Sunday, November 29, 2015

2 Samuel 16

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Samuel 16. 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?)
  • King David and his crew are continuing their march out of Jerusalem. They run into a guy named Ziba, who offers them donkeys loaded with supplies to make their journey easier. At first this may seem like a generous gesture, but Ziba did this to trick David into using his authority to grant him the inheritance of Mephibosheth, a leader whom David had helped gain power. (This interaction will become particularly relevant in chapter 19.)
  • As they are riding along on their newly acquired donkeys, a man named Shimei starts harassing David and his officials, calling them names and insulting them. One of David's men threatens to kill Shimei, but David tells him not to. 
  • David then proceeds to throw a pity party for himself, lamenting that God probably told Shimei to harass him because of the tumultuous family situation he is caught up in. (To briefly recap: this situation is ultimately the result of sin David previously committed when he cheated with his neighbor and had her husband murdered.)
  • Meanwhile, Absalom and his men arrive at Jerusalem (at the palace where David had previously fled from to avoid a confrontation with Absalom's forces).
  • Hushai (the guy we read about at the end of the previous chapter) convinces Absalom, David's rebellious son, that he is now on the side of Absalom. Hushai's intent is to manage Absalom so that his mistakes do not become too destructive; he wants the outcome of the situation to work in David's favor.
  • Ahithophel, on the other hand, is a counselor of Absalom who wants to make David's life more miserable. Accordingly, he talking Absalom into thinking it's a good idea to sleep with his father's female servants on the roof.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • It's never a good idea to sleep with your father's maids on the roof.
  • When we are faced with difficult situations, we are responsible for doing the right thing; for taking action that honors God. This doesn't mean other people will do likewise. David is trying to find favor with God and keep a bad situation from getting worse, but this does not deter Absalom from furiously pursuing pride, power, and prominence.

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

  • Are you faced with a situation where you're trying to follow God but it doesn't seem like anyone else is? Maybe your child has gone down a destructive path. Maybe your parent has gone down a destructive path. Maybe your friend is continuing to make unwise choices despite your best efforts to point her to God.
  • Whatever difficult situation you're facing, keep pursuing God, even if others around you are not. Doing life with Jesus is a long-term commitment, and we can't let short-term situations fool us into losing hope. Pray persistently for those around you who don't seem to be pursuing God, and look for healthy opportunities to talk to them about what Jesus might mean for their life.