Today’s psalm is beautiful, yet if I did not need to dig into it to find things to write for my blog I would have missed its beauty. This psalm is a perfect example of why I need this blog in order to truly study God’s word. Because I have disciplined myself to writing something about each passage of my reading, I need to read and re-read each passage until I see something to write. With some passages that is easy, with other passages it is hard. With this psalm it is not hard, but I would have read over this psalm quickly and seen it as yet more of the same. However, since I needed to write something I looked a little deeper and realized there were some good lessons there for me.
I have been using One Year Bible Online for my daily Bible study for almost a year. For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I started writing this blog because the only way I can get myself to read the Bible everyday is to pretend that I am teaching someone about what it says to me. I hope that by posting these ruminations others may get some benefit as well. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them. I hope that the Spirit is moving in others through these posts as the Spirit has definitely been convicting me.
David mustered his men for battle, appointing generals and captains over them. As David prepared to march out with them to meet Absalom’s army, his men objected strongly. They told David that if they ran away. or even if half of them were killed, Absalom’s men would not care, David would be their sole target. As long as David was alive, their cause was not lost, but if David was killed, Absalom had won. They told David that he should remain in the town and send out reinforcements as needed. David heeded their advice and stayed behind, but stood by the gate as they marched out. In front of the men David ordered his commanders, Joab, Abishai (Joab’s brother) and Ittai, to spare Absalom for his sake.
The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim and David’s men beat back the army of Israel. The account tells us that more men died because of the forest than from weapons. Absalom had come upon some of David’s men, he tried to escape them on his mule. However, his hair got caught in a branch and his mule left him dangling in the air. One of David’s men reported to Joab that he had seen Absalom dangling in the air. Joab asked him why he had not killed Absalom, telling him that he would have rewarded him handsomely for doing so. The man replied that he would not have killed David’s son for 100 times that amount because he had heard David tell the commanders to spare Absalom. If he had killed Absalom, David would have found out and Joab would not have protected the man. Joab then went and killed Absalom himself.
Ahimaaz, who had been one of the two young men to bring news of Absalom’s battle plans from Jerusalem, asked Joab for permission to take the news to David. Joab told him that David would not take see the news of Absalom’s death as good news and refused. Instead Joab turned to an Ethiopian and sent him. Ahimaaz continued to beg Joab to let him go. Joab finally gave him permission to go. Ahimaaz, being more familiar with the area, took the easier route and arrived at Mahanaim first. When David asked him what news he brought, Ahimaaz told him that his forces had been victorious and the rebels were defeated. When David specifically asked him about Absalom, Ahimaaz said that there was confusion when he left the army and he did not know. Then the Ethiopian arrived. David questioned him and the Ethiopian told him that Absalom was dead. David immediately began to mourn the death of Absalom.
When Joab heard that David was ostentatiously mourning Absalom, he went to David and confronted him. Joab accused David of wishing that all of his own men had died that day rather than Absalom and told him that if he did not go out and congratulate his men on their victory, they would abandon him. David took Joab’s advice, went out and greeted his men as they returned from battle.
On the morning of after the Passover Sabbath, before it was yet light, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. She ran to Simon Peter and the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (generally understood to be John). She told them that Jesus’ body had been taken from the tomb and they didn’t know where it had been taken. Peter and John ran to the tomb. John was faster and got there first (and perhaps Peter was conflicted since He had denied Christ three times during His trial) but did not go in, only looked in. When Peter got there he went in and John joined him. They both saw the linen which Jesus’ body had been wrapped in lying there empty. At that moment they understood for the first time Jesus’ teaching that He would rise from the dead and believed it. However, they did not know what else to do, so they went home.
Mary Magdalene remained outside the tomb crying. Tow angels appeared to her (although from her reaction she apparently did not realize that that was what they were) dressed in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been lying. When they asked her why she was crying she answered that it was because someone had taken Jesus’ body and she did not know where. She turned to leave and saw someone standing there, who also asked her why she was crying. Assuming that this man tended the garden where the tomb was she asked him if he knew where Jesus’ body was and told him that if he told her where it was, she would take it somewhere else. At that point the man said her name and she realized that He was Jesus. Whenever I read this, I cannot but help to tear up when I think of the absolute despair that she must have been feeling and the incredible joy which it turned into. I do not know if I can truly understand what Mary felt in this situation, but I know the absolute despair which I felt that led me to the decision that allowed me to finally truly see God. And I know the joy I felt when that revelation came to full fruition.
That evening, the disciples were meeting in a locked room, out of fear of the Jewish leaders. Jesus was there among them. He told them to be at peace (calming their fears at His sudden appearance). Jesus then told them that He was sending them in the same way that the Father had sent Him. He then breathed the Holy Spirit on them and told them that anyone whose sins they forgave was forgiven and anyone they would not forgive would not be forgiven. Since I believe that this passage applies to us, this lays a serious obligation on us to forgive others.
Thomas was not with them at this meeting. He told the other disciples that he would only believe it was really Jesus if he could see the wounds for himself and put his fingers into them. Thomas has long been the disciple I most identify with. I have trouble believing things I have not witnessed for myself. Eight days after that first appearance, Jesus again appeared among the disciples while they were gathered, and this time Thomas was with them. Jesus told Thomas to touch His wounds, to see that they were indeed real and that this was indeed Jesus risen from the dead. At this, Thomas believed. There are two important things here. The first is that if you are willing to accept proof that God is real, God will provide you with proof. The second is what Jesus told Thomas, Thomas believed because he saw Jesus, those who believe without seeing Jesus are even more blessed. I struggle with needing proof before I believe. Those who can believe more readily are much more blessed than I. I know that the reason I do experience more of God’s power is because of my inability to believe without proof. I continue to pray the prayer of the father whose son Jesus healed after His Transfiguration: “I believe, help my unbelief.”
The psalmist tells us that if we serve God and seek to obey His commands, He will plead our cause and redeem us. Those who ignore God’s rules will be far from any hope of rescue. God’s word can be summed up as the truth. His rules are just and will stand forever. Powerful people may harass us without cause, but we need be in fear of nothing but God’s word. Let us turn to God for understanding, He has promised to give it to those who ask Him for it.
come and find me,
That is certainly me and I am grateful that God did indeed come and find me and bring me back to Him.
Those who are wise will do their best to appease the anger of those who rule over them. When one is in favor with those who rule, one’s life is easy.