Wednesday 9 September, 2020

2 Samuel 7:1-17

7 After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” 3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.” 4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying: 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders[a] over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[b]; your throne will be established forever.’” 17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

David assumes to know what God wants. God corrects him: as though it
matters to God that His holy presence has been housed in a tent and
nomadic. (Remembering that the entire cosmos is God’s creation and that
God can move about it wherever He pleases). Despite this, God sees King
David’s heart and lets David in on His good plans for the future. The
good plans He has for David’s children and the heirs to David’s throne.
The good plans to plant Israel, prosper them and to put an end to the
harassment they’ve endured in the past.

God has good plans for us too. Even if our desires are sometimes
misplaced or misdirected, God’s plans for us are good. The deepest
desires we have for peace and rest, an end to troubles and a place to
call home – God has these things in store for us. And this is not just a
heavenly promise in the long distant future, this begins now, in so many
unique and personalised ways. The challenge we face is to humbly bring
our concerns and desires to God, and to trust them into His care,
confident that we aren’t ignored, confident that God listens closely and
will speak back to us with clarity and in love.

Dear Jesus, I put my cares into your hands knowing that you have good
things in store for me: today, tomorrow and for all time. Amen.

Written by Sam Stewart

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Tuesday 8 September, 2020

2 Samuel 6:1-23

6 David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets,[d] harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals. 6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. 8 Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.[e] 9 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household. 12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. 16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. 17 They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes. 20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” 21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” 23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.

What is happening here? A quick recap.. David has just become King, reuniting the Israelite people. They have had 2 victories in battle against the attacking military forces of the Philistines. The people of God are starting to experience a much longed-for sense of stability and peace. The palace is being built and the city repaired. Now it is time to bring the Ark of the covenant into the city in a triumphant celebration of God’s goodness to King David and the Israelites. The Ark represents the promise of God, to be God to the Israelites, to be present, to dwell with them. At the end of this passage David dances in a so-called “undignified manner.” He is rejoicing because God’s presence dwells with them as a people.

How much more should we rejoice? Back then they could only relate to God through the High Priests, but now, because of Jesus death and resurrection, we can talk to God directly. Back then God’s presence dwelt among the people in the temple, now God’s Holy Spirit lives in us. Back then they were under the law, but now we live in the freedom of Christ.  

What can I say or do to show how thankful I am Jesus? Nothing can fully express my gratitude. The closest I can get is to say again; thank you, I love you and I am yours. Help me to walk with you all my days and may my word and actions bring you praise. Amen.

Written by Ps. Zoe Stewart

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Monday 7 September, 2020

2 Samuel 5:6-25

6 The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” 7 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David. 8 On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.” 9 David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him. 11 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. 12 Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. 13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet. 17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.” 20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off. 22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

I love vs.19 in this passage – David inquired of the Lord.  As I read David’s life in the Bible this is an often used phrase.  Clearly David was a man after God’s heart.  Obedience to God mattered to him and so he fashioned his life to ask God about the way to move forward in manner and varied situations.

I have found myself learning from David, because in large and little ways I need to keep asking for God’s guidance and counsel.  I cannot go by a well-trod path, or a familiar circumstance – I need to allow the Lord to lead me and asking for His leadership is the way this happens.

Father, help me to always ask you for the steps of my life in the large and in the little.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Sunday 6 September, 2020

2 Samuel 4:1-5:5

4 When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed. 2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Rekab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin—Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin, 3 because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have resided there as foreigners to this day. 4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.) 5 Now Rekab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest. 6 They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rekab and his brother Baanah slipped away. 7 They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah. 8 They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.” 9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!” 12 So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron. 5 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’” 3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

So much happens in today’s scripture, but the passage that jumped out at me was the verse in brackets, 2 Samuel 4:4 – Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was only 5 years old and his carer was trying to flee with him to save his life. But she dropped the boy and he became permanently disabled as a result.  I find that in times of upheaval and uncertainty, sometimes actions need to be done in a hurry, but when things are rushed, there is a greater risk of things going wrong.

In Mephibosheth’s case the rush and hurry caused a devastating, grievous injury to him that had lifelong effects.

I wonder what mistakes that I have made in my life that have had a devastating effect on the world of others. I wonder how much of the brokenness in my own being is part of the mistakes that just happen in this fallen and broken world.

This passage is full of incredible victory, but in the mix there is this heart wrenching story of an innocent young boy, son of David’s best friend Jonathan, losing the use of his lower limbs.

God’s Word is raw and real. He doesn’t just tell the stories of success, he also shares anecdotes of agony.

But the story doesn’t end there – In 2 Samuel chapter 9, Mephibosheth is an adult, all grown up, but still unable to walk. And David invites him in to his world, to live at the palace, and to dine, daily, at his very own kingly table.

For me, this is the story of every believer – in spite of our brokenness and frailty. In spite of the fact I come from the wrong family and I am so unworthy, Jesus, in his grace, invites me to be part of his table. And in response, I need to do the same for others.

Lord, thank You that You have invited me to your table, and that you have called me to share my gifts and your grace with others. Help me to have eyes to see your grace and mercy at work, so that I can be part of what you are doing in those around me

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Saturday 5 September, 2020

2 Samuel 3:22-39

22 Just then David’s men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace. 24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! 25 You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.” 26 Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern at Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died. 28 Later, when David heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy[a] or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.” 30 (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.) 31 Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner.” King David himself walked behind the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept also. 33 The king sang this lament for Abner: “Should Abner have died as the lawless die? 34 Your hands were not bound, your feet were not fettered. You fell as one falls before the wicked.” And all the people wept over him again. 35 Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!” 36 All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them. 37 So on that day all the people there and all Israel knew that the king had no part in the murder of Abner son of Ner. 38 Then the king said to his men, “Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? 39 And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”

2 Samuel 3:22-39

Treachery, revenge, murder, curses, the Bible has it all!  This narrative starts back in chapter 2 but ends here with Joab murdering Abner to avenge his brother Asahel’s death in battle.  We may not understand all the battle protocols and the aspirations for power of the time but revenge and murder have not changed through the millennium.

Joab’s heart seemed set on revenge, regardless of what his King had done and what Abner was now about to do in uniting the kingdom.  Scripture reminds us constantly to guard our hearts, Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

I admit, it’s not always easy to keep my heart going in the right direction, my thoughts more easily go to the negative and my heart begins to harden when something or someone crosses what I think should have happened. So many times, I’ve had to mediate on Phil 4:8 to get past the negative, to re-centre my heart toward how Jesus would have me live rather than my own natural desires, “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honourable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” (TPT)

Lord Jesus, how wonderful that you have given us your Word to guide our hearts, to keep them soft, to enable me to live my best life. Holy Spirit help me to guard my heart to bring honour to the Father always.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Friday 4 September, 2020

2 Sam 3:1-21

3 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker. 2 Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel; 3 his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 4 the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream the son of David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron. 6 During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul. 7 Now Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, “Why did you sleep with my father’s concubine?” 8 Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said. So he answered, “Am I a dog’s head—on Judah’s side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven’t handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman! 9 May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the Lord promised him on oath 10 and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him. 12 Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, “Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you.” 13 “Good,” said David. “I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.” 15 So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back. 17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now do it! For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole tribe of Benjamin wanted to do. 20 When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men. 21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

As I read this passage about Abner, I can’t help think that he sounds like a modern-day political party power broker. He is not the “leader” of the party, but he is behaving as though he controls the party and he decides who the leader is.

When things were not working out for him, he quickly switched sides and offers to not just give Saul’s kingdom to David, but that HE would establish the throne of David over Israel.

Even though Abner acknowledges what God has said about David, he is going to make it happen through his own efforts. Of course, he doesn’t get to carry out his plans, Joab takes care of that pretty quickly.

But as I reflect on this, I take from it that when God says he will do something, he will make it happen so that the glory goes to him and no one else. When God makes a promise, it will happen, it will come to pass, and it will be obvious that it was God who made it happen, not anyone else.

We don’t need to worry or concern ourselves with how, just trust him. God will use circumstances and people that we least expect, people who have no interest in saying how good they are, but how good our God is. Trust him and he will make it happen.

Father, I thank you, that your promises to me are not dependant on anyone else to come to pass, just you. So I will put my trust in you.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Thursday 3 September, 2020

2 Samuel 2:12-32

12 Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah and David’s men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side. 14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.” “All right, let them do it,” Joab said. 15 So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. 16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.[a] 17 The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men. 18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. 19 He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. 20 Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?” “It is,” he answered. 21 Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him. 22 Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?” 23 But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died. 24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. 25 Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill. 26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?” 27 Joab answered, “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued pursuing them until morning.” 28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore. 29 All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, continued through the morning hours[b] and came to Mahanaim. 30 Then Joab stopped pursuing Abner and assembled the whole army. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David’s men were found missing. 31 But David’s men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner. 32 They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.

This is a great story: two kings; two generals driven by ambiguous motives (maybe noble duty or perhaps personal ambition or ambitions for their families – both were blood relatives of their kings); a civil war to establish one of their kingdoms; duelling champions; ferocious battles; death and (spoiler alert) revenge. Even the participants can see how tragic and futile it is. “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness?” (v26).

Like a lot of passages in the Old Testament, it says a lot about what people do and say without telling us what God thinks. It’s easy to fall into thinking that must have been God’s will. People in Jesus’ time thought God would send his Messiah as a warrior to overthrow his enemies by force and impose his kingdom over all nations. What we see is the exact opposite.

Jesus is such a contrast. God’s unambiguous motive is love (John 3:16). Jesus doesn’t come to his people as a general at the head of an army. He comes as a helpless baby in the middle of the filth of a stable. Jesus humbles himself and becomes one of us (Philippians 2:6-8). Rather than bringing death to his enemies, he dies a humiliating death in their (our) place. His battle is not against his enemies but for them (us). His purpose: “to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19–20).

And he gives us a part to play. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18–20).

Lord, may your kingdom come today – in my heart and in my acts and words of reconciliation, especially to those who still reject you.

Written by David Cornell

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Wednesday 2 September, 2020

2 Samuel 2:1-11

2 In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked. The Lord said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where shall I go?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. 2 So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3 David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. 4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah. When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, 5 he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. 6 May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. 7 Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.” 8 Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9 He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. 10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. 11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.

The substance of David the man is shown in this passage. He had been chased down often by Saul and Saul’s men, usually with violent intent. And yet when he learns of Saul’s men, in loyalty to their dead King, respectfully burying him, David is quick to extend them honour and favour himself. 

This is not eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth behaviour. This is mercy, this is nobility, this is a higher ethic than pure revenge. Oh, how our world needs such leaders – it did then, and it still does now. 

Not everyone accepts David’s leadership and approach – those too set in the old way seek to keep their power and authority (Abner). But this doesn’t deter David and those loyal to him. 

Lord, let me, a man like David, learn the lessons of leadership and honourable influence here – life is not a popularity contest, but a walk of mercy, nobility and courage in the midst of many lesser alternatives. Let me, by your grace, choose the better way. For Your name, not so that everyone will agree with me and follow me – because clearly, that didn’t happen for David, and in truth, it never does. 

Amen.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Tuesday 1 September, 2020

2 Samuel 1:17 – 27

17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar): 19 “A gazelle[a] lies slain on your heights, Israel. How the mighty have fallen! 20 “Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice. 21 “Mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, may no showers fall on your terraced fields.[b] For there the shield of the mighty was despised, the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil. 22 “From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied. 23 Saul and Jonathan— in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24 “Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold. 25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights. 26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. 27 “How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!”

What does the world tell us? Take revenge, and rejoice when evil befalls your enemies. What does David do in this passage? Writes a lament for his enemy and proclaims that it should be widely sung in Israel, because he honours the Lord’s anointed. He also, of course, grieves for his dear friend Jonathan.

Misfortune towards our enemy is not a cause for us to rejoice, it is misfortune. God is calling us to have a different attitude to the world. One marked by love. In places overseas where there is physical persecution the common prayer asked for by the persecuted is that they can still react with love, not hatred towards their enemy. While we may not suffer the same sort of persecution in Australia, we are called to the same behaviour.

Lord, let me honour those whom you have put in power, and let my life be marked by love, not hatred or revenge.

Written by Megan Cornell

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