Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mish Mash of Devotional Thoughts

I have to admit, I had a hard time focusing on my bible reading this morning. All kinds of non-devotional thoughts kept intruding on my mind.

My readings today came from various passages. the first passage is 2 Samuel 16. In this passage David is traveling with his men. First he is honoured by Ziba, and then later is he is cursed by a man of King Sauls' household. Blessing and cursing in the same passage, and David accepts both as given by the Lord.

Later on in this passage we learn that while David was out, his wayward son Absalom, on the advice of Ahithophel, "went in" to David's concubines. Not exactly the appropriate thing to do. A good way to make yourself a stench to one's father. What I found interesting in these verses was this:
Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.
It struck me at how easy it would be for a man of God to, if he turned from God, to continue to influence people. It was so easy for Ahithophel to give advice to Absalom, and then for Absalom to take it. After all, Ahithophel was a godly advisor so why not take his advice?

Something to wary of.

My Next passage was from 2 Corinthians 9. Paul is commending the Corinthians for their readiness to give to brothers in Christ needing help. He reminds us that
6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
God gave us all that we have. Giving back to him is something we should want to do freely, and this giving to God helps to spread the good news, and shows our gratitude to God.

Then I read Ezekiel 23. Now I have to admit, I did NOT like reading this passage. The images of how Samaria and Jerusalem played the whore, and God's response of disgust towards them bothered me. As God says:3
5Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring."
Yes, they got what they deserved, and yes, God gave them oodles of chances to turn back to him, and he gave them what they repeatedly showed him they wanted. But it just sat ever so poorly with me this morning. Not a passage I will return to quickly, it just really bothered me.

The last passage was from the Psalms, chapters 70-71. Both these Psalms speak to how God will come and help us if we call upon him. From Psalm 71:
1 In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
2In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
3Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
If Samaria and Jerusalem had turned from their wickedness events would have gone so much better for them. But they persisted in their evilness, and God let them get caught up in it. Oh that I may not be like them. May I be like David and call out to God to rescue me, even if sometimes it's just from myself.

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