May 23

2 Samuel 2:12-3:39

It seems like games in the beginning, but scuffles between Israel and Judah escalate into a battle between them, led by the respective generals, Abner and Joab.

I believe it was due to the anointing on David, that Judah defeats Israel; after it was all said and done we read in:

2 Samuel 2:30–31 (NKJV) “So Joab returned from pursuing Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had struck down, of Benjamin and Abner’s men, three hundred and sixty men who died.”

Judah won the battle, but lost a dear brother in Asahel (Joab and Abishai’s brother, sons of Zeruiah).

In Israel, General Abner who controlled the army, essentially had control of the country, and when he and King Ishbosheth had a falling out due to a concubine chaos, that was all Abner need to tip the scale in David’s favor. Everyone knew the prophecy of David eventually being king. Abner’s defeat at the hands of Joab no doubt, played a part in his decision as well…he saw God’s anointing.

After Abner meets with David and sets everything up for the transition of power, Joab shows up, chases Abner down, and rather than facing him like a man, in a fair fight, he tricks him, and Joab calls him aside, only to kill him. 

David doesn’t approve of Joab’s bloody behavior, and makes it widely known. When the nation sees it wasn’t David’s intention for Abner to be murdered. We read in:

2 Samuel 3:36–37 (NKJV) “Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, since whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s intent to kill Abner the son of Ner.”

David is on his way, to becoming the King of all Israel.

John 13:1-30

What a perfect picture of love! For Jesus it wasn’t just a job to do (it could have been) no, it was infinitely more, it was a life of love. How would He finish His mission on earth? He was about to die a horrible and humiliating death, the death of the cross, but before that, He stops and drops low to wash the disciple’s feet, even of Judas, the one who He knew would betray Him.

He loved them to the end.

In those days the people wore sandals and the streets were extremely unsanitary – there would be dust, dirt, maybe even dung, toe jam, you name it. It was the job of the lowest slave in the house to wash a person’s feet upon entrance, but at this dinner…no one offered to do the job, so Jesus did. In the process, Jesus teaches all of us, especially “leaders” that godly leaders are to be servant-leaders; not shoving leaders, but loving leaders. We’re not raised up to BE served, we are bought low TO serve. Sandy Adams said, “If washing feet is not our primary business, we are not following in His footsteps.”

It’s not enough to know these things, Jesus said the blessing comes IF I do these things (John 13:17).

In washing feet, Jesus was also communicating a message of practical forgiveness. When Jesus came to Peter he told the Lord “No, You will never wash my feet!” Jesus informed Peter that He needed to do this, for there was a valuable visual also taking place. When we become Christians, we are clean positionally (Jesus told the guys that they were all clean with the exception of Judas). But as we walk through this world our feet get dirty (so to speak), so we need Jesus to cleanse us in a practical sense. As we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:9). What a wonderful Servant-Savior!

During this dinner I see Jesus reaching out to Judas, but Judas won’t budge. Jesus lets the disciples know that one of them will betray Him – this should have triggered a certain fear of God in the heart of Judas – He knows my sin. Have you ever sat in a study and it seems like the teacher is speaking directly to you, he knows your secrets? I have. That’s God talking to us and it’s up to us to listen, and change course. What a tragedy, what hypocrisy to see Judas just eat the bread that Jesus gave him. Judas said no to Jesus’ love, and it was at that point that Satan entered him – Judas went out – and it was night.

Jesus wanted His disciples to know that He was fully aware that all this was going to happen, that it was all within His plan, so that when it happened, eventually (and it would take time) it would strengthen their faith (Isaiah 46:10).

Psalm 119:1-16

The focus of Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the Bible) is the Word of God.

“Every verse except 5 (84, 90, 121, 122, 132) refer to the Word, what it is and what it can do in your life if you let it.” – Warren Wiersbe

(It’s an Acrostic of sorts) “The arrangement is also unique. There are 22 sections of 8 lines each, and the lines in each individual section begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The first 8 lines begin with Aleph, the next 8 with Beth, and so on through all 22 letters. This may have been a device to help people memorize the Psalm. The writer had a great love for the Word of God and was persecuted because he obeyed God and opposed sin. Most of the verses are either prayers for God’s help or affirmation of the writer’s faith in God’s truth despite his difficulties. Meditating on this Psalm ought to make you love and treasure the Word of God more and obey it more willingly.” – Warren Wiersbe

In Psalm 119 the Bible is called:

1. Word (s) (43 times) (communication from our Creator)

2. Law (25 times) (legal)

3. Statutes (22 times) (solid truth)

4. Way (s) (17 times) (when I’m lost or preventative paths)

5. Commandment (s) (22 times) (to do and not to do)

6. Testimonies (y) (23 times) (done; what God has done)

7. Precepts (21 times) (detailed; beyond principles)

8. Judgment(s) (19 times) (condemnation; commendation)

As we go through the Psalm you’ll notice with the exception of the first three verses – it’s all primarily a prayer. May God use His Word in our lives.

A few verses that stood out to me in this section:

Psalm 119:9 (NKJV) “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.”

Notice the capacity of the word to tame even the toughest of people, young men who are usually rambunctious.

Psalm 119:10 (NKJV) “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!”

May we seek God wholeheartedly and never stop reading and heeding HIs Word! It breaks my heart as a pastor, to see so many wander from God’s Word (Proverbs 21:16; Proverbs 27:8; James 5:19).

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

This is a passage encouraging us to memorize the word of God, not just that we’d have something to boast about, but something to be about – that I would not sin. Jesus memorized and quoted Scriptures when He was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).

Proverbs 15:29-30

V. 29 – We are righteous as we place our faith in Jesus Christ. He therefore “hears” our prayers (what an awesome thought!)

We read something similar in:

Psalm 145:18 (NKJV) “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”

James 5:16b (NKJV) “..the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

It’s critical to know that it’s by the grace of God that He hears our prayers; but I would also warn you (and myself) not to abuse that grace. If we walk in wickedness, if hold on to sin, it will greatly hinder our fellowship with God and even our prayer life (Psalm 66:18; 1 Peter 3:7).

V. 30 – Sometimes you can see the love in their eyes and it just blesses your heart.

When the words follow (the good report) it encourages us to the core. I think of Pastor Chuck Smith – his look, his smile, his word – what a vessel of God’s blessing he was.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “A positive person’s encouragement, whether nonverbal (by a cheerful look, lit., “bright eyes”) or verbal (good news; cf. 25:25), is helpful and uplifting. Brings joy translates śāmaḥ, also in Proverbs 15:20–21, 23, 31. As in Proverbs 15:13, emotional health contributes to physical well-being (health to the bones; see Proverbs 3:8).”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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