Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Sa 19
"As we look back, David seems to stand out apart from all
others in the history of Israel. Moses truly is a far more majestic and
awe-inspiring figure; Abraham exemplifies the nobility of a patient, enduring
faith through a long and weary pilgrimage; but it is into the heart of David
that we enter most closely. His life seems crowded with every variety of
experience, and ranges from the purest God-fearing courage of his youthful
encounter with Goliath to the ugly depths of adultery and murder. His life was a
battle between the highest and most intimate spiritual conceptions of God on the
one hand, and all the strong currents of human nature on the other. That he
repeatedly failed is true, but what is far more important is that he freely and
humbly recognized his failures and continued to press on, accepting every form
of tribulation with unresentful resignation.
"His life, on the whole, was a broken and frustrated one. A
long period he spent as a hunted fugitive -- a wanderer away from his country
and kindred, attended by a motley following whose company must have been on the
whole small comfort and a constant burden. Then, after his wanderings end and he
finally becomes king and has subdued all his enemies, he stumbles into a
grievous sin which plagues him without respite for the rest of his
"Had Jonathan lived, much may have been different in David's
life, but such was not the purpose of God. The affection between them was of the
most exceptional character, calling for the strongest terms of description. In
the friendship of Jonathan, David could have found satisfaction and guidance for
the restless desires that led him into pitfalls. But it was God's will that he
should learn alone.
"After Jonathan's death, David seems to have found affinity
with no one, and such comfort as he could get in the course of a life of
disappointment and turmoil he must get by a direct and lonely approach to God by
himself which, while infinitely more difficult, was perhaps in the ultimate for
"The Psalms could never have been written by a man who could
find satisfaction and comfort in anything short of a direct and individual
communion with God. And therefore, in the wisdom of God, it was Joab and not
Jonathan who became David's lifelong companion, though such would never have
been David's choice.
"God's purpose with David was very high, and David had much to
learn. Therefore considerations of his present comfort must give way to those
which through long and bitter tribulation would develop in him the peaceable
fruits of purity and righteousness.
"The wisdom of God chose a vessel ideally suited to His
purpose, and no small part of that purpose was the recording of the Psalms. The
strong light of the inspiring Spirit, shining through every facet of David's
character and experiences, threw as on a screen each detail of hope and despair,
of failure and triumph.
"Moses' character is made before we meet him as he comes on a
divine mission from the wilderness to deliver Israel from bondage. But in the
Psalms every aspect of David's development is laid bare before us. Christ alone
combined the exalted and prophetic majesty of Moses with the keen humanity of
David. Tried and tempted in all points like his brethren, he alone as the
representative of mankind fulfilled all the experiences portrayed through David
in the Psalms and emerged triumphant and unspotted from them.
"David typifies the body of Christ, those whom Christ came to
redeem, the chosen generation, the spirit willing and eager but the flesh weak,
a man after God's own heart, who through much tribulation must learn the way to
"But David, as the writer of the Psalms, was permitted to be
the instrument by which Christ was encouraged and strengthened. And each of the
members, too, can in some small way share in this honor. For it was for the joy
that was set before him that he was enabled to endure, and that joy consisted in
the love and affection of those who gratefully accept the benefits he
"Our participation in the victory is measured, therefore, by
our affection for him, and the value of that vice-royalty is increased by each
one that lays hold upon it.
"Between Joab and David there was no affinity. David was a man
of God. Joab was not. No greater gulf could separate two men than that. They
lived in different worlds. David repeatedly struggled and fell, but from
beginning to end he was a man of God, intensely loyal and devoted.
"Joab was a man of the world. Wiser at times than David, and
strangely enough, sometimes his perception rose higher than David's, but to the
deeper currents of divine communion which were the basis of David's life, Joab
was a stranger.
"In his reaction to David's grief for Absalom, Joab is
practical and wise. But David could see many things to which Joab was utterly
blind. David could see that day many years earlier when the prophet Nathan had
stood before him and had solemnly spoken of the great anger of God and the
consequences he would have to suffer. David could now see the humiliation of
Tamar and the murder of Amnon, his firstborn. He could see that now another
wayward son had been taken, leaving behind an ignoble memory of treachery and
dishonor, all the consequences of his own folly and sin. And he would wonder
where and when the next blow would fall.
"But Joab's rough counsel would sharply remind him that his
pilgrimage was not yet ended. Those terrible words would always be before his
mind -- 'Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from thine house,' and he
would see dimly, stretching into the future, a continuation of that trail of
wickedness and bloodshed which he had set in motion. And so, aroused once again
by Joab's brusque prodding, he concealed his grief that no one would understand,
and carried on" (GV Growcott).
Reading 2 - Jer 23:29
" 'Is not my word like fire,' declares the LORD, 'and like a
hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?' " (Jer 23:29).
By the fire, God melts the hard metal, softens it, and subdues
it. Then He may take it out of the fire, and with hammer upon anvil He pounds
and shapes the softened metal into a fit instrument for His use.
Reading 3 - Rom 10:4
"Christ is the end of the law so that there may be
righteousness for everyone who believes" (Rom 10:4).
Just as in English we speak of "the end of the matter" and use
the expression "to the end that" -- in the one expression "end" meaning
conclusion or termination, and in the other, goal or purpose -- the same dual
possibility lies in the Greek word "telos". The work of God in Christ both put
an end to the Law, but it also fulfilled the goal or purpose of the Law, which
was a "schoolmaster" or "guide" to point the way and to lead others to Christ
(Gal 3:24)! In a similar vein, Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to
abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill
them" (Mat 5:17). But in being fulfilled, in and through Christ, the Law -- by
necessity -- came to its end or conclusion.
In Christ, the Law came to an end in the same way that the
seed comes to an end in the new plant that springs up, or the bud comes to an
end in the blossoming flower. "The new is in the old concealed; the old is in
the new revealed."