Sunday, November 22, 2015

2 Samuel 14

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Samuel 14. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Joab, David's nephew, recruits a woman to go to David and pretend to be mourning over a situation that mirrors the painful situation David's family is experiencing (in which one son takes the life of another). According to the law and society of the time, this sin would bring great shame on the family. The woman essentially asks for her family's name to be cleared and for her remaining son to be fully protected. David grants these requests and assures the woman her son will not be harmed.
  • David catches on and asks the woman if Joab put her up to this. The woman explains that yes, Joab had her come to David and give this pitch in an effort to convince David to forgive Absalom, who had fled to a far-away area. (As we saw in yesterday's reading, Absalom is David's son he hadn't talked to in years due to Absalom murdering his brother Amnon.)
  • David reaches out to Joab and agrees to allow Absalom to move back into town on the condition that the two don't have a face-to-face encounter.
  • After a couple of years of Absalom and David living in the same area without talking to each other, Absalom convinces Joab to reconnect him to his father. The chapter ends with David kissing the son he had previously banished.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • This is a beautiful story of forgiveness. David was understandably angry with Absalom for murdering his son. Most people would have agreed he was right for punishing his son by isolating him. But if he didn't forgive Absalom, David would have continued to live with anger and bitterness and resentment. Forgiving his son enabled David to more fully experience life with God, and for his family to be built back up.
  • Notice it took years for David to forgive his son. Forgiveness is rarely a neat and easy process. It is messy and time-consuming and painful. But it is powerful and necessary and freeing.
  • Just as David offered to forgive his son for his sin that deserved death, God offers forgiveness to us. If we're going to live in this forgiveness, we must extend that forgiveness and grace to others, even (and especially) if they "don't deserve it" by human standards.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Who do you need to forgive? Who is the person you're harboring bitterness and anger toward? The longer you go without forgiving them, the longer you harm yourself.
  • our process of forgiveness will be messy but it will be beautiful. Today, take the first step toward forgiving that person. Ask God to guide you and to give you the strength to offer radical forgiveness that makes no sense to most people. Maybe you need to make a phone call, or write out your feelings, or talk to a trusted friend. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can more fully experience the life God wants for you.