Guaranteed Replacement Plan

17:1 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. 2 I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king 3 and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed.” 4 This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.

18:5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.

18:32 The king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.” 33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”

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These two chapters of 2 Samuel paint a pretty clear picture of exactly what broken hearts look like.  Absalom’s heart trouble is obvious from verse 4 – ”This plan seemed good to Absalmon.”  His heart is “broken” by deceit and willingness to destroy the one person that stands between him and his selfish desire.  David’s heart is broken by recognizing the familiarity of those sins in the heart of his own son, and remembering Nathan’s painful forecast of it’s effect. [2 Samuel 12:7-12] Sin’s natural consequence is its ability to replicate itself from heart to heart, but God offers a guaranteed replacement plan for hearts that are broken:

FYI: Ezekiel 36:2 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:…26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. [ESV]

Peace from Colossae

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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Whose peace are we called to?  Re-read the verses above, then take a deep breath and give thanks to God that the “peace of Christ” is the gold standard we’re expected to live by, not our own.

We are confronted with novel circumstances in our world right now that impact our lives enough to alert us to remember, that is truth.  And this is reality: all our riches, and peace, dwell “among” [in the company of] “the message of Christ” that lives in our hearts.  Our hearts are where the groundswell of gratitude reveals our understanding of the vast truth of what His peace really means to us.

“In the company” of your hearts and daily lives “the message of Christ” is completed by the simple recognition of this absolutely timeless truth that makes peace possible:  

❤️Christ holds your heart in His own❤️

Familiar?

2 Samuel 15 &16 [AMP]
15:13 Then a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” 14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, let us flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom!…30 And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, with his head covered and walking barefoot [in despair]. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went. 31 David was told, “Ahithophel [your counselor] is among the conspirators with Absalom.” David said, “O Lord, I pray You, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.”

16:20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give me your advice. What should we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left behind to take care of the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened [by your boldness and audacity].” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof [of the king’s palace], and [i]Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

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Reading 2 Samuel feels more like a discipline than a devotion to me.  It’s not easy. I’ve had to learn that I can only get through the sad and sometimes gruesome details with the aid of hindsight.   Hindsight and knowing what’s ahead in the New Testament are reliable markers that tie the experiences of this king to what I know about THE King – Jesus.

David has been forced to flee to the Mount of Olives.  He’s in a familiar spot in any wilderness – the unknown.   Sin has isolated him from his family and  now the nation.  It sounds remarkably like the experience of Jesus at that same spot so much later.  

David is completely dependent on the protection of “foreigners.”  The Kerethites, Pelethites, and Gittites may not have understood David was a man after God’s own heart.  They were gentiles,  but they certainly had foresight in their journey of open loyalty in support of the king.  The benefit of hindsight is to see God already at work to secure a place for other foreigners of his creation just like us.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand why tears were part of Davids journey.  He’s experiencing the betrayal of trust.  Absalom’s final violation of the honor of his father was to stage circumstances on a rooftop that must have pierced David’s heart and memory with another rooftop moment of betrayal from his own past.   He clearly recognizes God at work even in this moment of betrayal.  Sound familiar?

Designer Wardrobe

Colossians 3:12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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My first thought was Colossians 3:12 sounded like the Designer version of the armor of God.  A new wardrobe filled with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, forgiveness, love, peace, thankfulness, wisdom and gratitude.  This is not the armor of medieval times.  It has the same complete coverage as the heavy metal version but it looks quite different.  This wardrobe honors the qualities the Designer Himself has chosen to display what His impenetrable protection looks like.  It covers every vital thing necessary to win over the opposition at the same time it reveals Love is the thrust of outreach that makes this “armor” a thing of beauty that still wins ❤️s.

She Said…

2 Samuel 14:13 …“Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. 14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him. NLT

Joab enlisted a wise woman to confront the king about his reluctance to reunite with his own son.  The two things that informed my thoughts about this passage are the importance of, and the difficulty of, personal confrontation.  My own go-to plan is to avoid it.  It’s a ridiculous plan when I logically think about it because confrontation has played a very real part in my own life of faith but in the heat of the moment my response is just like the king’s – try to ignore and escape the situation and the other person involved as well.  It’s not a pretty picture but it’s a human response the Lord of Mercy has a plan for.   I’ve named it “the wisdom of mortality.”  

The wisdom of mortality is exactly what the woman of Tekoa  spoke. “Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”  Life doesn’t last forever and that wisdom has made a big difference to me.   God has confronted us with our separation from Him through His son, Jesus.  The twists, turns and turmoil of life are the proof that we have cracks in our hearts of stone.  [v14b] “God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.”  The wisdom of mortality is that it’s Christ Jesus that is our critical and visible evidence that we’ve been reunited with God.

Wednesday at Colossae – Raised Up

Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. [NKJV]

We’ve been duped by our own wisdom to depend on personal strength of character and our “bootstrap” mentality as the secret to a successful life of faith…and everything else.  Paul’s reality for us is very different from that human wisdom.  I jotted sets of keywords as I often do and distilled them into this: 

You were raised with Christ to seek those things where Christ is.  Set your mind on things above with Christ in God who is your life.  When He appears you also will appear with Him in glory.

The words I’d reassembled from Colossians became what reminded me of another variation of Paul’s wisdom from Henry Blackaby’s workbook “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”  “Find out where God is at work and join Him there.” 

“You were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is…”  Join Him there!

Heart-Breaking Headlines – Adultery and Murder

2 Samuel 11:1-5 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.  Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.  So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”  Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.  And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” [NKJV] 

“While Joab is busy in laying siege to Rabbah, Satan is [laying seige] to David, and far sooner prevailed.” [Trapp]

God’s plan for marriage
The condition,1 the promise2 and the blessing.3

Genesis 2:24-25 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother.1 and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.2  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.3
The reality of the relationship…Deuteronomy 17:17a  He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.
The evidence of accumulated sin…2Sa 3:2-5 Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;  his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur;  the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;  and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.

News flash! Deceit and cover up from a position of power are not new and the consequences of  sin are not normalized by repetition or by calling it by some gentler name.  How does a nation deal with the complete moral failure of its leader?  Consequences aren’t just a dismal surprise resulting from corrupt acts, they’re a given.  Heart-breaking consequences were the result for a whole family and a whole nation as a result of the accumulated sins of the very king who had captured God’s own heart.  Satan found a way to expose those accumulated sins into the tragic reality of consequences that included adultery, murder and death. 

Here’s the Good News from 2 Samuel this Sunday: God did provide for the king’s heart to remember the grace of repentance and restoration that could forgive accumulated sins even in the midst of heart-breaking circumstances.   That should sound familiar to our heart too.  God has provided for our hearts to remember the grace of repentance and restoration we have through the death of another child, His own Son.   Jesus,  is God’s provision for our hearts to find repentance and restoration in every circumstance.