises a good point that we could all stand to think about.
2 Samuel 12:1-31:
- 1-6 – It’s hard not to love the little lamb just from reading Nathan’s story. With good reason, David is enraged at the injustice of the rich man taking the poor man’s beloved lamb and David demands revenge.
- 7-15 – David’s sin against Uriah and God was egregious. Nathan helps him see this through his story of the lamb. Nathan explains David’s punishments for his sin.
- 15-23 – David is faithful through his son’s short life calling on the Lord for grace. Though God is gracious in not killing David, his son still dies.
- 24 – Note that David’s sin did not cause God to take the throne away from him or his family. Solomon will become the 3rd king of Israel.
- 5 – One major theme throughout John is where Jesus came from and where he’s going. He continually alludes to going somewhere and no one seems to understand what that is.
- 7 – The Helper that is to come is the Holy Spirit.
- 16-22 – Jesus will go away when he’s crucified but will only be gone for a short while until he’s raised from the dead.
- 29-32 – Though the writing had been on the wall for a while, the disciples finally understand where Jesus is going and where he came from. They finally recognize who he truly is.
- 33 – A beautiful reminder that even though there is trouble in the world, and the faithful will face persecution, we have hope in our Savior.
- You can feel the tension in the psalmist’s writing. He is both angered by the way his enemies have treated him, but also fully committed to God’s law. We often feel this tension between doing what our sinful nature would lead us towards and remaining faithful to God.
- 68 – A great reminder that God both is good and does good. If we believe one we must believe the other.
- 70 – I wonder if we ever approach God’s law with “delight”.
- 4 – God does not create us wicked, but we sin and fall short. Thus the need for a day of judgment.
Ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Sometimes, it is an honest, innocent mistake. Other times, however, we probably shouldn’t have been in that place in the first place. This is how David got himself in the biggest trouble of his life. He sees a beautiful woman bathing on a roof and even though she’s someone else’s wife, he has to have her. The thing is, though, he shouldn’t have been home to see her in the first place.
2 Samuel 9:1-11:27:
- 1-13 – It wouldn’t have been strange for a king to kill everyone in the line of the previous king to prevent them from trying to take back power. Instead, David holds true to the covenant he made with Jonathan and treats Mephibosheth like his own son.
- 1-4 – The Ammonites didn’t trust David’s kindness and they repay his servants with dishonor. Shaving half their beards would be a sign of dishonor and would make them look ridiculous and cutting off part of their garments was to expose and embarrass them.
- 12-14 – God blessed the Israelites with two simultaneous victories though both seemed like they would have been difficult.
- 1 – David was supposed to be in battle, but chose to stay home and send others out to do his work for him.
- 2-13 – Because David was in a place he shouldn’t have been, he was left open to sin. David tries to cover his sin up by bringing Uriah home so he could think the baby was his. Uriah is too honorable and refuses to enjoy the pleasures of home while the other soldiers are out at battle.
- 14-27 – David assures that Uriah will be killed in battle. This, to some degree, covers up David’s sin. The Lord, however, knows what David has done and is not pleased.
- 4-11 – Beautiful imagery reminding us that we must stay connected to Christ, the source of anything good that can come from us. When we are connected to him, we bear good fruit.
- 12 – Jesus repeats a commandment he gave in the reading two days ago. Repeating a commandment solidifies its importance.
- 17 – He repeats the command to love one another a third time. Clearly this is a crucial command that he intends for all believers to follow.
- 20-21 – Jesus prepares his disciples to receive the same persecution he has received. We, as believers, should expect the same if we are living like Christ.
- 22 – If the persecutors had not known Jesus, they could have claimed ignorance.
- 61 – The psalmist expresses the importance of remaining faithful to God even in the midst of hardship and oppression.
- A powerful explanation of our plans versus God’s. When we offer up our plans to God and give him ultimate authority, we are certain to see success.
Having a rough time with your mother-in-law? Well, whether you like her or not, all of us could learn a thing or two from Ruth, the main character of the book we start today. She’s pretty incredible and unbelievably loyal to her mother-in-law, Naomi. This is a fascinating story of how God works our small decisions into good for us and others.
Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22:
- 1 – Giving someone in marriage seemed to be the ultimate way to mix cultures and to influence. God seems to see this as the ultimate threat. Thus the rest of Israel refuses to intermarry with the tribe of Benjamin.
- 13-24 – Because of the devastation of the tribe of Benjamin, they were on the brink of extinction because no other tribe would allow their daughters to marry Benjamites. This was their plan for providing wives without compromising their own daughters.
- 3-5 – A woman’s only source of wealth and protection were her male relatives. With Naomi’s husband and sons having died, she was extremely vulnerable.
- 16-17 – Though it was normally a bad thing for Israelites to intermarry, Ruth seems to be the exception to the rule. Instead of influencing her husband and his family to her Moabite gods, she becomes to loyal to Naomi and Naomi’s God.
- 7 – Procuring water was a woman’s job. It was unheard of for a man to speak to a woman he was not married or related to in public, but even more unusual because he was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Jews hated Samaritans because they considered them half-breeds.
- 7-15 – Though Jesus is trying to offer the woman something much more important and life-giving than regular water, she cannot understand what he is offering.
- 16-18 – Jesus calls out the woman’s sins to prove that he is not an ordinary person.
- 25-26 – Jesus rarely reveals his true identity so explicitly and when he does, he tends to reveal it to the most unlikely characters.
- 35-38 – Jesus wanted his disciples to begin bringing people to salvation based on the work he and the prophets before him had already done. They didn’t have to do the initial work, but could push the message home.
- 39-42 – Jesus originally came to bring salvation to the Jews, but throughout his ministry he extended it to others as well.
- The Israelites shared the faithfulness of God with younger generations who had not seen it by telling the stories of his great works. This psalm is an example of that.
- Like one of the Ten Commandments, this Proverb encourages its readers not to bear false witness because it only leads to destruction.
It’s infuriating how the Israelites, throughout the Old Testament so far, seem to be stuck in a sin cycle (see what I did there?). God tells them what to do, they choose not to (aka – sin), things get bad, and then they repent. You just want to yell at them, “don’t you get what’s happening here!?!” But then, if we look at our own lives, we tend to fall into the same cycle. Maybe we could learn from their mistakes.
- 30-41 – Gaal spoke ill of Abimelech who, though he had not fully honored God, was still one of God’s people.
- 53-57 – Interesting that a woman with such a significant story doesn’t have her name mentioned. Though Abimelech experienced some success in war, ultimately, his evil was repaid in kind. Like a stone was dropped on his brothers, a millstone was dropped on his head.
- 1-5 – Presumably, both Tola, and Jair served God and Israel faithfully because no evil is mentioned.
- 10-16 – The Israelites continue the cycle of sinning against God and serving other gods and running into trouble. Each time, when the Israelites reach their threshold, they cry out to God and repent. This passage begs the question if God’s forgiveness is ever limited.
- 13-27 – Though the prophets had foretold what would happen to Jesus and Jesus tried to explain it himself before his death, many Jews thought he could not possibly be the Messiah because he died. They had had such hope before and now had lost it.
- 28-35 – Though quickly, the resurrected Jesus revealed himself to Cleopas and his friend.
- 36-44 – Obviously a resurrection is hard to believe because it doesn’t happen often. The disciples convinced themselves that Jesus was just a spirit, so he not only showed his scars, but also ate food, which a spirit wouldn’t do.
- 49 – The disciples were instructed to keep their work contained to Jerusalem until they received power from on high, which was the Holy Spirit, which they received on Pentecost.
- This Psalm encourages us to give thanks and speaks specifically of doing it first thing – when we come into his presence and when we enter his gates.
- 12 – We should seek what is right to God instead of leaning on what we think or understand.
Sometimes we just need a change in perspective. Our world has convinced us that everything is urgent, which often pushes out what’s important. In today’s psalm, the psalmist begins it by stating how magnificent it is to be in God’s presence. The psalmist even states how he longs to spend time with the Lord. If we could shift our perspective from the urgent to something more like the psalmist, we’d be a lot better off.
- 15 – There are a number of times where Scripture describes someone doing everything exactly as they were instructed, or in this case, leaving nothing undone. One hundred percent compliance is what God wants from us.
- 17-19 – All 10 were healed, but only one praised God for it. Each of us receives blessings, but few of us remember to give God thanks for the blessings he’s given.
- 20-21 – Living on earth, we are caught in what is often called the “already but not yet”. This means we can experience some of God’s Kingdom here on earth: grace, joy, selfless love. But we are also still waiting for the fullness of God’s kingdom because we still experience pain, suffering, and injustices here on earth.
- 31-37 – These verses are where the idea of the rapture derives. Many believe that when Jesus comes again, believers will be taken up with him instantaneously and non-believers will be left behind.
- 1-2 – So often we feel as if we have to make time for God or that time with him is simply an item on a checklist. The Psalmist here has a very different view of God and what a gift it is to be in his presence. He says that his soul longs and faints to be in the presence of God.
- 10-12 – Beautiful imagery of the blessing it is to be in God’s presence, the way he cares for and protects us, and how he gives us good gifts.
- We view most sins as harmless, but this verse explains that sin can overthrow us and lead to our ultimate demise.
This obviously isn’t Jesus. I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t wear sweaters and sit on folding chairs, but Jesus was a little Jewish boy who learned the same Scriptures of the Old Testament we learn today. He even memorized the Torah as all Jewish children are required to do. Often it’s hard to view Jesus as a human, but when he quotes Psalm 22 while on the cross in today’s reading from Mark, it reminds us that he learned Scripture and turned to it when in agony.
- 22-26 – It might be weird for us to think about unintentionally sinning because we normally know when we’re making choices that probably aren’t pleasing to God. They truly might have worn something with mixed fabrics unintentionally or broken some other law that they made a mistake on. God made atonement for these sins fairly easy and universal.
- 15 – Normally Moses is defending the Israelites to God and asking for mercy. This time, Moses seems to have had enough of their complaining and asks God not to respect their offerings.
- 23-32 – Korah, Dathan, and Abiram got swallowed up by the earth as a sign that they truly didn’t follow the Lord.
- 15 – Key phrase – “wishing to satisfy the crowd.” We often do things to satisfy a crowd that hurts our relationship with Christ.
- 19 – Striking his head with the reed was intended to force the thorns deeper into Jesus’ head.
- 23 – At the last supper Jesus explained that he wouldn’t drink wine again until he drinks it with his disciples in his father’s kingdom.
- 35 – Jesus quotes Psalm 22 here.
- 38 – The temple curtain separated the holy of holies, where one could encounter God, from the areas where sinful people could be. Jesus’ death literally broke down that barrier.
- 39 – Not insignificant that it is a gentile who recognizes Jesus’ identity.
- David was in actual physical danger when he cried out to God with this Psalm.
There are a lot of times when closing your mouth is beneficial…particularly while sleeping on a plane. Proverbs makes it clear over and over again that we are supposed to limit our words, think before we speak, and listen without trying to insert our opinions as quickly as possible. Who knew this was more than just a life skill? It’s an act of wisdom.
- 19-25 – If people offered animals with blemishes it was to keep the best ones in their herds and flocks. This meant they were not offering their best to God.
- 32 – “Afflict yourselves,” means for them to fast.
- Many of the offerings happened at the appointed times of the festivals.
- 38-41 – Jesus makes similar comments multiple times regarding people who didn’t officially follow him. As long as they were serving others and not preaching a false message, Jesus felt like they were on the same team.
- 42-48 – Whatever it is that causes us to stumble, we should remove.
- 6-8 – We tend to try to trust in our own abilities and accomplishments, but it is God who should receive the glory for saving and empowering us.
- We should all seek to be listeners first.