Monday, January 28, 2019

Strife that Ends in Bitterness

Today's Reading:
2 Samuel 2:12-3:39
Romans 15:23-16:9
Psalm 82:1-8
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Focus Verses: 2 Samuel 2:26; 3:1
2:26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”
3:1 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker. 


King David's ascent to power was slow, bloody, and bitterly complicated with personal and political deception and intrigue. The feud between the Saul's clan (tribe of Benjamin) and David's (tribe of Judah) would have long-lasting echoes in Israel's future.

The ruthless warrior, Abner, was disturbingly astute when he asked, "Must the sword devour forever?" The sword continues to devour every day, and as Jesus said, those who live by the sword die by the sword. Once the cycle of retribution is in motion, it is nearly impossible to stop it. Even when someone attempts to take steps toward peace, those attempts are undermined by the history of hurts, the scars of skepticism, and the fears of subterfuge.

Response and Action:
The world is corrupted with the destructive patterns of violence, selfishness, power, and deception. I am looking to Christ for the salvation, transformation, guidance, and example I need to escape these patterns. I want to break free from the miserable downward spiral of sin and selfishness. I seek God's renovating and renewing work in my life that I might turn away from violence and become an instrument of righteousness.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me show love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where their is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light. Where there is hunger, food. Where there is homelessness, shelter. Where there is brokenness, restoration. Where there is sickness, healing. Grant that I might not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that I receive; it is in pardoning that I receive pardon; it is in dying that I am born to   eternal life. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Romans 12:17-19
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord.

Forgiving as We've Been Forgiven
by L. Gregory Jones and Célestin Musekura

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