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man with amputated leg May 12, 13 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Psalms 55, 58, 61, 62, 63, 64, 70, 141, 143; 2Samuel 17:24-18:18

A Painful Cure

Gangrene is a dreadful condition that often forces doctors to remove limbs. Those who lose a limb suffer great emotional pain before they lose it and after they lose it. The prospect of the loss of a limb is so great that they might wish they could die instead, or that there might be a pill they could take 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.

King David had been disgraced. His favorite son, Absalom had staged a coup against him. Instead of allowing Jerusalem to suffer civil war, David and his soldiers, relatives, and attendants left Jerusalem and lived in the desert. At first he seemed to think God would restore him quickly but that did not happen. David, therefore, slipped into periods of despair. When he sunk to his lowest point, however, he looked up to God. Though forgiven, David realized God was disciplining him for his sins upon Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, and for his adultery with her. His kingdom was suspended, and it was his own fault. Instead of continuing in despair or looking elsewhere for help, however, David looked to God. Still, he did not experience immediate deliverance. However, God was quietly working against Absalom.

While waiting, David continued to experience pain from Absalom's treachery. Absalom was like gangrene; he was destroying the kingdom and everything decent in Jerusalem. David’s son dishonored and showed his disdain for his father by sleeping with his concubines (secondary wives, which David had left at the palace to care for it). Absalom slept with his father’s concubines on top of the palace wall in broad daylight before all the eyes of Israel. Now Absalom was 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 in Psalm 55:12-13, 20-23

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. (NIV)

In Psalm 62:3-7 David says,

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. (NIV)

When we are in pain, where is our refuge? David's refuge was in God. David also expressed confidence that God would eventually vindicate him. Psalm 63:9-11 says,

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. (NIV)

David overcame his despair and had renewed confidence in God. David, his troops, and the people from Jerusalem, however, were all weak and hungry in the desert. God provided for them, even in this desolate place. He can do the same for you.

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 was still emotionally hurt, but he prepared to defend himself against Absalom's troops. David's men told him to stay behind as his armies fought the armies of Absalom; they could not afford the possibility that David might be killed. David's words in his Psalms were prophetic; God would destroy the wicked who sought David's life, and, unfortunately, the leader of that wicked band was his own son. In God's grace and mercy David did 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 that 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:

Psalm 62:5-7

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. (NIV)

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

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