2 Samuel 11:26-27 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she grieved for her husband. When the time of mourning was over, David sent someone to bring her to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. (The Message Bible) It is only three sentences, three lines on my computer screen, but underneath the brief description lies a world of heartache and deception. If you read the whole story starting at the beginning of chapter 11 and going at least until the middle of chapter 12 (it actually becomes the story of the rest of 2 Samuel) you see how these few words understate the impact of the situation. We reduce things to sound bites or pithy statements so that we can deal with them in a manageable way, but those few words often fail to convey the true significance of the situation. “My folks split up when I was a kid.” “A classmate died in a car accident.” “I lost my job and we had to move.” Little phrases that contain so much more than the meaning of the individual words. Does God know your heartache? Is God present even in the midst of your biggest failure? Does God know the story behind your simple phrase that says so much more? The Bible says yes. God knows. God cares. God forgives.
Author Archives: loganpres
2 Samuel 11:3 David sent someone to find out about her.
We all know what an affair is. It is when two people who are married to other people are having sex. But where and when does the affair begin? People don’t just wake up one morning surprised to find the other in bed with them. There are plans that have to be made and before that, desires to make such plans. David sent to find out about the woman, Bathsheba, that was bathing within eyesight of his roof. If he doesn’t make this move probably nothing ever happens and a lot of pain is avoided. But he does make the move. So, what is the first move in today’s world? Going to a certain bar? Downloading a certain app? Staying a little later at the office? Maybe even just a smile or touch or a sympathetic ear. The point is to not kid yourself about what you are doing, and certainly not trying to fool God. Be willing to face up to what is going on in your heart, name it, and look at what the consequences will be. We all have a lot of thoughts and feelings that shouldn’t be acted upon. Learn to face them in the presence of God.
2 Samuel 7:11 “Furthermore, God has this message for you: God himself will build you a house! When your life is complete and you’re buried with your ancestors, then I’ll raise up your child, your own flesh and blood, to succeed you, and I’ll firmly establish his rule. He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom’s rule permanently. (The Message Bible)
Yankee Stadium was once known as the house that Ruth built, referring to Babe Ruth. Of course, he never did anything physical to construct the edifice, but he made it what it was by his play of the game. The British royal family is called the house of Windsor and https://www.royal.uk/house-windsor tells us “The House of Windsor came into being in 1917, when the name was adopted as the British Royal Family’s official name by a proclamation of King George V, replacing the historic name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. It remains the family name of the current Royal Family.” David’s son did build the first temple in Jerusalem and so fulfilled this promise to that extent. The New Testament says that people who believe in Jesus are now the temple of God, both individually and as the church. How are you “the house of Jesus?”
2 Samuel 6:18-19 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.
Over the 4th of July weekend our neighborhood was filled with the noise and smells of people hosting cookouts and parties. I think because last year we were in the midst of the pandemic, this year people went all out with their celebrations. In the passage above David has just completed bringing the Ark of the Covenant (Yep, that’s the one in the Raiders of the Lost Ark) into his newly established capital of Jerusalem. David was thrilled by this and threw a grand party complete with lots of food. Even with all the difficulties of life, and they are very real, there is so much to celebrate. Is God part of those celebrations? Are our reasons to celebrate and our ability to do so a result of what God has given us? Are they a way we can bless others “in the name of the Lord Almighty?” What are you celebrating this summer and why are you celebrating it?
1 Samuel 17:11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
The Philistine was the giant Goliath. He challenged a representative of Israel to come fight him to the death- winner takes all for his army. Goliath was big. The Israelites were scared. Fear is a gift from God. It can restrain us from doing something stupid or dangerous. But it can also keep us from being faithful or courageous. And the difference isn’t always easy to distinguish. When do you suck it up and take the next step forward and when do you wisely walk away? These are the things that deepen our prayer lives. What is your issue with fear?
1 Samuel 16:7 The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
I am a sports fan and had the childhood dream of playing baseball for a living. I never came even remotely close to that. Now that I am older and cheer on the Phillies, I think about the scouts that look at all the potential young athletes and decide who gets a shot and who doesn’t. Some have the bodies but not the long-term stamina and concentration that it takes to achieve these higher levels of performance. The above verse is told to Samuel, one of the Old Testament prophets, as he was looking for the next king of Israel. We evaluate people based on so many different characteristics: Physical beauty or strength, intelligence, wit and charm, or the ability to make money. In this verse we are told it is the inner qualities that matter more than the outer. How much time, energy and money do we spend developing our inner person as opposed to our outer; our faith, hope and love as opposed to our face, hair and clothes? What about us really matters to God?
1 Samuel 8:1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.
Samuel was a great prophet and as such a great political leader for Israel. This chapter will go on to talk about how the people come to him and ask him to appoint a king over them. Samuel is disappointed but God tells him to appoint a king because it was not Samuel they were rejecting but God himself. However, the verses following the one above explain, “his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” The kings of Israel would do some good things according to the Old Testament, but they would do many more bad things and lead the people to misery and destruction over the long haul. It is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Good leaders do not always have children that follow in their ways. All of us are susceptible to the temptation to abuse power. Jesus came as one who would serve and not seek to be served. That is a different type of leadership.
saiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
This is part of the Old Testament reading for Trinity Sunday. One of the interesting features here is the “us.” Who is the “us?” It appears to be all the heavenly council, maybe even an illusion to the Trinity. At the very least, it is more than a “me.” As we think about Memorial Day, we remember that those soldiers didn’t go to war for any individual. They went for a government and a culture and a way of life that needed defending. We pray that no longer will blood be shed in violence. But even as we do, we thank God for those who heard the call to service beyond themselves and gave all in that cause. Who is the “us” that you stand ready to serve? To whom do you say, “Here I am. Send me”?
Ezekiel 37:4 Then [God] said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’”
There are a lot of crazy people in the religious world. There were people a long time ago who would live out their lives on top of a pillar. They are called stylites from the Greek word for pillar. Go ahead, you can google it if you don’t believe me. There are also people who stand on city street corners shouting messages about God. Or some who go from house to house to tell you what you should believe. Most of us have no desire to be those types and think the folks who do them to be strange at best. But look what God asked Ezekiel to do here- talk to a bunch of bones that might not have been there physically but just as a vision. There were those who thought the great prophets of the Bible to be crazy or deluded or even evil. Some thought of Jesus this way. What is the distinction between faithfulness and fanaticism? This past Sunday was Pentecost, a day we focus on the Holy Spirit. Certainly, we use our minds in deciding what to believe, but we don’t use just our mind. If we have faith, it is because something resonates with our minds and our emotions and something mysterious which I’ll call our spirits. This may sound crazy, but Spirit speaks to spirit, I guess. Where did your faith (or lack of faith) come from?
1 John 5:11 This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life. (The Message Bible)
In the park this time of year are dozens of baby geese following adults around n groups. They scurry about among the grasses helping themselves to the food found there. Eventually they make their way to the water to swim and drink, their legs constantly in motion. They are full of life! We see it so pervasively in the spring, this power of life to give life. It is the nature of God to give life, not just for a season or time, but in an endless degree. The message of Jesus in his words and actions is that God gives life, in this world and forever. It is a gift we receive not something we earn or create on our own. God wants us to be as full of life as the baby geese, now and forever, and “the life is in his Son.” How can you grab that gift today?