April 18

Read 2 Samuel 19 -- 20

In Today's Reading:

Joab rebukes David · David returns to Jerusalem · Sheba revolts against David · Sheba's death · Perhaps today's thoughts will be comforting.

Verse for Today:

The victory that day was turned into mourning . . . the king cried with a loud voice. . . . Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life. . . . arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants (2 Samuel 19:2).

Absalom was a cruel and heartless traitor, determined to murder his own father so that he could be king. But, when Joab killed Absalom, the battle ended and all Israel fled (2 Samuel 18:17). A short time later, a Cushite came running to David with the news, saying: Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord [has] avenged [you] this day of all [who] rose up against [you] (18:31). But, David had only one concern: Is the young man Absalom safe? (18:32).

David's soldiers returned from battle expecting to be welcomed by a victory celebration. Instead, they could hear the old king weeping loudly over Absalom's death: O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! (19:4). Immersed in his sorrow, David did not take into account his loyal followers who had protected and defended him. As a result, the victory that day was turned into mourning and the soldiers slipped away as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle (19:3).

David had faced many sorrows and tragedies which included the deaths of three of his children: Bathsheba's young child, Amnon, and now Absalom. When Bathsheba's young child became sick, David, in heart stirring sorrow, fasted and prayed for seven days in seclusion; but when he received word that the child had died, David confidently said: Now he is dead . . . I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me (12:23). David knew that Heaven would be all the more precious because his child was with the Lord.

As with David, tragic events do happen to godly parents and the love for our children often overshadows all else. However, all of us, at times, are responsible for the adverse circumstances and sorrows that we experience -- and we know it! But, as Christians who have confessed our sins, received Christ as Savior, and sincerely desire to be obedient to His Word, we can be sure that our lives are in the care of our loving, all-wise Heavenly Father at all times without one exception. When seeking answers, it seems reasonable to condemn ourselves for our faults and failures, or even to blame others for the things that happen to us or our loved ones.

Often we are faced with experiences beyond our control, such as the tragic death of a loved one, an automobile crash, an illness, a physical handicap, or a financial loss. And, like David, some grieve too long over what might have been. If we have been out of the will of God, we can repent of our sins and ask God to forgive us and He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We can't ask for more, because He said all. But some will still say: "I know God has forgiven me, but I can't forgive myself." This would be saying that we have a higher standard for forgiveness than the God who created us.

We don't deserve forgiveness, but God is true to His Word. Because of His profound love, He said: From the least to the greatest. . . . I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 8:11-12).

Satan, not God, is the accuser of our brethren (Revelation 12:10). Satan does not want us to forget our past mistakes. Only Satan "the accuser" wants us to drag the "skeletons" out of the closet a thousand times. But don't accept his reminders. God expects us to be as merciful to ourselves as He is. We are promised in His Word: As far as the east is from the west, so far [has] He removed our transgressions from us (Psalms 103:12). Once we pray for forgiveness, our past sins will never be remembered. We must do the same. He will have compassion upon us . . . and [will] cast all [our] sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).

Since God forgives us, then we must forgive ourselves. Once we recognize this fact, we discover how easy it is to forgive and forget the sins of those who have offended us. Like the Apostle Paul, who once persecuted Christians, we need to say: Forgetting those things which are behind . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

Christ Portrayed:

By David, who wished to be invited back as king (2 Samuel 19:11). Our Lord Jesus wants to be invited into the hearts of all mankind. He won't force His will on us; He only comes in by our invitation. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup [have fellowship] with him, and he with Me (Revelation 3:20).

Word Studies:

19:14 bowed = swayed; 20:3 ward = guarded house; 20:18 wont to speak = used to say.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Joel Hefley (CO), Rep. Henry Hyde (IL), and Gov. Pedro Tenorio (Northern Mariana Islands) · Pray for your Pastor · Country: Brazil (171 million) in South America · Major languages: Portuguese and Spanish · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 7% Protestant; 4% various forms of spiritism · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to help you receive instruction and discipline that you might become wise and discerning (Proverbs 1:25).

Optional Reading: Acts 19

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:17