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June 10, Day #162 – Straight Out of Proverbs

In 2 Samuel 14:1-15:12, we see how men and women attempt to mix into God’s purposes and His will by meddling and trying to control people and their circumstances rather than simply allowing God to act freely and without interference. Here, Joab “knew that the king’s heart longed for Absalom, so deviously, he … "had a wise woman to act like she was grieving for the dead, to go before the king, and to speak the words that he put in her mouth” (verses 1-3). This conspiracy was designed to implicate the king, but David saw through it: “Isn’t the hand of Joab with you in all this?” (verse 19). David agreed to allow Absalom to return to his own house where he stayed “two years without seeing the king’s face” (verse 28). Apparently, Absalom tried unsuccessfully to see David (verse 32), but “Joab [twice] refused to come to him, so Absalom ordered Joab’s field to be set on fire” (verses 29-30). Who does that? The chapter ends with a modicum of reconciliation between Absalom and David (verse 33), but it is clear that the relationship between them is still strained. What is needed here is simple forgiveness. Trying to manipulate God’s will never succeeds; Jesus best modeled our proper response to the will of God when He prayed, “Your will be done” (cf., Matthew 6:9-10; Luke 11:2 and 22:42). In chapter 15:1-12, we see Absalom’s bitterness confirmed when he complains, “If only I were appointed judge in the land … I would [grant] justice” (verse 4). As a royal prince, Absalom has a much higher and nobler position than that of a mere judge. By stealing “the hearts of the people” (verse 6), Absalom is simply conspiring with them to overthrow the throne, and this situation cannot bode well for David. God’s earlier word through Nathan the prophet cannot be manipulated by men - no matter how much they try to mix in (cf., 2 Samuel 12:10).

Proverbs 14:15-24 contains practical wisdom that applies to all of our other readings for today. For example, we saw that Joab (cf., 2 Samuel 14:1-3) is a “crafty” deceiver who devises evil schemes (Proverbs 14:17); Absalom, who set Joab’s fields on fire and demanded on pain of “death” to see the king’s face (cf., 2 Samuel 14:32), is also “hotheaded, reckless, and quick-tempered” (Proverbs 14:16-17). As a result, his actions are foolish. In Acts 5:34, we see that Gamaliel is “prudent;” he gives “thought to his steps and is crowned with knowledge” (Proverbs 14:15-18). He gives sensible advice. Proverbs truly contains words for the wise, and to become wise, we should pay attention to these sayings and apply them to our hearts and daily lives.

In Acts 5:12-42, we observe that the apostles “performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people” (verse 12); “they were highly regarded;” and “more and more men and women believed in the Lord, Who added to their number” (verses 13-14). However, we also see how the men of Israel are doing their level-best to oppose the apostles by “arresting them and putting them in the public jail” (verse 18). These leaders of Israel are simply attempting to thwart God’s plan for the church to develop, but they don’t realize that they are only wasting their time and efforts; God's plan, purposes, and will cannot be thwarted, stopped, or effectively opposed. Here, the leaders of Israel are following through with the same foolish endeavor that their ancestors did in 2 Samuel 14-15. Rather than allowing God to exercise His authority and will, they conspire and manipulate. Gamaliel tries to set them straight – “If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (verse 39). Gamaliel’s statement sounds like it came straight out of Proverbs.

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