November 19, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 12:1-15

Chapter 11 was the well-known chapter of David and Bathsheba, but not a lot of people talk about the next chapter. This is the part where God sends Nathan to king David to tell him that he sinned against God (verses 7-10). These verses show us a couple things about self-reflection and the punishment for sin.

The first thing you may have noticed was that God sent Nathan to him. This shows that God puts people in our lives to hold us accountable. Nathan told him about a rich man that takes a poor man’s only lamb to serve to his guests instead of one of the lambs from his many flocks of lambs (verses 1-4). David clearly sees how wrong this is and says that the rich man deserves to die (verses 5-6). Then Nathan tells him that this was a story that was alluding to what he did to Uriah by taking Bathsheba and sending Uriah to be killed in battle. I think we all agreed that David sinned against God. Does this mean that David deserved the same judgement that David said the rich man deserved?

The answer is clearly stated at the beginning of Romans 6:23 when it says, “For the wages of sin is death…” David deserved this punishment, but God chose to show him grace. We all deserve this punishment for our sins, but God showed us grace the same way he showed David grace. But sin still deserves punishment. In David’s case, the punishment was a curse on his house and the death of his child. Likewise, our sin deserves a punishment, but Jesus took the punishment for us. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for our actions, but instead it is showing us that the eternal consequences for sin have been paid.

By: Jacob Kerr — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice: Worship and Students at West Campus

November 18, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 11

Today’s passage is one of the most well-known, but negative, examples of David’s life. It is the account of David and Bathsheba, where David sees Bathsheba bathing, has his servants bring her to him, and he has an affair with her. She then tells him that she is pregnant, and to cover up his sin, David first attempts to have her husband Uriah come back so that people would think that the child is his. But Uriah’s determination to be a good soldier actually leads him to his death, as David orders that Uriah be put on the front lines. Uriah essentially carries his own death certificate in the form of a letter from David to the commander of his army, communicating these plans. This account is summarized well in verse 27: “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” (ESV)

What can we draw from this passage?

1. Temptation struck before David saw Bathsheba. 

David should not have even been in Jerusalem at the time this took place. Verse 1 says that this time was when all the kings went to battle; but David stayed behind. The reason for this is unknown, but since no legitimate excuse is given, it is likely that at the very least, David had selfish reasons and was being disobedient by staying back. Temptation then struck, likely harder, because of the selfish position of his heart.

2. David compounded sin with more sin (which never works).

As terrible as his affair with Bathsheba was, he added on to that sin with even more sin, all in the hopes of covering up the first sin. Have you ever been tempted to do this? How did it work out? As we will see with David in the coming chapter, our sin will always be exposed; if not by others, certainly by God.

3. David’s sin was against God.

David certainly sinned against Bathsheba and against Uriah, but his ultimate sin was against God. David knowingly broke the law of God and verse 27 shows that God was very displeased with him. As we will see, there will be consequences for David’s sin, as there is for ours, but the good news is that we will also see David repent from his sin and turn back to God.

Psalm 51 is the place that we see this repentance from David, and it is a place that I often point people to who are really struggling with understanding forgiveness and repentance. It gives us hope as we look at Jesus, who is the only perfect, sinless person that has ever walked the planet. It can be difficult to understand, because of the things that we have done, that our standing before God is not dependent upon our behavior, but in Christ.

We should see the sin of David as a warning to guard our hearts from temptation, but we should also see the amazing grace of a God forgives us even when we feel unworthy, and that should lead us to our knees in humble worship of our great God.

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

November 16, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 10

In 2 Samuel 10, we see David and the Israelites defeat 2 other nations. God is fulfilling His purpose for David and the people of Israel. If you recall back in 2 Samuel 7:9, the Lord says to David, “And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones on earth.” God promised to make David’s name great and that is being accomplished through Israel’s continuous victory of other nations. 

The important thing to notice from chapter 10 is that it is the Lord that is giving the Israelites the victory in their battles. In verse 12, Joab says, “Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” Joab is telling the people that we need to fight, but that the plans of the Lord are going to be what is carried out. Israel’s rise and fall of the nation all had to do with their faith and obedience to God. In this passage, they are obedient and the Lord gives them victory, but later we will see Israel’s disobedience and their demise. 

Here is what we need to know: God is sovereign. His plans are always going to succeed because He is in control of all things. We need to be obedient to Him during all circumstances, whether good or bad, because “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). 

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

November 15, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 9

One writer said of 2nd Samuel 9, “It is, in my personal opinion, the greatest illustration of grace in all the Old Testament.” David asks the question, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Again, to a servant of the former king, Saul, David asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”

David loved Jonathon and respected God’s anointed king, Saul. Repeatedly, it seemed that David appeared grieved that Saul hunted him. David wished the king no harm while Saul saw David as a usurper. David could have gotten bitter and returned hate for hate. So much time had been spent running and hiding. Yet, even now, we see David’s love for his friend and his former, if unwanted, enemy. 

While Mephibosheth should have been considered an enemy of David, David embraced him as a son. Though lame, Mephibosheth wanted for nothing under David’s care. Mephibosheth’s words ring in our ears, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”

Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mephibosheth was a direct heir of the former king. As such, he threatened David’s power. Instead of death or imprisonment, David made him a son. Picture this from Mephibosheth’s eyes. He went from shame and poverty to honor and provision. In an instant, instead of death, he was made a member of the royal family. How grateful do you think Mephibosheth was?

How much more grace have we experienced through Christ? When we were lame and unable to serve ourselves, when we were under the shame of sin, when even our best works were worn like ragged garments, Christ died so that we might be sons and daughters of the King of the Universe. We look forward to an eternity with our Lord and eating from His table. How magnificent is that? The grace Mephibosheth experienced in part, we will one day experience in full. 

So, what should we do based on this passage? One obvious answer is to look for ways to bless others and thereby live out the heart of God. But as I think about how Mephibosheth must have felt I am reminded of how research has repeatedly shown that one of the number one things a person can do to increase their personal happiness is to turn up gratitude in their own life. If that’s true, and it is, then Christians should be some of the happiest people in the world because we should be the most grateful people in the world. If you’re having a bad day, bad week, or bad whatever, spend some time today reminding yourself of the things for which you are grateful. God’s grace is amazing, but sometimes it helps to remind ourselves of just how amazing it is. Do that today!

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate