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The Bible In A Year: Day 138

2 Samuel 22-24
Song of Solomon 5
Acts 20:17-38

2 Samuel 22-24

David sings a song of deliverance to God, I’m a way similar to Miriam in the book of Exodus. David wrote the majority of the psalms and this song of deliverance sounds very much like one of his psalms. He continues on from that to a few final words of wisdom that he’s learned through his life, as he gets ready to move beyond life into death.

The 23rd chapter of 2 Samuel has a list of the might men, these men that were with David almost from the beginning. Some were from Canaanite peoples but most were Israelites like David. There’s a few at the beginning that get more attention than the others, these were “the three” and they were David’s best warriors. It’s interesting that the man closest to David during every battle and the commander of his armies for the whole of his reign is not mentioned in this list. Joab doesn’t appear except as a reference to a couple people on the list as “brother of Joab”

Perhaps Joab doesn’t need to be mentioned because everyone knows he’s like David’s right hand, or maybe Joab was a great tactician in commanding armies but not a great warrior, and so not included among the mighty men. Or maybe this list is compiled at the end of David’s reign and by this time Joab has fallen out of favor, an so is excluded from the list. We won’t ever know, but an interesting thought to ponder.

One name that should immediately stand out to anyone following along here is the last one on the list, Uriah the Hittite. This means that Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, who David had murdered so he could steal his wife, wasn’t a stranger. Uriah wasn’t some nameless and faceless soldier that a king wouldn’t be able to pick out of a lineup. Uriah was a friend and one of David’s “mighty men” making his betrayal so much worse now in light of this information.

This book closes out with a story about the census that David takes. It can be quite confusing because the opening line says that God was angry at Israel and told David to take a census of the people, but when the census is completed, David admits his sin and begs for mercy. On the surface it seems that God is punishing David for something that he first commanded him to do, but this is not the case.

God was angry at the nation, and he incited David against them, but the quote of “go number the people” wasn’t necessarily from God, it may have been from David to his commanders. Possibly God used David I’m a way that brought judgment on the nation. There’s a couple of other ways to look at it, but that’s the best that I’ve seen.

After the count and David’s conscience kicks in, he begs for mercy but the prophet Gad shows up with a choice from God. David could choose 3 years of famine, 3 months of running from enemies, or 3 days of pestilence. David chooses the last because the first two would require some sort of reliance on man, while the last one was completely at the mercy of God.

After the pestilence is over, David goes to build an altar and offer sacrifices on the threshing floor that will later become the center of the temple his son builds. The owner of the threshing floor offers the land, the cattle for a sacrifice and the wood of the building to make a fire. David’s reply to this is excellent and shows what true sacrifice is. He says “I will not offer a sacrifice that has cost me nothing.”

What kind of sacrifices do we offer? Does it cost us anything?

Acts 20:17-38

Paul returns to Ephesus, a town he’s spent considerable time in and gives a farewell speech to the elders of the church. This is Paul’s last visit to this city and it leaves the elders in tears when they come to grips with his speech and saying he won’t see them again. He warns them to guard what they’ve been taught because false preachers will come among them, and that certainly happens later on. And not just within the lives of the people listening, but over the next few centuries the church in Ephesus, and universally, will have to beat back a steady stream of heresies. The elders are told to hold to what they’ve been taught, because it’s only be the consistent teachings of the church that we’ve been able to withstand the false teachers of every age from the days of Paul until today.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
1 Kings 1-2:12
Song of Solomon 6
Acts 21

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