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June 9, Day #161 – The Chickens Come Home to Roost

In yesterday’s reading from 2 Samuel 12, we saw that, because of David’s compound sins, God promised David that “the sword would never depart from his house …” (cf., 2 Samuel 12:10). We saw that David confessed his sins (verse 13), but his confession could not undo the consequences of his actions. We indicated that the child’s death was only the beginning of David’s long line of consequences for these sins. Today in 2 Samuel 13, try to consider all the widespread heartbreak in David's house as we observe how David’s sins will now directly affect his home, his family, and his life. We see that, “in the course of time, Amnon, his son, fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom” (verse 1). David’s family now starts to unravel, fulfilling the prophecies of Nathan (2 Samuel 12:10). Amnon consults with his uncle, Jonadab, “who was a very shrewd man” (verse 3). We see that these two conspire together to take advantage of Tamar. Amnon overpowers, violates, and disgraces her – his own half-sister – who makes every effort to resist, but to no avail because “he was stronger than she” (verse 14). “Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred” (verse 15). How does this hatred happen so suddenly, and where does it come from? It is the result of Amnon’s uncontrollable guilt over his repugnant, reprehensible, and unthinkable sin for which he alone is responsible. What’s worse, Absalom’s attempt to console Tamar is weak, insensitive, and pathetic: “Be quiet now, my sister; don’t take this thing to heart” (verse 20). How should she take it, if not to heart? Our hearts go out to her, who said, “What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace?” (verse 13). In the next section (verses 23-37), we see that, after two years, Absolom orders he men to “strike Amnon down” (verse 28), and then Absolom goes on the run from his father, David, who, together “with his sons and servants wailed and wept very bitterly” (verse 26). We read that David mourned for his son every day and that he longed to go to Absolom” (verses 37-38). No better expression exists to describe these events than “the chickens have come home to roost.”

In Psalm 71:9-18, the Psalmist addresses something that most of us face – sooner or later – old age and loneliness. He writes, “now when I am old and my strength is gone” (verse 9), “do not forsake me.” In his old age, he prays that the Lord will not leave him – alone. Nowadays, this Psalm has a special meaning for me personally. Before my late wife died, together we thought that we could manage the “old” part, but now, without her, the “alone” part is extremely difficult to manage. The singular greatest deficit to loneliness is the state of being incomplete, and few people ever think about that in advance of its onset. Our faith notwithstanding, our “enemies” (i.e., especially Satan, cf., verse 10), try to discourage us to doubt God and believe that He has “cast us away and forsaken us” (verses 6-11). When “our strength is gone” (verse 9), it’s easy to succumb to doubt. We must remember that God “is righteous” (verse 16), and remember the things “He has taught us since our youth” (verse 17). Apart from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives, the hard realities of life can easily overpower, assail, and crush us in our weakness. Thank God that, we “will always have hope” (verse 14). Under such conditions, “even when we are old and [beyond] gray, may we ever “declare His power to the next generation” (verse 18).

In Acts 4:23-5:11, we see the results of God’s work in the early church (cf., verse 33). Yesterday, we saw the boldness of the believers (cf., verse 20). Today, we see the unity of believers (verse 32); the power and grace of “the Lord upon them all” (verse 33); and the generosity of the believers (verse 35). However, when we come to Acts 5, we see how easily believers can fall into Satan’s trap of temptation. Ananias and Sapphira sold a piece of property but kept back a part of the money – apparently deceptively – for they “lied to the Holy Spirit” about it (verse 3). Peter pointed out that the land was theirs, the money was theirs, but theirs was not the option of communicating untruths about it. We see that, “when Ananias heard this, he fell down and died” (verse 5). Three hours later, Sapphira, his wife, did the same thing and received the same penalty, with the result that “great fear seized the whole church” (verse 11). The chickens always come home to roost.

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