TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 2 SAMUEL 12:1-31
In today’s readings, in both the Old and New Testament we are shown the importance of recognizing, acknowledging, and repenting of our sin. Jesus makes it clear that without the Holy Spirit we cannot recognize the truth about sin’s severity. Sin is such a severe offense against God that it would require such drastic remedy means of atonement as God’s holy Son lovingly and willingly offering His life on the cross as our substitute. We are shown that the only means of satisfying God’s impeccable sense of righteousness is a perfect life. We are convicted of our need for righteousness. And Jesus is the only One whose righteous living satisfies the heart of God. Jesus representing us in His own righteousness is what we need. We are shown that the only way that we can be delivered from our citizenship in the kingdom of darkness is through the work of Christ on the Cross where the prince of this world is judged and sentenced to death.
John 16:8-11 8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
Without the Holy Spirit’s convicting work, people do not see themselves rightly as sinners in need of a Savior.
David needed Nathan, the prophet, to open his eyes and acknowledge sin in order for his sin to be put away.
King David was self-deceived and blinded to his sin for at least nine months. Yet he bore the guilt and its consequences in his body (Psalm 32:3-4).
Bathsheba had already birthed his son out of wedlock when Nathan came to David with a report of a rich man who grievously sinned against a poor man by sacrificing his cherished lamb. This was a lamb with whom the poor man had a long history of love and affection. The rich man took the lamb to offer it as a meal to a passing stranger! Nathan tells the story well. He contrasts the state of the rich man who has everything he needs at his disposal with the poor man who has only his little ewe lamb which he had bought. The lamb is of exceptional value to the poor man, to the degree that it grew up with him and his children, drank from his cup, and slept in his arms.
The rich man, intent on showing his good character by showing hospitality to a stranger traveling by, rather than sacrificing one of his abundant supply of sheep or cattle, with which he had no relationship, he took a poor man’s ewe lamb.
David, perceiving the injustice of this act, cries out, “The man who did this deserves to die! He must pay back four times over, because he did this thing and had no pity!” (2 Sam 12:6)
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”
The bubble of self-deception popped!
David saw what he needed to see- his guilt, his sin’s worthiness for condemnation and judgment. He no longer covered up. He no longer lived in denial. Other men might have denied or justified their actions, and continued in self-deception. David said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13).
Listen to the words of his repentance captured in the Psalms:
Psalm 32:5 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
Psalm 51:4 4 Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.
David sinned against Bathsheba, Uriah, his army, his messengers, his wives, his family, and his nation, all of whom faced various consequences. But he was seeing sin as it is most significantly- an offense against the Lord, his Maker.
The apostle Paul quotes Psalm 32 when he speaks of the repentant believer in Christ Jesus being instantly justified by faith in Romans 4:6-8.
Romans 4:6-8 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. 8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”
The wages of sin is death. But because of a merciful Savior who would bear God’s wrath against our sin on our behalf, we can be forgiven and receive the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23).
It may need pointing out that David’s response to Nathan’s parable demanding a fourfold pay-back was prophetic:
2 Samuel 12:6 6 “He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”
David paid for the death of Uriah four times over:
- His unnamed son born of Bathsheba dies (2 Samuel 12:18).
- His son Amon is murdered by the servants of his son Absalom (2 Samuel 13:29).
- Absalom is killed by David’s commander Joab and his armorbearers (2 Samuel 18:15).
- And his son Adonijah by Haggith is killed by Beniah under the orders of his son Solomon (1 Kings 2:25).
The readiness of God to forgive our sins is clear in this passage. Nathan replied to David: “The Lord has taken away your sin.” (2 Samuel 12:13b). This is the good news. Through the atoning Lamb of God, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, the repentant sinner can put away the guilt of his sin, knowing that God has put it away in Christ.
When Nathan the prophet reports the Lord as saying: “I anointed you as king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives to your arms” (2 Samuel 12:8) was God saying he was giving multiple wives to David and therefore approving polygamy? God was not sanctioning David possessing an abundant number of wives, for the multiplication of wives was explicitly forbidden for kings (Deuteronomy 17:17). If it was forbidden for the wealthy kings, it was forbidden for his subjects. The saying needs to be understood in the context of the parable that the prophet Nathan gave earlier about a certain rich man. David was the man who had abundance. David’s true sufficiency and satisfaction ultimately came from whom every good gift comes. In context, Nathan is not saying that God willed him to take wives, in fact, David is being chastised because he did so, and ultimately the consequences of his disobedience would be faced throughout his household and the nation (2 Samuel 12:11-12).
After the death of their first child, David takes Bathsheba as his new wife. They have a child together and name him ‘Solomon’, meaning ‘peace’. The Lord sent word through the prophet Nathan that for the Lord’s sake, the Lord called the child, ‘Jedidiah’ meaning ‘friend of God’ or ‘beloved of God’. In some ways, Solomon will be another type of the prophesied future Son of David- the Messiah. Jesus is the Truer and Greater Solomon, the Prince of Peace, the beloved Son of the Father.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – JOHN 16:1-33
Jesus continues in the Upper Room Discourse to speak about topics he raised in John Chapter 15- the hatred of the world against the Father, Himself, and His disciples and the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.
He speaks again of going away (14:28; 16:5) but clarifies where He is going. He is going to the One Who Sent Him (16:5), the Father (16:10,17), to represent as righteous those who believe on Him as their Great High Priest. He would offer a perfect once and for all sacrifice and deliver them from their captivity to the dominion of Satan (16:11). All this paves the way for His being glorified at the Father’s right hand, so we can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor (7:38-39; 16:7), the Spirit of Truth (16:13), who will reveal to us the mind of Christ through the Word (16:14; 1 Cor 2:16) and unveil what is ours in Him (16:15).
Jesus likens his upcoming death by crucifixion and the disciples’ grief to a woman in the travail of labor. Once the baby is born, the mother forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So it is that on the resurrection side of the cross there is A JOY THAT NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY FROM YOU (John 16:22)
Jesus assures his disciples that a new privilege in prayer awaits them on the resurrection side of the cross. By virtue of their union and communion with Him, they will participate in heavenly enterprises by making requests to God the Father, and He will give them whatever is asked for in His Name (16:23).
The disciples confess that now they believe! (John 16:30). Jesus predicts that they will soon falter in faith and scatter. But the Lord has things well in hand.
John 16:30 30 “Now we know that You know all things and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.”
He warns them and consoles them with the big picture:
John 16:32-33 32 “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALM 119:65-80
Notice the theme in this section: We benefit through our sufferings.
Psalm 119:67 67 Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your word.
Has there been a particular trial of affliction in your life, that served as a ‘wake up call’ and brought you back on the track of Spirit-reliance and Spirit-enabled obedience to His Word?
Psalm 119:71 71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.
We might more accurately say, “God loves you and has a difficult plan for your life”
Psalm 119:75 75 I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
The Psalmist realizes that all our personal sufferings and all of God’s dealings with us, are superintended by His lovingkindness (Psalm 119:76).
Psalm 119:76 76 O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, According to Your word to Your servant.
He has the big picture with the end product in view. The Apostle Paul says it well in 2 Corinthians 4:
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 16:4-5
Proverbs 16:4-5 4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. 5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS- Gabon
Area: 267,667 sq. km
Coastal, Central African state on the equator, two-thirds being dense tropical rainforest and 10% being nature reserves.
Population: 1,501,266 Annual Growth: 1.86%
Largest Religion: Christian
Challenges for Prayer
Despite Gabon being wealthy in resources, many Gabonese continue to dwell in poverty. This is largely due to decades of neglecting the nation’s infrastructure and to prevalent corruption that prevents the country’s wealth from trickling down to all. Women and children are vulnerable to poverty through lack of education and social mores; exploitation and trafficking of children are particularly evil situations. Pray for righteousness to prevail over those seeking to gain profit at the expense of others.
Spiritist beliefs and practices (such as Bwiti syncretism) are widely observed and deeply pervasive in much of Catholicism, other Christian groups and Islam. This continues to cause many to fall back on fetishes, hallucinogenic drugs, ancestral spirits and dependence on the medicine men who have held them in bondage for generations. Secret societies are common; many government elite, police officers and members of the army participate in often-bloody nighttime rituals including witchcraft and black magic. Christians who refuse to participate in these “harmless clubs” can be refused academic or professional advancement.
PRAYER: Father, thank You for sending the Counselor. Only the Holy Spirit could wake us up to the meaning of the cross- the severity of our sin, the righteousness of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, and the reality of His willingness to present Himself in Your presence on our behalf as our Righteousness. Only the Holy Spirit could enlighten us to the freedom won for us at the cross. Help us to walk worthily of our calling as Your children, no longer living for ourselves, but for Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us!
We pray that You will deliver us from the oppression and lies of the evil one. Strengthen the church and embolden believers to declare and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ! We ask this in His Name. Amen.