II Samuel 19-20

The king returns to Jerusalem. Yet it’s a mixed day for God’s people.

Since the rebellion of Absalom, there had been much confusion. Many had sided with Absalom – just because he seemed to be the victor. Now they find themselves in trouble.

David has to have a gift of merc! As he is returning, men come out to meet him and give their excuses as to why they chose to stay with Absalom. Even Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son who had been so lavishly treated by David, had stayed – and he had his excuse.

Mercy to all of them. That’s David’s way. He wants the bloodshed to stop and for there to be peace in Israel.

However, there can’t be true peace as long as someone is still in rebellion. So Sheba, the son of Bichri who is causing the Israelites to rebel, has to be dealt with.

The armies are sent – and Joab brings down the rebellion. He’s now over the whole army of Israel – Israel and Judah.

It’s interesting to see that there seems to be a root of division which continues to develop between Israel and Judah. ( Israel is larger, with ten tribes and Judah has only two). Watch for this as we proceed.

It seems like a “root of bitterness” which can spring back up.

In our personal lives, in our families and churches, it’s so important to keep the roots of bitterness plucked up. If these roots are allowed to stay – with just the fruit dealt with – eventually they will spring up again and cause great division.

I pray that all of us will allow the Father to pluck up those roots. To eradicate them completely from the soil of our hearts. We want God’s best – which comes with an honest and good heart – free from strife.

Let’s forgive, forgive, and forgive again.

Luke 18:1-27

There is such a fine line between self-righteousness and true righteousness.

We stand righteous before God today if we are born again. He has given us that wonderful gift. We didn’t earn it – and we don’t deserve it. It’s a gift, because of His great love for us.

Just as Mephibosheth was allowed to come to the king’s table, so are we invited to our King’s table. And the fare there is good, indeed.

The flip side of this is that we don’t come because of our own works. That’s what the Pharisee tries to do.(v.10-14).

He comes to the Lord bragging on his own goodness. He fasts twice a week, pays his tithes, and isn’t a swindler or an adulterer. Yet that works mentality isn’t what causes us to receive from our God.

We receive from Him when we come humbly, realizing that in ourselves, without Jesus, we don’t have anything to offer. It’s the sacrifice of Jesus which has caused us to be made righteous.

Now do we want our lives to be holy and pure? Of course we do. When we are in love with Jesus and when we allow ourselves to be led by Him, we want to please Him in every respect.

But that still is not where our righteousness comes from. It’s still an undeserved gift we receive through faith.

In this story of the pharisee and the publican, Jesus had not yet gone to the cross. There had been no sacrifice for sin. They were operating under the old covenant.

Jesus was still pointing to the new, however, as he describes these two. True repentance is necessary to receive the work of the cross.

We die to self and live to Him. And the gifts we receive in Him are truly incredible.