II Samuel 17:1-29; John 19:23-42; Psalm 119:129-152; Proverbs 16:12-13
Dah-dah-dah. Dah-dah-dah. Dah! Dah! That, ladies and gentlemen, is my written interpretation of the "Mission: Impossible" theme song. Doesn't it seem appropriate for the Old Testament reading today? Conflicting advice, double agents, messenger relays, covert hideouts - we've got it all! Isn't it interesting that the Lord uses all these spy movements to accomplish his ends? Though David is reaping the consequences of his sin with Bathsheba, God yet has plans for the man after his own heart and thus protects David. There's a tremendous amount of detail in this chapter, too; each step of the conspiracy to restore David is documented, not to mention the aid - both provisions and interpersonal support - offered to David and his men. (I love the listing of the food in II Sam. 17:28-29, all necessary because "the people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert.")
I noticed the detail in our New Testament reading, too. Jesus takes care of the necessary arrangements regarding the provision for his mother (Jn. 19:26-27). The gospel writer is careful to note - three times - how Jesus' crucifixion fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (vs. 24, 36, and 37). The last words of Jesus are spelled out for us in their heartbreaking suffering and weariness (vs. 28, 30). Details on the post-crucifixion treatment of these men are given (vs. 32-34), and even the quantity and type of the burial spices is specified (vs. 39).
And I couldn't help but hear the pure bell-tone of truth in our proverb today: "they [kings - or, for our purposes, those in authority, whatever that authority may be] value a man who speaks the truth" (Pr. 16:13). Absalom misheard truth today; his throne was, ultimately, not established (vs. 12). I think of the times in my life where truth has been spoken to me; oftentimes in painful situations. While ignorance was more comfortable, growth could not happen until truth cleared out the weeds.
Lord, your holy word to us is truth. "Your laws are right and fully trustworthy" (Ps. 119:137-138). "Give [us] understanding that [we] may live" (vs. 144). Amen.
- Sarah Marsh
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