Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22

OT: 2 Sam. 1:1-2:11

There was a lot of confusion in today's OT passage.

First, an Amalekite stumbles into David's camp spouting a story of Saul's demise that was totally different than the one we just read. In I Samuel, Saul asks his armor-bearer to kill him, and when the armor-bearer refuses, Saul falls on his own sword. This Amalekite, on the other hand, claims to have been the one to have killed Saul. When I first read this, I thought, "Why on earth would this enemy come to David's camp in the first place? And why would he claim to have killed David's king?" As I typed, though, I had my lightbulb moment. He thinks David is Saul's enemy. He is wanting to get credit for killing him and to curry favor with David.

See? This is why I type my thoughts. I think as I type (which is probably pretty obvious). Anyway, like Achish, the Amalekite did not understand David's loyalties very well, and his ignorance led to his demise. I feel like there is a good foreign relations lesson here, but I don't have the energy to flesh it out.

I didn't dig David's song too much. I like his psalms a lot better. I even wondered if David had written it himself, b/c it just didn't sound like him. The verse says, "David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan" (17). Does "took up" mean "wrote?" I guess so.

And lastly, there was confusion about the succession of kings. Reading this passage made me glad that I live in a civilized enough country that we have very clear rules on the succession of power. In Israel, they lacked some critical protocol. On the one hand, the men of Judah made David "king" over Judah. On the other hand, Abner appointed Saul's son as king over several other tribes. That just seems confusing for everyone. I bet David was wishing that Samuel was still alive to back up his anointing story, were he so inclined to refer to it.

NT: John 12: 20-50

Jesus' words in verses 24-28 really get to the heart of my current passion:

24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.27"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!"

To me, this is it. This is the heart of Jesus' instructions to us. This is how we fulfill the two greatest commands; it is how we love God and love others. I think it was Martin Luther King who said, "To love is to serve." I had that statement on my bulletin board throughout high school and college, and I still agree with it 100%. And I would also say that to serve is to put someone ahead of yourself. And to do that to the fullest extent, you have to die. Occasionally, that means to physically die, to lay down your life for someone else. For most of us though, life doesn't usually come down to that. Rather, we have to die a thousand little deaths every day in order to love those around us the way Jesus calls us to. And frankly, that concept is not always appealing. In fact, it is not even usually appealing. And that's why I especially love verses 27-28. Jesus didn't find the idea of dying for others appealing either. And yet, He realized that God's will was more important than his personal desires, as strong as they may be. And I mean, I know that my desire to get on Facebook rather than serve my family does not compare to his desire not to be tortured to death...but the basic principle remains true in both situations. You do what you are supposed to do, what you were made to do, even when you don't want to do it. Do it, just do it! Love. Serve. Die. Every day.

Psalm 118: 19-29

I love the image of God opening the gates of righteousness for me. And I love the image of me walking through them.

Proverbs 15:27-28

"The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil." I am definitely guilty of not always weighing my answers.

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