TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 2 SAMUEL 1:1- 2:11
2 Samuel begins on a sad note. David laments the death of Saul and Jonathan. “How the mighty have fallen in battle!”
On the third day (after David defeated the Amalekites), he receives word that Saul and Jonathan are dead on Mount Gilboa. Saul will no longer be pursuing him.
He happens to meet an Amalekite who was a slave who claims to have killed King Saul (at Saul’s request). In 1 Samuel 31, Saul is in agony after being wounded by an arrow and asks his armor-bearer to kill him. The armor-bearer refuses, and Saul falls on his sword in an attempt to take his life. The armor-bearer perceives Saul to be dead, and he takes his own life. However, 2 Samuel 1 tells us that Saul’s suicide attempt was unsuccessful and that he asked the Amalekite to kill him.
In a 2008 study done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was reported that 1.1 million people attempted suicide in the United States that year, but only just over 33,000 succeeded. Saul did not have the sophisticated firearms and lethal drugs that we have today, so it is not difficult to imagine that an attempt of a wounded man to drive sharp metal into his abdomen would not go as quickly and painlessly as he had hoped.
David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan shows us the respect that he had for Saul’s anointed office, despite the wrongful way that Saul treated him. David was not vindictive or bitter. He had learned to make room for the Lord to deal with Saul.
Saul’s end was a shameful one. David’s heart was not to expose or publicize Saul’s folly and fall. He does not want to give the enemy anything to glory in. Charity covers (1 Peter 4:8; James 5:20).
In contrast to the modus operandi of Saul, David is now inquiring of the Lord more consistently. The Lord directs David to go up to the towns of his tribe, Judah. The Lord specifically calls him to Hebron.
David is first anointed as King over the house of Judah in Hebron (2 Sam 2:4). He reigns there for seven years and six months.
David rewards the men of Jabesh Gilead for showing respect for King Saul and burying him.
Meanwhile, Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, makes Saul’s 40-year-old son, Ish-Boseth, King over the rest of Israel. He was to reign for two years.
2 Samuel 1:20 20 “Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.
David focuses on the positive aspects of their lives, revealing his heart of forbearance and forgiveness.
2 Samuel 1:23 23 “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, and in their death, they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – JOHN 12:20-50
WE WOULD SEE JESUS!
When the Gentile (non-Jewish) believers (converts to Judaism) went up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, they had an earnest request to see Jesus. Is not that our enduring request also?
Jesus gives an answer that reminds us of what the Apostle Paul taught. He speaks of His purpose. The hour has come for Him to be glorified as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The hour has come for Him to be the good seed that falls into the ground and dies in order that there be a miraculous reproduction of His life in a resurrection harvest.
We can only truly see Jesus if we see Him treated to the cross- His substitutionary death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. His life can only come to us by way of His death.
To see Jesus as He truly is, you must follow Him to the cross. There, He shows you the penalty your sin deserves and the only remedy for the reign of sin- His putting the sinner to death on the cross. As a result of what Jesus accomplished for us and as us on the cross, we now reckon on the reality of our redemption, our co-crucifixion, co-burial, co-resurrection, and co-ascension with Christ. We are made alive to God in Him. With His indwelling life working in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will not only see Him, but we will know Him and go on knowing Him in our experience.
The Greeks seeking Jesus is a foreshadowing of the nations that will be gathered in the age following Pentecost. First, we see Jesus, crucified and risen, the first fruit of resurrection. Then we will see His life reproduced in a resurrection harvest, the fruit of His falling into the ground to die only to be raised in newness of life. The believing Greeks are grafted into the resurrection vine.
Jesus predicts the outcome of the cross- people being drawn from death to life, darkness to light, drawn from emptiness to fullness.
It is important to believe on the Lord Jesus while He is being illuminated to our heart’s understanding by the power of the Holy Spirit.
John 12:36 36 “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.
Even among the religious leaders, many believed in Christ, but because of fear of the Pharisees, they would not confess their faith.
Do you fear God more than men? If so, you should have no trouble confessing Christ publicly.
The man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
God the Father gives His third commendation of Jesus as His beloved Son (John 12:28). The first time was when the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17) when John was baptizing Jesus. Then on the Mount of Transfiguration, the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5). Now in the Gospel of John, the Father glorifies His Name in His self-revelation- His holy Son Jesus.
John 12:28 28 “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS – PSALM 118:19-29
This final psalm among the Hallel Psalms (Psalm 113-118) was a fitting one for pilgrims to sing as they came to the gates of Jerusalem. There is only one who is fit for opening the doors of righteousness- Jesus Christ the Righteous.
1 John 2:1b 1 We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
As Jesus came down the Mount of Olives, on the Triumphal Procession on Palm Sunday, how fitting it was for pilgrims to sing out loud these words concerning Jesus, the Son of David who would become the cornerstone of a new creation; a new temple: “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:22-23).
Jesus’ work on the cross brings a lost creation back to the seventh-day rest, a day that had no morning or evening; an eternal day! “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 15:27-28
Proverbs 15:27-28 27 He who profits illicitly troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live. 28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS
Area: 12,173 sq. km
Consists of over 740 islands 2 are inhabited year-round. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands also fall under the remit of the governor, despite having no permanent population. The Falklands are 600 km east of Patagonia in Argentina.
Population: 3,038 Annual Growth: 0.41%
Official language: English Languages: 1 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Challenges for Prayer
The British forces based on these windswept but spectacular islands enjoy the support of the local populace but are far from home. Pray for the work of chaplains ministering to them as well as the Oasis coffee shop, an outreach ministry on the military base itself. Pray for believers in the forces as they witness to their comrades.
Area: 18,274 sq. km
Two larger and 110 smaller inhabited islands, both volcanic and coralline.
Population: 854,098 Annual Growth: 0.62%
HDI Rank: 108 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)
Official language: English; Hindustani and Bau Fijian commonly used Languages: 21 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Challenges for Prayer
Less-reached peoples. The Indians of Fiji form the largest non-Christian community in the Pacific. As few as 3% of them claim to be Christian. The greatest challenges for Indian-majority churches are developing (and retaining) mature and experienced leaders and integrating with the rest of the body of Christ. For specific prayer:
a) Hindus remain mostly unevangelized. The number of converts to Christianity is accelerating. AoG in particular but also Methodists, Baptists, and Pentecostals, have seen fruit from this ministry. Multi-racial congregations are springing up among them. Pioneers also has church planting ministries committed to reaching Indians. Pray for real disciples and not mere surface converts; pray also for more culturally appropriate outreach to this people. The minority of Indo-Fijians who are Christians are taking the initiative in reaching their own people.
b) Sikhs and Punjabis retain more of their culture and language, but there is little specific outreach to them. Many are emigrating to Antipodean or Western countries.
c) Gujaratis in particular have remained unevangelized among all Fiji’s South Asian origin peoples. They have largely retained their caste structures. There are only a few believers from among this group, and no specifically focused outreach to them has ever been made.
d) The Muslim community is tightly knit, very resistant to the gospel, and increasingly Islamized via Saudi and Pakistani influence. Little is being done to reach them; the few converts to Christ suffer from considerable persecution and from the churches’ failure to integrate them. Several Fijian villages have become Muslim. An increasing awareness, regionally and globally, of this people – the Pacific Islands’ largest unreached group – has generated a groundswell of attention and prayer; locally, this is translating into encouraging signs of spiritual interest and response from the Muslim community.
Christian help ministries in Fiji have a Pacific-wide impact. Pray for:
a) Christian literature. The Bible Society of the South Pacific is based in Fiji. Pray for translation work, printing and distribution of God’s Word throughout the Pacific. Translation and revision work in Fijian and Fiji Hindi are both needed, since good Christian material is lacking in these two languages. Thank God for progress of the NT in Fijian Hindi. CLC has recently opened three Christian bookshops.
b) Ministry to young people. Fiji has serious sociological problems among its youth, yet there is a responsiveness that needs to be met. Pray for those specifically ministering to young people in Fiji and the Pacific – CEF, YFC, SU and YWAM among youth, and Pacific Students for Christ (IFES) and CCCI among students. The University of the Pacific in Fiji has students from every island territory and is strategic for impacting many islands which have much nominal Christianity.
c) The more remote communities are much less reached and resourced by the Church. YWAM‘s Mobile Ministry seeks to reach these communities by ship and by truck, sharing the gospel and providing medical and dental care.
d) Media ministry. Fiji has Christian TV and radio stations run from within the country. Pray that they might be fruitful in reaching and discipling many. Radio programs and the JESUS film are available in all the major languages of Fiji.
PRAYER: Lord, teach me to love what You love and to respect the work of Your hands. We want to see Jesus as He truly is, our Advocate at Your right hand; Jesus as the One Who was treated to the cross to take the punishment of our sin, as the One who died and rose to represent us in righteousness. May we be fully surrendered to the vision of your glory in the finished work of redemption. When we think of what You have done in Christ, it is marvelous in our eyes. And may the glory of Your person fill our hearts and minds in such a way as to compel us to pursue Your choice purposes for our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.