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June 3, Day #155 – Unable to Haul In the Net

In 2 Sam 2:8-3:21, we see the unnecessary continuation of war and strife between the houses of Saul and David, as well as the many irrational decisions that resulted in additional and senseless loss of human life on both sides. For example, we cannot help but notice “the two groups of young men who sat down on the two sides of a pool, where Abner said to Joab, ‘Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us’” (verse 14). To what purpose? Is this worth dying for? We see that Asahel’s death exemplifies this absurd disregard for the sanctity of human life as created in the image of God. People forget that death is forever, and there is no coming back from it. When chased, and after killing Asahel, Abner finally gets a sense for this waste, when he asks Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursing their brothers?” (verse 26). That night, “nineteen of David’s men were found missing, and David’s men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner” (verse 31). Again, I ask - to what purpose? What is the rationale for all this killing? In chapter 3, we read that the “war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time” (verse 1). We also see a list of six sons who were born to David (verses 2-5). Later, we see the back-and-forth hatred with Ish-Bosheth’s serious accusation of Abner – who actually installed Ish-Bosheth as king (cf., 2 Samuel 2:9) - and Abner’s strange response: “Am I a dog’s head – on Judah’s side?” (verse 8). All this bitterness and sinfulness reveals the ongoing animosity even between allies within Saul’s house, and we see that it will cause Abner to “transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel” (verse 10). I cannot help but believe that God included this material in His Holy Word to encourage us to consider and reflect on our own absurd behaviors today!

Today we read verses 1-12 of Psalm 69, a messianic Psalm, that speaks of our Lord’s sufferings. Here, we find David’s call for God to save him out of perilous times wherein he “sinks in the miry depths, the deep waters, and the engulfing floods” (verses 1-2). In this life, we often find ourselves in difficult places from which we need external but divine help. These verses remind me of our experiences going through Hurricane Camille on the Gulf Coast back in 1969. Even in our own home, we found ourselves in life-threatening circumstances from which we had no escape - other than to trust in God’s mercy to save us. I can seldom think about it with dry eyes, and I am forever grateful and awestruck that God brought us through that night safely - and how. Here, David says, “I am worn out calling for help” (verse 3). David’s “deep waters” were his many enemies, who hated him “without reason and without cause” (verse 4). Notice David’s concern, expressed in his prayer: “May those who hope in you not be disgraced … or put to shame because of me” (verses 6-7). He says, “Zeal for your house consumes me” (verse 9). The disciples applied this passage to Jesus when He first cleared the Temple (cf., John 2:17). Truly, David’s experiences in suffering foreshadowed those of our Lord many years later.

Today we come to the last chapter of John’s gospel, and we see that - apart from the Lord’s direction - we are unable to accomplish anything. We read that the disciples were fishing, “but that night they caught nothing” (verse 3). Jesus appeared, but they didn’t recognize Him. He told them to “throw their net on the right side of the boat, and when they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish – 153 fish” (verses 6-11). This passage illustrates how much we need the Lord to lead and guide us in our lives. He sees it all, but we see practically nothing – and often – what we see even clouds our vision beyond our ability to recognize and understand what we see. After He spoke to them, they all realized what Peter said - “It is the Lord!” (verse 7). How that describes us! Sometimes we see, but we don’t recognize what we see until He speaks to us through His Word. In verses 15-19, we see Jesus’ compassion in reinstating Peter for his three-fold denial. The Lord asks three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Each time, Peter re-affirmed his love for the Lord, for which Jesus then commissioned Peter, “Feed my sheep” (verse 17). The book of John closes with the note that the whole world wound not have room for the books that would be written about all the many things that Jesus did” (verse 25). Thank God for the gospel of John!

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