2 SAMUEL 20:14-21:22 | ACTS 1:1-26 | PSALM 121:1-8 | PROVERBS 16:18
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The story of the pursuit of Sheba continues, but it turns out to be a most strange pursuit indeed. This entire chapter is somewhat strange and disconnected, I think. But it is what it is, and the summary of the text is as follows:
In the hunt for Sheba, Joab and his men almost tear down the city he is hiding in, but an old woman comes and dissuades Joab from doing further damage and promises Sheba’s head in return! Next there is a famine in the land for three years, and it seems that some old fued between the Gibeonites and the Israelites is the cause for this which results in atonement being made by King David by way of slaughtering some descendants of the House of Saul. The mother of those slain, however, goes mad at this and to appease her, the bones of Saul and Jonathan are brought back and given a proper burial. Next the account speaks of more battles with the Philistines.
Such is life in the kingdom of Israel in those days. Some things just don’t make sense, that’s all. And whatever happened to avenging or at least addressing the murder of Amasa? We know not why there is no mention of this.
And so we move on now to a new book today: the book of Acts, as in the acts of the disciples of Jesus after his resurrection and ascension. The author is generally supposed to be Luke, the physician-disciple of Jesus, and the audience is the early Gentile church in the second half of the first century A.D.
Luke starts out his account by offering a brief summary of Jesus’ time with his disciples following the resurrection: for forty days he tarried with them, and when they asked if he was going to restore the kingdom of Israel now, Jesus tells them it is not for them to know the date and time that has been established for this event. Heed that, all you modern Armageddon-prophets!
Think now of the imagery of a space shuttle ascending into the heavens. That is what it must have been like to watch the divine ascension of Jesus into the skies. The disciples are marveling at this and cannot remove their eyes from the heavens when two men in white, perhaps angels, appear to them and say, 11 “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Next, we see perhaps the very first assembly of believers gathered together in one place. At this first meeting, Matthias is chosen as the twelfth apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. As for Judas’ fate, we learn that he bought a field with that blood-money and spilled his own blood in it.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we come upon a most beautiful one in Psalm 121, reproduced here in its entirety in the KJV because that is the version in which I have this psalm committed to memory:
1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
And finally, our one verse for the day from the book of Proverbs is also a very well-known one:
18Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.