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June 11, Day 163 – Good Administration is Necessary

In 2 Samuel 15:13-16:14, we see that David is now once again on the run – this time – from his own son. We remember that, because of David’s sin with Bathsheba, Nathan prophesied that “the sword would never depart from his house …” (cf., 2 Samuel 12:10), and we see that this campaign is a partial fulfillment of that prophecy. Absalom, the king’s son, is greedy to take over the kingdom by force, and he seems not to mind that, to do so, he will have to step over his own father, David, who was a battle-seasoned veteran - a truth that is implied in 2 Samuel 18. Furthermore, Absalom is representative of how evil festers and grows out of self-pride. In 2 Samuel 15:13, we read that “the hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” Absalom’s revolt is based on his popularity which is never a stable commodity. Still, David’s officials advise him to “flee” (verse 14). “The king set out with his entire household - save ten concubines – who were left to take care of the palace” (verse 16). “The whole countryside wept aloud” (verse 23), and “David continued up the Mount of Olives – weeping as he went” (verse 30), and foreshadowing “the anguish where our Lord Jesus Christ prayed for Himself and His sweat was like drops of blood” (cf., Luke 22:44). In chapter 16, we see that, under false pretenses, Ziba, Mephibosheth’s steward, arrives with provisions for David and his followers. He tells David that Mephibosheth “thinks the kingdom will revert to him” (verse 3) – which was not true - but for which reason, David rewards Ziba with all of Mephibosheth’s possessions. This falsehood will be exposed in a later reading, but it’s important to note that under these desperate conditions, rumors are easily believed. As Christians, we need to see how difficult circumstances in our lives can cloud our vision. This section – verses 4-14 – concludes with Shimei’s brazen attacks, false accusations, and curses against David. These insults represent the kind of attacks that Satan perpetrates on believers. Fully aware of his own sin and the prophecy against him, David shows biblical restraint and Christian dignity to Shimei – “The LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today” (verse 12).

The last time we looked at Psalm 71, we addressed three convenient divisions that should encourage the postures for our lives – [1] prayer (verses 1-4); [2] patience (verses 5-6); and [3] praise (verses 7-8). Today, to these three divisions, we add a fourth – that of proclamation. In verse 16, we read, “I will come and proclaim Your mighty acts; I will proclaim your righteousness … I declare your marvelous deeds … I declare your power” (verses 16-18). This Psalm informs us that, although this life includes trouble, God, Who is faithful and righteous, will “restore” us and “raise” us up (verse 20). These represent the promises of a bright future, for which we should joyfully look forward and about which we must praise God - a proper response.

In Acts 6:1-7:19, we see the selection of men to the office of deacon in the early church. It was appropriate to delegate administrative responsibilities to other, wise, and spirit-filled men so that the Apostles could focus on “prayer and the ministry of the Word” (verses 2-4). Similar appointments are appropriate for the administration of the church today by elders and deacons respectively. Such administration reveals the importance that God gives to prayer and to the teaching of the Word in the assembly. The text also informs us that good administration was necessary for governing the “rapid increase and large number who became obedient to the faith” (verse 7). Also, here in this section, we are introduced to Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian faith. Stephen was a “man full of God’s grace and power” - godly, articulate, and wise (verses 8-12) – but “opposed” and "falsely accused" (verses 9-14) – like the Lord. Almost always, hatred against believers in Jesus Christ first grows out of jealousy and envy among intolerant unbelievers who want to control the culture around them - forcing others to believe like they believe - rather than freely allowing people to follow the convictions of their hearts. We find similar conditions in our own culture among hypocritical and hypercritical, intolerant politicians and religious fanatics today.

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