June 2

2 Samuel 19:11–20:13

David could never have been king without God stretching forth His hand to bring it to pass, but that doesn’t mean David did nothing. Here we read of the elders of Israel once again considering David to be king, so David sends a message to the men of Judah to do the same. David sends Zadok the priest, to the elders of Judah and even to Amasa, vowing to make him commander of Israel’s army.

Just as Absalom had swayed Israel in the wrong direction, David swayed them in the right direction. One of the most important principles in life is that we are called to do the possible, while God does the impossible. We knock on doors and check the locks, but it’s God who opens those doors – and in this case, once again, God opened the door to crown David as king.

Another important maxim in life, is that it’s not just about the destination, it’s also about the journey along the way. On their journey to Jerusalem, the Bible chronicles the different individuals who came to welcome David back, along with his entourage. 

Among the 1,000 Benjamites welcoming David back was: Shimei, Ziba, and Mephibosheth. Shimei was the man who cursed David on his way “out,” who now cowers in fear and admits he has sinned. Justice in those days would say that he deserved to die, but David showed him grace (for now).

Another man who welcomed the king was Ziba with his 15 sons and 20 servants, and then there’s Mephibosheth, which brings up a few questions. Ziba previously told King David that Mephibosheth was against him, but now we find him with his lame feet uncared for, mustache untrimmed, he hadn’t washed since King David had gone, he said he was in mourning at the king’s departure, so David questions him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” Mephibosheth explains how Ziba had deceived him, and slandered him to the king. As a lame man he was virtually helpless to get up and go – but Mephibosheth says, “Whatever you decide, your majesty, I will yield, for you are like an angel to me.” David decides not to investigate, and rules in favor of both men.

David wanted Barzillai the Gileadite to go on to live with him in the palace, but Barzillai chose to spend his final days in his hometown with his family. He asked David to take his servant Chimham in his stead. Chimham no doubt showed potential and would be young enough to serve and enjoy.

It’s interesting to see Israel and Judah now “fighting” over David (2 Samuel 19:41-43). Life is filled with fickle people, isn’t it?

Once David arrives in Jerusalem he gets word that a rebel named Sheba, a Benjamite (keep in mind that King Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin) makes his rebellion known, and the men of Israel followed Sheba, discounting the recommendation of their elders.

This brings out the warrior in David, who returns and asks Amasa (his new general) to gather his men and report for duty. When Amasa delays, David sends Abishai (Joab’s brother) to deal with the uprising (David was trying to replace Joab in the process). On their way to Sheba they run into Amasa, and Joab kills him with a kiss and a sword. As the world often says, “All is fair in love and war,” but Joab would eventually pay the price.

John 21:1-25

We can’t see it as clearly in the English translation, but in the Greek language Peter appears to be going back to permanently fishing for fish, rather than being that fisher of men God had called him to be (Luke 5:10). To make matters worse, Peter was taking six of the disciples with him!

What grace, that Jesus went to them. What grace that they caught nothing that night. What grace that that morning they caught 153 fish, but only at the direction of Jesus. What a difference between doing things my way, and doing things God’s way!

John was the first to recognize it was the Lord, but Peter was the most enthusiastic as he plunges into the sea, to see Jesus. I’ve always found it fascinating the way John gives us the number of fish which were caught – 153 (John 21:11). There is much speculation as to why they counted, and why the number is provided in the Gospel of John – for John is saturated with symbolism. William Barclay offered some insight, “The simplest of the explanations is that given by Jerome. He said that in the sea there are 153 different kinds of fishes; and that the catch is one which includes every kind of fish; and that therefore the number symbolizes the fact that someday men of all nations will be gathered together to Jesus Christ.”

After breakfast, Jesus gets personal with Peter. In His dealings with the denying disciple, and now the deserting disciple, I’m reminded over and over again, of God’s grace in my life. I’m also challenged as someone who longs to serve the Lord obediently. Jesus simply asks Peter if he loves (agapes) him more than these. True ministry should flow from a love for the Lord. But Peter is honest (different Greek words are translated love), and he admits to the Lord that his love is not yet agape, it is phileo (the Greek word speaks of a brotherly love or a fond affection, and not that Divine and unconditional love). There has been much speculation as to the “more than these.” It’s probably best that it’s not specified because ultimately, we must love Jesus supremely, more than any worldly ambitions, possessions, or relations.

Jesus then reinstates Peter to ministry, commanding Him to feed His lambs, to tend His sheep, and feed His sheep. That was Peter’s calling. What would you say is your calling? Whatever it is, it all flows from loving the Lord and knowing that the people we’re called to serve belong to Him and need His love, His guidance, and His Word.

The third time Jesus questions Peter (He did it three times due to the three denials) Jesus comes down to Peter’s level, do you phileo Me? Peter is grieved by this – perhaps it’s because of the repetition. It may also be due to the fact that Jesus came down to his level of “love” only to a certain extent. Peter is right when he says, “Lord, You know all things…” He knows how much we really love Him.

In the end, Peter does what many of us do; he gets his eyes on others, “Lord, what about John?” Jesus said, don’t worry about him, you follow Me. He had always said that hadn’t He? That’s all He asks of all of us, to follow Him. Let’s do our best to do just that…all the way home.

In closing the book John mentions the fact that there were many other things that Jesus did, which were not written in his Gospel – so MANY things, that if it was all written down, the world itself couldn’t contain the books that would be written. From what I’ve heard, the 4 Gospels only chronicle 52 days in the life of Christ, but His public ministry lasted approximately 1, 277 days. Can you imagine all the words and works of Jesus Christ? I wonder if those books will be available in heaven?

Psalm 120:1-7

Expositor’s, “Psalms 120-134 form a collection known as the “Songs of Ascents,” which in turn is a major part of the Great Hallel psalms (120-36; see comment on Psalm 113). The meaning of the designation “song of ascents” is not clear. Likely the songs were sung in the three annual festival processions, as the pilgrims “ascended” to Jerusalem (Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 16:16).”

I found it fascinating that immediately following Psalm 119, which is a Psalm all about the Truth (the Truth of God’s Word) the Psalmist deals directly with lies. I’ve said it over the years, that lies are the language of Lucifer, the dialect of the Devil. As a matter of fact, I was thinking how the whole world is hearing and reading his “lie-brary” every day! 

In this case the Psalmist speaks of personal slander that is being spoken about him that’s just tearing him up. He prays for God to deliver him from those lying lips and deceitful tongue…they were like arrows to his heart. The coals of the broom tree are explained by NET notes, “The wood of the broom plant was used to make charcoal, which in turn was used to fuel the fire used to forge the arrowheads.”

The enemy is an accuser, and sadly there are many who live there daily, in that “nation of accusation.” Our heart aches for this person:

Psalm 120:6–7 (NKJV) “My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace. 7 I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.”

This Psalm clearly brings to mind another Psalm:

Psalms 109:4 (NKJV) “In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.”

Proverbs 16:16-17

V. 16 – Which will you choose? Temporal wealth or eternal wisdom? Sometimes a person is blessed with both (God knows what we can handle) but many times a person must choose. I can spend time trying to make money, or I can spend time, energy and passion doing my best to grow in wisdom (Matthew 6:24).

V. 17 – Part of a new start is examining my life and asking God to show me my sin. Once He does (usually through prayer or failure). I then ask Him for help – for grace to repent and overcome, to “depart from evil.”

There’s an element of safety and keeping in Christianity.

Jude 21a (NKJV) “Keep yourselves in the love of God…”

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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