Jul 25, 2021. I Thessalonians 2:1-12

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PAUL’S PARENTAL CARE.  I Thessalonians 2:1-12.  7/25/2021.  #3.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 [New King James Version]

1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. 4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

1. Paul defends his ministry and message

                a. Paul was forced to leave Thessalonians before he could fully disciple them, defend his ministry and teaching, and bond with them

                                a1. The Jews tried to discredit Paul and the gospel

                                a2. Since Paul was no longer with them, he sent two letters back to them to defend his authority, teaching, genuine concern for them

                b. God had entrusted the gospel to Paul, who had not failed in his calling (he had passed the test of authenticity)

                c. When Paul was with them, he behaved devoutly, justly, blamelessly, and purely (Paul was acutely aware of his reputation and testimony)

                d. He supported himself and aides by working night and day, so that he would not be a burden to them

                                a1. Paul labored as a leather worker to make money

                                a2. Thessalonians was a poor church, so Paul did not impose

                                a3. Paul did not want to be accused of seeking gain

2. A pure gospel from a pure motivation

                a. Paul states that he had given them the authentic gospel

                                a1. There were plenty of false teachings (Jude)

                                a2. Paul had given ample proof of validity of his message

                b. Paul states 3 traits of those he preach a false gospel:

                                a1. ERROR – there are those who honestly believe in what they teach, even in error

                                                b1. They had embraced a false message

                                                b2. Cults and errant churches believe their messages without evidence of truth

                                                b3. Paul was not in error

                                a2. UNCLEANNESS (impurity) – a message that justified the sins of the messenger (idolaters)

                                                b1. The more people who follow the impure message the more justified the false teacher feels (Philippians 1:15-30)

                                                b2. Paul touted his proper morality

                                a3. DECEIT – the messenger knows that he his presenting a false message, but seeks to deceive his hearers for personal gain

                c. Paul denies being motivated by personal gain

                                a1. Not for GLORY – praise of men (Matthew 23)

                                a2. Not for GREED – to become wealthy (I Timothy 6)

3. Enduring spiritual parent

                a. Paul came to Thessalonians after being mistreated in Philippi

                                a1. The same Jews that opposed him in Philippians followed him to Thessalonica and continued their attack

                                a2. The uproar of Jews led to his expulsion from Thessalonica

                b. Paul’s response = he continued to boldly preach gospel

                                a1. He refused to allow conflict to silence him

                                a2. Galatians 6:9-10 refused to be weary in well doing

                c. Paul presented himself as a loving spiritual parent

                                a1. Gentle as a nursing mom = affectionate, bonding, giving my own life for you with his aides

                                                b1. People were not just prospects to Paul

                                                b2. Paul cared about those he taught

                                a2. As a father, he comforted, exhorted, and admonished them to bring them to maturity

                d. The ministry was not a job, but a calling of mercy and love

Key verse: Philippians 1:15-30

15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. 19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. 27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Jul 25, 2021. II Samuel 15:1-12

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ABSALOM’S GRAB FOR POWER.  II Samuel 15:1-12.  7/25/2021.  #32.

2 Samuel 15:1-12 [New King James Version]

1 After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.” 4 Moreover Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” 5 And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. 6 In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 7 Now it came to pass after forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the Lord. 8 For your servant took a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If the Lord indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’ ” 9 And the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron!’ ” 11 And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything. 12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city—from Giloh—while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.

  1. Weakness invites challenge
    1. Due to David not dealing with the rape of Tamar, the murder of Amnon, and the challenge of Absalom, he loses respect in the kingdom
    1. After Absalom’s de facto banishment, David does nothing to Abs. when they came face to face (just kissed him)
    1. Absalom feels free to do what he wants
      1.  He is certain that David would do nothing
      1.  Ephesians 6:4 nurture + admonition must go together
    1. Absalom gathers horses, chariots, royal footmen, and other regalia of royalty that goes along with being a king
  2. A clueless king blesses his own doom
    1. Absalom then stands outside the king’s gate in Jerusalem
      1.  He tells the people seeking the king for justice, that David had assigned no one to hear their cases
      1.  He informs the people that if he were king, he would surely dispense justice for them
      1.  Added to his handsome appearance, the unjust treatment of his sister and sympathy for what he did is Absalom’s wooing of the people
    1. David is unaware that anything is amiss
      1.  It is hard to imagine that no one is telling David what is going on in sight of his palace windows
      1.  David seems very ill-informed about events and trends in his own kingdom
  3. The surprise obvious plot
    1. After 4 years (not 40, which is a copy error in the Syriac and LXX texts), Abs. had captured the heart of the people
      1.  David does not even notice any change
      1.  Leadership can’t afford to isolated from the people that are being led
    1. Absalom asks permission of David to go to Hebron to pay a vow he made to the Lord while he was in Geshur
      1.  David doesn’t suspect anything
      1.  David sends Absalom away with his blessing
      1.  David invites 200 men from Jerusalem to attend (they know nothing of the plot)
      1.  Absalom invites David’s chief advisor, Ahithophel, to attend (grandfather of Bathsheba)
    1. Abs. wants the throne
      1.  He believes that his father is unjust, weak, and undeserving to rule
      1.  Even though David spared Abs.’s life, Absalom would take David’s life in order to gain the throne
      1.  Ambitious men will go to any extreme to gain their objectives (lie, kill, deceive, bribe, and manipulate)
    1. Seems to be a lack of affection between David and his kids
    1. Absalom had been plotting for 4 years to make his move (7 yrs. after the rape of Tamar)
      1.  When Absalom arrives in Hebron, he sends a signal to all his followers throughout the tribes to blow the trumpets and proclaim, “Absalom rules in Hebron”
      1.  David is not dead yet, so this is a brazen coup
    1. Abs. doesn’t consider that it was God who made David king
      1.  Absalom’s message to Israel: David has forgotten you
      1.  Absalom’s support continues to grow
    1. David is left with Joab and the older veterans

Jul 18, 2021. I Thessalonians 1:6-10

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SPIRIT EMPOWERED.  I Thessalonians 1:6-10.  7/18/2021.  #2.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 [New King James Version]

6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

  1. A changed life
    1. The Thessalonian church showed such change in their lives, that Paul was convinced that they were empowered by the Spirit
    1. They became followers of Christ
      1.  Bold witness in spite of great affliction and trials
      1.  Logically, no one would join a persecuted group on their own
      1.  They joyfully embraced Christ even in suffering
    1. They became evangelists throughout Macedonia and Achaia (middle of Greece including Athens)
      1.  3 sections of Greece: Macedonia, Achaia, Peloponnesus which includes Sparta
      1.  In short order, they spread the gospel throughout the region
      1.  Moved from new believers to bold witnesses
      1.  Their witness moved from Greece to the utter most parts of the known world
    1. They turned from idols to God
      1.  They were multi-generation pagans (thousands of years of idol worshippers)
      1.  The truth made sense, where idol worship was full of contradiction and immorality
    1. Paul and aides were well received by the Thess.
  2. Paul teaches Thess. the doctrinal basis for belief and practice
    1. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit, not man
      1.  Not by clever argument
      1.  John 16:8 the Spirit convicts, draws, regenerates, seals, gifts, and tasks
    1. Resurrection of Jesus = the key evidence of faith
      1.  They accepted the evidence that the Athenians rejected
      1.  This is the pivotal point of coming to Christ
    1. Second Coming of Christ
      1.  Serving the Lord in the light of the return of Christ motivates us to serve faithfully
      1.  To anticipate great reward allows us to endure great trials ( Romans 8:12-25)
    1. We are rescued from the wrath to come
      1.  Two levels of divine wrath:
        1.  The Great Tribulation – Paul had taught the Thessalonians about God’s great outpouring of wrath upon sinful man
        1.  The Great White Throne Judgment = the ultimate judgment of the lost (Revelation 20)
      1.  The Thess. were confused about the timing and details of end times events, especially as it related to the church (Paul did not have time to fill in all the details before he had to flee)
    1. The return of Christ for his church
      1.  Paul indicates that the reward for faithfulness is worth the price of serving him in trials
      1.  The rapt anticipation of glory swallows up the fear of persecution (Matthew 10:28)
  3. Keep focused
    1. Paul wanted to commend the Thessalonian for their faithfulness
    1. Paul wanted to correct their doctrine so their faith would not be tarnished by false belief
    1. Paul encourages them to keep going
    1. Initial enthusiasm wears off, so spiritual growth must replace enthusiasm wit spiritual maturity

Key verse: Romans 8:12-25

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Jul 18, 2021. II Samuel 14:25-33

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ABSALOM FORCES THE ISSUE.  II Samuel 14:25-33.  7/18/2021.  #31.

2 Samuel 14:25-33 [New King James Version]

25 Now in all Israel there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he cut the hair of his head—at the end of every year he cut it because it was heavy on him—when he cut it, he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels according to the king’s standard. 27 To Absalom were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a woman of beautiful appearance. 28 And Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, but did not see the king’s face. 29 Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. And when he sent again the second time, he would not come. 30 So he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Joab arose and came to Absalom’s house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32 And Absalom answered Joab, “Look, I sent to you, saying, ‘Come here, so that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.” ’ Now therefore, let me see the king’s face; but if there is iniquity in me, let him execute me.” 33 So Joab went to the king and told him. And when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.

  1. Near home is not at home
    1. Joab convinced David to bring Absalom back from Geshur where he fled after killing Amnon
      1.  Amnon had raped Tamar, but David had done nothing about the crime
      1.  After 2 years, Absalom takes matters into his own hands and murders Amnon
      1.  Absalom fled to Geshur, East of the Sea of Galilee
      1.  Joab used a ruse to trick David into sending for Ab
    1. Both Joab and Absalom believed that the king would call Absalom before him to face the consequences of his actions
      1.  David had proven unwilling to hold his children to account – just like Eli or Samuel
      1.  His sons committed the exact same sins that he had
        1.  David had committed adultery with another man’s wife and Amnon raped his ½ sister
        1.  David made sure that another man killed Uriah while Absalom had his servants kill Am.
        1.  How could David punish his sons for doing what he had done?
    1. Not confronting the issue does not make it vanish
    1. Absalom had not seen his father in 3 years
    1. c. Absalom was the banished prince
  2. Trouble brewing
    1. Absalom was very handsome and without blemish
      1.  He removed 5 pounds of hair from his head each year – envy of all who saw him
      1.  Israel was drawn to him
    1. Absalom’s attractiveness would draw sympathy from people
      1.  Many would feel that he was justified in avenging his sister’s rape since his father refused to do so
      1.  Many would feel that his banishment from the palace was unjust
    1. David seems completely isolated from both the people and developing events around him
  3. Absalom makes his move
    1. Absalom gets tired of waiting to be called to the palace
    1. He calls Joab to him twice
      1.  Joab feels that he had done all he could
      1.  Joab refuses to come
    1. Absalom has his servants set Joab’s barley field ablaze
      1.  This gets Joab’s attention
      1.  Joab comes to Absalom to inquire about the arson
    1. Absalom makes some obvious points
      1.  It would have been better for him to stay in Geshur than to come home and still be banished from his own family
      1.  Absalom thought that coming home would mean going back to full status in the kingdom
      1.  If the king wanted to try him and then execute him that would be better than being treated as a nonperson by his own father
  4. David’s placid response
    1. When David sees his son, he merely kisses him
      1.  There is no dealing with the murder of Amnon
      1.  Restoration without accountability is complicity
    1. Absalom and others lose respect for David and his authority
      1.  The meeting is anticlimactic = no response
      1.  David does not even express anger or disapproval

Jul 11, 2021. I Thessalonians 1:1-5

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A LIGHT IN THESSALONICA.  I Thessalonians 1:1-5.  7/11/21.  #01.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 [New King James Version]

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace [a]from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

  1. Quick plant church
    1. Thessalonica = at top of the Aegean Sea on the E road
    2. Paul moved from Philippi to Thessalonica after release from jail
    3. Paul was only in Thessalonica for 3 weeks (1 THS. 17:1-15) 
      1.  As in other cities, the Greek population respond more positively than the Jews
      2.  The Jews were jealous and stirred up the town against Paul and his companions
    4. A mob attacked Jason’s house where Paul was staying
      1.  Jason had to post a security bond, guaranteeing the peaceful conduct of Paul and his group
      2.  The new converts escorted Paul out of town on the way to Berea until the Jews followed him there
    5. Paul was concerned that since he had so little time with the Thessalonians, they would falter under persecution
  2. A good start for the church
    1. Paul was gratified and astounded that the Thessalonica held firm under persecution and even boldly shared their faith
    2. The church developed a great reputation for faith and love
      1.  New believers can grow strong and fast
      2.  Desire to know about God and serve him can greatly speed up the maturity of a believer
    3. Paul encourages the church to continue to grow in faith
    4. Paul ends up dealing with 3 basic issues:
      1.  Basic morality and ethics, which was lacking in all Greek cities (faith applied to daily life)
      2.  They misunderstood Paul’s teaching on end times, thinking Christ was coming immediately
      3.  Dealt with rumors that Christ had already come and saints who had died had missed it
  3. Greetings, gratitude, and grace
    1. Paul has Timothy and Silvanus with him
      1.  Timothy is Paul’s main messenger and aid
      2.  Silvanus is Paul’s scribe or secretary
        1.  Being a Greek, he knew proper grammar
        1.  Silv. served Peter in same way (1 Pt. 5:12)
    2. Paul is very thankful for Thessalonica believers and their testimony
      1. We don’t know how a new convert will grow
      2.  Paul prays continually for them and their faith (not just lead them and then leave them=>prayer)
    3. Paul was grateful to God for specific traits shown by them
      1.  Work of faith = though new converts, they immediately began evangelizing, discipling, and helps
      2.  Labor of love = love of God and fellow man
      3.  Patience in hope in Lord = already learned how to forbear under trials by trusting in Lord
    4. Philippians 2:12 their life demonstrated that they were truly God’s elect (God chose them for himself)
    5. Paul testifies that the Holy Spirit empowered the words of the Gospel spoken to them (Heb. 4:12)
      1.  Paul did not have any power (God’s alone)
      2.  Jn. 15:5 we can do nothing without Lord (tools)
    6. Their faithfulness gave strong assurance of their faith
      1.  They observed and accepted testimony of Paul and those with him (each had good reputation)
      2.  The Thessalonicas embraced the truth and left old life behind
    7. Those open to the truth can completely change quickly
      1.  Always still more growth and danger of slipping
      2.  A determined faith is a victorious faith

Jul 11, 2021. II Samuel 14:1-24

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RETURN OF ABSALOM.  II Samuel 14:1-24.  07/11/21.  #30

2 Samuel 14:1-24 [New King James Version]

1 So Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was concerned about Absalom. 2 And Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman, and said to her, “Please pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning apparel; do not anoint yourself with oil, but act like a woman who has been mourning a long time for the dead. 3 Go to the king and speak to him in this manner.” So Joab put the words in her mouth. 4 And when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself, and said, “Help, O king!” 5 Then the king said to her, “What troubles you?” And she answered, “Indeed I am a widow, my husband is dead. 6 Now your maidservant had two sons; and the two fought with each other in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one struck the other and killed him. 7 And now the whole family has risen up against your maidservant, and they said, ‘Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may execute him for the life of his brother whom he killed; and we will destroy the heir also.’ So they would extinguish my ember that is left, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the earth.” 8 Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” 9 And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord, O king, let the iniquity be on me and on my father’s house, and the king and his throne be guiltless.” 10 So the king said, “Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you anymore.” 11 Then she said, “Please let the king remember the Lord your God, and do not permit the avenger of blood to destroy anymore, lest they destroy my son.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.” 12 Therefore the woman said, “Please, let your maidservant speak another word to my lord the king.” And he said, “Say on.” 13 So the woman said: “Why then have you schemed such a thing against the people of God? For the king speaks this thing as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring his banished one home again. 14 For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him. 15 Now therefore, I have come to speak of this thing to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. And your maidservant said, ‘I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his maidservant. 16 For the king will hear and deliver his maidservant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from the inheritance of God.’ 17 Your maidservant said, ‘The word of my lord the king will now be comforting; for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king in discerning good and evil. And may the Lord your God be with you.’ ” 18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide from me anything that I ask you.” And the woman said, “Please, let my lord the king speak.” 19 So the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” And the woman answered and said, “As you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. For your servant Joab commanded me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant. 20 To bring about this change of affairs your servant Joab has done this thing; but my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of the angel of God, to know everything that is in the earth.” 21 And the king said to Joab, “All right, I have granted this thing. Go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22 Then Joab fell to the ground on his face and bowed himself, and thanked the king. And Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has fulfilled the request of his servant.” 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, “Let him return to his own house, but do not let him see my face.” So Absalom returned to his own house, but did not see the king’s face.

  1. Forlorn but forsaken
    1. Absalom has executed his brother, Amnon, for raping Tamar
      1.  David had done nothing about the rape (2 years)
      1.  Abs. fled to Geshur
      1.  David does nothing about the murder of his son, Amnon (he does nothing at all)
    2. David mourns for Absalom, but does nothing to either confront or reconcile with him
      1.  David has a habit of leaving personal matters in limbo (seeks no resolution)
      1.  Unresolved issues fester and often inflame
    3. Joab notices that David is moping over Absalom
      1.  He notes that David will do nothing to resolve it
      1.  Those who refuse to reconcile with the past are doomed to live the past over and over again
      1.  Joab knows that David can’t continue moping and still effectively rule the kingdom (a distraction)
      1.  Joab plots to manipulate David into bringing back Absalom (to remove this impediment)
  2. The woman of Tekoa
    1. Joab finds a woman of Tekoa (hometown of Amos) to come before David with a clever ruse
    2. Joab has the woman play a desperate widow
      1.  She is to say that one of her sons killed her other son in a fight and now the community wants to kill him
      1.  Her remaining son is the last of her inheritance
      1.  She wants David to protect her son
    3. David promises to protect her son
    4. Then the woman pulls a “You are the man!” moment
      1.  She asks why David hasn’t brought back his son
      1.  David perceives that he has been set up
      1.  David asks if Joab is not behind this plot
        1.  The woman admits that Joab instructed her to speak to David
        1.  David had not checked out her story and so was deceived (Proverbs 18:13, 17)
    5. Apparently, Joab had brought the woman to David
      1.  David gives Joab permission to fetch Absalom
      1.  Joab thinks the issue will now resolve itself
  3. Half way home is not home
    1. The purpose of bringing Abs. home was for reconciliation
      1.  David rejects the possibility of reconciliation
      1.  David avoids dealing directly with the issues
    2. David misses the point of Joab’s petition
      1.  Absalom may return to his own home and fields
      1.  Absalom may not see David face to face
      1.  Abs. can come half way to David, but not all
      1.  David is still angry about Abs.’s actions
      1.  By not dealing with the problem directly, David guaranteed he would have to deal with it on Absalom’s terms
    3. Absalom is David’s son and his problem to deal with
      1.  Status quo will not stay stagnant
      1.  No trial, verdict, or decree has been issued by David concerning his son
      1.  David’s de facto punishment is banishment from the palace and his presence without benefit of dialogue
    4. Luke 15 no Prodigal Son reconciliation with father

Jul 4, 2021. Colossians 4:7-18

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LABORERS OF LIGHT.  Colossians 4:7-18.  07/04/2021.  #14.

Colossians 4:7-18 [New King James Version]

7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. 10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in [e]his house. 16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 18 This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.

  1. Paul sends greetings from those with him
    1. Paul was not alone in the Roman jail
      1.  Others were ministering to and with him
      1.  Some were even in jail with him
    1. Tychicus was a faithful companion of Paul’s
      1.  Not only was he with Paul in this 1st imprisonment, but also his 2nd one (I Timothy 4:12)
      1.  We have little information on Tychicus, but Paul’s faith in him speaks volumes (many labor in obscurity, but not before God)
      1.  Tychicus was a news bearer and a comforter
    1. Onesimus = the runaway slave of Philemon whom Paul leads to the Lord and is sending back as a servant
    1. Aristarchus = a fellow prisoner with Paul
    1. John Mark = either Barnabas’ nephew (Acts 12-13) or his cousin (Greek word could merely mean “relative”)
      1.  Mark had come with Paul and Barnabas on first mission trip
      1.  After Mark left early, Paul refused to take Mark on second trip, so Paul and Barnabas split company
      1.  Paul later found Mark faithful (II Timothy 4)
      1.  The Upper Room was in mom’s house
      1.  Author of book of Mark
    1. Justus = one of candidates to take Judas’ place (Acts 1)
    1. Paul mentions Jewish Christians 1st and bemoans the fact that there were so few of them
    1. Epaphras – from Colosse and messenger to and from Paul (called a fellow prisoner in Philemon)
    1. Doctor Luke is with Paul (writer of Luke and Acts)
    1. Demus = still faithful, but will soon leave Paul
      1.  II Timothy 4 Demus loved the world
      1.  Paul did not know that Demus was a false saint
  2. Paul sends greetings to people in Colossae
    1. Greets those in Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis
    1. Nymphas hosted the Laodicean church
      1.  Paul wrote a letter to Laodicea that we don’t have
      1.  Revelation 3 later the Laodicea would grow lukewarm
    1. Archippus = pastor of Col. church
      1.  Special admonition = must faithful attend to ministry given to him by the Lord
      1.  James 3:1-2 church leaders are more accountable
  3. Archippus given strict warning
    1. Take heed = lit., “see to the ministry”
      1.  Attend to the ministry given you (diligence)
      1.  Not a casual or light responsibility
    1. All ministries, tasks, and callings are from God (Romans 12:1-13)
      1.  We are stewards (caretakers) of our calling
      1.  Matthew 25 we will be held to account for our tasking
      1.  Luke 12:48 the greater the calling, the greater the accountability for that calling
    1. Arch. is to fulfill his calling (not partially, but in all its aspects of teaching, caring, counseling, managing, prayer…)
    1. Callings are given to us by God
      1.  We do not chose our place in God’s ministry
      1.  We are responsible for our calling even if we would prefer to do something else, or nothing
      1.  Responsible for all aspects of the calling
      1.  We are responsible to not quit or slack off (serious)
    1. There is great loss and damage when we shirk our ministry
    1. Paul signs off with his own hand (remember my bonds!)

Jul 4, 2021. II Samuel 13:34-39

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ABSALOM FLEES.  II Samuel 13:34-39.  07/04/2021.  #29.

II Samuel 13:34-39 [New King James Version]

34 Then Absalom fled. And the young man who was keeping watch lifted his eyes and looked, and there, many people were coming from the road on the hillside behind him. 35 And Jonadab said to the king, “Look, the king’s sons are coming; as your servant said, so it is.” 36 So it was, as soon as he had finished speaking, that the king’s sons indeed came, and they lifted up their voice and wept. Also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly. 37 But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. 38 So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead.

  1. Absalom on the lam
    1. Immediately after Absalom has Amnon murdered, he flees
      1.  Absalom would rather leave his home than not see justice done for his sister, Tamar
      1.  David’s lack of discernment and administering justice precipitated this entire situation
    1. Absalom had his escape plan well-rehearsed
    1. He flees to King Talmai of Geshur
      1.  Geshur is east of the Sea of Galilee
      1.  Same territory of the Geshurites, Gadarenes, and Decapolis where Jesus cast out demons (Legion)
      1.  David had made an alliance with Talmai (3:3)
      1.  Talmai would not turn down refuge for a son of David (not uncommon in royal disputes)
  2. A palace full of tears
    1. David and palace are distraught
      1.  Jonadab informs David that the king’s sons were returning to Jerusalem just as he had said
      1.  There was great mourning among David’s sons
    1. Absalom’s betrayal of murdering a guest where safety was guaranteed was on par with Amnon raping his sister
    1. Ab. feels vindicated, but also fearful of consequences
    1. David moves from mourning over Amnon to mourning over the absence of Absalom
  3.  As with Tamar, David moves on to be concerned about Absalom without dealing with Amnon’s murder
  4. David executed justice against others, but he refused to do so within his own household
    1. Unless justice applies foremost to me and my household, I have no right to impose it on anyone else (children and others lose respect for the hypocrite)
  5. David continues his rule by inaction
    1. David shows no backbone in his own family
      1.  He does not pursue Absalom to bring him to justice (as he did with Amnon)
      1.  He does not try to contact Absalom
      1.  He does not send a delegation to bring Ab. back
      1.  3 years pass and David does nothing
    1. Proper administration brings peace and order, but poor administration brings chaos and tragedy
      1.  David never comes to grips with his lack of fortitude, rectitude, and prudent judicial rule
      1.  David seems unaware that he is the main problem
    1. David comes to the conclusion that he wants to reconcile with his son before he even holds him to account for his acts
      1.  Nowhere does it say that David confessed his sinful acts before his family (James 5)
      1.  David never regains the moral high road
      1.  David wants to move on as if nothing had ever happened (to ignore past sins)
    1. A past not reconciled is a past that will haunt your future
      1.  God had exposed David’s sin, but David did not expose himself to public confession and recompense
      1.  David’s lack of contrition before family and subjects neutralized his ability to effectively rule
    1. There is a pride in self-acclaimed piety, integrity, and humility that dooms a man as much as arrogance does (subtle)

Jun 27, 2021. Colossians 4:2-6

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LIFE FOCUS.  Colossians 4:2-6.  06/27/2021.  #13.

Colossians 4:2-6 [New King James Version]

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the [a]mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

1. The primacy of prayer

                a. Paul’s closing comments to Col. is a list of practical actions

                    that put his doctrinal teachings into practice

                                a1. There how-to-do implementations that proceed the fundamental beliefs of the faith

                                a2. Like OT offerings, actions do not replace faith &

                                      beliefs, but are ways to apply them in real life

                b. As in many passages, prayer is placed in the forefront

                                a1. Belief + study + prayer go together

                                a2. Jm. 4:1-4 prayer is the mechanism by which we approach God in worship, praise, & requests

                c. Paul briefly gives vital aspects of proper praying:

                                a1. Continual = men are to always pray (I Thessalonians 5:17)

                                                b1. Prayer is the attitude of life (spiritual breathing = constant contact with God)

                                                b2. Not just prayer at specific times

                                a2. Earnest = a sincerity, fervency, & urgency in prayer (not absent-minded, rote, or flippant)

                                a3. Vigilant = prayer is involvement in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:11-12 praying engages us in spiritual warfare)

                                a4.  With Thanksgiving = without ongoing gratitude expressed to God for his being, blessings, & promises, prayer is a list of wants (Philippians 4:4-9)

                d. Paul then elicits the prayers of Col. Christians

                                a1. Paul is in jail (not ask to pray for release)

                                a2. He asks that God would open a door for witness

                                                b1. Witness to guards & visitors (Philippians 4:22)

                                                b2. Taking the mysteries (hidden truths) into Caesar’s palace

                                a3. Paul asks that they pray that he would speak properly so that the message would be clear (making the Gospel understandable is a challenge)

2. Walking circumspectly

                a. Paul urges the Col. to be wise toward unbelievers

                                a1. Mt. 10:16 commanded to be wise as serpents…

                                a2. We are to be a testimony to the lost in word/deed

                b. Many was to mess up your testimony: sin, aggressiveness, silence, not following lead of Holy Spirit, insensitivity…

                c. Redeeming the time = not frivolously wasting time on useless pursuits (an urgency about our calling, Ecclesiastes 2)

                                a1. Time management = putting things of God first (the Word, prayer, service)

                                a2. Enjoying what God has given us is great, especially if we praise him for it, but it is not priority 1

                d. The testimony of a believer must encompass morality, kindness, holiness, prayer, Scripture, witness, worship, service, outreach, & contentment (good reputation)

3. Saint speech

                a. Paul finishes his instructions by admonishing pure speech

                                a1. James 3 the tongue is a difficult device to control

                                a2. Appropriate speech must be wholesome (Ephesians 4:29)

                b. Paul lists 3 qualities of proper speech:

                                a1. Gracious = kindness & deferring (humble, respect, patient, helpful…)

                                a2. Seasoned with salt = makes the Gospel & way of Christ appealing, desirable, & pleasing

                                a3. Understanding what is appropriate to say

                c. Interacting properly with others requires the ability to listen (Jm. 1:19), be patient (I Thessalonians 5:14), be restrained (Ephesians 4:29), and be led by the Spirit (Romans 8:4)

                d. A spiritual Christian = not known for crude or harsh speech

Key Verse: Philippians 4:4-94 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!  5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Jun 27, 2021. II Samuel 13:23-33

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ABSALOM AVENGES TAMAR.  II Samuel 13:23-33.  06/27/2021.  #28

2 Samuel 13:23-33 [New King James Version]

23 And it came to pass, after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal Hazor, which is near Ephraim; so Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 24 Then Absalom came to the king and said, “Kindly note, your servant has sheepshearers; please, let the king and his servants go with your servant.” 25 But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go now, lest we be a burden to you.” Then he urged him, but he would not go; and he blessed him. 26 Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom urged him; so he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him. 28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, “Watch now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon!’ then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.” 29 So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each one got on his mule and fled. 30 And it came to pass, while they were on the way, that news came to David, saying, “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left!” 31 So the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the ground, and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn. 32 Then Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, answered and said, “Let not my lord suppose they have killed all the young men, the king’s sons, for only Amnon is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. 33 Now therefore, let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead. For only Amnon is dead.”

  1. The futile wait
    1. For 2 years Tamar and Absalom wait for David to bring Amnon to justice for his rape of Tamar
      1.  There is no indication that David even talked to Amnon, let alone enact any punishment on him
      1.  Absalom is furious and Tamar is devalued
    1. Several adverse results stem from judicial inaction:
      1.  An injustice is not properly recompensed
      1.  The perpetrator vindicated and free to continue to commit more injustices
      1.  Ecclesiastes 8:11 others feel free to do wickedness since there are no real consequences for their actions
      1.  Victims feel doubly violated (by crime and govern.)
      1.  Citizens lose respect for law and law enforcers
      1.  Victims are tempted to take matters into own hands
    1. Both Tamar and Absalom feel betrayed by their own father
      1.  David’s inability to act on behalf of his family is puzzling and inexcusable
      1.  Absalom loses respect for his father
  2. Absalom waits no longer
    1. Absalom devises a plan to avenge his sister
    1. He approaches David to invite him to his shearing the sheep celebration (similar to Nabol’s celebration in Carmel)
      1.  Like a harvest celebration (Ruth 3), the gathering of wool was a cause of great joy
      1.  David refuses to go, since he and his party would be in the way of the shearing and celebration
    1. Absalom must have suspected that David would refuse to go
      1.  Absalom asks that Amnon should go in David’s stead
      1.  This is an odd request, since each man takes care of his own fields, flocks, and harvests, and feasts
    1. David asks why Amnon should go with Absalom
      1.  David is suspicious, but he never acts on his suspicions (if a red flag arises in your mind, don’t ignore it, for God gives us intuition as a warning)
      1.  Notice that David gives in after Absalom presses him, even though there is no good reason for Amnon to go to a shearing feast put on by Absalom
    1. David’s intuition is not the only factor that should have given David pause, for Amnon had raped Absalom’s sister, Tamar, and David had done nothing about it
    1. Even though Ab. had specifically asked for Amnon to go, all of David’s sons go to Absalom’s celebration
      1.  Oddly, Amnon does not suspect anything
      1.  Like King Agag and David before Nathan confronted him, Amnon figures that time of judgment has passed
    1. Judgment does not always fall immediately (Revelation 2)
  3. Absalom takes revenge
    1. When Amnon is full of wine, Ab. signals for him to be killed
      1.  Amnon dies instantly and the other brothers flee
      1.  Absalom has taken life as a Revenger of Blood (Numbers 35:19), which the Levitical Law was to replace
      1.  Revenge cycles never finish (law must work)
    1. Romans 12 God tells us to leave vengeance up to God
    1. Rumor goes back to David that all his sons have been killed (great grief in the palace), but Jonadab says only Amnon is dead
    1. Jonadab says = Absalom planning revenge since rape (David unaware)