Ever setup good boundaries? Ever setup good rules? Ever setup good environments?
Ever had someone violate them? Ever had someone break them? Ever wondered what you could have done differently?
How did you respond? How did you react? What did you do about it?
How did you feel? Anger? Frustration? Regret?
Seek God! Set standards! Be aware and not deceived at what is going on!
Today’s reading kicks off on such a subject, let’s check out David’s family…
Amnon Attacks Tamar and Absalom’s Wrath
1It came to pass after this that Absalom son of David had a beautiful sister named Tamar, so Amnon, son of David, fell in love with her. 2But Amnon was so frustrated that he fell sick because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin and it seemed impossible in Amnon to do anything to her. 3However, Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, and Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4So he said to him, “Why are you, the king’s son, so miserable morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?” Amnon told him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” 5So Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend you are sick. When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me some bread to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may see it and eat from her hand.’” 6So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick, and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make me a couple of cakes in front of me so I may eat from her hand.” 7Then David sent someone to the house for Tamar saying, “Go now to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare bread for him.” 8So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house while he was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in front of him and baked the cakes. 9Then she took the pan and poured them out in front of him but he refused to eat. Then Amnon said, “Everyone, leave me!” So everyone left him. 10Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the bread into the bedroom that I may eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon. 11But when she brought them close to him to eat, he grabbed her and said to her, “Come lie with me, my sister.” 12“No!” she said to him. “Don’t, my brother! Don’t rape me, for such a thing should never be done in Israel. Don’t do this disgraceful deed! 13I—where could I go with my shame? You—you will be as one of the disgraceful fools in Israel. Now, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 14But he was unwilling to listen to her voice, so he overpowered her, forced her and lay with her. 15Then Amnon loathed her with very intense revulsion—indeed, the hatred that he hated her with was greater than the love in which he had loved her. So Amnon said to her, “Get up, get out!” 16But she said to him, “No! Sending me away is even a greater evil than the one you have already done to me!” But again he would not listen to her. 17Then he called his servant that attended him and said, “Get this woman away from me now and bolt the door after her.” 18Now she had on her a long-sleeved garment for with such robes the king’s virgin daughters used to be dressed. When his attendant took her outside and bolted the door after her, 19Tamar put ashes on her head and rent her long-sleeved garment that was on her. She laid her hand on her head and was crying aloud as she went away. 20Then her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? So now, my sister, keep quiet. He is your brother—don’t take this thing to heart.” But Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. 21When King David heard about all these things, he was very angry. 22Absalom did not say a word to Amnon, either good or bad, for Absalom hated Amnon because he had raped his sister Tamar. 23It came about, after two full years, that Absalom’s sheepshearers were at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 24Then Absalom came to the king and said, “See now, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants come with your servant.” 25But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son. Let’s not all go—we don’t want to be burdensome to you.” Though he urged him, he would not go, though he blessed him. 26Then Absalom said, “If not, then please let my brother Amnon go with us.” “Why should he go with you?” the king said to him. 27But when Absalom pressed him, he let Amnon go with him, along with all the king’s sons. 28Then Absalom commanded his young men saying, “Now watch Amnon until his heart is merry with wine. When I tell you, ‘Strike Amnon!’ then put him to death! Have no fear! Isn’t it I who commanded you? Be strong! Be sons of valor!” 29So Absalom’s young men did to Amnon as Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, each mounted his mule and fled. 30While they were on the way, a report came to David saying, “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons and not one of them is left!” 31Then the king stood up, rent his clothes and lay on the ground, and all his courtiers were standing by with their clothes rent. 32But Jonadab son of David’s brother Shimeah said in response, “My lord must not think that they have killed all the young men, the king’s sons! For only Amnon has died. For from Absalom’s mouth this has been determined since the day he raped his sister Tamar. 33Now therefore, my lord the king must not take the report to his heart thinking that all the king’s sons are dead—for only Amnon is dead.” 34Meanwhile Absalom had fled. When the young watchman lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, there were many people coming down the road behind him on the hillside. 35Then Jonadab said to the king, “The king’s sons have just arrived! It’s just as your servant has said.” 36As soon as he finished speaking, behold, the king’s sons arrived. They lifted up their voices and wept, and also the king and all his courtiers wept very bitterly. 37But Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son every day. 38So Absalom fled, went to Geshur and remained there three years. 39Then King David’s soul longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.
–from 2 Samuel 13
God’s plan is one of forgiveness and reconciliation! He is wanting us to turn back to Him! He is wanting us to be restored! He proved this ultimately by sending Jesus who not only spoke life and the truth of God’s kingdom, but also gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice in order to bridge the great divide created when sin entered into the world! God made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! God is calling you today, will you answer the call? Will you start, fuel, and build up your relationship with God? Is today your day to start? Is today another day of you walking with Him? Let’s live out grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation!
Joab Brings Absalom to Jerusalem
1Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was on Absalom. 2So Joab sent word to Tekoa and brought a wise woman from there. He said to her, “Please pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning clothes. Do not anoint yourself with oil but be like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. 3Then go to the king and speak to him these words.” Then Joab put the words in her mouth. 4When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, bowed down and said, “Help, O king!” 5“What’s the matter with you?” the king said to her. “Truly, I am a widow, my husband is dead,” she said. 6“Your handmaid had two sons, but the two of them fought with each other in the field, where there was no one to separate them. So one struck the other and killed him. 7Now behold, the whole clan has risen against your handmaid and said, ‘Hand over the one who struck down his brother so we may put him to death, for the life of his brother whom he slew.’ So they will also destroy the heir and extinguish my one remaining ember, leaving to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth!” 8Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your home. I will issue an order concerning you.” 9The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord the king, let the iniquity be on me and on my father’s house but may the king and his throne be innocent.” 10“Whoever speaks to you,” the king said, “bring him to me and he shall not touch you anymore.” 11“Please, let the king remember Adonai your God,” she said, “so that the avenger of blood does not destroy any more, so they won’t destroy my son.” “As Adonai lives,” he said, “not one hair of your son will fall to the ground.” 12Then the woman said, “Please, let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king.” “Say on,” he said. 13The woman said, “Why have you devised a situation just like this against God’s people? For by speaking this word, the king is like the guilty one—by not bringing back the one he banished. 14For we will all surely die and be like water spilt on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life but rather, He devises plans so that a banished person may not remain an outcast from Him. 15Now the reason I came to speak this word to my lord the king is because the people have made me afraid. So your handmaid thought, ‘I must speak to the king—perhaps the king will fulfill the request of his maidservant. 16Surely the king will hear, to deliver his maidservant from the hand of the one who would eliminate both me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.’ 17Then your handmaid also thought, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king bring relief. For like an angel of God so is my lord the king to discern good and evil.’ So may Adonai your God be with you.” 18Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me concerning what I am about to ask you.” “Please let my lord the king speak,” the woman said. 19Then the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” “As your soul lives, my lord the king,” the woman answered, “no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Yes, your servant Joab was the one who commanded me and put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid. 20Your servant Joab did this thing in order to bring about a change in the situation. But my lord is wise—like the wisdom of an angel of God—to know all that goes on in the land.” 21Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I will do this thing. So go, bring the young man Absalom back.” 22Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king. Then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your eyes, my lord the king, since the king has done the word of your servant.” 23So Joab got up, went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24However, the king said, “He may go directly to his own house, but he may not see my face.” So Absalom went directly to his own house and did not see the king’s face. 25Now in all Israel there was none as handsome as Absalom—so highly praised. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26When he cut the hair of his head—at the end of every year he would cut it because the hair got so heavy on him that he had to cut it. The weight of the hair from his head was 200 shekels by the royal weight. 27To Absalom were born three sons and one daughter, whose name was Tamar—she was a beautiful woman. 28Now Absalom had lived two full years in Jerusalem but he never saw the king’s face. 29Then Absalom sent for Joab, in order to send him to the king, but he was unwilling to come to him. So he sent word again a second time, but he still would not come. 30So he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s field is next to mine and he has barley there—go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31Then Joab arose, came to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32“Look, I sent word to you,” Absalom said to Joab, “saying, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there.’” So now, let me see the king’s face and if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death.” 33So Joab went to the king and told him. When he summoned Absalom, he came to the king and bowed down on his face to the ground before the king, and then, the king kissed Absalom.
–from 2 Samuel 14
Life isn’t easy! Take a look around and see how the world is treating people! Things have been throw up in the air and flipped around! But when we walk out our faith in Jesus we know that in the end we will receive the prize and win the race because God’s Word is true and He is faithful and just!
As we consider today’s reading and the description that it gives, doesn’t it seem like we are getting closer to the end days? None of know the day or the hour of Jesus’ return, but we do know that He will return and that God’s Word speaks instruction, wisdom, direction as to what we are to do and how we are to live, so let’s not grow weary in doing what is good, but rather let’s finish the race strong, winning the prize of having Jesus say “well done my good and faithful servant”. Study God’s word so that you can be equipped for what is happening and what is going to happen!
Opposition in the Last Days
1But understand this, that in the last days hard times will come— 2for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3hardhearted, unforgiving, backbiting, without self-control, brutal, hating what is good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to an outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! 6For among these are those who slip into households and deceive weak women weighed down with sins, led away by various desires, 7always learning yet never able to come to the knowledge of truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so do these people oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and worthless concerning the faith. 9But these people will not make any more progress—for their folly, like that of Jannes and Jambres, will be obvious to everyone. 10You, however, closely followed my teaching, manner of life, purpose, faithfulness, patience, love, perseverance— 11as well as persecutions and sufferings that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! And the Lord rescued me from them all! 12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted. 13But evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
All Scripture Equips God’s People
14You, however, continue in what you have learned and what you have become convinced of. For you know from whom you have learned, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to make you wise, leading to salvation through trusting in Messiah Yeshua. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness, 17so that the person belonging to God may be capable, fully equipped for every good deed.
–from 2 Timothy 3
Let’s take hold of this truth! Let’s take hold of God’s Word so that we can learn from it’s teaching, we can be corrected by it’s reproof, we can be restored and foster restoration, we can live life like it is supposed to be in righteousness! Let’s equip ourselves through the Word of God!
Let’s live in humility! Let’s be servants that others may come to realize how much we love and care for them! When we lead, let’s lead as servant leaders leading not by command or authority, but by loving and serving and caring for others!
Yeshua’s Birth in Bethlehem
1Now it happened in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the world’s inhabitants. 2This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3Everyone was traveling to be registered in his own city. 4Now Joseph also went up from the Galilee, out of the town of Natzeret to Judah, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family of David. 5He went to register with Miriam, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. 6But while they were there, the time came for her to give birth— 7and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him in strips of cloth and set Him down in a manger, since there was no room for them in the inn.
Shepherds Witness Angelic Praises
8Now there were shepherds in the same region, living out in the fields and guarding their flock at night. 9Suddenly an angel of Adonai stood before them, and the glory of Adonai shone all around them; and they were absolutely terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I proclaim Good News to you, which will be great joy to all the people. 11A Savior is born to you today in the city of David, who is Messiah the Lord. 12And the sign to you is this: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly a multitude of heavenly armies appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth shalom to men of good will.” 15And when the angels departed from them into the heavens, the shepherds were saying to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which Adonai has made known to us!” 16So they hurried off and found Miriam and Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger. 17When they had seen this, they made known the word that had been spoken to them concerning this Child. 18And all those who heard were amazed at the things the shepherds told them. 19But Miriam treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.
Temple Prophets Rejoice
21When eight days had passed for His brit-milah, He was named Yeshua, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. 22And when the days of their purification were fulfilled, according to the Torah of Moses, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present to Adonai. 23As it is written in the Torah of Adonai, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to Adonai.” 24So they offered a sacrifice according to what was said in the Torah of Adonai: “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.” 25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and pious, waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Ruach ha-Kodesh was on him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Ruach ha-Kodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Anointed One of Adonai. 27So in the Ruach, Simeon came into the Temple; and when the parents brought the Child Yeshua to do for Him according to the custom of the Torah, 28Simeon received Him into his arms and offered a bracha to God, saying, 29“Now may You let Your servant go in peace, O Sovereign Master, according to Your word. 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32‘A light for revelation to the nations’ and the glory of Your people Israel.” 33And His father and mother were marveling at the things that were said about Him. 34And Simeon offered a bracha over them and said to Miriam His mother, “Behold, this One is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that is opposed, 35so the thoughts of many hearts may be uncovered. (And even for you, a sword will pierce through your soul.)” 36Now Anna, a daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, was a prophetess. She was well advanced in age, having lived with a husband only seven years 37and then as a widow until age eighty-four. She never left the Temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers. 38And coming up at that very instant, she began praising God and speaking about the Child to all those waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When Joseph and Miriam had completed everything according to the Torah of Adonai, they returned to the Galilee, to their own city of Natzeret. 40The Child kept growing and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.
The Boy Astonishes Jerusalem Scholars
41Now His parents were going every year to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. 42When He became twelve years old, they were going up according to festival custom. 43As they headed home after completing the days, the boy Yeshua remained in Jerusalem, but His parents didn’t know. 44Supposing He was in the caravan, they went a day’s journey, then began looking for Him among relatives and friends. 45When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him. 46After three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the center of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all those hearing Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. 48When His parents saw Yeshua, they were overwhelmed. And His mother said to Him, “Child, why did you do this to us? Look! Your father and I were searching for You frantically!” 49He said to them, “Why were you searching for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be about the things of My Father?” 50But they did not grasp the message He was telling them. 51Then He went down with them to Natzeret and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these words in her heart. 52And Yeshua kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
–from Luke 2