November 29, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 20

In this story we see that little sin can have big consequences. It is a story where we see that “one act of rebellion lead to bondage for a nation.”

In this narrative we see a man named Sheba. We don’t know much about him but Scripture called him “worthless” (v. 1). We are not sure exactly why Scripture identifies him like this but we know this… He was not a great guy. He led an act of rebellion against David and the nation. This probably seemed right to him, though it was wrong.  This probably seemed big in the moment we see later that this was a small thing compared to the consequences it would bring. 

We see the same words from 2 Samuel 20:1 in 1 Kings 12:16. This occurred right before the Kingdom of Israel was divided into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. This, no doubt, was influenced by Sheba. The end result was exile, bondage, and captivity by their enemies. God’s people became slaves, because of their sin, and it all started with one act of rebellion (Sam Cirrincione). 

This is our story as well. Sin we live in often seems small but the consequences are big. We have no idea where our sin of today will lead us tomorrow. The journey always has a destination. God, through His word, is asking us to repent of sin (even small, seemingly insignificant [in our mind]) and return to Him… trusting that His way is better.

This is why Jesus came and lived, died, resurrected, and ascended. So that we would not live divided from Jesus but united with Him. It is all about Him. 

  1. What did God bring to the attention of your heart as you were reading?
  2. If you continued to live like you are today, where would you be in 20 years?
  3. How can you make Jesus the center of your life this week?

By: Nick Parsons — Pastoral Ministry Associate: College

November 28, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 19

In today’s reading we learn that David is overrun with grief over the death of his son Absalom.  A parent’s love is a unique thing that never turns, even if the child does. We read in verse 2… all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son.  Verse 4 reveals more:

The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Maybe you’ve experience overwhelming grief caused by loss, or loneliness, or even by someone deserting you.  Where do you turn? What do you do? How can God heal your heart?

 

  • Realize that grief is a normal, human emotion.  Normalize the normal… Everyone grieves at one time or another in his or her life.  Even Jesus, the Son of God, grieved – actually several times that we know of. We know He grieved at the death of Lazarus (John 11:35), He wept over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37), and in the garden asking His Father to remove the cup of suffering from Him (Matthew 26:36ff). 

 

 

  • Don’t be an island – reach out to others for help.  When grief is overwhelming, it’s easy to shut down.  That’s exactly the worst thing for you to do. It’s at times like this we need the support of others the most.  Reach out strategically to those who can help you.

 

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

 

  • Draw near to God – allow Him to love you.  The times we need the Lord the most, are the times we often pull away the hardest.  He’s what you need. He can minister to your soul in ways that no one else can.

 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  James 4:8

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.  Psalm 55:2

 

  • Remember that this too shall pass.  Often when you’re in the middle of a “grief storm” in life, you think you’ll never get out.  It feels hopeless and permanent – it’s not. Jesus told us that in this life you will have trouble – but He has overcome it (John 16:33).

 

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-  A time to give birth and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.  A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.  A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

 

  • Rest in God’s faithfulness.  You can trust Him.  He is worthy of your trust and He’s never failed.  This reminds me of one of my favorite hymns:

 

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father.  There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not, 
as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.  

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!“
  Morning by morning new mercies I see;
 All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Remember the words of Psalm 30:5 – Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

November 27, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 18

This chapter is the climax and resolution of the Absalom story line. Absalom is killed by Joab even though David had told him and the other leaders to, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” (verse 5) Now they have to tell David about the battle and about his son’s death. I feel like there are a couple things to take away from the aftermath of the battle.

Spiritual maturity is needed to be able to effectively use the skills God has given you. Ahimaaz wanted to deliver the news to David, but Joab saw that he was not mature enough so he sent the Cushite. It was important to get the information to David as soon as possible and Ahimaaz was faster than the Cushite, but he did not have the maturity to get the job done. You can see this play out in verses 28-30. 

We also see the importance of leaders who can determine the people who are right for certain tasks. Joab never tells Ahimaaz that he cannot deliver news, but knows that he is not ready to deliver this specific news. Joab recognized that Ahimaaz possessed all the skills needed to complete the task, but he also knew that Ahimaaz was lacking maturity to be able to do so. 

Lastly, we see the eagerness of Ahimaaz to deliver good news, but his inability to deliver the bad news. We see this a lot in our society. We are quick to serve whenever we can receive praise, but are less willing to do things that will go unnoticed. I’ve heard it put this way in the past, “Everyone will grab a microphone to serve if they can sing, but are they also willing to grab a toilet brush to serve?”

Reflection Questions:

Do you possess the spiritual maturity to be able to most effectively use the gifts God has given you?

If you are serving, are you serving to receive recognition for yourself or for the glory of God?

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

November 26, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 17

The key to today’s chapter is found in verse 14: “And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom.” (ESV) What we are basically seeing is that Absalom and his goons are trying to figure out a way to overthrow the reign of David so that Absalom, his son, could be king.

The remarkable thing is how we see the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of humans on full display here. Even in the midst of wickedness, God is protecting his servant David from the throes of evil.

How do you think God could be at work even in the silence? It’s often in moments of hopelessness and despair that God is working silently, even when it doesn’t feel like it. If you’re walking through a challenging season, take a few moments and pause, reflecting on the different ways that God could be at work when it might not feel like it. Ask Him to build your faith in the silence through His Word!

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate