January 12, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 24

Did David really sin in this passage? It looks like God told David to take a census of the people of Israel then David understands it to be sin in v. 10 of the passage. At first glance this passage is rather confusing and seemingly contradictory. Of course the Bible is completely true and inerrant so there must be a way to would reconcile the passage. To do this we will look at a parrallel passage that depicts this very event in 1 Chronicles 21:1

“Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.”

So was it the “Lord” or was it “Satan?” Since we know that God himself does not sin or author sin (James 1:13-14) then we must conclude that God allowed Satan to incite David. So, David followed the encouragement of Satan and had his commander Joab go all throughout Israel to take a census of the people. Now, why would taking a census of the people of Israel be sinful? To me it would seem somewhat responsible for the king to know how many people were under his command. David was responsible for all of these people. The truth is we do not know exactly what was sinful about this particular census because the passage does not specifically say. However, I think that based upon the result of the census we can gather an understanding of David’s reason for the census.

Verse 9 says, “and Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: in Israel there were 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000.”

David was interested in knowing how many warriors that he had. This may suggest that David was trusting in the might of his own army and not in the might of God. The ESV study bible states, “By numbering the people for military purposes (v.9), David apparently showed lack of trust in the Lord to supply the necessary men when needed, and wrongful pride in the hundreds of thousands of forces at his command (see v.10).  Joab knew it was wrong.” David’s pride is what caused the census to happen and made the taking of the census sinful. So, because of David’s sin the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel for three days and 70,000 men lost their lives. All of this because of one man’s selfish pride.

So what can we learn?

1. We must beware of our foolish pride. On the surface David’s request seemed innocent enough but it is not always the action that is judged but the motivation of the heart. If David’s motivation would have been to glorify God or to figure out a way to better care for God’s people then maybe his taking of the census would not have been a sinful act. A census in and of itself is not sinful. So we should stop justify our actions solely based upon what we are doing but upon why we are doing them. Then maybe we would not become self righteous about our church attendance as our saving grace but by our love for Jesus and our desire to glorify God.

2. Sin not only destroys us but everyone around us as well. Husbands, your sin impacts your wife. Wives, your sin impacts your husbands. Dads, your sin will impact your children. Moms, your sin will impact your children. Pastors, your sin will impact your congregation. Bosses, your sin will impact your employees. I could continue but I think you get the idea.

3. God is just but also merciful. God could have destroyed all of Israel because of David’s sin but he did not. However, he did punish them because he is just. There is no doubt that we face the very real consequences of our sin on a daily basis. Whether it is a divorce rate that it is at an all time high or a tragic school shooting, the markings of sin are all around us every day. However, thankfully for those who believe in Jesus Christ we know that our sin has already been paid for and it is by grace that we are set free. (Romans 8:1)

Posted by: Chad Wiles

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January 11, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 23

I wanted to write today about how cool it would have been to be labeled as one of the “mighty men” of David.  I mean, what man wouldn’t want to have that label?  It would be powerful (and prideful), but really cool to say, “Hi my name is Rich.  I’m a mighty man.”

I decided that instead of writing about “mighty men” that I would write about the big contrast that can be seen in I Samuel 23:1-7.  I’ll be short and sweet today.

The big contrast goes something like this:  Men and Rulers who follow the Lord, like David…

1)      are used as vessels of the Lord (vs. 2)

2)      hear from the Lord (vs. 3)

3)      rule righteously (vs. 3)

4)      enjoy the prosperity of righteousness (vs. 4)

5)      find security in the Lord’s everlasting covenant (vs. 5)

6)      grow in their salvation/faith (vs. 5).

Men and Rulers who do not follow the Lord…

1)      are thrown away like worthless thorns (vs. 6)

2)      face destruction (vs. 7)

This is a basic, foundational truth all throughout Scripture.  Those who follow the Lord are used of the Lord and experience His blessings.  Those who do not follow the Lord are basically useless in His kingdom and they experience destruction.  There are countless examples of this truth in the Scripture.  There are countless examples of this truth in all of our lives as well.  Many of us know people who are experiencing the destruction of not following Jesus.  On the other hand, many of us know people who are experiencing the joy of following the Lord.

I want to be a Christ-follower because it brings glory to God, first and foremost, and because I get to be a vessel to spread His kingdom.  At the same time, I am excited to receive the blessings of being a Christ follower.  The life He gives is so much better than the contrast.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

January 10, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 22

This amazing song has a ton of stuff we could talk about. This beautiful song of thanksgiving and worship (which becomes Psalm 18) is the ode of a man who is at the end of his life and has walked with God. The journey wasn’t perfect and he made some mistakes, a few big ones in fact. God however, is always faithful to take us back and forgive us. This passage is a bit lengthy so I won’t bog you down with more to read. Only this question to think on:

When you get to the end of your life and earthly journey with the Lord, what will your song be?

Will your song be one of victory and thankfulness or will it be one of regret and hopelessness for eternity to come? Walk with Jesus in such a way that your song will be a victory chant, not the blues.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

January 9, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 21

There are essentially two vignettes within today’s chapter. Let’s take a look at each story’s main themes closely to discern what the LORD reveals from each of these passages:

David avenges the Gibeonites (v1-14).

From this section, there is one key word that unlocks the meaning of the passage. That important theological word is atonement. We find this in verse 3: “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement, that you may bless the heritage of the LORD?” This word means to make amends, in other words, to restore satisfaction lost from a wrong committed. An easy way to remember the definition of this word is to split it into its parts: at – one – ment, thus allowing people to be “at-one” with each other again, that is the purpose of atonement. In this chapter we see David seeking to atone for the sin of Israel’s former king Saul. David is a man of integrity who keeps his oaths (2Samuel 21:7), while Saul is wicked and rashly breaks a long standing oath (see Joshua 9:19-20). By murdering some Gibeonites Saul’s sin was especially heinous because it misrepresented the very character of God. No mere apology or generous gift could appease the Gibeonites for Saul’s sin – atonement was needed to remedy the problem.

Q:) What does this teach us?

A:) The author of 2 Samuel is making clear through these verses that only atonement can be the remedy for sin. Saying, “I’m sorry” is not enough. Going to church, reading your bible, praying or serving others is not enough. Sin must be atoned for, your good works cannot erase your sinful blemishes. Moreover, it is not the guilty party who decides how to reach atonement; rather it is the person ‘in the right’ who decides how the sin will be atoned for. This lesson is profound. God decides, not you. Since all humans stand guilty before our Creator God, only He can decides how atonement will ultimately take place. In his grace he has provided his only son Jesus Christ to be atonement for our sin. Praise him today! Revere the Lord in your heart. You can now truly have at – one – ment with God through believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ (1Peter 3:18).

Four Episodes of War (v15-22)

David grew weary in battle… but Abishai came to his aid” (v15,17). David’s weariness in battle shows us this: you are not indispensable to God’s plans. In other words, God does not need you (see Esther 4:14, Acts 17:25). This is humbling. Without a proper understanding of this we tend to become prideful or even full of shame / disappointment / or envy when others succeed instead of us.

Moreover, scripture offers a wise lesson here: that we must put others in place around us who can see our weaknesses and compensate for them. Without his fellow soldiers, David would have died. We need one another. Also, the way David’s men fight against the Philistine giants is an excellent example for us because verses 18-22 shows them fighting in the pattern David originally set for them – when he first killed Goliath several years earlier. From all of this we can see that God can work, and will work, by means of others just as surely as He can use you! This passage also shows us that followers tend to become like their leaders (Luke 6:40). Whether a pastor, parent, or friend, let it be known that you are influencing other people. For both Saul & David, their actions and influence have ripple effects far into the future. Saul left echoes of his sinfulness, for David there are echoes of men staying valiant and fighting for the Lord. Consider how you are impacting others around you today. Ask the Lord to help you, meditate on this:

How can I influence others for God’s kingdom today?

Posted by: Taylor Wehrle, College Intern