No room for evil, lying and deceit…….

25 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-NINE : 2 Samuel 13 v. 1 – 39; Acts 4 v. 23 – 5 v. 11; Psalm 71 v. 9 – 18

Amnon and Tamar – David’s son Amnon falls in love with his half-sister, Tamar (beautiful sister of Absalom). Amnon became ill through frustration, his desire for his sister growing daily. Amnon’s friend Jonadab gets drawn into a sordid plan suggesting Amnon feins illness and gets his father to send his sister Tamar to feed him. So, Amnon deceives King David, pretending to be ill, and asking him to send Tamar to feed him. David tells Tamar to go to her brother and prepare him food. Tamar goes to Amnon, bakes some bread and takes it in to him.
Amnon refuses to eat it and asks her to send everyone else there away, and summons her to his bedroom where he takes her by force and rapes her. Tamar pleads with him to stop:
‘Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel.’
After Amnon raped her, his lust for her turned to spite and hatred, and he throws her out (again, Tamar protests that throwing her out was a further, and worse sin).
Tamar puts ash on her forehead and tears her beautifully ornate robe, and she weeps and weeps.
Her brother Absalom takes her in and looks after her, a growing hatred for Amnon because of what he has done to their sister Tamar.
King David, also, is furious when he gets told.

David’s family appears to be falling apart, soon after his evil deed in taking Bathsheba as his wife.

Absalom Kills Amnon –
It’s a full two years later that Absalom gets revenge on his sister’s rapist. He invites the king (his father, David) and all his brothers to his place. Although David turns down the invitation, he gives his blessing, and urges Ammon and the other brothers to go.
When the brothers are merry with drink, Absalom orders his servants to kill Amnon, which they do, and all the other brothers leave and head home.
David receives the false report that ALL of his sons have been killed by Absalom, and he immediately goes into mourning.
When David hears that only Amnon has been killed, and sees his other sons return home safely, he greets them home and they all weep bitterly.
Absalom runs away to Talmai, king of Geshur, but David mourns for his son everyday.
Three years Absalom stays there, and all the while the king desires to see him.

David had been warned of devastating consequences ‘close to home’ for his family because of all he had done in the episode with Bathsheba. Here, it is all working its way out! 

The Believers’ Prayer – Peter and John finally arrive back with the believers, and tell them everything that has happened. The whole company pray out to God:
‘Sovereign Lord, You made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them….’
the pray about the conspiracy against ‘Your holy servant Jesus’,
‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness’.
they ask for miraculous signs to accompany their words, through Jesus.
‘After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.’

We note how, having once been filled with the Spirit at Pentecost, they needed a daily in-filling of God’s Spirit to be equipped and enabled to God’s calling. I always love it when the Word says that ‘they were all filled’. There’s such power and strength in their togetherness in Him.

The Believers Share Their Possessions – ‘All the believers were one in heart and mind’.
The Spirit pulled the believers together in radical ways, so that here, no-one claimed their possessions were their own, but shared everything.
The apostles continued to preach boldly. No-one was in need. Plots of land and homes would be sold to supply others’ needs.
Joseph (a Cypriot Levite) (the apostles called him Barnabas – son of encouragement) sold a field and brought the money to the apostles.

Ananias and Sapphira – and to show the holy integrity required in all matters, we have the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They sell some property but keep some of the money back for themselves, before giving the rest to the apostles.
Peter knows something is wrong and asks Ananias how ‘Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourselves some of the money’.
‘You have not lied to men, but to God’.
At hearing this, Ananias drops down dead, and he is taken away and buried.
When Sapphira shows up, three hours later, she also lies to Peter, claiming they’ve given the full amount over.
Sapphira is also exposed as a liar, and when she hears of Ananias’ death, she, too drops down dead. She is buried alongside her husband.
There is a holy hear which grips the church.

A little like the ruthless holiness of the early days in the wilderness around the tabernacle / Ark of the Covenant, so Ananias and Sapphira are examples of the need for honesty and integrity within the holy community.

Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O God, to help me.
As for me, I shall always have hope; I will praise You more and more.’