2 Samuel 12:1-10

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The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, ‘There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

‘Now a traveller came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveller who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.’

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.’

Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.”

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My Thoughts

I love this story, it helps us take the story about a third party and evaluate it honestly before turning that evaluation on ourselves.  Here I can see that David is still an honourable man, he sees an injustice and burns with anger and he wants the wrong to be set right.  I believe that all people understand honour, deep down inside we have the blue print of our creator but we have difficulty applying those principles to our own lives.  When I watch movies or read fantasy novels I know exactly how I think the characters should behave. However, I don’t often look at my life through the same lens.  If we can do that, if we become intentional about changing our response to the world around us: Stand up for the person being bullied even if it could end badly for you, help a stranger, be fair in business, look out for the needs of other people when making a deal and don’t try to maximise your gain with no thought to their loss. If we could live like that we would see the world around us change, we would be taking active steps towards ensuring that our children live in a better world than the one we lived in.  Challenge yourself…

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2 Samuel 11

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In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman washing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant.’

So David sent this word to Joab: ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent him to David.When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house and wash your feet.’ So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.

10 David was told, ‘Uriah did not go home.’ So he asked Uriah, ‘Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?’

11 Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!’

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My Thoughts

Honour and dishonour… we know how this story ends.  What I am challenged by is the honour of Uriah.  What man would choose discomfort for the sake of his friends and his commander when offered  the chance to sleep in a warm bed at home. I think that David was counting on Uriah to be more like him at that moment, to give into his desires and take the nice, easy option.  The thing about honour is that it shines a big fat spotlight on the dishonour of others.  You may get killed or persecuted for your actions but you will always be remembered for your character.  I am challenged by this, lets aim to be honourable in some way today and every day from this point on.  The world around us may just have to sit up at take note of the way they live too.  Have a good day.

Psalm 60

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God, You have turned away from us;
You have shattered us into a million tiny pieces;
You have boiled with anger.
Now put us back together, and refresh us with Your mercy.
You have made the earth shake; You have cracked it open effortlessly.
Heal the fissures in the earth, for it is unsteady.
You have caused Your people to suffer;
You have provided us with wine that makes us stagger.

You have unfurled a banner for those who revere You,
a signal to gather in safety out of the enemy’s reach.

[pause]

So that Your treasured ones may be saved,
rescue us with Your right hand, and answer our pleas!

God’s voice has been heard in His holy sanctuary:
“I will celebrate; I will allocate Shechem
and the Succoth Valley to My people.
Gilead belongs to Me, and so does Manasseh;
Ephraim is the helmet that protects My head;
Judah is the scepter through which I rule;
Moab is the washpot in which I rinse My feet.
I will throw My shoe over Edom in conquest;
prepare for My victory, Philistia. Cry out because of Me!”

But who will take me into the fortified city?
Who will lead me into Edom?
10 Have You not turned Your back on us, O God?
Will You stay away and not accompany our armies, O God?
11 Help us against our enemy; we need Your help!
It’s useless to trust in the hand of man for liberation.
12 Only through God can we be successful.
It is God alone who will defeat our enemies and bring us victory!

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My Thoughts

David writes this Psalm in the middle of all these conquests against his enemies.  He is all over the place… God is against them… God is with them… he sounds like I often do when I am trying to make sense of difficult times in my life.  I think it is good to wrestle with these things but the conclusion that David comes to is the only conclusion.  It is the one truth that we can always hold onto… “Only through God can we be successful.  It is God alone who will defeat our enemies and bring us victory”.  We live in this victory, victory over death, sin and Satan.  Because Jesus was victorious we are free.  So every breath we take is a breath as a free person in Christ.  What a gift.  Thank you Lord.