Seven Men Hanged for the Sins of a Family Member

2 Samuel 21 records a difficult series of events to digest.  YHWH puts a famine on the land because of the sin of Saul against the Gibeonites. David seeks to make things right after three years because the LORD is rebuking Israel. I find it curious, and a bit disappointing that David asks the Gibeonites what to do to reconcile. I would have preferred if he would have asked YHWH. Maybe he did and YHWH did not answer. The answer seems pointless and unfair to the descendants of Saul. They were not the ones at fault and they are executed. Saul was already dead.

Ultimately after some additional actions and prayer, the LORD removes the famine. However, I can’t help but wonder if there could have been another option on how to repent and make things right. My opinion does not matter, however, in this account. We are left to reflect on the recorded events and decide how to apply in our lives.

For me, I want to be close to the LORD and know when I am being rebuked, like David was close to Him. I want to seek His guidance on what actions to take, even if they are hard. I do not want to seek opinions of people per se, except to better understand what YHWH may want us to do. I also want to recognize that sometimes my sin may be revisited upon my sons or daughters. I want to walk with righteousness as best I can and seek grace and forgiveness along the way.

2 Samuel 21

Gibeonite Revenge

      1Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, “It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah). 3Thus David said to the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?” 4Then the Gibeonites said to him, “We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “I will do for you whatever you say.” 5So they said to the king, “The man who consumed us and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel, 6let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD.” And the king said, “I will give them.

      7But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the LORD which was between them, between David and Saul’s son Jonathan. 8So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the LORD, so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.

      10And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until it rained on them from the sky; and she allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night. 11When it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12then David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day the Philistines struck down Saul in Gilboa. 13He brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there, and they gathered the bones of those who had been hanged. 14They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the grave of Kish his father; thus they did all that the king commanded, and after that God was moved by prayer for the land.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Yeshua’s Prayer For His Disciples

Yeshua came to the Father in prayer for His disciples as He prepared to leave. We can learn much by reviewing and considering His words.

John 17:13-21

The Disciples in the World

13“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

20“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

  • Yeshua wanted His disciples to have His joy made full in themselves
  • He gave us the instructions of YHWH to this purpose for making our joy full. We can rightly conclude He intended for us to obey them, not just be aware of them.
  • Those who follow Yeshua, like Yeshua, are not “of the world”. The world will hate and reject us, usually more so as we stand and live more boldly for Christ. This does not mean every person will hate us, but one need only look around at newspapers for national and world events to see that followers of Christ are persecuted in varying degrees depending on where they are in the world. (I do not mean people who claim Christ and live like the world… the devil and the world love these folks.)
  • We need the Father’s help to protect us from Satan. Yes, he is a real adversary.
  • Sanctify means to be set apart as holy. Yeshua asks YHWH to make us holy through truth, or through the word. Again, we can reasonably conclude He intends for us to live according to the word rather than the same way the world lives.
  • Here, Yeshua specifically calls out that He is praying not just for this specific group of men, but for all who believe in Him.
  • His desire is for us as His followers to be united. We can see this is not the case throughout the world. This can seem difficult at times, because we are not called to accept false teaching, but we are called to unity. Many disagree on the true application of scripture creating division. We should allow room for debate where scripture permits, but there are some teachings that are heretical and dangerous and need to be rejected. (e.g. The teaching that everyone who claims Yeshua in name pleases the Lord and goes to heaven even if they are without repentance and do not change their lives to match His instruction.)

I encourage you to pray and reflect on these verses and ask the Father to enlighten you on their full meaning and application for your life.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Those Who Seek the LORD Understand All Things

Those who seek the Lord understand all things. Take time to read, consider and pray about each verse in today’s chapter of Proverbs. No matter how far I am in my walk with the Lord and how many times I read, I always find something, or many things that apply in my life and can serve as a guide to light my way… if I am humble enough to admit I need guidance and that Jehovah provides it and if I am willing to study and apply it in my life.

Proverbs 28

Warnings and Instructions

1The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.

2By the transgression of a land many are its princes,
But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.

3A poor man who oppresses the lowly
Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.

4Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But those who keep the law strive with them.

5Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all things.

6Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than he who is crooked though he be rich.

7He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.

8He who increases his wealth by interest and usury
Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.

9He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.

10He who leads the upright astray in an evil way
Will himself fall into his own pit,
But the blameless will inherit good.

11The rich man is wise in his own eyes,
But the poor who has understanding sees through him.

12When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves.

13He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

14How blessed is the man who fears always,
But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

15Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear
Is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

16A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding,
But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

17A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood
Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him.

18He who walks blamelessly will be delivered,
But he who is crooked will fall all at once.

19He who tills his land will have plenty of food,
But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.

20A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.

21To show partiality is not good,
Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.

22A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth
And does not know that want will come upon him.

23He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than he who flatters with the tongue.

24He who robs his father or his mother
And says, “It is not a transgression,”
Is the companion of a man who destroys.

25An arrogant man stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

26He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

27He who gives to the poor will never want,
But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

28When the wicked rise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

It Is Difficult to Show Grace and Mercy to the Unrepentant Who Continue to Attack Us

War is ugly. While David was still re-establishing his authority as king, there were some who did not accept it. Joab was a faithful and, perhaps brutal, friend and general to David. He seems fiercely loyal and effective. It is interesting to notice the absence of a rebuke for the killing of Absalom in prior chapters and now Amasa.

We also see a certain amount of wisdom in a wise woman at Abel Beth-maacah. She sees the destruction coming in war for the city and reaches out to Joab to understand what he wants. She gets the job done also, though perhaps in a way that seems brutal to us today. She saves a lot of lives and destruction of the city by executing a rebel that stood against the king anointed by YHWH.

I suppose we could conclude that it is difficult to show grace and forgiveness to the unrepentant that continually come against us, and we must be able to defend ourselves from their attack to the point of defeating them and not just setting them up to attack again later. This is consistent with a sinner’s need to repent and submit to YHWH to be saved by grace. One cannot continually reject and come against Yeshua and YHWH and expect to be forgiven.

I can’t help but reflect also on how many people are impacted by the punishment for David’s sin. Definitely a reminder to pray for our national and local leaders, that they would turn to YHWH and not away from Him. Pray they would be righteous and not wicked and that YHWH would defeat the plans of the wicked and raise up the righteous.

2 Samuel 20

Sheba’s Revolt

      1Now a worthless fellow happened to be there whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew the trumpet and said,
“We have no portion in David,
Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;
Every man to his tents, O Israel!”

2So all the men of Israel withdrew from following David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah remained steadfast to their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.

      3Then David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and placed them under guard and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as widows.

      4Then the king said to Amasa, “Call out the men of Judah for me within three days, and be present here yourself.” 5So Amasa went to call out the men of Judah, but he delayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him. 6And David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom; take your lord’s servants and pursue him, so that he does not find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight.” 7So Joab’s men went out after him, along with the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men; and they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. 8When they were at the large stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was dressed in his military attire, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; and as he went forward, it fell out. 9Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.

Amasa Murdered

      10But Amasa was not on guard against the sword which was in Joab’s hand so he struck him in the belly with it and poured out his inward parts on the ground, and did not strike him again, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11Now there stood by him one of Joab’s young men, and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.” 12But Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa from the highway into the field and threw a garment over him when he saw that everyone who came by him stood still.

Revolt Put Down

      13As soon as he was removed from the highway, all the men passed on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

      14Now he went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, even Beth-maacah, and all the Berites; and they were gathered together and also went after him. 15They came and besieged him in Abel Beth-maacah, and they cast up a siege ramp against the city, and it stood by the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab were wreaking destruction in order to topple the wall. 16Then a wise woman called from the city, “Hear, hear! Please tell Joab, ‘Come here that I may speak with you.’” 17So he approached her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” And he answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your maidservant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” 18Then she spoke, saying, “Formerly they used to say, ‘They will surely ask advice at Abel,’ and thus they ended the dispute. 19“I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?” 20Joab replied, “Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy! 21“Such is not the case. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Only hand him over, and I will depart from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22Then the woman wisely came to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, each to his tent. Joab also returned to the king at Jerusalem.

      23Now Joab was over the whole army of Israel, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24and Adoram was over the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25and Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26and Ira the Jairite was also a priest to David.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Is Real

The most basic rule of warfare is perhaps that if you don’t realize or accept there is an enemy moving against you, you will most probably lose. If you don’t fight back with an effective strategy, you will lose even if you take on the enemy. If you don’t properly identify your enemy, you will develop the wrong strategy.

In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul provides us important guidance about the reality of spiritual warfare. Too often Christians dismiss spiritual warfare and focus only on the things we can see and touch. This leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. If we do not recognize the true enemy, we will struggle to win against him.

Ephesians 6:10-18

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Some key points upon which to reflect:

  • Our strength comes from the Lord, not ourselves
  • The devil is real and he has strategies he uses to lie, cheat and destroy. He will use more than one strategy against us.
  • Warfare does not always take place in physical world, sometimes it is in the spiritual world. Consider the book of Job.
  • Just putting on one or two pieces of the armor of God is not enough, we need to put on all of them.
  • Prayer and a relationship with Jesus is necessary! Jesus tells us to pray daily and to pray specifically to not let us yield to temptation, and to be rescued from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13
  • We are to stay alert and pray for others in addition to ourselves. Pray for those preach the gospel that they would preach boldly!

Let’s explore what it really means to put on the full armor of God.

Truth can simply be defined as the real facts about something. Surprisingly the world today proposes that truth is relative when it comes to God or how we live… “True for you but not for me”, etc. This is no more accurate than saying “If I do not believe in gravity, I will not fall off a ladder.” Gravity is true whether or not I believe in or accept it. God lovingly and in great detail shares truth in the Bible and reveals it in the world around us. There is absolute truth.

Righteousness is characterized by living consistently with God’s standards of morality, justice, virtue, etc. As God’s standard is Himself, it is a lofty bar. We will never achieve it to perfection but He is the standard and reference point none the less. We should keep our eyes on Jesus and seek help from the Holy Spirit to keep changing to be more like Him.

The peace that comes from knowing the good news is not a promise that we will avoid conflicts and trials, but rather an affirmation that when we have relationship with Jesus Christ we know He is with us in this life and that we have eternal life on the other side of this world. We can have peace through the mightiest storms.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1. In this context Paul reminds us that we must trust in God even when we are under attack by Satan. Just because we can not recognize how God is working in the situation does not mean that He is not there. We can be confident He is with us.

Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequence, which is death. It is not enough to know or acknowledge Jesus Christ. Even Satan and his demons do that. By asking and accepting Jesus into our lives and repenting from our sinful ways we receive salvation through grace.

The sword of the spirit, or word of God, is what Jesus Himself used to defeat Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11. We must know the word of God before the attack comes just as a soldier must train and be prepared before he goes to battle.

To be effective we must understand and use all of this equipment daily. It ceases to become “something we do” and becomes “how we do everything” in our lives.

Remember to heed Paul’s warning and guidance for prayer. The battle is not ours alone, but the Lord’s!

18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Restoration

David lost his throne to his son Absalom because of David’s sin with Bathsheba. There were many who remained loyal to David and many that did not. We see in Joab a true friend that is willing to even rebuke the king when needed, for the king’s own good. We all need a loyal and true friend, even when they tell us what is hard to hear.

We also see that politics and managing relationships matter. It was not enough to defeat Absalom, but how the king returned to the throne among the people of Israel mattered. Let us remember this in our own lives. We must not neglect relationships, neither those close to us nor those that are more tenuous, even in victory before the LORD.

We can also observe that David is not one to hold a grudge. He shows grace and mercy to some who crossed him when he was pushed out as king. Perhaps this is more significant when we realize he truly appreciated being forgiven by YHWH for his sins and now he too forgives others.

One last thought that comes to mind is to be encouraged in that when we sin and are suffering consequences as David was, we can also realize that it may not last forever. There is hope in restoration through our repentance and submission before the LORD.

2 Samuel 19

Joab Reproves David’s Lament

      1Then it was told Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourns for Absalom.” 2The victory that day was turned to mourning for all the people, for the people heard it said that day, “The king is grieved for his son.” 3So the people went by stealth into the city that day, as people who are humiliated steal away when they flee in battle. 4The king covered his face and cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 5Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines, 6by loving those who hate you, and by hating those who love you. For you have shown today that princes and servants are nothing to you; for I know this day that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. 7“Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the LORD, if you do not go out, surely not a man will pass the night with you, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.”

David Restored as King

      8So the king arose and sat in the gate. When they told all the people, saying, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate,” then all the people came before the king.
Now Israel had fled, each to his tent. 9All the people were quarreling throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies and saved us from the hand of the Philistines, but now he has fled out of the land from Absalom. 10“However, Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now then, why are you silent about bringing the king back?”

      11Then King David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, ‘Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, since the word of all Israel has come to the king, even to his house? 12‘You are my brothers; you are my bone and my flesh. Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13“Say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? May God do so to me, and more also, if you will not be commander of the army before me continually in place of Joab.’” 14Thus he turned the hearts of all the men of Judah as one man, so that they sent word to the king, saying, “Return, you and all your servants.” 15The king then returned and came as far as the Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal in order to go to meet the king, to bring the king across the Jordan.

      16Then Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjamite who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17There were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, with Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they rushed to the Jordan before the king. 18Then they kept crossing the ford to bring over the king’s household, and to do what was good in his sight. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king as he was about to cross the Jordan. 19So he said to the king, “Let not my lord consider me guilty, nor remember what your servant did wrong on the day when my lord the king came out from Jerusalem, so that the king would take it to heart. 20“For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore behold, I have come today, the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.” 21But Abishai the son of Zeruiah said, “Should not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’S anointed?” 22David then said, “What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be an adversary to me? Should any man be put to death in Israel today? For do I not know that I am king over Israel today?” 23The king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” Thus the king swore to him.

      24Then Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; and he had neither cared for his feet, nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace. 25It was when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” 26So he answered, “O my lord, the king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself that I may ride on it and go with the king,’ because your servant is lame. 27“Moreover, he has slandered your servant to my lord the king; but my lord the king is like the angel of God, therefore do what is good in your sight. 28“For all my father’s household was nothing but dead men before my lord the king; yet you set your servant among those who ate at your own table. What right do I have yet that I should complain anymore to the king?” 29So the king said to him, “Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have decided, ‘You and Ziba shall divide the land.’” 30Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him even take it all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house.”

      31Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim; and he went on to the Jordan with the king to escort him over the Jordan. 32Now Barzillai was very old, being eighty years old; and he had sustained the king while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very great man. 33The king said to Barzillai, “You cross over with me and I will sustain you in Jerusalem with me.” 34But Barzillai said to the king, “How long have I yet to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35“I am now eighty years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Or can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Or can I hear anymore the voice of singing men and women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 36“Your servant would merely cross over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king compensate me with this reward? 37“Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. However, here is your servant Chimham, let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what is good in your sight.” 38The king answered, “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what is good in your sight; and whatever you require of me, I will do for you.” 39All the people crossed over the Jordan and the king crossed too. The king then kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his place.

      40Now the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; and all the people of Judah and also half the people of Israel accompanied the king. 41And behold, all the men of Israel came to the king and said to the king, “Why had our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household and all David’s men with him over the Jordan?” 42Then all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is a close relative to us. Why then are you angry about this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense, or has anything been taken for us?” 43But the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, “We have ten parts in the king, therefore we also have more claim on David than you. Why then did you treat us with contempt? Was it not our advice first to bring back our king?” Yet the words of the men of Judah were harsher than the words of the men of Israel.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

He Who Cares for His Master Will Be Honored

Proverbs contains much wisdom. It still applies today. People have not changed and neither has YHWH. Read it, digest it, accept that it applies to you and you will grow wiser. Take care not to dismiss it because some of the examples are from a different time and culture. Prayerfully reflect on each one and how it may apply today to you and your family. Ask YHWH to enlighten your mind as you read scripture.

In all things, let us care for our heavenly Father and Creator. Let us not seek honor for ourselves but through serving Him. Let us partake of His wisdom and grow wiser.

Proverbs 27

Warnings and Instructions

1Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

2Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.

3A stone is heavy and the sand weighty,
But the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them.

4Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood,
But who can stand before jealousy?

5Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed.

6Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

7A sated man loathes honey,
But to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet.

8Like a bird that wanders from her nest,
So is a man who wanders from his home.

9Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.

10Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend,
And do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity;
Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away.

11Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,
That I may reply to him who reproaches me.

12A prudent man sees evil and hides himself,
The naive proceed and pay the penalty.

13Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger;
And for an adulterous woman hold him in pledge.

14He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning,
It will be reckoned a curse to him.

15A constant dripping on a day of steady rain
And a contentious woman are alike;

16He who would restrain her restrains the wind,
And grasps oil with his right hand.

17Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.

18He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit,
And he who cares for his master will be honored.

19As in water face reflects face,
So the heart of man reflects man.

20Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.

21The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And each is tested by the praise accorded him.

22Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain,
Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.

23Know well the condition of your flocks,
And pay attention to your herds;

24For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.

25When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen,
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,

26The lambs will be for your clothing,
And the goats will bring the price of a field,

27And there will be goats’ milk enough for your food,
For the food of your household,
And sustenance for your maidens.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Heart of David for His Son

David is a very interesting figure to study and since scripture identifies him as a man after God’s own heart, we should take heed. His son rose up against him and would have killed him, and yet David wanted not to kill him and then mourns him. Perhaps this is because David knows some of this is based on punishment for his sin with Bathsheba. Perhaps he just loved or favored his son, Absalom. Perhaps David was living out the example of forgiveness and grace that he experienced from YHWH in his own life and wished for Absalom to have a chance to repent.

None the less, we see David mourn genuinely.

The decision of Joab is a more traditional approach to deal with someone who is trying to take over your kingdom. He slays Absalom, despite David’s instructions to “deal gently” with him. This is an interesting choice to ponder as well given that Joab knowingly went against the desires and instructions of King David… likely to do what he thought best for David and the kingdom.

1 Samuel 18

Absalom Slain

      1Then David numbered the people who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2David sent the people out, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will surely go out with you also.” 3But the people said, “You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.” 4Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. 5The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.

      6Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7The people of Israel were defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men. 8For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

      9Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught fast in the oak, so he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going. 10When a certain man saw it, he told Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11Then Joab said to the man who had told him, “Now behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12The man said to Joab, “Even if I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Protect for me the young man Absalom!’ 13“Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14Then Joab said, “I will not waste time here with you.” So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. 15And ten young men who carried Joab’s armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.

      16Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people. 17They took Absalom and cast him into a deep pit in the forest and erected over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled, each to his tent. 18Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to preserve my name.” So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

David Is Grief-stricken

      19Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Please let me run and bring the king news that the LORD has freed him from the hand of his enemies.” 20But Joab said to him, “You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news another day; however, you shall carry no news today because the king’s son is dead.” 21Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran. 22Now Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why would you run, my son, since you will have no reward for going?” 23“But whatever happens,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed up the Cushite.

      24Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a man running by himself. 25The watchman called and told the king. And the king said, “If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth.” And he came nearer and nearer. 26Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Behold, another man running by himself.” And the king said, “This one also is bringing good news.” 27The watchman said, “I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “This is a good man and comes with good news.”

      28Ahimaaz called and said to the king, “All is well.” And he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, “Blessed is the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king.” 29The king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was.30Then the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

      31Behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, “Let my lord the king receive good news, for the LORD has freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you.” 32Then the king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “Let the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be as that young man!”

      33The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Even the Mighty Need Help Sometimes

Even the mighty need help sometimes. They need help from YHWH and from others who remain loyal and faithful to them in times of difficulty. David was a strong king, but due to his sin YHWH brought about some difficult times for him to face as punishment. David repented. There were still consequences, but YHWH and others who were faithful to David remained on his side to help him bring about victory.

We like to feel like we can control much or most of what happens in our lives. Some situations we can not control. We may need help from friends and from YHWH. Let’s be sure we are willing to ask for it and be thankful when it comes.

2 Samuel 17

Hushai’s Counsel

      1Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight. 2“I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone, 3and I will bring back all the people to you. The return of everyone depends on the man you seek; then all the people will be at peace.” 4So the plan pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

      5Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” 6When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “Ahithophel has spoken thus. Shall we carry out his plan? If not, you speak.” 7So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good.” 8Moreover, Hushai said, “You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men and they are fierce, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. And your father is an expert in warfare, and will not spend the night with the people. 9“Behold, he has now hidden himself in one of the caves or in another place; and it will be when he falls on them at the first attack, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10“And even the one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will completely lose heart; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and those who are with him are valiant men. 11“But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that you personally go into battle. 12“So we shall come to him in one of the places where he can be found, and we will fall on him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him, not even one will be left. 13“If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it into the valley until not even a small stone is found there.” 14Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring calamity on Absalom.

Hushai’s Warning Saves David

      15Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “This is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this is what I have counseled. 16“Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over, or else the king and all the people who are with him will be destroyed.’” 17Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, and a maidservant would go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David, for they could not be seen entering the city. 18But a lad did see them and told Absalom; so the two of them departed quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard, and they went down into it. 19And the woman took a covering and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on it, so that nothing was known. 20Then Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” And the woman said to them, “They have crossed the brook of water.” And when they searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

      21It came about after they had departed that they came up out of the well and went and told King David; and they said to David, “Arise and cross over the water quickly for thus Ahithophel has counseled against you.” 22Then David and all the people who were with him arose and crossed the Jordan; and by dawn not even one remained who had not crossed the Jordan.

      23Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and arose and went to his home, to his city, and set his house in order, and strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father.

      24Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25Absalom set Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man whose name was Ithra the Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26And Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

      27Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28brought beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds, 29honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and for the people who were with him, to eat; for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

What Does God Say About Homosexual Behavior?

Since the United States supreme court ruling that same sex marriage is now legal, many seem in an uproar on one side or the other. Many act as if those people in black robes have some godly power to define what is morally right and wrong in the eyes of the Lord. They do not. They simply have power over the laws of one increasingly pagan nation that is far from YHWH. For those of us who follow Yeshua, the answer is not dictated by one or more governments but rather by the very words of YHWH himself. We can point to countless examples of governments throughout history that reject his instruction and choose to endorse immoral behavior as legal. What’s more, just like with the Supreme Court decision, the decisions and opinions of man shift and change over time. However, there is an absolute standard of what is right and wrong and it is defined by the Lord. It does not change. Man does not have the authority to change it, only to rebel against it.

[Matthew 9:4-6] 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’[a] 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’[b] 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

[1 Corinthians 6:9-11] 9Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

[Romans 1:25-28] 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. 28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.

[Leviticus 18:22] 22 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.

Genesis 19:1-13 tells of the wickedness of sexual sin that led to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Despite many governments or cultures throughout human history that try to re-define what is moral… YHWH is very clear and consistent on the issue of homosexual behavior. Throughout Old and New Testament He confirms the same message, that it is a sin… an act of rebellion and rejection of God. He does not establish rules arbitrarily or to punish us. He establishes and provides His guidance knowing what is best for us, as He is the one who designed and sustains us. He wants His children to flourish.

To highlight a rather silly example… my DVD player does not work well if I stick pizza in it. It was not designed that way. It is intended for a specific purpose… a DVD. It would be silly to knowingly put something in that is not according to its design and then expect it to work as designed. This is true as well with the design of the human body, both physical, emotional, and spiritual. We flourish best when in proper relationship with the Lord and when we act in accordance with our design.

The story does not have to end with condemnation for any sinner. Yeshua loves sinners and through YHWH’s grace has made a way for us to come back in relationship with him. Repent from your sin, turn to YHWH and seek him wholeheartedly, and ask forgiveness. Pray the Spirit would fill you and guide you as you turn from sin toward YHWH. Then separate yourself from those influences which would pull you back to your old ways and make new connections with followers of Christ who can help encourage you to grow closer to Him. Yeshua can set you free from your sin!

We have to recognize for those of us who want to help those who are lost in this sin, the world has tried to change the narrative. No longer is it “helping” them but now the world says we are intolerant and mean or bad to not accept them as they are. The world tries to redefine what is good and what is bad. However, YHWH does not change. His word does not change. It is better to stand with Him and try to help others, than to please men and let others perish in their unrepentant sin. Don’t let the world silence the word of YHWH.

Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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