Day Thirty-Seven: Loving Those in the Here and Now
READ: 2 Samuel
19:1-8 Read the passage aloud
slowly. Absalom had rebelled against his
father, David, and took over Israel. As
David mourns Absalom, the people who defended him and brought him back with
honor are listening.
(1-4) Joab was told that David was
weeping and lamenting over Absalom. The
day's victory turned into a day of mourning as word passed through the army,
"David is grieving over his son."
The army straggled back to the city that day demoralized, dragging their
tails. And the king held his face in his
hands and lamented loudly,
O my son Absalom,
Absalom my dear, dear son!
(5-7) But in private Joab rebuked the
king: " Now you've done it--knocked the wind out of your loyal servants
who have just saved your life, to say nothing of the lives of your sons and
daughters, wives and concubines. What is
this--loving those who hate you and hating those who love you? Your actions give a clear message: officers and soldiers mean nothing to
you. You know that if Absalom were alive
right now, we'd all be dead - would that make you happy? Get hold of yourself; get out there and put
some heart into your servants! I swear
to God that if you don't go to the
they'll desert; not a soldier will be left here by nightfall. And that will be the worst thing that has
(8) So the king came out and took
his place at the city gate. Soon
everyone knew: "Oh, look! The king
has come out to receive us." And
his whole army came and presented itself to the king. But the Israelites had fled the field of
battle and gone home.
THINK: Read the passage aloud slowly again. David did what we often do. He lived in regret. He wanted what he used to have and what he
couldn't now have. As a result, he
undervalued and discouraged the people who had stood by him and helped him.
Who do you identify with more: David or
2. Consider their feelings: David living in regret; the army feeling
ignored and discarded.
3. Consider their next steps: David turning his heart to the people around
him who loved him; the army speaking up and stating their needs to a hurting
I am to be honest, I've spent a lot of time this past year-and-a-half moping
and whining about what I don't have.
I've tried not to send the message that I thought I was the only person
going through this. I know that I am
not. But I am not sure if I have done a
good job of making sure the people who love me know that I know what this has
cost them. I would say it. But then, I would continue with my
complaining and my pity party. People
have been kind. Most people close to me
cannot imagine what it would be like to be in my shoes. And, to be fair, most of them are going
through things I do not want to experience either. But, it's easy to fall into the trap of
thinking that because I am in a somewhat "needy" position, I do not
have resources to meet the needs of others.
Or, even easier than that, to fall into the trap the Enemy would set
that would say that because I am in a needy position, I have the right to
wallow in my pity. Or, to check out of
life because I didn't get my way. To pack
up my toys and go home until God lets me have my way.
PRAY: Pray for yourself and others, especially that
they'll see and implement any possible next steps (for example, moving out of
regret and valuing the people in front of them, or speaking up to someone who
is devaluing others).
Heavenly Father, help us to remember that, every day, we need you. You are Sovereign and nothing can thwart Your
Will being done in the lives of those who are called by You for Your Purposes. When times get hard, and they most certainly
will, help us to rest in the knowledge that all things do work together for the
good of those who love You. And help us
to be patient and steadfast when what is good for us is not comfortable or when
it is downright painful. Show us those
people standing with us whom we may have overlooked or slighted by our
complaining and whining, and show us ways that we can be a blessing to those
who have blessed us in our hard times.
Show us the reserves we have stored up, out of which we can bless
others. Help us not to be stingy with
our gifts (spiritual, physical, emotional, or financial); trusting that you
will take care of those who you have called to be generous. And, help us to be good stewards of those
gifts: not throwing them around aimlessly, but using them the way you would
have us to use them, to bless others and to glorify your name.
Your Son's Precious and Holy Name, the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
LIVE: Let your mind rest in glad appreciation for
those who stand by you. Ask God for
opportunities to bless them. Then in the
dailiness of life, look for those opportunities.