OT: 2 Sam. 14:1-15:22
Whew, this passage was convoluted! David and his whole household are so dysfunctional!
For one thing, Joab concocts one of the strangest plans ever in order to convince David to take Absalom back. It is almost like he is trying to pull a "Nathan," but his words through the woman are not nearly as direct or sensible. And I love it that when she is finished with her long and meandering narrative/speech, David has just one question for her: Was Joab a part of this? Oh, well. Good try, Joab.
So Joab tries to trick David b/c he can tell that David is sad without his son. David is convinced by Joab's scheme and brings Absalom back. However, he does not speak to Absalom for two years. Um...why? Clearly, this treatment caused some resentment in Absalom, as he then seeks to usurp David's throne. At this point, I am thinking, "This family is so messed up!" I did not understand any of their actions today.
I did think it was funny how Absalom was described as so beautiful and vain (25-26). Apparently, he was hot stuff! And apparently, he was quite taken with himself, as he would weigh his hair each time he had it cut...and it would weigh five pounds! Wow! That is a lot of hair.
So Lady Lovely Locks seeks to take his father's throne, and when the coup occurs, his warrior father...immediately flees. Say what? This is the David who killed Goliath, the David who "has his tens of thousands" (or however the song went). This is the David who raids towns and pursues marauding armies. Yes, that David. And he flees???
I've come to a conclusion: David is an absolute wuss at dealing with people he loves. Machiavelli, he is not. He will kill strangers, no problem. But his mentor/king, his adviser, his sons...no way. He simply can't handle it.
That is so weird.
NT: John 18:1-24
Well, we are starting up our fourth round of Jesus being crucified. I am not really looking forward to it.
Like I mentioned with one of the earlier accounts, I find it so amusing to see the details that John chooses to include about Peter. John's gospel is the only one that states that he went with Peter as he followed Jesus. In fact, John takes pains to specify that Peter had to wait outside the high priest's courtyard until John came back and got him (15-16). I also find it odd that no one asked John about his relationship to Jesus; they only pestered Peter. I wonder why that was, and I wonder what John would have said. Perhaps they already knew that John was with Jesus, since he was known to the high priest. Perhaps there really wasn't a lot of danger for them, but Peter perceived that there was, and that is why he lied. Who knows?
Psalm 119: 97-112
My, my, the psalmist is, um, confident today. In the "Mem" stanza, he asserts that he is "wiser than my enemies, has "more insight than all my teachers," and has "more understanding than the elders" (98-100). That is a little ironic, since wisdom, insight, and understanding should probably lead to more humility than he is demonstrating here, but I will try not to judge.
I have always loved verse 105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." That simple verse has been an aid to me for years.
Verse 9 is tailor-made for someone like me: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." I am a big planner, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I like the idea of control. I know cognitively that control is an illusion, but planning things out ahead of time helps to continue that illusion in my life (and it helps things to generally run more smoothly, but I'm focusing on the deeper issues right now). Anyway, it is always good for me to hear that the Lord determines my steps, b/c I tend to get attached to my plans. I need to remember that my plans are basically irrelevant when it comes to God's plans.