Day 144: All Who are Thirsty

1 Kings 14-16; John 6:22-44

Key Verses

1 Kings 15:4
Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave [the evil king, Abijam] a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem (1 Kings 15:4).

John 6:35
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Asa ruled Judah after Abijam, and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. There are few “good” kings after David, but all of them reigned in Judah. The author makes a stark contrast between the kings of Israel and Judah as he lists all of the evil kings that reigned in Israel during the reign of Asa. God’s blessing remains on Judah only for the sake of David and the fulfillment of His promise.

The Davidic line must be preserved for the Promised One. the Bread of Life, who died to give life to the world.

We are all hungry. The question is… what are we hungry for? The satisfaction that the world offers is fleeting. Only Jesus satisfies the deep longing in our souls for life and purpose. He is the bread of life!

All who are thirsty…

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab

Day 125: The motivation for obedience

1 Kings 3-4; Luke 22:1-30

Key Verses

1 Kings 3:12-14
“Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

Luke 22:25-27
And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”

Solomon loves the Lord, and the Lord gives him great wisdom, but Solomon falters in the nitty-gritty daily-ness of his faith. He doesn’t obey God in all areas of his life, and eventually, his missteps lead him further and further away from God and God’s blessings. Specifically, we read of Solomon acquiring many horses (4:26) and turning back to Egypt to find a wife (3:1). These actions are in direct opposition to the laws for Kings written in Deuteronomy:

Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you,‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold (Deuteronomy 17:16-17).

Solomon’s mistakes are a familiar road for many of us. Compromising obedience in daily life can slowly turn us completely away from our faith. Many times, apostasy is a slow burn and not a quick blaze.

In order to keep ourselves from falling away, we must cling to the hip of our Savior. His grace and help are our lifeline to an obedient life. The sacrament of communion (instituted in today’s passage from Luke) is a gift to us to help us remember the great Sacrifice of our Savior. His death is the evidence of His incomprehensible love for us! It is this love that should motivate us to obey…

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV).

Day 124: David’s Dynasty

1 Kings 1-2; Luke 21:20-38

Key Verses

1 Kings 2:1-4
When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, 2″I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, 3and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, 4that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'”

Luke 21:33
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Today we begin 1 Kings which is the story of the continuation of David’s dynasty. David’s oldest remaining son, Adonijah, plotted to make himself King apart from his father’s knowledge. But God, and therefore, David had chosen Solomon to succeed David as king. 1 Kings 1-2 is the story of David establishing his dynasty through Solomon.

David’s dynasty echoes the promise of Genesis 3 – that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. And then the rest of the Old Testament plays out as a mystery novel as we try to determine… out of which family line the Promised One would come.

The seed passed from Adam to Seth – on down to Noah and through Shem to Abraham – through Isaac, Jacob, and Judah – through Boaz, Jesse and then to David.

The Davidic covenant narrows the search for the promised seed. The covenant reveals that the Promised One would be descended from David, and He would establish David’s throne forever! But who would it be? Would Solomon be the promised King? Or would it be Solomon’s son, Rehoboam?

With each subsequent king, the author of 1 & 2 Kings builds the tension of waiting for the revelation of the Promised Eternal King. 2 Kings ends with the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of Judah. Was all hope for the King lost? Would the King ever come? Was God’s word just not true??

We know who the seed of the woman is. And we know who the promised King is. Jesus. And in today’s reading in Luke, we find him in Jerusalem – warning of its destruction – and promising that he will return.

Jesus’ words are permanent – the forever kind of permanent. When he says he will come again – there is 100% chance that he will come again. Even though the story seems hopeless at times – we must never stop waiting for His return. He tells us to be ready. When he comes, not if, but when he comes, will he find us faithful? Oh God, I hope so – but only by Your grace!

Day 123: David’s Eternal Throne

2 Samuel 23-24; Luke 21:1-19

Key Verses

Luke 21:5-6
And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

2 Samuel 23:5
“For does not my house stand so with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.”

2 Samuel ends in today’s reading. Chapter 23 begins with “David’s last words,” a poem reaffirming the Davidic covenant, the promise that his throne would be established forever.

The book ends with David purchasing the threshing floor on which the temple would one day be built…

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings (2 Samuel 24:24-25).

Fast forward to today’s reading in Luke – and there we find Jesus – in the temple – teaching the values of the Kingdom.

Jesus is the son of David standing in the city of David in the temple that was rebuilt on the very site that David sacrificed to the Lord. How amazing is that?

And what was Jesus teaching? That the temple would be destroyed. Consider this… What was the purpose of the temple? The temple was where the priests led the people in worship through the sacrificial system. And the temple was where the presence of God dwelled.

Can you see how Jesus’ final sacrifice and resurrection made the need for the temple obsolete? Do you think David could have imagined the future? The splendor of Solomon’s temple being destroyed and rebuilt and then desecrated by the moneychangers of Jesus’ day and then ultimately, David’s heir would sit on the eternal throne and because of His suffering and atoning death – open the way to the Holy of Holies to all people from all nations?

Never could David have imagined anything so terrible and wonderful! And neither can we imagine the wonder of the end of the age when Jesus will come again and make all things new!!! There will be no sun, for his glory will give light to the world. There will be no temple because the dwelling place of God will be with man. There will be one King – who will reign in peace forever!

Yes, David’s throne is established forever… in Jesus!!!!

Day 122: A King’s Prayer

2 Samuel 21-22; Psalm 18

Key Verses

Psalm 18:46-50
The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
who delivered me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you rescued me from the man of violence.
For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.

Psalm 18 is adapted from David’s personal prayer recorded in 2 Samuel 22. Therefore, the two chapters are almost identical.

David’s prayer reveals both a deep personal relationship with God as well as an understanding of God’s character and ways. It is encouraging to note that despite David’s great sin, his repentance and dependence on God have kept him close to the Almighty.

God is merciful and will accept the penitent sinner who calls on Him in faith…just as He accepted David.

David understood that the Kingship was an undeserved gift of God. He was absolutely dependent on God for deliverance from his enemies, and he gave God all the credit for his victories.

David knew that he experienced all of life directly from the hand of God. We are no different. We also must depend on God for all of our earthly successes – and for the will to persevere through our failures. Ultimately, we should cry out with David…

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies (Psalm 18:1-3).

Day 121: An Eternal Hope

2 Samuel 19-20; Luke 20:27-47

Key Verses

2 Samuel 19:1-4
It was told Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, for the people heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

The bible is definitely not escape literature! On the contrary, it painstakingly characterizes the dark and light of real life… 2 Samuel is real life at its grittiest. We see David go from valiant to broken and his kingdom go from strong to divided. Today’s reading starts with an undercurrent of rivalry between Israel (the northern tribes) and Judah to the south… and ends with the gory details of Joab murdering Amasa.

This is the world we live in. A world filled with terrorist bombers and extreme poverty. A world where governments murder refugees and starvation abounds. It’s ugly. The bible doesn’t ignore the harsh reality of life in this world.

But in the midst of the ugliness, Jesus offers hope.

Today’s reading from Luke 20 finds Jesus in the middle of Passion Week. The religious leaders are trying to trap him into incriminating himself. They think they are so clever, but it’s impossible to outwit Jesus! And right in the middle of Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees is a nugget of hope!

Jesus teaches that the Patriarchs of the faith – Abraham, Isaac, and David – are not dead – but alive with God, “for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection (Luke 20:36).

This world is not our final destination! Just like Abraham, Isaac, and David, we are bound for resurrection after death – so that we might live in the new heaven and the new earth in perfect communion with God.

In other words, we need an eternal perspective to persevere through the mire of this life. Our eyes must be focused on the future – where there will be no more pain and no more sorrow and no more death… only life eternal that will never be marred by sin!

Day 120: Our Only Hope

2 Samuel 17-18; Psalm 63

Key Verses

Psalm 63:1
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you.

Psalm 63:6-8
…when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

There are times in life when it is so hard and the pain is so overwhelming, that God is the only sure hope in your life. When David wrote Psalm 63, he needed relief from the relentlessness of his circumstances. Many scholars believe he wrote this Psalm in the midst of fleeing from Absalom. Whether or not this is the case, Psalm 63 depicts a desperateness that would have characterized David during this time in his life.

These chapters in 2 Samuel illustrate God’s gracious provision for David. David was so broken that he truly did not have the means to help himself. God provided a spy network of faithful allies to warn David of Absalom’s plans. And God strengthened David’s army’s resolve to protect him from being killed in battle. Even Joab, David’s commander, understood better than David, the threat that Absalom posed and killed Absalom in spite of David’s fatherly wishes.

Do you see David’s complete brokenness? I sense that he knows that his sin has caused all of this turmoil – and the weight of the burden has become too much. David’s grief at the end of Chapter 18 is magnified by the unresolved nature of his relationship with Absalom. David had no chance to make things right with his son. The regret is all-consuming.

Even in such dark and difficult circumstances, we have a hope to which we can cling. David knew this Hope and I believe this Hope carried him through his darkest nights.

Day 119: No Escape

2 Samuel 15-16; Psalm 3

Key Verses

Psalm 3:5-6
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.

David has become a broken man. He is broken by his own sin and the turmoil of his family. He is broken by the treachery of his son, Absalom. His brokenness has made him tired, and he doesn’t fight against his circumstances but accepts them from God’s hand.

At the end of today’s reading, we see Nathan’s prophesy fulfilled as Absalom sets up a tent on the roof of David’s house and sleeps with David’s concubines. You never know… it might have been the same roof from which David lusted over Bathsheba. Prophesy is always understood best through the eyes of hindsight. Read again Nathan’s prophesy to David from 2 Samuel 12. God’s word is powerful and true!

Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” (2 Samuel 12:9-12)

What do we learn about God from this portion of Scripture?

In spite of our sin, God is gracious. God does not take the kingship away from David and continues to work on his behalf. God even chooses Solomon, the son of Bathsheba, to succeed David as King – preserving David’s family line in the kingship of Israel.

But. David can not escape from the consequences of his sin. These consequences are severe and it is hard to read about the mighty David being so defeated by the far-reaching effects of his sin.

Sin is serious. Deadly serious, in fact. We need to be rescued from its grasp. We need Jesus.

Day 118: The Odious Heart

2 Samuel 13-14; Luke 20:1-26

Key Verses

Luke 20:11-15
“And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”

In today’s reading from 2nd Samuel, we see Nathan’s prophecy of division within David’s house unfold. What strikes me as most odious from these chapters is not the incest, rape, and murder… And those things are odious! But it is David’s gross lack of judgment.

  • A wise father should have known better than to send Tamar to her half-brother’s house.
  • A just leader should have punished the eldest son’s crimes of rape and incest instead of showing favoritism by doing nothing.
  • And the King of Israel should have either executed or pardoned Absalom for murder. David’s half-hearted treatment of Absalom allows the ugliness to fester… as we’ll see in tomorrow’s reading.

David’s spiritual apathy is disheartening. Especially considering how closely he walked with God in his wilderness days. This description of David’s family combined with Jesus’ teaching from Luke 20… well, they remind me that the human heart is desperate and needs rescuing  Whether we are actively rebellious or just apathetically indifferent toward God – both are despicable. And both require a Savior. Jesus has opened the door to mercy – but only the penitent may enter.

O God, help me to be humbly reliant upon your grace – and show mercy to this sinful heart.

Day 117: Sin, Repentance and Grace

2 Samuel 10-12; Psalm 51

Key Verses

2 Samuel 11:13-15
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house.

Psalm 51:3-4
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight (Psalm 51:3-4).

Chapter 10 begins the war against the Ammonites. And nestled in this story of war… is David’s great sin.

It is obvious from 11:1 that David was lounging at home when he should have been at war with Joab (the commander of his army). Verse 2 even begins, “David arose from his couch…” This is a very different David than the one that was fleeing from Saul and scrounging for food with his vagabond army in the wilderness. David has grown accustomed to leisure and luxury. Not only has he become lazy physically, but the ease of his life has lulled him to sleep spiritually as well.

This is the only explanation for how David, a man after God’s own heart, could have slipped so far away from God’s ways that he would covet, commit adultery, and then cover it all up with murder.

When Nathan confronts David with his gross sin, David repents. Psalm 51 is David’s cry for mercy…

God is gracious to David and spares his life. But there will be consequences. Horrible consequences that we will read over the next few days.

Mysteriously, God brings good out of the ashes… through Solomon – son of Bathsheba and in the family line of Christ – he will be the King of Israel at its height!