April 17, 2015

II Samuel 1-2 - Shortly after Saul died, David returned to Ziklag from his rout of the Amalekites. Three days later a man showed up unannounced from Saul’s army camp. Disheveled and obviously in mourning, he fell to his knees in respect before David. David asked, “What brings you here?”...He said, “The Israelites have fled the battlefield, leaving a lot of their dead comrades behind. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”....

In lament, David ripped his clothes to ribbons. All the men with him did the same. They wept and fasted the rest of the day, grieving the death of Saul and his son Jonathan, and also the army of God and the nation Israel, victims in a failed battle...

Then David sang this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan, and gave orders that everyone in Judah learn it by heart. Yes, it’s even inscribed in The Book of Jashar.

Oh, oh, Gazelles of Israel, struck down on your hills, the mighty warriors—fallen, fallen!  Don’t announce it in the city of Gath, don’t post the news in the streets of Ashkelon.  Don’t give those coarse Philistine girls one more excuse for a drunken party!  No more dew or rain for you, hills of Gilboa, and not a drop from springs and wells, For there the warriors’ shields were dragged through the mud,  Saul’s shield left there to rot.

Jonathan’s bow was bold—the bigger they were the harder they fell.  Saul’s sword was fearless— once out of the scabbard, nothing could stop it.  Saul and Jonathan—beloved, beautiful!  Together in life, together in death.  Swifter than plummeting eagles, stronger than proud lions.

Women of Israel, weep for Saul. He dressed you in finest cottons and silks, spared no expense in making you elegant. The mighty warriors—fallen, fallen in the middle of the fight!  Jonathan—struck down on your hills!  O my dear brother Jonathan, I’m crushed by your death. Your friendship was a miracle-wonder, love far exceeding anything I’ve known— or ever hope to know.  The mighty warriors—fallen, fallen. And the arms of war broken to bits.

After all this, David prayed. He asked God, “Shall I move to one of the cities of Judah?  God said, “Yes, move.” “And to which city?” “To Hebron.”  So David moved to Hebron, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David’s men, along with their families, also went with him and made their home in and around Hebron.  The citizens of Judah came to Hebron, and then and there made David king over the clans of Judah....

In the meantime, Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth...king, as it turns out, over all Israel. Ish-Bosheth Saul’s son, was forty years old when he was made king over Israel. He lasted only two years. But the people of Judah stuck with David. David ruled the people of Judah from Hebron for seven and a half years.

One day Abner son of Ner set out from Mahanaim with the soldiers of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, headed for Gibeon. Joab son of Zeruiah, with David’s soldiers, also set out. They met at the Pool of Gibeon, Abner’s group on one side, Joab’s on the other.  Abner challenged Joab,... The fighting went from bad to worse throughout the day. Abner and the men of Israel were beaten to a pulp by David’s men....

Abner called out to Joab, “Are we going to keep killing each other till doomsday? Don’t you know that nothing but bitterness will come from this? How long before you call off your men from chasing their brothers?”  “As God lives,” said Joab, “if you hadn’t spoken up, we’d have kept up the chase until morning!” Then he blew the ram’s horn trumpet and the whole army of Judah stopped in its tracks. They quit chasing Israel and called off the fighting.

After Joab returned from chasing Abner, he took a head count of the army. Nineteen of David’s men (besides Asahel) were missing. David’s men had cut down 360 of Abner’s men, all Benjaminites—all dead. They brought Asahel and buried him in the family tomb in Bethlehem. Joab and his men then marched all night, arriving in Hebron as the dawn broke.


I Corinthians 6 - 
And how dare you take each other to court!  When you think you have been wronged, does it make sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians?...As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you don’t trust in any other way?  I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you’re doing....All you are doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.

 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate.  If I went around doing whatever  thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims....remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body.  You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse would you? There is more to sex than mere skin on skin.  Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact, “The two become one.”  Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever--the kind of sex that can never “become one.”

 There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others.  In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another.  Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?  The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to  the spiritual part of you.  God owns the whole works.  So let people see God in and through your body.