Okay, I have to make this quick, b/c we are out of town, and Greg needs his laptop to make a slideshow for his uncle’s funeral...so here goes:
OT: I Kings 2:1-3:3
Today’s OT and NT theme: Judgment
After David’s death, a “day of reckoning” comes to Israel, per his request. First of all Adonijah is put to death after trying to make an apparent power play for the throne. I’m not a hundred percent sure how his request for his father’s nurse was a power play, but apparently, it was. Thus, he was put to death.
Joab was put to death for the murders of Abner and Amasa. I’ve gotta say, I’m okay with that.
Shimei was supposed to be put to death at some point, but David gave Solomon some leeway in the execution of the instructions, saying, “You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do with him” (2:9). Solomon’s solution is to put him under a kind of city arrest, telling him that he can’t leave Jerusalem. Seems fair enough. Three years later, though, Shimei leaves to search for some slaves and is put to death as a result. I have to say, I feel for Shimei. Unlike Adonijah and Joab, Shimei was repentant for his sins...and I also seem to remember that he was one of those who rallied around David during Adonijah’s rebellion. I’m not sure if it was the same Shimei, but there was definitely a Shimei listed there. Seeing Shimei’s repentance makes me sad that David still felt the need to take vengeance on him.
NT: Acts 5:1-42
In today’s reading, Ananias and Sapphira quite literally die from their sin. Their deaths are fairly inexplicable for a lot of reasons. One, other than Herod, you don’t see any directly, divinely caused deaths in the NT. Thus, A and S are a pretty major aberration. Also, their sin does not seem incredibly horrible. They lied about how much money they donated to the church. I mean, that’s not great, but is that death worthy?
Truth be told, I don’t know exactly what to do with this story. I do have a loose theory that at the beginning of any covenantal enterprise, God tends to be very “hands-on,” which means a lot of power (God’s miracles and the priestly authority in the OT; the ability to perform miraculous healings in the NT), but it also means that there is more direct punishment. Remember how the Israelites in the desert experienced so much direct punishment from God, unlike the judges? Or how God got more involved with the kings (though still, it was nothing like the desert)? And as crazy as it sounds, it seems like God’s direct involvement is a good thing, a sign of favor, even when it leads to deadly punishment. Anyway, like I said, that is just a rough, working theory.
I can understand, though, how God wanted to get the church off on the right foot. It would be corrupted soon enough. Could we just keep things clean at least through the first few months?
I do love Gamaliel’s reasoning to the Sanhedrin about not resisting God. Those have always struck me as such wise words. And I am in awe at how Peter and the apostles rejoiced at their suffering (41). Their attitude is truly amazing. Like I’ve said before, I find myself often dominated by a “seek pleasure; avoid pain” mentality, and thus, I don’t naturally rejoice in suffering. I am beginning to see more and more how to embrace such things and to allow them to draw you closer to God, to find unity with Him.
I love the praise song based on verse 2, and it is now stuck in my head.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” I always love these proverbs that keep us from trusting our own instincts and logic too much. If I ever teach about Uzzah again, this might be a good verse to work in.
Alright, I’m going to go ahead and publish this bad boy, b/c last time, Greg’s computer did NOT come through for me on the automatic post thing. Good night, everyone!