BEWARE…jealousy is dangerous

27 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY : 2 Samuel 14 v. 1 – 15 v. 12; Acts 5 v. 12 – 42; Proverbs 14 v. 15 – 24

2 SAMUEL
Absalom Returns to Jerusalem – Joab hatches a cunning plan to get Absalom and his father David reunited. It’s a little like the Nathan chapter earlier, where a story was told which drew David in, and then it was revealed that this story was actually all about the king David.
This time, Joab fixes it for a woman to dress and act like a poor widow, and to talk of her two sons getting into a fight and one killing the other. The family (clan) of the killed son want the other son to be brought to justice, and pressure the widow to ‘hand him over’. The widow states that this son is her only remaining relative.
The king offers to help, firstly by issuing orders, and then by offering protection against anyone wanting to avenge the death.
Then the woman reveals that the king, himself, is the main character in her story.
‘When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son?’
David asks the woman directly if Joab has been behind her coming to him. She says ‘Yes’, that Joab had done this to bring a change to the stalemate situation.
Joab is instructed to go and bring Absalom back to Jerusalem, which he does, but David rules that Absalom must live in his own house (i.e. not the royal palace), and must not see the king face to face.
There’s a little snapshot of Absalom – he was amongst the most handsome of men in all Israel, spotless, with stunning hair (which sounds heavy when it’s cut and weighed). He has three sons and a daughter, who he named Tamar (after his own sister, who had suffered so greatly at the hands of Amnon).
After two years of being in Jerusalem and not being able to ‘see’ his father, Absalom tries to get Joab to help orchestrate a meeting between them.
Joab declines two invitations to go and see Absalom, so then he sets fire to Joab’s barley field.
At this Joab goes to see Absalom, who tells him that it is even worse being in Jerusalem unable to see his father, than being far away. It was easier being so far away.
Joab arranges for Absalom to come to see the king.
Absalom bows before the king, and they exchange an embrace.

again, interesting to see the power of a story to reveal truth and motivate a change in David’s outlook and life choices
Joab is a key figure in this chapter, involved in the twists and turns around the king’s life

Absalom’s Conspiracy – I don’t think Absalom is enjoying the anonymity and is wanting to play a greater role in the destiny of his people, being the king’s son, but not having an important role. So his disenchantment grows, and he begins to plan a greater purpose for his life. He draws people to his side, by intercepting them on their way to see the king for help, telling them that there is no-one from the king’s representatives available to help:
‘If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he receives justice.
Absalom clearly buttered people up (reaching out his hand and kissing people, like a king), ‘and he stole the hearts of the men of Israel’.
Finally, when Absalom asks permission to honour a vow he’d made to go and worship the Lord at Hebron, he goes with the blessing of David (‘Go in peace’), he is in fact planning to make himself king of Hebron….
When Absalom goes to Hebron he has 200 soldiers with him, who are blissfully unaware of Absalom’s plans.
Absalom also gets David’s advisor / counsellor (Ahithophel) over to where he is, his conspiracy gaining strength.

Bit by bit, David is losing another of his sons, who has his sights set on greater power and influence

ACTS
The Apostles Heal Many – ‘the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people’, all the believers meeting under Solomon’s colonnade. Although people were fearful of being seen to join then, the number of believers in Jesus increased continually. People brought the sick to them and ‘all of them were healed’.
Even Peter’s shadow was believed to have healing power in it, if you were caught in its path.

The Apostles Persecuted – the high priest and the Sadducees are filled with jealousy, arresting the apostles and putting them in jail. During the night an angel opens the doors and lets them out.
‘Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life.’
They follow the angel’s instruction and go into the courts and begin teaching (a new offensive push from the apostles).
The high priest and Sanhedrin (full assembly of the elders of Israel) gather, unaware that the apostles are not still in jail. When they are told, they send the guards to bring them in and question them.
‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name….yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.’
‘We must obey God rather than men!‘ comes Peter’s reply.
The Sanhedrin are ready to put these apostles to death, but Pharisee Gamaliel speaks out, pointing out that previous uprisings have fizzled out (Theudas and Judas are two recent examples of men with grand claims, but it all come to nothing); he suggests that these men are ‘put outside for a little while….if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourself fighting against God.’

what words of wisdom from Gamaliel

The apostles, once again, are severely flogged and told not to speak of Jesus!
The apostles rejoice, not that they have been freed, but that they have been counted worthy to suffer for faith in Jesus.
‘Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.’

PROVERBS
A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps…
a crafty man is hated…the prudent are crowned with knowledge….
Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness….’

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