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last strand of rope May 8 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 2Samuel 24; 1Chronicles 21; Psalm 6; Psalm 38; Psalm 41; 2Samuel 15:7-36

Weakness and Betrayal

Who gives you strength when the rope of your life is weak and about to break? This month we celebrate Mother’s Day, and next month we celebrate Father’s Day. While most of us honor our parents, it is sad that some adult children do not honor their parents but take advantage of their weaknesses. As Christian parents get older, when their faith should be the strongest, sometimes they get sick or lose their confidence in God and do some foolish things for their own security or peace of mind. And who should be there to take advantage of their weakness but their own children! For instance, a person may convince his parent(s) to give him power of attorney and then pilfer his accounts. What should parents do when their adult children no longer respect them and even betray them? In today's Bible reading David faces this with his son Absalom. What does David do? What he does may help us when we are vulnerable.

Apparently, late in David's reign the rest of the prophecies regarding the consequences of David's sin begin to affect him (2Samuel 12:10-12). As King David grows older, he makes a slip in his confidence toward God. The LORD allows Satan to tempt David (more…). Instead of trusting God, David orders his forces to be counted to determine his military strength. He finds to his shame that this census was unnecessary; God is still protecting him, for at least 1.1 million Israelite soldiers are ready to take up arms in Israel's defense (more…). David’s conscience is immediately struck that he is depending on numbers and not on God. He already knows God can save by many or by few (1Samuel 14:6).

As Israel’s representative, to show a lack of faith in God is a serious thing. As a result of David's sin, God gives him three dire choices for judgment. David chooses to be placed in the LORD's merciful hands rather than be defeated by his enemies. God sends a plague on the people, killing 70,000 of his men by the sword of the LORD through an angel. This probably makes some of the people lose confidence in David's leadership. Perhaps it is at this time of weakness that Absalom seizes the opportunity to overthrow his father and reign on his throne. Absalom wins the hearts of the people of Israel by his flatteries and then stages a coup to get rid of his father David.

When David learns that Absalom has stolen the hearts of Israel and perceives a forthcoming attack on Jerusalem, David takes his officials and most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and leaves the city. He does this, not because he fears military conflict, but to spare the city from civil war, and the city and the tabernacle from destruction. In addition to these reasons, David does not want to fight his own son. This is an act of love and wisdom, not cowardice. Just like David, in difficult situations and sometimes with great personal sacrifice, mothers and fathers do things out of love just to keep the peace and keep civil war from breaking out in the family.

There are parallels between David’s rejection and departure and that of Christ’s. David is enthroned in Jerusalem. Christ comes riding on a donkey into Jerusalem and is heralded as king. (Matthew 21:4-9). David leaves Jerusalem in disgrace. He is mocked, bruised by stones, and spat upon. Christ is also mocked, bruised and spat upon. Wicked Absalom attempts to take David's throne. Satan attempts to take Christ's throne by having Jesus crucified. Absalom is killed. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire. David's kingdom is restored. Christ will come back to this earth to rule and reign. If David and Christ could endure mocking and abuse, shouldn't we? By this, we are not encouraging elder abuse, but being willing to suffer so others might be saved.

If we can learn from David's example, what should we do with an unkind, adult son or daughter who shows disrespect and dishonor? Should we teach them a lesson? Should we argue or scream at them? No. This lesson suggests we endure hardship, walk in humility and obedience to God and trust Him (Psalm 4: 3-5; Psalm 37: 3-8; Psalm 43:5). By saying these things, again we do not mean we should endure physical or elderly abuse. If possible, criminal offenses should be reported to the police, as God has established government institutions to punish wrongdoers (Romans 13:4), but we must trust God to be our help at other times. As David receives support when he leaves Jerusalem, we can also praise God for others who stand with us, and we can praise God for His presence with us in difficult situations. Do you have a personal relationship with God so He might help you in times of distress? Call on Him to save you today (more...)

Lessons to Live By

  • Beware of your weaknesses, and do not allow Satan to tempt you to sin.
  • Honor your parents and do not take advantage of them.
  • From David's example, what should we do with an unkind adult son or daughter who shows disrespect and dishonor? We endure hardship, walk in humility, walk in obedience to God and trust Him.
  • God can give us strength when we are weak and frayed or betrayed. Let's place our confidence in Him.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse

Psalm 43:5 “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (NIV)

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