Good Intentions… yet Not What God Intended

June 23     1 Chronicles 13-14 and Proverbs 23

Now” that David’s living in Jerusalem. He wanted to return the ark of the covenant there. He said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and if it is of the LORD our God, … let us bring back the ark of our God back to us.” (13:2,3) David had good intentions of bringing the ark back, but he did not actually inquire of God or do it according to His instructions. He gathered all Israel together to bring the ark of God up from Kirjath Jearim. He had it put on a new cart. “All Israel played music before God with all their might with singing, on harps, stringed instruments, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.” (13:8) He had such good intentions, but once Uzza held the ark when the oxen stumbled and he died, David became angry and was afraid. He took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom and left it. 

We lived in the village right behind Kirjath Jearim. In fact, for 20 years we could look out our living room/kitchen windows and see it! Also, one can see in the picture modern houses built around the ancient site.  There is a Catholic church over the ruins, which is the case for other sites in Israel. And one can see the main road, which is still the modern-day ridge route they would have traveled on to avoid the deep cutting valleys. 

Aerial view of a city

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Even though David had good intentions, afterwards he sought God for instruction, which encourages us to do the same. Not long after the Philistines attacked near Jerusalem, it says, “David inquired of God” if he should go against them. (14:10) Again, he inquired of God if to attack them, and God told him to send an ambush around them and succeeded. (14:16) “So David did as God commanded him, and they drove back the army of the Philistines from Gibeon as far as Gezer (could include pictures of them too😉). Then the fame of David went out into all lands, and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all the nations.” (14:16,17) This account of David is so encouraging though he had good intentions and yet failed to seek God, he corrected himself immediately and sought God’s counsel if he should attack the Philistines.  We can learn from David and do likewise! “Be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day.” (Proverbs 23:17) In wrap up, it is interesting to note once again another Proverbs that talks about a child, which has a Hebrew word meaning more “youth.” “Do not withhold corrections from a child (YOUTH), for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.” (Proverbs 23:13) Children and youth both need lots of training and correction, but the end results are so rewarding. Reach out to children nearby you or related to you and encourage and lovingly correct them. Many may be going back to camp this summer, which is a special time for them. Many times, they have good intentions and yet need directed in God’s ways. 😊

~ Cayce Fletcher

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading at Biblegateway.com: Job 1-2 and 2 Corinthians 2 .

The Path to Life

Tuesday – May 25, 2021

1 Kings 1-2, Acts 22

1 Kings opens up with David’s final moments. His health begins to decline as turmoil grows in his kingdom. David’s sons had a history of defiance and wrongdoing, culminating in the story of Absalom’s revolt described in 2 Samuel 15. Absalom dies, and David mourns for him. In 1 Kings, we meet another of David’s sons, the next in line after Absalom – Adonijah. Adonijah is the heir apparent, the oldest surviving son. He begins to exalt himself in 1 Kings 1:5, saying “I will be king!” This Lion King-esque refrain has a darker tone to it. Adonijah was never truly promised the throne, and at the time he was saying this, his father was still alive. Instead of waiting for a peaceful transition of power, Adonijah seizes the moment of David’s weak health and begins amassing forces to take the kingdom by force. Adonijah’s greed for power leads to sin and death, as the revolt eventually spirals into his own demise. 

Adonijah walked down the path of foolishness. His rash actions were compounded by sinfulness and a total disregard for the law. He had to pay for all of his actions. But, in verse 6, there is an interesting statement: “But his father had never once reprimanded him by saying “Why do you act this way?” Adonijah did not commit these actions in a vacuum; he had a family, court, and religious leaders surrounding him. Who was speaking wisdom into Adonijah’s life? Encouraging him to make wise choices and reminding him of Absalom’s life – and what might happen if he doesn’t show patience in his potential ascension to the throne? David ‘never once reprimanded’ Adonijah, calling into question his wrong behavior. Instead, he allowed Adonijah to do what was right in his eyes. In doing so, Adonijah eventually walked towards his own death. David needed to provide guidance and discipline for Adonijah, and because of his refusal to do so, Adonijah caused turmoil and pain to himself and others. 

Discipline can seem like a scary thing. It’s definitely one of my least favorite parts of being a teacher. It’s complicated and sometimes painful to discipline others and be disciplined ourselves. But, discipline is a crucial part of being a disciple of Jesus. Hebrews 12:10-11 says, “10 [Our parents] disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Discipline is such an important part of our sanctification. Essentially, discipline is the way that we call each other back to the way of righteousness and holiness. And, it’s the way that God calls us back to him. 

How have you experienced God’s discipline in your life – through his hand or those of your parents or church leaders? Remember, discipline can keep us from becoming an Adonijah, someone with no guardrails or guidelines for the right, wise way to live. Let’s pursue a righteous life together. 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading at Biblegateway.com: Job 1-2 and 2 Corinthians 2 .

Still Time to Parent

1 Kings 1-2 and Psalm 37, 71 & 94

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Today we begin the book of 1st Kings.  We are just about to the end of the kings anointed by Samuel.  Yes, David died at the end of 2nd Samuel…but the author of Kings begins with some more details from the end of David’s life before he spends the first half of the book on the reign of Solomon.  Unfortunately, I am not altogether impressed with this final picture of the man after God’s own heart.

And, it starts with his parenting.  Now, I have never been a ruler of a country, much less, the ruler of a country 3,000 years ago.  So, it is easy for me to pass judgment on a life I have never lived and one that seems so far removed from mine.  But perhaps we can learn a little something from David’s troubles to help us be better parents – as well as improved spiritual parents.

So, at this point David is old (about 70 years old) and the kingdom will be handed down to his son to reign.  Only trouble is – which son?  Earlier Absalom had tried to take over the throne – but that didn’t end too well for him.  David has said that Solomon will be the son to rule.  But, his son Adonijah wants to mix things up and come out on top instead.  So, Adonijah puts together his cheering squad and cabinet – including his dad’s formerly faithful army general and priest – and announces his kingship.

The author of Kings is not nearly so removed from David as I am and does not exactly point the finger at David, but merely hints (with a note in parenthesis) as to a potential weakness found in David’s parenting style.  The writer explains, in parenthesis, “(His father had never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’)”  How many times do we as parents THINK that of our children?  And, perhaps we outright asked that a lot when they were younger, “What are you doing?”  But as they grow up and we lose control, or hand control over bit by bit as they get closer and closer to independence, do we too often not “interfere” and ask the sometimes difficult question.  Obviously the author here believes that if David had started an open and honest dialogue with his son about his behavior earlier on, this sad story of rebellion may have been avoided.

Perhaps you are not a parent, at least not yet.  If you are a young adult what can you learn from David and Adonijah?  Is there a time you desired communication with your parents but didn’t get the direction or reprimand you later thought could be helpful?  You can be the one to start the dialogue if they haven’t. What could have happened in our story had Adonijah come to David to seek his advice?   Or, are you frustrated with “too much” interfering and questioning?  Remember it comes from a deep love for you and desire to see the best for you – and the whole kingdom.

And, then how can this lesson be applied to us as spiritual children and parents today?  Who can you mentor in their Christian walk?  How can you better prepare yourself for a conversation that might one day have to start with, “Why do you behave as you do?”  Sometimes, love interferes.  And, when you are on the receiving end, remember some of those great Proverbs from Solomon that we get to read next week!

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. – Proverbs 12:1

Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.  Proverbs 15:32

 

Marcia Railton

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+1-2%2C+Psalm+37%2C+71%2C+94&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Psalm 119:1-88 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

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