TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 2 SAMUEL 22:21-23:23
David acknowledges that the Lord is the source of His strength. In verses 20-27a we have the righteousness of another King in view. This King has the righteousness that David desired, but did not attain. The righteousness of God would be found in His descendant, the righteous branch.
Jeremiah 23:5 5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.
Jesus could claim the clean hands, and the perfect record of law-keeping (2 Samuel 22:21-27). And His righteousness would be credited to those joined to Him by faith.
We were created to mirror the moral character of God. All of us fall short of this glorious ideal (Romans 3:23). But Jesus, the Greater David, is the express image of God. Verses 20-27a perfectly apply to Him. The Father could say of our Lord, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus had the witness of the Spirit and the spoken Word that He had the delight and favor of God upon Him.
2 Samuel 22:20 20 “He also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”
We can take heart in the fact that we are identified in a faith-union with Him. God the Father has imputed the righteousness of Christ to our account. We are accepted in the beloved Son of God (Ephesians 1:6).
As recipients of His mercy, we can say with David,
2 Samuel 22:28-29 28 “And You save an afflicted people; But Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase. 29 For You are my lamp, O LORD; And the LORD illumines my darkness.”
2 Samuel 22:31 31 “As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
The Lord enables us to do what we could not do.
2 Samuel 22:30 “For by You I can run upon a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.”
The Lord enables us to go where we could not go.
2 Samuel 22:34 34 “He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places.”
He gives us a victory that we could not win on our own.
2 Samuel 22:36 36 “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your help (gentleness- KJV) makes me great.”
This Psalm ends with a doxology setting forth the praiseworthiness of God as the omnipotent deliverer who has shown His unfailing kindness to His anointed king (v.47-51).
2 Samuel 22:51 51 “He is a tower of deliverance to His king, and shows lovingkindness to His anointed, To David and his descendants forever.”
As ‘in Christ ones’, we can say we have the sure mercies of David (Isaiah 55:3, Acts 13:34).
Chapter 23 records the final psalm of David. These are his last words.
David reflects upon his life and the grace that he has received. God has spoken through him. God has given him a foretaste of His future kingdom (23:3). He sings of the ideal kingship and yet he is conscious of his own personal failures. He has not realized the ideal of ruling over men in righteousness, yet he knows that God does. And God is faithful to His covenant promises. He will be faithful to uphold justice, punish the wicked, bringing to fruition His plan of salvation through the person of His Son.
In verses 8 to 23 we have a description of David’s mighty men and their deeds.
- Josheb-Basshebeth, (also called Adino the Eznite) chief of the Three, raised his spear against 800 in one encounter.
- Eleazar, one of the Three, stood his ground against the Philistines till his hand froze to the sword
- Shammah took his stand against the enemy, defended the lentil field, until the Lord brought about a great victory.
When David was in the stronghold at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David expressed his desire for a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem. The three mighty men risked their lives, went behind enemy lines, drew water from the well and then carried it back to David. David is so overwhelmed by the love and dedication of the Three that he refuses to drink it but pours it out as a drink offering to the Lord.
Abishai, David’s nephew, the son of Zeruiah, is also given the honorary title of ‘chief of the Three’, even though he was not included in the Three. He is given this honor because of his heroic performance in battle, raising his spear against 300 men.
Benaniah is also given honorary mention. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. And by the way, “He also went down into the pit and killed a lion on a snowy day. (23:20). With just a club in hand, he took the spear out of the hand of an Egyptian warrior and killed him with it. His performance gave him greater honor than the thirty, and he became as famous as The Three. David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – Acts 2:1-47
The Promise of the Father and the Son, the Blessed Comforter, the Holy Spirit, is given to the 120 assembled in the Upper Room, “when the day of Pentecost was fully come. “(Acts 2:1 KJV). Many Jews from throughout the Mediterranean world assembled in Jerusalem for this major feast.
Although more than four times that number together at one time had seen Jesus raised from the dead, only 120 were together at the time when Jesus baptized them with the Holy Spirit. The church was born in that Upper Room in Jerusalem.
Psalm 87:4-6 4 “I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me; Behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia: ‘This one was born there.’ (In Zion-Jerusalem- In Christ)” 5 But of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; And the Most High Himself will establish her. 6 The LORD will count when He registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah.
As we have seen from Scripture, the gift of the Holy Spirit did not come because these 120 were fasting and praying for an outpouring. They did not even know what to expect.
The Holy Spirit was poured out on a day that God had appointed 1500 years before it happened (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:4, 15-22). The day and the purpose for which the Holy Spirit was given had been foretold. This was the beginning of a global harvest. Because of the work of our Great High Priest, in one move, two loaves representing two groups, Jews and Gentiles, are raised up together to be accepted by God in Christ (Leviticus 23:20).
What happened in Acts 2 is not a result of what the church did in Acts 1, but as it is a result of what Jesus did when He was glorified at the right hand of the Father. He baptized His church with the Holy Spirit. The Father clothed the church with power from on high. This was promised by God the Father in Isaiah 32:15; 44:3; Ezekiel 36:26-27; and God the Son (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:8-15).
Pentecost also commemorated Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the Law written on tables of stone.
The Law included the written commandments of what God required for righteousness and the instructions for the tabernacle and its offerings which foreshadowed how the Law would be fulfilled when the Word is made flesh to tabernacle among us.
Now on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is given to write the law upon the fleshy tables of the hearts of the redeemed. Instead of the sounding of the shofar (Exodus 19:16), there is the sound of the blowing mighty wind from heaven. Instead of fire descending upon Mount Sinai, there is the appearance of small tongue-like pillars of fire coming to rest on the heads of the 120 (Acts 2:2-3). At the first giving of the Law at Sinai 3000 died (Exodus 32:28. As the Holy Spirit comes on this day of Pentecost 3000 are saved (Acts 2:41).
The newborn church in Jerusalem was now the new temple of the Spirit, and each member’s body was the temple of the Holy Spirit where the glory of the Lord abides.
The 120 are given the gift of being able to speak in 14-15 different distinct dialects that were understood by the internationals that were on the streets and in the temple court in Jerusalem.
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, with the boldness of this fresh anointing, preaches Christ. He explains that what they are witnessing is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and Jesus’ promise to baptize with the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament, only the priests, prophets and kings were anointed. What they were observing now was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel (Joel 2:28-32) where the Holy Spirit is promised not just to a few, but to all believers. The Holy Spirit would anoint all those in Christ, sons and daughters, young men, old men. Instead of the priesthood privileges given to an elite few, such as one tribe among the twelve, all those who receive Jesus as Lord in repentance and faith would now be part of this royal priesthood and holy nation as it was originally intended in the Law (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9).
Peter, using the Scriptures, points to the fact that the earth-shaking events that they have witnessed, the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus, is a fulfillment of God’s plan. Jesus is the Messiah, Anointed King, Priest and Prophet (Acts 2:25-36) prophesied in Scripture (Psalm 16:8-11; Psalm 110).
When Peter preaches, the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin, their own accountability before God, and their desperate need for a right standing with God.
Acts 2:37 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
Peter tells them what Jesus told them to do. Repent and believe the gospel.
They were then to show their identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection by being baptized.
As people are obedient to the gospel, they come alive to God through faith in Christ.
Notice the life signs: They repent. They come apart from the perverse generation to be a royal priesthood and holy nation. They join together with other believers. They hunger for the Word of God. Daily they continue in the apostles’ doctrine, the fellowship of believers, the breaking of bread (Christ-centered worship) and the prayer life of the church. They care for one another as family. They are willing to make sacrifices to fulfill the Great Commission. Many liquidated their assets to provide for the ongoing discipleship and hospitality for the new converts who decided to stay with the church in Jerusalem after coming to the temple for the Pentecost feast.
The chapter concludes that the birth and the growth of the church was the Lord’s doing.
Acts 2:46-47 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALM 122:1-9
Psalm 122 is the third step in the Song of Ascents.
Verses 1 through 5 speak of the joy of corporate worship. It is fitting that we read this after reading Acts 2 when all the Jews went up to Jerusalem for Pentecost. Within her gates, they were born from above! God has given Christ to be head over all things to the church. The thrones for God’s people are within her walls.
Verse 6- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the earthly city and the heavenly one! For the newborn nation of the church and the nation of Israel.
Let us seek the peace, and the good, of God’s people.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 16:19-20
Proverbs 16:19-20 19 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud. 20 He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS – GIBRALTAR
British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar
Area: 6 sq. km
A strategically placed rocky peninsula on the south coast of Spain.
Population: 31,073 Annual Growth: 0.23%
Peoples: 7 (29% unreached)
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card
Largest Religion: Christian
Challenges for Prayer
Gibraltar is well placed for outreach – there are many tourists (especially Spaniards coming for duty-free goods), several thousand Moroccan guest workers as well as a Jewish and a Hindu community. The lack of churches for both southern Spain and North Africa makes Gibraltar a key position for regional outreach. Pray that local congregations would gain a passion for outreach.
PRAYER: Father, You are our Rock, our Refuge, our Strength and our Song. You are faithful to Your covenant promises. You rule in righteousness through Your Son, our Lord and Savior. You are our salvation. It is by Your doing that we are put into Christ, Your Beloved Son. In Him we have life. Through Him we have been born of Your Spirit and given access to Your Throne. We thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, for writing Your law on our hearts. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the Law of Sin and death. Thank You for the gift of the New Covenant Community and the provisions that we have been to grow in Christlikeness and fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.