Saturday, May 5, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 2 and Colossians 4

1 Kings 2 – Before he dies David tells his son, “Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statues, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do. . .Then the Lord will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: ‘If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel’” (2:2-4).
He is not happy with Joab. He leaves to Solomon the task of punishing him for his faults: his ill-dealing with Abner and Amasa—“retaliating in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war” (2:5). But he tells him to reward Barzillai’s sons. But Shimei too (the man who cursed him on the road to Mahanaim) should be brought down to Sheol in blood (2:9). Why? He stood by David in the rebellion of Adonijah. Then David dies after a forty-year reign. JB note says the ideas here about blood revenge and lasting efficacy of a curse are added “in the deuteronomic style” to the original narrative. The king and his descendents are “liable to blood-revenge until the true culprit has been killed.” And Shimei’s curse will lie on David’s descendents’ head in the same way a blessing would have. Only by turning it against its originator can it be undone. David’s oath has prevented him from doing this, but Solomon is free.

Adonijah goes to Bathsheba. Apparently all of Israel had expected him to be the king when the matter was turned around.  Adonijah is willing to see this as the Lord’s work, but he asks if she will ask Solomon if he can have the woman Abishag as his wife.  She agrees, but when she does Solomon is angered.  He sees it as a move on the throne. Benaiah is sent to strike Adonijah down (2:25).
He also sends Abiathar to his hometown (banished) for having given his support to Adonijah.  He deserves death, but he reprieves him because he carried the ark before his father David and shared in his hardships in the past.  Joab, realizing the time of vengeance has come, seizes the horns of the altar too; but Solomon orders his death.  Benaiah finally does it.  Benaiah takes Joab’s place and Zadok takes the place of Abiathar as priest.  As for Shimei, Solomon tells him to stay in his house in Jerusalem or die.  Three years later, he gets careless and goes in search of two runaway slaves.  Solomon has Benaiah kill Shimei.

Colossians 4 – In a verse that belongs more appropriately to the preceding chapter, masters are admonished to treat their slaves justly and fairly “for you know that you also have a Master in heaven” (4:1). As with marriage Paul urges believers to make God and Christ the model of their lives—mastering as he masters, heading as he heads, serving as he serves, loving as he loves.
Paul asks for our prayers, “that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, . . . so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should” (4:4). I will add my prayer to theirs.  He is still declaring that mystery and opening the doors of faith in people today. He closes with commendations of Tychicus and other friends—Aristarchus (in prison with him), Mark (Barnabas’ cousin), who may visit them, and another man named Jesus—all Jews.  Luke must be with him, for he greets the church through Paul, as does Demas as well.  The letter is to be passed along to the Laodiceans.

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