II Samuel 15:23-16:23; John 18:25-19:22; Psalm 119:113-128; Proverbs 16:10-11
In yesterday's reading we saw there was much betrayal and hurt being done to both King David and to Jesus. In today's reading, we can see further parallels to their stories during this time of rejection, betrayal, despair, and doubt.
At the beginning of yesterday's NT reading, we read these words, "Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it" (Jn. 18:1). These are the opening words of our OT reading today, "The king [David] also crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the people moved on toward the desert...But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went" (II Sam. 15:23, 30). This is an amazing connection I have never seen before! Maybe you have, but I don't think I ever realized that Jesus and King David walked the exact same path and sought the exact same place as a point of refuge in their time of betrayal.
I am sure Jesus knew exactly whose footsteps he was following in that night when he, too, crossed the Kidron Valley and went to the Mount of Olives. I think knowing this connection between Jesus and King David just strengthens Jesus' claim to be the Son of God and the true Messiah. His disciples, and all Jews of that day, would have known what had happened at the Mount of Olives hundreds of years past with King David as well. Jesus using this place as his refuge in his time of grief and intense prayer is no coincidence. I guess maybe I'm a little slower to notice everything and put it all together, but isn't our God good to reveal new things in his Word day after day as we continue to seek him?
My in-laws recently visited Israel and did a tour for 3 weeks. They had a tour guide and a study book to complete as they went along. Upon return, they proclaimed that almost nothing has had as much impact on their spiritual lives as walking where Jesus walked, and learning about his life in the land he in which he lived and worked miracles. They were particularly struck by how many of Old Testament prophecies Jesus really did fulfill. This is just one more of those minor connections of the greatest King of Israel to the true King of all people.
How I wish I could walk that path from the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives today. What grief and doubt must have accompanied those two men as they walked this road. I can't help but hear echoes of David's frustration and grief as we read in Psalm 119 today- "You are my refuge and my shield..away from me, you evil doers..uphold me, and I will be delivered" (Ps. 119:115-117). Even though David didn't write this psalm when he was fleeing from Absalom (he actually wrote Psalm 3 at that time), some of the same pleas for deliverance and strength are there.
Lord, may we seek you in our times of rejection, hurt, and despair. May we walk the weeping road with you. May we find our own garden where we can pray and cry out before you. You always hear. You always respond. You are good.
- Mary Matthias
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