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June 2, Day #154 – God’s Retributive Justice

Today we come to the book of 2 Samuel, which takes up the extension of the kingdom of Israel which 1 Samuel set forth and recorded. In the last chapter of 1 Samuel, we read about the death of Saul – an attempted but unsuccessful suicide (the first one recorded in Scripture). Here, in 2 Samuel 1, however, we read the following report to David about the deaths of Saul and Jonathan: Saul was “in the throes of death but still alive” (verse 9). An “Amalekite young man [who delivered this report] happened to find Saul leaning on his spear” (verse 5), and Saul asked him to finish the incomplete job that he started, which the young Amalekite admitted doing (verse 10). It is significant that Saul was dispatched by an Amalekite, for earlier, the LORD - through Samuel – commanded Saul to destroy the Amalekites totally (cf., 12 Samuel 15:3), which he did not do. Thus, because of his failure to put all the Amalekites to death, Saul was himself put to death by an Amalekite. Saul’s disobedience reveals God’s retributive justice. We sometimes refer to it as "What goes around, comes around." Knowing that the Amalekites were enemies of God and that this young man raised his hand against the LORD’s anointed, David commanded his men to “strike the Amalekite down” (verse 15) – another demonstration of God’s retributive justice. In verses 17-27, we see David’s dedication, friendship, and support of the slain king and his son in his beautiful, poetic lament for them: “Saul and Jonathan – in life they were loved and gracious, and in death they were not parted. Swifter than eagles; stronger than lions; O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul … how the mighty have fallen in battle!” (verses 23-25). Coming to chapter 2, we read, “In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD” (verse 1). Like David, may we always inquire of (i.e., consult with) the LORD – before we ever act. God answered David’s inquiry; He told him now to go up to Hebron – where David will be anointed king over Israel.

Proverbs 13:20-14:4 contains practical observations and truths that we should apply if we want to live wisely. Most of these truths reflect a contrast between good behavior with wise decisions against foolish behavior and silly choices: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (verse 20). These truths focus on decisions about prosperity, wealth, discipline of children, building a home (especially, a legacy), our talk (i.e., the nature of our conversations), and domestic issues and husbandry. The section is well-summarized by verse 21: “Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous.” It is important to remember that these are statements of general truth made from observations – they are not specific promises.

In John 20:10-31, we see our Lord’s first resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalene which I also believe is significant. Having received forgiveness, she became a faithful follower of Christ Who honored her faith by His first appearance after rising from the dead. Jesus always regarded and exalted women, and – our contemporary culture notwithstanding – I believe that His standards should always apply today in men’s interactions with women. It is sadly unfortunate that most cultures historically have demonstrated low esteem for their women, and today, this nonsense continues out of hand and has led to our cultural extremes of feminism and transgenderism - both of which dishonor the status of women and degrade the men who go along with these practices. I am appalled when I see how much women struggle today for so-called “equal rights” and fair treatment by men. The current trend in tattoos for women is an example of this. Such women cry out visibly for the attention and affections of men by drawing obvious notice to themselves - erroneously thinking that tattoos will somehow enhance or add beauty to their looks (hence, the expression, “body-art”). In fact, tattoos are nothing more than unsightly ink stains – scabs on the skin. God created women to be beautiful. They should be attractive, but true beauty is found deeper than the visible skin. The biblical Mary Magdalene understood and practiced these truths.

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