April 18

Read II Samuel 19 -- 20

In Today's Reading:

Joab rebukes David; he returns; Sheba revolts and is killed

Absalom was a traitor who was determined to destroy his father, so that he could be king. The battle ended when Joab killed Absalom.

David's soldiers returned expecting a celebration; instead they heard the king weeping: O my son Absalom! O Abasalom, my son, my son! (II Samuel 19:4). In deep sorrow, David ignored his loyal followers who had defended him. The victory that day was turned into mourning and the soldiers slipped away like people . . . humiliated for having fled in battle (19:3).

David had faced many sorrows throughout his life. When Bathsheba's first child became sick, David had prayed and fasted. Then, when he received word the child had died, David confidently said: I'll go to him, but he'll never return to me (12:23). David knew heaven would be all the more precious because his child was with the Lord. But David expressed no hope that he would see Absalom in heaven.

David probably felt that if Joab had only given Absalom one more chance perhaps he would have turned from his wicked ways. But, had he lived, Absalom would have been in fierce competition with Solomon, God's choice to take David's place as king.

All of us, at times, are responsible for the adversities and sorrows which we experience. It is also natural to condemn ourselves for our faults and failures, or even to blame others for our disappointments.

All of us also go through experiences beyond our control. Like David, we can grieve too long over what might have been. If we are out of the will of God, we need to repent of our sins, ask God to forgive us, and be like the apostle Paul, who was led by the Holy Spirit to write: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call (Philippians 3:13-14).

In our darkest moments, we all need friends to remind us to trust the Lord. In turn, we need to be a friend who can share comforting words with the despondent sufferer. By God's grace, we should encourage them to become involved in a local church where others can help deepen and nurture their faith in the love of God since we are members of His body. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:30,32).

Christ Portrayed:

By David, who wished to be invited back as king (II 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.Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me (Revelation 3:20).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Joel Hefley (CO) and Rep. Henry Hyde (IL) · Country: Afghanistan (26 million) in central Asia · Major languages: Pastu and Afghan Persian (Dari) · Hostile to Christian evangelization. For a Muslim to convert to Christianity the result is automatic execution · Prayer Suggestion: Keep your mind on the Lord and trust Him; He will give you peace (Isaiah 26:3).

Optional Reading: Acts 19

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:17