2 SAMUEL 9:1-11:27 | JOHN 15:1-27 | PSALM 119:49-64 | PROVERBS 16:1-3
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An act of kindness is an act of strength. Nowhere is this demonstrated better than in this account of King David seeking out the progeny of his friend Jonathan and in providing for him and his family for generations to come. And all this for what? What did it profit the king of Israel in seeking out a forgotten grandson of Saul, the man who had made a mission of his life to kill David?
There was no profit whatsoever; there was nothing to compel or cause David to do this except for one thing: his great love for his friend, Jonathan. And in showing such kindness to Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, David is honoring the memory of his friend and the great friendship between them.
David intends to extend kindness even to his neighbors at the news of the death of the Ammonite king, but David’s condolences are waylaid and his good intentions are misinterpreted by the recipients. This results in unnecessary battle between the armies of David and the Ammonites who are soundly defeated. And so we see here the strength and might of the king of Israel.
But might is not right, and even the noblest of humans have feet of clay. This is grossly evident in the story of David and Bathsheba. Taking a married woman for himself and having her husband killed in the thick of battle cannot be condoned—not in the eyes of man, and especially not in the eyes of God. We are to soon see what the consequences of this action might mean for David and his kingdom.
Turning now to our reading in the book of John, we see Jesus continuing to exhort his disciples on various matters. The end is near, and it seems as if Jesus has so much to tell them.
Today, he says, 5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
And if there was any doubt about what Jesus had said yesterday about loving one another, Jesus repeats it yet again today by saying this: 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
However, in addition to the encouraging words that Jesus offers to his disciples, he also tells them that the going will get tough. It is not an easy road, and Jesus tells them, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”.
Turning now to our reading in the psalms, we are continuing with the longest psalm 119. Some verses that speak to me are:
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
57 You are my portion, LORD;
I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
64 The earth is filled with your love, LORD;
teach me your decrees.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs that may serve as food for thought for today:
3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.