Saturday, September 23, 2017

Year One, September 24

Have Mercy Upon Us, O LORD1
2 Samuel 12:1-10; 13-14
1And the LORD sent Nathan to David. (This kind of sin could not remain unpunished. The Lord sent the same messenger to rebuke David who had previously come to bless him. It was great mercy on God’s part to send a faithful preacher to David. If he did not love him, he might have left him to his own hardness of heart. We should be thankful to God when he sends an honest person to deliver his divine message to us, whether that message is sweet or bitter.) He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” (Little did he realize that he had just judged himself. We are ready enough to condemn others, but, ah! how slow to see sin in ourselves.)
7Nathan said to David, “You are the man! (The parable was full of wisdom and Nathan showed great courage to apply it to the king. How David’s color must have changed! How loudly did his conscience say “Amen”2 to everything the prophet said. Nathan went on to describe David’s sin so he could see more of its blackness and be wholeheartedly sincere in his repentance.) Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife’”
This was harsh medicine, but it was for a putrid disease. If we sin, we must pay the price for it. The Lord’s beloved cannot escape the rod if they disobey his commands. In David’s case, as in most others, the punishment matched the sin. He had killed Uriah with the sword and now the sword was to visit his own family.
13David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” (A child of God may sin, but he cannot continue in it. If there had been no grace in David, he would have been angry with Nathan. But the spiritual life within him caused David to repent immediately and greatly. Many sin, as David did; but never repent, as he did.) And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
How quickly the pardon came! “Confess, and live” is God’s word to the guilty. The Lord our God delights in mercy. Let us go to him and acknowledge our transgressions at once, and find immediate pardon.
14“Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.” (David will live, but he will be struck in a tender place. God forgives his children, but he will not allow them to think lightly of sin. He will strike them heavily, though not to the point of death. Oh Lord, keep us from sin.)
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1 Psalm 123:3
2 amen - So be it, it is so, it is true, truly.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Year One, September 23

Pray That You May Not Enter Into Temptation1
2 Samuel 11:1-3; 6-10; 12-17; 26-27
1In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
Perhaps David had begun to give in to a life of ease and decided to allow the battles of his country to be fought by others. If this is the case, then it teaches us that laziness is the helper of wrongdoing.
2It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, (Had he been sleeping in until so late in the day? Had he become that self-indulgent? If so, is it any wonder that he fell?) that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” (David sent for her at once and took her to himself, thus committing the grossest sin. Alas! Alas! how far the mighty have fallen!)
In a short time David found that his sin would be discovered. So he came up with an excuse to have Uriah return home from the battle in an attempt to hide his shameful sin.
6So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. 8Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. 9But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” (Uriah answered that he would not go home to sleep in comfort while the ark of the covenant and his fellow soldiers were in tents, or encamped in the open field.)
Here we find a common soldier being self-disciplined and self-denying, while the famous psalmist had become pleasure seeking and shameless.
12Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk. And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. (David deliberately got Uriah drunk. This was a very wicked thing to do. But with all of his cleverness, David did not succeed in covering up his crime. This led him to act even more wickedly. Now he would become guilty of murder. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!”2 “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”3)
14In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down and die.” 16And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died.
The man after God’s own heart had fallen so low that he had become both an adulterer and a murderer! In those days, other kings did these kinds of things repeatedly and their people would not dare to complain about it. But king David was a chosen servant of God and it was a disgustingly evil thing for him to commit such crimes.
26When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. 27And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. (The sinner may have dreamed that he had cleverly hidden his crime, but this last sentence was the signal that announced the death of his secret. If our actions displease the Lord, nothing else in our life will win his approval.)
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1 Matthew 26:41
2 Isaiah 14:12
3 1 Corinthians 10:12

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Year One, September 22

There Is a Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother1
2 Samuel 9
1And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
Good men are thankful men. Jonathan had shown David great kindness, and therefore David looked for a way to be kind to Jonathan’s descendants. Someone who is not loyal to his friends is probably someone who is not loyal to the Savior. 
2Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” 3And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” 4The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” (He was living far away from the city. He may have been afraid that David wanted to kill him because he was an heir of king Saul. We often fear the very men who will turn out to be our best friends.)
5Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. 6And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. (He was both awed by the splendor of the court and nervous because he thought the king might want to injure him. But David was kind to him and quickly put him at ease.) And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold I am your servant.” 7And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” 8And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”
9Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. (Mephibosheth was the grandson of a king. Ziba, his sons, and his servants made up a good court for a descendant of royalty.)
11Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. 12And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.
From this story, we learn to remember those who have been kind to us. If someone has shared with us when he was prosperous, we should return his kindness if we ever see him or his children in need. Never let it be said that a child of God is ungrateful to his fellow men. If we are to show kindness to those who treat us badly, how much more are we obligated to repay the favors of those who have been our friends.
Another lesson may be learned here. David and Jonathan had made a covenant and David kept it. Jonathan’s son was not well known, he was poor, and he was deformed. None of these things stopped David from keeping his promise. The Lord is also true to his covenant. He will not abandon those who put their trust in him. Many of God’s people are, spiritually, as disabled as Mephibosheth, but he remembers them, and invites them to sit at his table and fellowship with him. The Father is not ashamed of the poor and helpless friends of Jesus. Because he loves their Lord and Master, he accepts them at the king’s table, even though both their feet are crippled.
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1 Proverbs 18:24

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Year One, September 21

His Glory Is Great Through Your Salvation1
In this Psalm we find King David rejoicing in the mercy of the Lord his God.
  
Psalm 21
This has been called the Royal Triumphal Ode or the Song of Great Victory. If we can see King Jesus in it, our reading will be rewarded even more.
1 O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices,
and in your salvation how greatly he exults!
2 You have given him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.     Selah.
Souls are saved by Jesus. He enriches his people with all spiritual blessings and this makes King David rejoice greatly.
3 For you meet him with rich blessings;
The word “meet” includes the idea of preceding or going before and Jehovah most certainly preceded his Son with blessings. Before Jesus died, saints were saved by the anticipated merit of his death. The Father is so willing to give blessings through his Son, that instead of waiting to give his grace, his mercy goes ahead of the Mediator on his journey to his death. “The Father himself loves you.”2
you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
Jesus wore the crown of thorns, but now wears the crown of glory. His new crown points to his royal nature, kingly power, well-earned honor, glorious victory and divine authority. The crown is made from the richest, rarest, most brilliant and long lasting metal. Gold! Pure gold. The most valuable gold, to indicate the superiority of his kingdom. The crown is set on his head by Jehovah himself to declare that no one can remove it.
4 He asked life of you; you gave it to him,
length of days forever and ever.
5 His glory is great through your salvation;
splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6 For you make him most blessed forever;
you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the LORD,
and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
8 Your hand will find out all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
No one will escape from the Great King when he comes in his righteous anger. We are commanded to accept his love before it is too late.
9 You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear.
The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath,
and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 Though they plan evil against you,
though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12 For you will put them to flight;
you will aim at their faces with your bows.
Opposing Jesus will be useless. He will defeat his enemies with a frightening victory. Do not be found among them in that day.
13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
This whole Psalm is meant to proclaim the praises of the Lord Jesus. Isaac Ambrose writes:3 “I remember a dying woman who heard some sermon about Jesus Christ; ‘Oh,’ said she, ‘speak more of this, let me hear of this, do not be weary of telling his praise. I want to see him and therefore I love to hear about him!’ Surely I cannot say too much of Jesus Christ. On this blessed subject no man can possibly exaggerate. If I had the tongues of men and angels, I could never fully describe Christ. It is impossible for the creature to fully understand his Creator. Suppose all the sands on the seashore, all the flowers, herbs, leaves, twigs of trees in woods and forests, all the stars of heaven, were all rational creatures; and that they had wisdom, and tongues of angels to speak of the loveliness, beauty, glory, and excellency of Christ, as gone to heaven, and sitting at the right-hand of his Father, they would, in all their expressions, stay millions of miles on this side of Jesus Christ. Oh, the loveliness, beauty, and glory of his face! Can I speak, or you hear of such a Christ? And are we not all in a blazing love, in a angelic love, or at least in love like a bride for her husband? Oh my heart, how is it you are not lovesick? Why is it that you have not earnestly asked the daughters of Jerusalem as the spouse did? ‘I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love.’”4
  
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1 Psalm 21:5
2 John 16:27
3 Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664).
4 Song of Solomon 5:8

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Year One, September 20

May the LORD Answer You In the Day Of Trouble!1
When David became king, his people loved him and were in the habit of praying for him. Psalm Twenty is one of the prayer-hymns they used.
  
Psalm 20
As we read this psalm, we will see Jesus and use it to our spiritual benefit.
1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
When Jesus was praying at Gethsemane and facing death on the cross, an angel came from heaven and strengthened him.2 There is no other help like that which God sends and no other rescue like that which comes out of his sanctuary.3 For us, that sanctuary is the person of our blessed Lord who is pictured as the temple and the place of true protection that God has provided. Let us rush to the Cross for support anytime we have a need. Our God will send us help. The world despises our sanctuary help, but our hearts have learned to prize it more than any human aid. They look to human strength or money, but we turn to the sanctuary that is Jesus. 

“And give you support from Zion.” Zion was the hill in Jerusalem where David built his palace. The spiritual City of Zion is the home of our great King. The saints of the Church look to Zion for all blessings.  When we look to the sanctuary in Zion for help, we are looking to the Father to help us through his Son. We have the greatest confidence that he will send the help he has promised. This verse is suitable for a Sunday morning benediction.4 It could be given by the pastor for his people or by the Church for its pastor.
3 May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices!     Selah.
Before going to war, kings offered sacrifices. When their offering was accepted, it was a sign for success in the battle. Our blessed Lord presented himself as a sacrifice that was accepted by the Most High God as a pleasing aroma,5 after which he attacked and routed the fortified armies of hell. The sacrifice of Christ still perfumes the courts of heaven and continues to make the offerings and worship of his people acceptable. In our spiritual battles, we should never march forth to war until the Lord has given us a sign to proceed. Our faith should be in our bleeding Lord and his sacrifice for us.
4 May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Chariots and horses were impressive and awe inspiring. Men took great pride in their modern weapons of war; their enemies were terrified by them. But the sharp eye of faith sees far more power in an invisible God than in even a huge army of chariots and horses. The most dreaded war machine in David’s day was the war-chariot, armed with blades that mowed men down like grass. This is what the nations surrounding Israel gloried in and bragged about. But the saints considered the name of Jehovah to be a far better defense. The Lord did not allow the Israelites to keep warhorses, so it was only natural for them to have a great fear of the enemy’s cavalry. We should admire the great faith of the bold singer who scorned even the great horses of Egypt when compared with the Lord of Hosts. Sadly, there are many in our time who profess to be the Lord’s, but are hopelessly depending on other people and act as if they had never known the name of Jehovah at all!
8 They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
At first, the enemies of God seem to be winning, but before long they are brought down by either force or their own mistakes. Their position is unsafe, and therefore when the time comes it gives way under them. Their chariots are burned in the fire, and their horses die of disease. Where is their boasted strength now? Those who trust in Jehovah may begin to lose heart as the battle begins, but an Almighty arm lifts them up and they joyfully stand upright. Victory through Jesus is the birthright of his people. The world, death, Satan, and sin, will all be trampled underneath the feet of the champions of faith; while those who trust in human strength shall be ashamed and destroyed forever.
9 LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call
  
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1 Psalm 20:1
2 Luke 22:43
3 sanctuary - The dwelling place of God.The tabernacle is called a sanctuary and the place where God dwells (Exodus 25:8). Also, a shelter, retreat, or place of safety and protection.
4 benediction - a short prayer for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually at the end of a worship service.
5 pleasing aroma - The Bible speaks of the smell of a sacrifice being pleasing or sweet to God and therefore accepted by him.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Year One, September 19

Bless the House of Your Servant1
2 Samuel 7:18-29
18Then King David went in and sat before the LORD (After Nathan told David that his “throne shall be established forever,” the king was overwhelmed with gratitude. He entered the Lord’s tabernacle with great respect, sat down, and worshipped.) and said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? (This should be the normal feeling of all the Lord’s kings and priests.2 They wonder why they should be chosen, and they adore the sovereign grace3 which elected them.) 19And yet this was a small thing in your eyes. O Lord GOD. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord GOD!”
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than our ways.4 Man’s greatest attempts at compassion cannot begin to compare with divine blessings.
20“And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD!”
God knows our hearts even when we are so full of emotion we cannot find words to express ourselves. He hears our songs and understands our sighs.
21“Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it.”
David does not claim any of the credit for his greatness. He gives all the credit to God and the richness of his grace. He was a free grace man. He placed the crown upon the right head and gave the glory to God alone.
22“Therefore you are great, O LORD God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we  have heard with our ears. (There is none like the Lord, and there are no people like his people. Faith is about things that are unique, therefore our gratefulness should motivate us to remarkable service for our Lord. If we receive more than others, we must do more than others.) 23And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? 24And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O LORD, became their God.”
This is delightful to think about. God’s choice of his people is not temporary, but eternal. He never changes in his relationship to his people.
25“And now, O LORD God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. (These last words explain what true prayer should be: “Do as you have spoken.” The only solid foothold for faith is God’s word. When a sinner comes before God, he must have nothing else to depend on except, “do as you have spoken.” If we cannot plead a promise, then we cannot ask in confidence. We know that God will be true to his word and this gives us boldness before the throne of grace.) 26And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. 27For you, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a  house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you.”
We are on solid ground when our hearts pray for that which we find promised in God’s word. Has the Lord said it? Then let us ask for it!
28“And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. 29Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord GOD, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”
Pleading the promises is the sinew and muscle of prayer. When we have a promissory note from someone, we present it to them and ask for payment. We should bring the promises of Holy Scripture before the Lord and request him to make good on his word. Let us continually cry to God, “do as you have spoken.”
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1 2 Samuel 7:29
2 A reference to all Christians. “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood.” (1 Peter 29)
3 sovereign grace - A term indicating that salvation is entirely the result of God’s mercy and grace. A person is incapable of contributing anything to his own salvation.
4 See Isaiah 55:9

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Year One, September 18

The Most High Does Not Dwell in Houses Made by Hands1
2 Samuel 7:1-17
1Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.”
It was good for David to compare his house to the place where the ark was kept and it is good for us to think along the same lines. If we live in a comfortable house and our place of worship is neglected, then let us not be slow do what we can to correct the situation.
3And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.”
Good men naturally like to encourage good intentions and Nathan spoke from the love in his heart. But he was mistaken. Only the Lord Jesus knew the mind of God perfectly and therefore always spoke it perfectly. Other prophets only spoke the mind of God when the spirit of prophecy rested on them. If they spoke without full knowledge, the Lord quickly corrected them. Nathan did not refuse to correct his own advice when he was better informed and neither should any of us be slow to retract any error we have unknowingly taught.
4But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, 5“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” 8Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.’”
The Lord knows the desire of our heart and he rewards the desire as though it has already been accomplished. Because David wanted to build God a house, God built David’s house. Truly, we serve a good master.
12“‘When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” (This was a glorious covenant even as to its surface meaning, but there was a deeper meaning to it. The promise also has a special reference to that greater Son of David building up his church and establishing it forever. Some translate the words, “when he commits iniquity,” as “when I make him sin,” and believe this entire passage is about, “Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”2)
17In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. (In 1 Chronicles 22:7-8, David mentions one of the reasons why he was not allowed to build the temple: “I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth.” It was not right that he who had been the Lord’s executioner on so large a scale should build the temple. God is very jealous of his own honor. Even where there may be no real sin, a person’s way of life may disqualify him from some positions in the Lord’s service.)
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1 Acts 7:48
2 2 Corinthians 5:21 (New American Standard Version)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Year One, September 17

Serve the LORD With Gladness!1
2 Samuel 6:12-23
12And it was told King David, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing.
Obed-edom’s prosperity was a sure sign that the Lord was ready to bless all who would treat his ark with reverence. When God blesses men “with a nature like ours,”2 we are encouraged to expect that he will bless us also.
This time the ark was carried by the priests and Levites, “Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.”3
13And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. 14And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. (He took off his royal robes and exchanged them for the simple outfit of the Levites to show that he, too, was a servant of the Lord. He “danced before the LORD with all his might.” Krummacher says, “He gave expression in outward movements, and by a rhythmic action of his body, to the feelings which swelled in his heart. The idea which the world of the present day likes to associate with the word dance is not appropriate here at all. In Israel, dancing was a form of divine worship, in which the highest and holiest inspiration often expressed itself. For example, in the case of Miriam and her companions at the Red Sea. If it had not been so, how would the spirit of prophecy have said by the prophet Jeremiah, ‘Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.’45 And why would the singer of Psalm 150 have encouraged the God-fearing, by saying to them, “Praise him with tambourine and dance”6!) 15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn.
16As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, and she despised him in her heart. 17And they brought in the ark of the LORD and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 18And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts, 19and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed each to his house.
20And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” (She could not share David’s enthusiasm. No doubt she thought he was half-crazy. Even today, cold, heartless religious people complain about those who are enthusiastic about the Lord. They call holy excitement hypocrisy and fanaticism.) 21And David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the LORD--and I will make merry before the LORD. (He reminded her of God’s electing love. Truly, if anything can make a man’s heart dance this will.) 22I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” (One is reminded here of Paul counting “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”7 If others think less of us because we glorify God, we should rejoice.) 23And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death. (She acted more as the daughter of Saul than as the wife of David, and therefore like her father she died, leaving no heir to the throne of Israel.)
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1 Psalm 100:2
2 James 5:17
3 1 Chronicles 15:12b-13
4 Jeremiah 31:4b
5 F. W. Krummacher (1796-1868).
6 Psalm 150:4a
7 Philippians 3:8