Highlights In Today's Reading:
The Lord uses the loyal followers of David to offer unsound advice to Absalom in order to save David. A great battle ensues and in an amazing turn of events Absalom is caught by his long hair and held helpless until he was executed. Upon hearing of his son's death David grieves exceedingly.
Like Absalom, the evil are often successful for a time and it may even appear that all their plans have prospered. Great numbers of discontented people had gathered with Absalom to overthrow King David. Absalom and his troops had entered Jerusalem without losing one man. David desired to do all he could to keep the city of God from being damaged. Absalom was allowed to proceed in his determination to assassinate his father David. The Sovereign God permitted Absalom to go only so far, then used an insignificant branch of a tree to entangle his hair. His mule ran on leaving Absalom to dangle helpless until he received the arrows of death he deserved.
There were many who had once flocked to his side but now, when his hair was entangled in the thick oak and the battle was lost, each one rushed to escape, intent on saving his own life. No one helped Absalom as he attempted to escape the battlefield.
A self-serving person is usually a lonely individual, bullying those around them for selfish motives, but void of the blessing of friends. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). The principle of the cross must be the aim of every believer in Christ, for even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
The uncrucified ego desires everyone and everything to serve it, and like Absalom, is angry when others fail to do so. Most of the discontentment in the home, in the church, and on the job comes because "self" demands recognition and expects to be praised. Pity the poor pastor who must serve a congregation with a few uncrucified, unbroken hearts!
The Holy Spirit led Paul to write: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (pride); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. . . . Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God (Philippians 2:3,14-15). This desire "to be ministered unto" is a selfish spirit. It is at the heart of disagreements in the home, on the job, divisions in the church, quarrels among individuals, and wars among nations.
Ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5).
Thought for Today:
A self-serving person has this world as an untrustworthy friend. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Through Mahanaim, a city of refuge where David went when he was fleeing from Absalom (II Samuel 17:27). Christ is our Refuge. We . . . have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us . . . even Jesus (Hebrews 6:18-20).
17:8 chafed =angered; 17:11 generally =let all Israel gather around you fully; 17:17 wench =maidservant; 17:25 host =army; 18:3 succour =assist by providing reinforcements from the city; 18:9 taken up =left hanging, suspended.
Pray for The Arabic, English, and Spanish International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Walter & Gladys Essex • Staff: Ken Sharp • Country: Liechtenstein (32,000) in western Europe • Major languages: German and Alemannic dialect • Religious freedom • 87% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that our Savior lives (John 20:15-18).
Optional Reading: Acts 18
Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:21