Coronation (David) and Ascension (Jesus)

20 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FOUR : 2 Samuel 3 v. 22 – 5 v. 5; Acts 1 v. 1 – 22; Psalm 69 v. 13 – 28;

2 SAMUEL
Joab Murders Abner – a couple of murders now clear the way for the kingdom of all Israel. Firstly, Abner, who has come across to David from his rival Ish-Bosheth. David’s commander, Joab, however, wants to avenge the blood of his own brother, Asahel, and suspects Abner of treachery (spying on David and his men). Joab meets up with Abner at the well of Sirah, unknown to David. Taking him to one side, away from everyone, Joab stabs  Abner in the stomach and he dies.
David is distraught when he hears this; he curses Joab’s family, denying that he, himself, had anything to do with this murder; he commands a day of mourning before Abner; he buries Abner in Hebron, where the king and the people weep together for him; David sings a lament for Abner, which speaks of the injustice Abner suffered.
David fasts for the day, and his actions please the people:
‘Indeed, everything the king did pleased them.’
David says, ‘Do you not realise that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel this day?’; David feels weaker after this shameful event, and asks God to repay the evildoer.

Ish-Bosheth Murdered –
Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth hears of this murder, and loses courage. Two of Ish-Bosheth’s men, Baanah and Recab (sons of Rimmon the Benjaminite) were leaders of raiding bands. They went to Ish-Bosheth’s house in the middle of the day, and found Ish-Bosheth fast asleep. They stabbed Ish-Bosheth in the stomach, and he died.
They take his head to king David in Hebron, presenting it as the Lord avenging the constant pursuit of Saul and his offspring. David recalled how he had felt when the news of Saul and Jonathan had reached him, and he can’t celebrate the death of ‘an innocent man in his own home’. He has Baanah and Recab killed (their hands and feet are cut off and their bodies hung up by the pool in Hebron – yeuch!!). Ish-Bosheth’s head is given a proper burial in Hebron.

There’s an interesting little aside about Jonathan having had a son, Mephibosheth, who was only five when his father died. As his nurse picked him up to flee with him, she dropped him and he became paralysed in both legs.

David Becomes King Over Israel –
so with rivals out of the way, all Israel descends on Hebron and pledge themselves to David.
‘The Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel, and you shall become their ruler’.’
David makes a compact with them, and they anoint him king over Israel.
David rules for forty years (33 over all Israel, a further seven over Judah).

Chapel of the Ascension, on the Mount of Olives

ACTS
Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven – Luke refers to his first book (the gospel) as his introduction to Jesus – His deeds and His teaching – to the point where Jesus is taken up to heaven. He had shown himself to be alive after His resurrection (‘convincing proofs’), appearing over a period of forty days. Jesus had told them:
‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’
Luke recounts a time when the disciples asked about the restored kingdom of Israel; Jesus responds saying that the timing of things will remain a mystery to them, it is the Father who sets the timings by His authority.
‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
With this promise, Jesus ascends to heaven, a cloud hiding Him from their sight.
As they stand, gazing heavenwards, two men in white stood beside them (angels ?), and gave them the message that ‘this same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go…’

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas – when the disciples have returned to Jerusalem (to wait), they went to their upper room, all eleven of them (Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James, Simon and Judas (son of James)) continued in prayer constantly, ‘along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.’
Peter suggests to the group (about 120 of them) that Judas (Iscariot) had done what Scripture foretold (there is mention of the field Judas had bought with the betrayal-money, and there he ended his life; the field is called ‘Akeldama – Field of Blood’), and uses Scripture (Psalms 69 and 109) to lead to the appointing of another ‘leader’.
They chose one who had been with them the whole time, from John’s baptism to Jesus’ ascension…..(to be continued)

PSALM
Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters.
Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes.’

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