OT: 2 Sam. 4:1-6:23
Some quick, random observations:
--Chapter 4 required some forced set-up. Verses 1-4 had a lot of awkward explanation so that we would understand what was about to happen.
--There has been way too much stomach stabbing of late. Why the stomach?
--People have got to stop coming to David, bragging about killing his enemies. It never ends well for them. Again, David's system of morality is odd to me. It has a weird consistency, but I can't quite understand the whole. For example, David can kill whole villages, but not his individual enemies?
--David is finally king over all Israel, and he moves his headquarters to Jerusalem. This begins, I assume, the era where Jerusalem figures so prominently in Israel's history.
--God's presence definitely has an ebb and flow throughout Scripture. Sometimes, like in Judges, God does not seem to be anywhere around. Other times, He is very involved. The difference seems to be as simple as people seeking Him. When righteous men seek God, He seems to answer.
--Uzzah is going to mess up my blog structure. He takes a longer thought.
Along with Nadab and Abihu, Uzzah serves as one of those warnings people cite as an illustration of how God demands exactness. I don't know. I know of too many times that God showed mercy to Biblical characters to see God's actions here as applicable in blanket form to us all. For example, after God kills Uzzah for touching the ark, David gets angry at God and ditches the ark at some guy's house for three months! Isn't that bad, too? I can't explain why God chose to kill Uzzah for trying to keep the ark from falling, but I do seem to remember getting insight into the seeming harshness of the action when I read the parts about the ark in the Law. It was a BIG DEAL to touch the ark. And I'll also note that, ironically, the times when God seems to be the harshest are the times when the people are pursuing Him the most. It is almost like a good thing, like, a "God disciplines those He loves" type thing. (I know--tell Uzzah that.) It's kind of the same in the NT. Jesus is really merciful to outsiders, but when you start pursuing Him, buddy, you better count the cost. He might tell you to give up everything and everyone you love!
Okay, those thoughts were random, scattered, and ill-formed, but I'm pressed for time, so I must move on.
NT: John 13:31-14:14
Wow--Jesus is really starting to articulate the concepts of Christianity in a really clear way here. I think that from John 11 to here has all been really good stuff, and if I remember correctly, the goodness continues right through Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane. There's lots of insight in these passages.
For one, Jesus again clearly tells His disciples to love one another, and elaborates that their love is what shows the world that they are His disciples (34-35). For another thing, He says some things about Himself that I believe are also partially applicable to all Christians. He tells His disciples that if they have seen Him, then they have seen the Father (14:9). In verse 10, he elaborates: "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." Now again, this is not 100% applicable, but as Christians, the Bible tells us that we have God's Spirit within us, and Philippians 2:13 tells us that "it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." And since we are also Christ's ambassadors, we are, in a sense, God's representatives here on earth. In a sense, when people see us love with selfless love, they see God.
Psalm 119: 17-32
Oh, man. I love Psalm 119. Here are my favorite verses for today:
"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law" (18).
"My soul is consumed with longing for you laws at all times" (20).
"Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders" (27).
"I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws" (31).
"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free" (32).
These verses all have the idea of seeking understanding, of longing for God, and of pursuing Him. Those themes are near and dear to my heart.
"He who ignores discipline despises himself" (32a). Good point, and well-worded.