Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 7

I Kings 2:1-3:3; Acts 5:1-42; Psalm 125:1-5; Proverbs 16:25

The verse from Proverbs is so appropriate to the rest of our reading that it almost seems like Aesop's fables.  "And the moral of the story is..."

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Pr. 16:25).

Adonijah, asking for Abisihag the Shunammite's hand in marriage - an underhanded method of seeking to usurp the throne from Solomon - earns himself death (I Ki. 2:25).

Joab, a man steeped in bloodshed (murder, really) - who had killed as a warrior, but also to protect his position as commander of David's armies - contracts a death sentence pronounced by David upon his own deathbed.  Though he clings to the altar of the Lord, he is struck down and killed because of his self-serving ambition (I Ki. 2:34).

Shimei, caller of curses - pardoned by David, but not exonerated - agrees to Solomon's restrictions but foolishly (willfully?) pursues two slaves at the cost of his own life (I Ki. 2:36-46).

Ananias and Sapphira, early members of the fledgling church in Jerusalem - desiring to be honored by the community, but wanting to have their cake and eat it, too - receive the judgment of the Lord in the manner of immediate, divinely-appointed death (Acts 5:5, 10).

The wicked of Psalm 125, asserting their self-serving wills, are "banish[ed] with the evildoers" (Ps. 125:5) away from God's presence.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Pr. 16:25).

If there's a way that seems right to a man, but ends in death, then doesn't it make sense that there's a way that seems right to the Lord and ends in life?

The psalm hints at this: "The Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore" (Ps. 125:2); "do good, O Lord, to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart" (vs. 4).

And the rest of the reading in Acts confirms it further.  See how the apostles, jailed unjustly, are protected and freed and affirmed and commissioned (Acts 5:18-20).  See how they are used mightily in miraculous ways (vs. 12, 16).  See how, refusing to abstain from preaching in Jesus' name, they receive help from an unexpected quarter, from a Pharisee himself (vs. 34-40)!  Though they were flogged (definitely not a way that seems right to a man), they "[rejoiced] because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name" (vs. 41).  Life.

Lord, so many of my ways seem right to me.  Show me the ways that seem right to you, that I might pursue life with abandon and determination.  Amen.


- Sarah Marsh

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1 comment:

  1. I really like this post, Sarah. So true, so true.

    ReplyDelete