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last strand of rope May 8 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 2Samuel 24; 1Chronicles 21; 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. 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 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 perhaps even betray them? David faced this with his son Absalom. What did David do? What he did 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 began to affect him (2Samuel 12:10-12). As King David grew older, he made a slip in his confidence toward God. God allowed Satan to tempt David (more…) Instead of trusting God, David started counting his forces to see who would be loyal to him. He found out to his shame that this census was unnecessary; God was still protecting him, for at least 1.1 million Israelite soldiers were ready to take up arms in his defense (more…). David’s conscience was immediately struck that he was depending on numbers and not on God. He already knew, like his friend Jonathan, that God can save by many or by few (1Samuel 14:6). As Israel’s representative, to show a lack of faith in God was a serious thing. As a result of David's sin, God gave him three dire choices for judgment. David chose to be placed in God’s merciful hands rather than be defeated by his enemies. God sent a plague on the people, killing 70,000 of his men by the sword of the LORD through an angel. This probably made some of the people lose confidence in David's leadership. Perhaps it was at the time of his weakness that Absalom seized the opportunity to overthrow his father to reign on his throne. Absalom won the hearts of the people of Israel by his flatteries and then staged a coup to get rid of his father David.

When David learned that Absalom had stolen the hearts of Israel and would probably attack Jerusalem, David took his officials and most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and left the city. He did this, not so much that he feared military conflict, but to spare the city from civil war, and the city and the tabernacle from destruction. In addition to these reasons, David probably did not want to fight his own son. This was an act of love. 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 was enthroned in Jerusalem. Christ came riding on a donkey into Jerusalem and was heralded as king. (Matthew 21:4-9). David left Jerusalem in disgrace. He was mocked, bruised by stones, and spat upon. Christ was also mocked, bruised and spat upon. Wicked Absalom attempted to take David's throne. Satan attempted to take Christ's throne by having Jesus crucified. Absalom was killed. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire. David's kingdom was 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 that 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 that we endure hardship, walk in humility, walk in 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 received support when he left 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 that 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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