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man with amputated leg May 12, 13 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Psalms 55, 58, 61, 62, 63, 64, 69, 70, 141, 143; 2Samuel 17:24-18:18. (Note: this is a two day study. It is suggested that the Bible reading be done on May 12 and the Bible study on May 13)

A Painful Cure

Gangrene is a dreadful condition which often forces doctors to remove limbs. Those who lose a limb suffer great emotional pain before and after they lose it. The prospect of the loss of a limb is so great they might wish they could die instead, or find some pill to make all the pain go away. Unfortunately, some people have to go through the pain of an amputation (physically or emotionally) before they can be cured and restored to health. King David could relate to that; he suffered emotional and spiritual pain when his kingdom was suspended, and the cure for his restoration would be very painful, even worse than an amputation.

In our recent Bible studies we have seen King David disgraced; his favorite son, Absalom staged a coup against him. Instead of allowing Jerusalem to suffer civil war, David and his soldiers, relatives, and attendants leave Jerusalem and live in the desert. At first, he seems to think God will restore him quickly but it does not happen. David, therefore, slips into despair. When he sinks to his lowest point, however, he looks up to God. Although forgiven, David realizes God is disciplining him for his sins upon Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, and for his adultery with her. His kingdom is suspended, and it is his own fault. Instead of continuing in despair or looking elsewhere for help, however, David looks to God. Still, he does not experience immediate deliverance. However, God is quietly working against Absalom.

While waiting, David continues to experience pain from Absalom's treachery. Absalom is like gangrene; he is destroying the kingdom and everything decent in Jerusalem. David’s son dishonors and shows his disdain for his father by sleeping with his concubines (secondary wives, which David had left at the palace to care for it). Absalom sleeps with his father’s concubines on top of the palace wall in broad daylight before all the eyes of Israel. Now Absalom is preparing for war against his father to kill him and take full control as king. Observe some of David's emotions as recorded in the Psalms. In a probable reference to Absalom, David says,

If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend...My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall [be shaken from his place of favor]. But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you. (Psalm 55:12-13, 20-23, NIV)

How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down-- this leaning wall, this tottering fence? They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place [David's throne]; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. (Psalm 62:3-7,NIV)

When we are in pain, where is our refuge? David's refuge is in God. David expresses confidence that God will eventually vindicate him.

They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God's name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced. (Psalm 63:9-11, NIV)

David overcomes his despair and has renewed confidence in the LORD. David, his troops, and the people from Jerusalem, however, are weak and hungry in the desert. God provides for them, even in this desolate place. He can do the same for us.

When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows' milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert,” (2Samuel 17:27-29, NIV).

David is still emotionally hurt, but he prepares to defend himself against Absalom's troops. David's men tell him to stay behind as his armies fight the armies of Absalom; they can not afford the possibility that David might be killed. David's words in his Psalms are prophetic; God will destroy the wicked who seek David's life, and, unfortunately, the leader of that wicked band is his own son. In God's grace and mercy David does not see the death of Absalom. No matter how wicked our children become, it is never easy to lose them, and it is much worse than losing a limb.

Absalom's wickedness was great against his father and Jerusalem. In the sovereign will of God, the pain of Absalom's death was the cure for returning David back to his kingdom. King David would be restored to his prominence, although his trouble was not quite complete. We will see this in our next lesson. Are you in pain? Sometimes the cure is painful, but you need to keep trusting in God to work out His sovereign will in your life.

Lessons to Live By

  • Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall [be shaken from his place of favor]. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge (Psalm 62:7, NIV). Is God your rock and refuge? (more...)
  • Sometimes a cure is painful, but keep trusting in God to work out His sovereign will in your life.
  • God will continue to care for you as he did with David in the wilderness.

Today’s Bible Memory Verses

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. (Psalm 62:5-7, NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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