2 Samuel 15:13-17
Joshua 22:1-9 – The Eastern Tribes Return Home. After fulfilling their obligation, the Eastern tribes were let go from their commission and sent back home again. The 2.5 tribes had honorably discharged their vow to see the 9.5 tribes into their inheritance and to defeat the Canaanites. Remember this, it was not the Lord’s best nor His desire for the 2.5 tribes to stay on the Eastern side because He knew the dangers that lurked behind the curtain of separation from the families and what was happening to the people while the men were away at war. The children were not adults who had grown up without their father to teach them. While the men were engaged in battle, they served the Lord G-d and honored His commands. So the men were going back home with wealth but to an unknown and unpredictable future.
Psalms 81 – Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me. For thousands of years, Israel has been in an up and down relationship with the Lord G-d. In the time of Moses, the Lord laid out His commands, precepts, and festivals that the people would know the righteous acts of the Lord. The Lord G-d sent His Spirit to lead His people out of slavery to a place of abundance. In the same way, when we come to the Lord, confess our sins, and admit our need for Him in our lives, He releases the shackles that held us bound and sets us free. Staying in the place where we were in bondage will compel us to become ensnared by another sin because the enemy of our soul is that clever. After the enemy is robbed of the power to condemn us, we are freed from his hold. The problem is, once we are free from ___ we think, “I am free from ____ so it’s no longer a temptation not knowing how wrong we are. The Devil knows that the only way to get a foothold on us is to plug up our spiritual ears. When we are unable to hear the voice of the Spirit of G-d, we tend to think “G-d doesn’t find anything wrong with our actions. The thing is G-d never condones sin and while He will seek to get through to us, in the end, we are given over to our stubborn ways. Remember this, when we are set free from ___ and then go back to it, the next bout will be on us to work our way through. After escaping from Egypt, the Israelites went back to Egypt of sorts and would spend the next 2-3000 years going from one tyrant to another and never get free.
Ecclesiastes 3:16-22 – From Dust to Dust. The teacher, presumably Solomon, said “do not be over righteous” as to believe “I am above temptation and sin”. Solomon received wisdom but did not apply it to himself. Each of us will be judged by history for what we have done on this earth and that is unavoidable. Every action known to mankind is granted a period but the individual will be judged. To judge too early allows the person to escape unjudged or judged harshly for something he/she had no control over. Each of us has an appointment with death which makes us no different than the beasts of the field. Where we differ from the beasts of burden is that we are granted the ability to consider our actions and make a decision about the pathway we choose to walk. While we are alive, we can love and be joyful despite the conditions of the world.
Isaiah 19:16-25 – Egypt, Assyria, Israel Blessed. Oddly, we go through our entire lives thinking “I am and there is none else besides me”. The Nile was/is a tremendous source for the people of Aswan and Sudan. When everything is stripped away, we find the courage to reach out across the nations so that our nation is healed. For over 200 years the USA has had its independence and autonomy which has been taken for granted just as the Egyptians took the Nile for granted. When things are taken from us that we pride ourselves on, we are humbled just as Egypt and Assyria were. While these are unpleasant when the storm has passed and we come to our senses, healing begins to take form (21-23). When the healing and restoration are completed, a highway that connects us to other people is made where pride and arrogance or “sin” kept people at arm’s length.
2 Samuel 15:13-17 – David Flees Jerusalem. Sin is a beast that hates everyone connected to it and destroys every thread that holds people’s lives together. David was on track to be the most successful and prolific King of the known world but temptation slipped in where it had previously failed. Before David had even ascended the throne, many temptations were put in his path to get him to trip over but he refused to be part of it. Now, the kingdom was fully in his hands, the old enemies were defeated, and David had risen above them. The people loved David because he was an honest and upright King who studied to show himself approved as a workman with no need for reproof (2 Timothy 2:15). That was, until Bathsheba. David’s firstborn son, Amnon, had been killed because of his savagery to Amnon’s sister Tamar. Now, Absalom is on the verge of a coup. David had never run from a battle in his life until he sinned and broke G-d’s law and sought to cover it up. Absalom was a few miles from Jerusalem with an army to capture David. Everything Nathan had prophesied was about to come to fruition like an unstoppable fire. When temptation first shows its ugly face, it will never tell its target what the long-range ramifications of listening to it will be.