Jan 10, 2021. Philippians 3:17-21

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Philippians 3:17-21

17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Jan 10, 2021. II Samuel 5:1-5

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THE DUAL CROWN. 2 SAM. 5:1-5. 10 JAN. 2021. #10.


Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke, saying, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’ ” Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.


1. Long road to a crown

            a. David spent a decade going from field to throne

                        a1. Anointed to be king “as a youth” (16-20)

                        a2. Plays harp for Saul

                        a3. Defeats Goliath in single combat

                        a4. Successfully leads troops into battle

                        a5. Saul becomes jealous of David

                        a6. Merab offered to David twice as wife

                        a7. Saul chases David to kill him

                        a8. David lives among the Philistines

                        a9. David recovers peoples + goods from Amalekites

                        a10. David anointed king of Judah after Saul dies

            b. At age 30 David finally rules over Israel + Judah

                        a1. After Abner & Ishbosheth are killed, the northern

                              tribes decide to select David as their king

                        a2. It has taken a decade from anointing to crowning

2. The reunited kingdom

            a. Israel lists several reasons for choosing David to be king:

                        a1. David was a war hero, leading successful battles

                        a2. The tribes knew that David had been anointed

                               to be king over them by Samuel

                        a3. David would be a “shepherd” king

            b. Notice that the kingdom was considered two houses under

                 one roof (Israel + Judah)

            c. David learned much in the decade from staff to scepter

                        a1. David matured as a man

                        a2. David learned war & leadership

                        a3. David proved to be wise in judgment & politics

            d. David was now more ready to be king than when a youth

                        a1. He had gained the confidence of the people

                        a2. When Saul’s line was no longer a factor, David

                              was free to rule without a threat to the throne

3. David ascends to the dual throne

            a. David makes a covenant before the Lord with Israel

                        a1. Agrees to rule them according to Lord

                        a2. The people will submit to David solely as king

            b. Later, when David breaks the covenant through adultery

                and murder, there comes rebellion & unrest in the land

            c. David rules for 40 ½ years (7½ in Hebron + 33 in Jerusalem)

                        a1. The first decade or so was peaceful

                        a2. After David’s transgressions, shame & turmoil rule

            d. Several lessons from David’s journey:

                        a1. David was willing to wait for God to fulfill his word

                        a2. God sends many things in our lives to train us

                                    b1. We should neither reject nor dismiss trials

                                    b2. Patience in testing yields great gain

                        a3. David did not hold animosity toward those who

                              opposed him & was ready to forgive & move on

                        a4. Once David ascended the throne, he did well until

                            he relaxed his guard & allowed lust to consume him

            e. For David to do well on the throne he needed to remember

                the lessons God taught him:

                        a1. It was God & not David’s skill that crowned him

                        a2. David needed to stay humble before the Lord

                        a3. The most dangerous time is in the calm of life

            f. David’s work was not done by becoming king

                        a1. His main job was to set an example of holiness

                        a2. Mt. 6:33-34 holy living allows all else to follow

Jan 3, 2021. Philippians 3:12-16

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FINISH THE COURSE.  Philippians 3:12-16. 01/03/2021. #15.

Philippians 3:12-16 [New King James Version]

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

  1. Still in the race
    1. Paul rejected all to serve Christ
      1. His background as a Jew, Benjamite, Pharisee, keeper of the Law, & zealot against those who had abandoned Judaism held no merit before God
      1. Paul counted going to the finest seminary (School of Gamaliel) as valueless before God
    1. Paul embraced Christ instead of the Law
      1. He now studied Christ & not Jewish legalism
      1. He no longer took pride in heritage & position
      1. He pursued the power of the resurrection
      1. He identified with the suffering of Christ
    1. Paul emphasized that he was attaining, but not attained
      1. Paul’s journey did not end with coming to Christ
        1. Too many believers view salvation as the end of the journey
        1. Paul states that conversion = starting point
      1. Paul had attained salvation, but not the fullness of what it means to be saved
    1. If salvation was the ending point of our journey, then there would be no point of  continuing in this life
    1. Paul kept pressing forward in his faith
    1. As long as Paul lived, he sought to grow in & serve Christ
  2. Pressing on
    1. Paul did not rest on his accomplishments
      1. He did not seek to find comfort, rest, or sanctuary
      1. Paul refused to be weary, satisfied, or complacent
    1. Paul pressed on (pursued) to lay hold of all that Christ had desired for him so he could know the fullness of Christ
      1. Paul urgently desired to embrace fully all that being in Christ meant (relationship & service)
      1. Paul was single-minded in pursuing Christ (he let no desires, hindrances, or opposition stop him
    1. Paul sought to obtain full spiritual maturity (perfect = telios)
      1. Only those who have a passion for Word, worship, prayer, & service will reach their full potential
      1. Those who seek own pleasure, safety, & comfort will never come to full maturity
    1. Paul kept his eye on the goal (II Timothy 4:1-8)
      1. Paul refused to be distracted or ease up
      1. Paul wanted to please Christ & be rewarded by him
  3. Mindset
    1. Paul encourages all believers to have the same mindset
      1. Each believer should be totally devoted to Christ
      1. Cast off past beliefs, training, desires, & laziness
      1. Know the goal & strive to attain the goal
    1. Paul demonstrates in word & deed what dedication means
      1. To set mind to focus on the will, worship, & ways of Jesus Christ
      1. To remove all hindrances to achieving the goal
      1. To unite as the body of Christ to have same mind
    1. Paul urges us to walk be the same rule (standard, measure)
      1. Spiritual pursuit should be the Christian norm
      1. Should be rare that a believer is not spiritual
    1. If we aren’t of the same mind as Christ, God will reveal this
      1. All who fail to pursue God, the Spirit convicts
      1. We know when we lack in Bible study & spirituality
      1. The task of the Spirit is to convict of sin (slacking in spiritual pursuits is sin of carnality/worldliness

Key Verse: II Timothy 4:1-8 [New King James Version]

1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Jan 3, 2021. II Samuel 4:1-12

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WARY IS THE HEAD.  II Samuel 4:1-12.  JAN 4, 2021.  #9.

2 Samuel 4 [New King James Version]

1 When Saul’s son heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost heart, and all Israel was troubled. 2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were captains of troops. The name of one was Baanah and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin. (For Beeroth also was part of Benjamin, 3 because the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there until this day.) 4 Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth. 5 Then the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out and came at about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who was lying on his bed at noon. 6 And they came there, all the way into the house, as though to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 For when they came into the house, he was lying on his bed in his bedroom; then they struck him and killed him, beheaded him and took his head, and were all night escaping through the plain. 8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants.” 9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from all adversity, 10 when someone told me, saying, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag—the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?” 12 So David commanded his young men, and they executed them, cut off their hands and feet, and hanged them by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner in Hebron.

  • Dreaded sense of doom in the throne room
    • When news of Abner’s murder reached Ishbosheth, he grieved, for Abner was the strength of Israel
      • Ishbosheth couldn’t hold onto the throne without Abner
      • Ishbosheth didn’t inspire subjects (no leadership skills)
    • Israel also grieved
      • They had suffered a great defeat by Philistines
      • Judah had defeated them on many occasions
      • Israel looked to Abner for protection
    • The next in line for royal leadership was Mephibosheth
      • Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son
      • When Israel was routed by the Philistines, Mephibosheth (age 5) was taken to safety by his nurse maid, but in her haste, she dropped him, crushing his leg
      • Lame Mephibosheth couldn’t lead Israel into battle
    • Abner had told Ishbosheth that he was going to give Isr. to David
      • Ishbosheth was powerless to stop him
      • Perhaps, Ishbosheth was hoping for a peaceful resolution
      • The murder of Abner indicated a rejection of Abner’s proposal & the ultimate defeat of Israel
  • Snakes and the scepter
    • Captains Baanah & Rechab understood the implications
      • They knew that Israel must soon be defeated
      • They were loyal to Abner, not Ishbosheth
      • The brother had agreed to Abner’s plan
    • B. & R. saw an opportunity to further their own positions
      • Since they were already going to switch sides to David under Abner’s plan, they decided to act
      • They thought David would reward them
    • As in most Mediterranean countries, work ceased in the
    • heat of the day & inhabitants rested
      • Ishbosheth laid on his bed in the heat of the afternoon
      • Baanah & Rechab killed him & decapitated him
    • The traitors road all night to take Ishbosheth’s head to David
      • They expected praise, rewards, & positions
      • They had done David a great favor & finished what Abner had started
    • No one trusts a traitor
      • Like adulterers, if a traitor betrays once, he could potentially do it again
      • Two broad categories of traitors: (1) traitors with a cause (Hale, Bonhoeffer, Rommel) (2) traitors for personal gain (Balaam, Judas, Henry Phillips)
    • Traitors for a just cause are understood (the underground), traitors for personal gain are despised
  • A just reward
    • Rimmon the Beerothite, bring the head of Ishbosheth to David as good tidings
    • David receives the traitors with disdain
      • David had refused to move against Saul, even though Saul had pursued him to kill him
      • David had a high regard for God appointed leadership & order
      • David was appalled that anyone would kill a duly crowned king
    • David’s response is classic
      • If I executed a messenger who had claimed to have killed King Saul, do you think that I would do any less to one who kills his son in his bed?
      • David orders the traitors to be executed & then has Ishbosheth’s head respectfully buried in Abner’s tomb
    • Forcing events never work out well in the end
      • God superintends all events
      • Those who manipulate situations don’t prosper
      • Even when a manipulator gets his way, he will not find the satisfaction in it (Psalm 106:15)
      • David came to the throne in God’s time & way
    • David was satisfied to wait upon the Lord

Dec. 27, 2020. Philippians 3:7-11

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FROM GARBAGE TO GLORY.   Philippians 3:7-11.  12/27/2020.  #14.

Philippians 3:7-11 [New King James Version]

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

  • Paul’s worldly wealth
    • Paul had listed his worldly credentials
      • A Jew of the tribe of Benjamin
      • A Pharisee among Pharisees
      • Trained under the famed teacher, Gamaliel
      • Perfect in following the requirements of the Law
      • Zealous for persecuting Christians, who he considered to be heretics
    • Paul believed that he held the highest status in the Jewish
    • faith & commanded the greatest esteem among the right men
      • Matthew 4 a devilish deception if measuring your worth by man’s scales (power, possessions, prestige, wealth, acclaim, & influence)
      • Worldly value is very temporary (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)
  • Paul cashes in with a far better deal
    • Paul states that all he had previously valued in life, he now
    • counted as rubbish (lit., dung) for the cause of Christ
      • His Jewish heritage carried no weight with God
      • Being a Pharisee had no lasting value, especially when there was much error in his understanding
      • His lauded training was inadequate
      • His keeping of the Law was superficial
      • Persecuting Christians was opposing God
    • Paul counted all his achievements & status as worthless
      • This doesn’t mean he found no value in his study
      • So much of what Paul learned was wrong (Paul learned Jewish legalism & exclusivism)
    • Paul rejected his training to receive & learn of Christ
      • Nothing in Paul’s past had any value before God
      • I Corinthians 4:7 anything of worth is given be God for his glory alone (talents, accomplishments, acclaim…)
    • Paul did not consider that he had lost anything of value
      • He did not grieve over no longer being a Pharisee
      • His only grief was persecuting saints (I Timothy 1:15) 
      • Paul didn’t consider correction of his doctrines, beliefs, training, & teaching as an insult or rebuke
        • He didn’t pridefully hold onto error
        • Paul was teachable
    • Paul didn’t wallow in his past, but moved on with Christ
      • Those who are stuck in the past repeat its sins
      • Paul shed his past errors in order to gain Christ
    • Paul’s new direction completely changed him
      • Instead of the Law, Paul studied Christ
      • Paul was self-righteous; now righteous in Christ
      • Paul lived by legalism; now he lived by faith
      • He was strong in Law; now he sought the power that came in Christ’s resurrection
      • Paul reveled in authority; now he fellowshipped with Christ through sharing in his suffering
      • Paul was a servant of the Law; & now he sought to follow Christ unto death to attain resurrection
  • Without complete change there is no change
    • Paul did not mix old life with new = a complete change
    • Paul was only successful as an apostle as he gave all to
    • Christ without reservation & held onto to nothing from past
    • Jam. 1 a double-minded man has not given all to Christ
      • He wants to serve Christ & please the flesh also
      • He wants to be blessed, but hold onto the past
      • He wants to receive rewards, but wants his own way
      • He wants to live by faith, but is full of doubts

Key Verse: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,

Before the [a]difficult days come,

And the years draw near when you say,

“I have no pleasure in them”:

2 While the sun and the light,

The moon and the stars,

Are not darkened,

And the clouds do not return after the rain;

3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,

And the strong men bow down;

When the grinders cease because they are few,

And those that look through the windows grow dim;

4 When the doors are shut in the streets,

And the sound of grinding is low;

When one rises up at the sound of a bird,

And all the daughters of music are brought low.

5 Also they are afraid of height,

And of terrors in the way;

When the almond tree blossoms,

The grasshopper is a burden,

And desire fails.

For man goes to his eternal home,

And the mourners go about the streets.

6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is [b]loosed,

Or the golden bowl is broken,

Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,

Or the wheel broken at the well.

7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,

And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,

“All is vanity.”

Dec 20, 2020. Philippians 3:1-6

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ON GUARD!  Philippians 3:1-6. Dec. 20, 2020.  #13.

Philippians 3:1-6 [New King James Version]

1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship [a]God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

  • Ever vigilant
    • Believers tend to be trusting people
      • Not looking to be scammed, deceived, or manipulated = expected others to be honest & sincere
      • Even when violated believers assume that such cases are rare & untargeted
    • Paul states that treachery is common & must be guarded against (deceivers & persecutors are on the prowl)
      • I Peter 5:8 if Satan is on the prowl, so are his followers (2 Cor. 11:14-15)
      • Believers are particularly vulnerable to attack due to their beliefs & trusting nature
    • Paul states that we are to rejoice in the Lord, but we must still remember that we are in the world among evil people
    • Paul said that he is not annoyed, irked, or bothered by having to warn the church about the ensnarement of evil men in this world
      • Safety warnings need to repeated & heeded
      • The safety of the church is too important to take lightly or to put off (be lazy about)
      • Most tragedies happen when we let our guard down (Adam, Abraham, David…)
    • It is easy to ignore warnings, but hard to recover from failure
  • Paul lists the enemies of the saints
    • Dogs = the impure, irreverent, & impertinent
      • The image of vicious packs of dogs which roamed through cities & villages, attacking people & animals
      • Beware of those who actively seek to bring you down morally, spiritually, & mentally
      • Dogs = easier to recognize than subtler enemies
    • Evil workers = these could be either those who are false believers within the church body or those who try to manipulate or destroy from outside the body
      • II Timothy 4:14-15 Paul warned Timothy of Alexander the Coppersmith who strongly opposed the Gospel
      • Evil men are always nearby, opposing all that is godly: Abiram, Korah, & Dathan + Haman + Judas
    • The mutilated = the Jews who opposed Christians (much more prevalent in 1st century than today)
      • Christians have replaced the circumcised (Jews)
      • Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law
  • Pedigree, position, & power mean nothing in eternity
    • Paul tells the Phil. to have no confidence in the flesh
      • Heritage & celebrity status or reputation are not to be trusted (no man is infallible)
      • Too many believers trust everything their favorite famous TV preacher says
    • Paul states that if anyone could have confidence in the flesh, he could
      • A Jew circumcised on the 8th day, from the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, zealous to point of persecuting the church, & the very model of a faithful Hebrew
      • Paul followed the letter of the law perfectly
    • Romans 7 only after Paul came to Christ did he realize that all his works were based upon arrogant self-righteousness
      • Isaiah 64:5-9 when we compare ourselves with others, we may seem righteous & pure by our own standards
      • Isaiah 6 compared to holiness of God, we are evil
    • If Paul can’t claim holiness ŵ his credentials, no one could

Key verse:  Isaiah 64:5-9 [New King James Version]

5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,

Who remembers You in Your ways.

You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—

In these ways we continue;

And we need to be saved.

6 But we are all like an unclean thing,

And all our righteousnesses are like [a]filthy rags;

We all fade as a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind,

Have taken us away.

7 And there is no one who calls on Your name,

Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;

For You have hidden Your face from us,

And have [b]consumed us because of our iniquities.

8 But now, O Lord,

You are our Father;

We are the clay, and You our potter;

And all we are the work of Your hand.

9 Do not be furious, O Lord,

Nor remember iniquity forever;

Indeed, please look—we all are Your people!

Dec 20, 2020. II Samuel 3:22-39

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JOAB SLAYS ABNER. II Samuel 3:22-39. 12/20/20. #08.

2 Samuel 3:22-39 [New King James Version]

22 At that moment the servants of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much [a]spoil with them. But Abner was not with David in Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the troops that were with him had come, they told Joab, saying, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he sent him away, and he has gone in peace.” 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you; why is it that you sent him away, and he has already gone? 25 Surely you realize that Abner the son of Ner came to deceive you, to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you are doing.” 26 And when Joab had gone from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, who brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately, and there [b]stabbed him in the stomach, so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard it, he said, “My kingdom and I are [c]guiltless before the Lord forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 Let it rest on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house; and let there never fail to be in the [d]house of Joab one who has a discharge or is a leper, who leans on a staff or falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.” 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes, gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn for Abner.” And King David followed the coffin. 32 So they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33 And the king sang a lament over Abner and said: “Should Abner die as a fool dies? 34 Your hands were not bound Nor your feet put into fetters;

As a man falls before wicked men, so you fell.” Then all the people wept over him again. 35 And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, “God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!” 36 Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, since whatever the king did pleased all the people. 37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s intent to kill Abner the son of Ner. 38 Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The Lord shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”

  • A king not in charge
    • David agreed that Abner would put Israel under David’s rule
      • David provided a royal feast for Abner
      • Abner brought Michal back to David
      • David then sends Abner away in peace
    • Joab had been away on a raid, securing wealth for the king
      • Joab had no idea that David had made this pact
        • One of key leadership principles is to keep key people informed of organ. plans
        • Joab was, shocked, incensed, and angry
      • Joab felt betrayed by David’s actions
        • Abner was the head of the enemy army
        • Many Jews died in battle fighting Israel
        • Abner had killed Joab’s brother, Asahel
        • David had not informed Joab of this pact
    • Joab sends a messenger to call Abner back to Jerusalem
      • Joab takes Abner aside as if to talk to him, but he kills Abner instead
        • Joab doesn’t fight Abner in personal combat (he slays him like killing an insect)
        • Joab avenges his brother’s death in a shameful act as the revenger of blood
      • David knows nothing about Joab’s plan or act
    • When David hears about the betrayal of trust, he is grieved
      • His subjects will assume David ordered the attack
      • David does nothing to punish Joab
    • Unless a king is in charge of his government, he is weak
      • Joab was David’s cousin (Aunt Zeruiah’s son)
      • For some reason, David seems powerless to either control Joab or punish him
      • Joab knows that he can get by with murder
    • When those who you are in charge of know that they can get by with wrongdoing, you are powerless to impact their lives
  • David grieves
    • David is beside himself with grief and anguish when he hears of the horrendous betrayal
      • David had guaranteed Abner’s safety
      • To violate the king’s oath was treasonous
    • David shows a great display of mourning and contrition
    • David showed his displeasure with Joab in Abner’s eulogy
      • This great man should not have been struck down like a fool
      • Joab’s betrayal was cowardly and loathsome
      • David declares that Abner had been struck down by wicked men (referring to Joab)
      • Abner was not a prisoner awaiting execution, and he did not fall in honorable combat
    • In Joab’s mind he had merely revenged his brother’s death
      • Even though Asahel died in battle, Joab blamed Abner
      • Abner was an enemy, a rival to Joab’s position, and he needed to be eliminated (no honor involved)
    • David declares that the sons Zeruiah were too strong for him
      • Joab had powerful support among Judah, and David did not dare challenge him
      • When supporters are more powerful than the leader chaos must follow
  • Joab was a mixed bag
    • He wins battles for the king and helps defeat Absalom
    • He kills Abner, Amasa, and Absalom against king’s will
    • He helps David cover up Uriah murder, but David knows that Joab can use this against him
    • Eventually, David tells Solomon to kill Joab

Dec 13, 2020. Matthew 2:16-18

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DIAMOND IN THE MUCK.  Matthew 2:16-18. Dec, 13, 2020.

Matthew 2:16-18 [New King James Version]

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,

Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children,

Refusing to be comforted,

Because they are no more.”

  • The popular view of the Christmas story
    • Christmas to most believers is full of angels, wise men, shepherds, a manger, a star, a babe, and a young mom
    • We like the image of God coming to earth as a man
      • God uses a peasant girl as a vessel to introduce the incarnate son to the world
      • We romanticize a long journey, a filthy stable, and a humble family
    • The Christmas story has become cozy, adventuresome,  and without context
  • The context of the Christmas story is less romantic than legend
    • Israel was under the cruel whip of Rome and direct rule of the paranoid tyrant, Herod
    • Life was not easy for the poor of the land
      • A struggle to live and danger lurked everywhere
      • Taxes were oppressive and both Roman soldiers and Herod’s officials took advantage of them
    • As when Israel were slaves in Egypt, the people cried out for deliverance
  • The wise men brought gifts and trouble
    • We think of the wise men making the long 700-mile trip to Israel on camels covering many weeks of travel
    • The Magi were astrologers in southern Persia
      • They probably were familiar with Daniel’s prophecy concerning the “Prince” of Daniel 9
      • They were obviously divinely led
    • Obviously, the image of the wise men arriving on the night of Jesus’ birth is incorrect
      • They came to see the young child (not a baby), who was in a house
      • From Herod’s calculation, Jesus was a toddler
  • Light burst into extreme darkness
    • The visit of the wise men precipitated the death of several boy babies and toddlers (20-30)
    • To kill Jesus, Herod killed all the small boys
      • God sent his son into Egypt for safe keeping
    • These were real babies and boys who died
      • Real mothers and fathers grieved
      • These families and children did nothing wrong
      • This was a shock – a sudden unexpected attack
    • The coming of Christ highlights the wickedness he came to overcome (real babies dying due to the cruelty of a paranoid tyrant is the beginning)
      • Jesus came to bring peace to a world of war, disease, cruelty, crime, and evil of all manner
      • The contrast between the mission of the Lord and the wickedness of the world is highlighted by the wanton murder of helpless children
    • It is the darkness of the world that needed the light
      • We offer the world a Christ who was born to give his life for cheaters, liars, adulterers, thieves, murderers, extortionists, and blasphemers
      • The baby in the manger is the offering for the sins of the world
    • Christ came with purpose and destiny
      • To remember only the babe in the cradle and not the lamb of God on the cross is to miss the point
      • To many in the world, the baby Jesus is all they see (cute, romantic, helpless, endearing…)
    • To miss the Christ slain for us is to still be lost in our sins
      • There is no cross without the cradle
      • There’s no meaning of the cradle without the cross
    • Christmas must always be set in its context to be real

Dec 6, 2020. Philippians 2:25-30

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Philippians 2:25-30 [New King James Version]

25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, [a]not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

Dec 6, 2020. II Samuel 3:12-21

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ABNER MAKES A DEAL. II Samuel 3:12-21. 12/06/20. #07.

II Samuel 3:12-21 [New King James Version]

12 Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to David, saying, “Whose is the land?” saying also, “Make your covenant with me, and indeed my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel to you.” 13 And David said, “Good, I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you: you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” 14 So David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 And Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 Then her husband went along with her to Bahurim, weeping behind her. So Abner said to him, “Go, return!” And he returned. 17 Now Abner had communicated with the elders of Israel, saying, “In time past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 Now then, do it! For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David, I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and the hand of all their enemies.’ ” 19 And Abner also spoke in the hearing of Benjamin. Then Abner also went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and the whole house of Benjamin. 20 So Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Then Abner said to David, “I will arise and go, and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

  • Abner’s betrayal
    • Four basic types of betrayal:
      • PURPOSEFUL – a spy from another country or group infiltrates another entity in order to betray them (Hushai; Mati Hiri, Nathan Hale)
      • REACTIVE – (an offended party takes revenge by betraying his sworn cause – Abner, Ahithophel, Benedict Arnold)
      • JUDICIAL – (when a state or entity violates its sworn purpose, the faithful often oppose that entity – John the Baptist, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Am. Revolution)
      • COVETOUS – (seeking one’s own gain – Judas, Balaam, Jezebel/Naboth)
    • Abner was offended at being accused, so he switched sides
      • Many in Israel were already pro-David
      • David had been popular with army and people
      • Ishbosheth was not an inspiring man
    • Abner proposes a meeting with David to give him Israel
  • David agrees to meet with Abner
    • David is thrilled Abner’s proposal
      • David agrees to meet with Abner if he would bring his wife, Michal, back to him
      • David send Ishbosheth a messenger demanding that Michal be sent to him
    • Michal was a woman between two worlds
      • She love David and was loyal to him
      • She was given to David after David brought back 200 Philistine foreskins from battle
      • She saved David’s life when Saul sought to kill him
      • In anger, Saul took Michal from David and gave her to Paltiel (a young nobleman who supported Saul)
        • Michal had no say in the matter (no choice)
        • Michal still loved David, but had to perform the duties of a wife to Paltiel
      • Now, she was happily going back to David
      • The men in her life caused her to be adulterous, spiritually polluted, and disgraced (Dt. 24, Rm. 7:1-4)
    • David wanted his wife back
      • He had earned the honor of marrying her through dangerous heroic deeds
      • Being Saul’s daughter, she provided a means to legitimize his claim to the throne
      • David truly loved Michal
    • Abner fetches Michal from Paltiel’s house
      • Paltiel follows after her, weeping and pleading, until Abner orders him to go home
      • Michal is obviously a very desirable woman
  • Abner seals the deal
    • Abner secures the transfer of power through lobbying the elders and leaders of Israel to accept transfer of the kingdom to David
      • His main difficulty would be to convince the tribe of Benjamin to agree to this arrangement, since Saul was from their tribe (only about a century after the tribe was decimated at the end of Judges)
      • After Benjamin realized that the rest of Israel was agreeable to have David as their king
    • David puts on a feast for Abner and receives him as a royal guest
      • After the feast Abner goes, promising to deliver Israel to David
      • It seems that God’s promise to David was being fulfilled
    • All things are not always what they seem to be
      • Abner had not delivered Israel yet
      • Abner had earned a bitter enemy in Joab when he killed his brother
      • We can never predict the paths the Lord will take us
        • Often, God teaches us lessons by not doing what we anticipate him doing
        • Important to not depend on what we think should happen and be alert to follow God’s lead