22 April 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 22 April 2017

Saturday already!  It does not seem possible, but then this week has passed in a blur of activities, many that I did not anticipate (or desire) and I'm not sure just what we have to show for it.  We about collapsed last night, I know that much.  Around 06:00, a small (well, not so small) gray cat was "washing" my nose, performing the service of an "alarm cat".  And a small (again, no longer quite so small) black one was dancing on my feet, performing the same "service".  Meaning that sleep was only a forlorn hope, so I got  up, walking over cold tile floor in bare feet, to get their breakfast, the real object of the whole exercise.  Sleeping in was, obviously, very much out of the question.
And then discovered that, despite being plugged into a charger all night, my phone was D-E-D dead. 
In our sojourn yesterday at the hospital, my good charger and cable vanished, somehow.  And apparently the charging transformer that I'd plugged a brand new cable into, was one of those 1.0 amp ones that will, in time, charge a headset.  But nothing else.  So, with the "services" running in the background, the charging actually lost ground.  And we were dead.  I scrambled around finding another block and cable, and got it plugged in.
Then, while we were having breakfast, Wife informed me that we had a Required Presence in just over an hour.  The Great-Niece was enrolled in some sort of dance class run at the nearby community center, and there was a recital at a nearly empty mall nearby, and we Must Attend.  So we went.  Utterly boring to me, but great stuff for the women and the dads and grand-dads.  I've never understood dancing or the attraction of it, and seeing 4-year-olds trying to be prima ballerinas really doesn't do much for me.  But I kept my opinions to myself (for once).  Oh, and phone was at 13% charge when we went in.  I used it not one bit.  And it was down to 7% when we came out.  Weird, and I have to spend some time dealing with some of the things that it does without my consent.

But it is OK, I guess.  Wife is snoozing, foot and ankle all pained and swollen from being on that bad joint, more walking than she normally does.  We've been through some "stuff", but the Lord has carried us through, despite what frequently looked like an impossible situation.  I guess He hasn't forgotten how to do that, you think?

And we just got word that Wife's sister, after major surgery noon yesterday, has been deemed fit to be released and is already at home.

Two songs for the day.  Neither one is technically a hymn, but that's ok.
Dwelling in Beulah Land.   The word "Beulah" is sometimes a proper name, but it is also used as a reference to the Heavenly Zion, the Promised Land if you will.  No, this world is not "Beulah" in either sense, but in another sense that is where our real citizenship is.  In a sense, we live in both.  There are many recordings made of this song, and we frequently heard it in our years living in the South.  I like it.  The congregational singing version of it is here

OK, make that three songs.  Forgive me?  This is Squire Parsons, with Sweet Beulah Land.  Can you tell that I have something on my mind?

And then, there is Canaanland Is Just In Sight.  Ever want to just give up, give in, roll over and die?  Do you know anyone who hasn't been so tempted?  Ever?  I don't.   This world and all its pain and sorrow, sin and despair, can do that.  Been there.  Skirt the margins of it quite often.  But the things of our faith also remind of the times that the Lord, often through His people, has brought victory out of defeat, joy out of sadness, life out of death, healing out of hopelessness.  He still does it.  The story of the Exodus, including the Passover, is one of those.  And I refuse to believe that it is mere coincidence that the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, occurs right at the same time as the Passover.  Moses, guided by the Lord, brought a whole nation out of slavery in a far-off land, to the place where they could see what the Promised Land was.  Moses did not succumb to despair.  Neither should we.


Our Old Testament passage today is chapters 4, 5, and 6 of 2nd Samuel.
Saul is dead.  So is Jonathan.  Some of the other sons and hangers-on are not.  Some of the general hangers-on are still around too, more than a few trying to curry favor with the new regime.
What is interesting also is the latter part of chapter 6.  (And keep in mind my earlier comments about danicing, ok?).  The ark is coming into Jerusalem.  And David, the king, is leaping and dancing around the cart as the Ark is being conveyed.  Some, including one of his wives, disapproved.
Now, I grew up in a denomination that thought dancing was evil.    And as a good Baptist these days, I am still part of such a tradition.  The old joke was "Baptists are opposed to sex because they believe it leads to dancing".  Which is sort of funny, but also captures part of the general disapproval.  But I happened to be watching TV one day, quite a number of years ago, when David Jeremiah's program came on, and he addressed this very issue.  He, like I, had grown up in a tradition that was so opposed to dancing of any kind, that there were attempts -- and there still may be --  to redefine what David was doing as being something else.  Jeremiah said, "I've made a very careful word study on this.  He danced."  I guess that if David the king could abandon pretenses of dignity in order to be excited for the Lord, perhaps we can say "Amen" out loud and not be in too much trouble.  You think?

II Samuel 4
1 And when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. 2 And Saul's son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin: (for Beeroth also was reckoned to Benjamin. 3 And the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and were sojourners there until this day.) 4 And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth. 5 And the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who lay on a bed at noon. 6 And they came thither into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they smote him under the fifth rib: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 For when they came into the house, he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the plain all night. 8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed. 9 And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, 10 When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings: 11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth? 12 And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.

II Samuel 5
1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah. 6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. 8 And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. 9 So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 10 And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him. 11 And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house. 12 And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake. 13 And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David. 14 And these be the names of those that were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shammuah, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, 15 Ibhar also, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia, 16 And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphalet. 17 But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold. 18 The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. 19 And David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand. 20 And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The LORD hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baalperazim. 21 And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them. 22 And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. 23 And when David inquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. 24 And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. 25 And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.

II Samuel 6
1 Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubim. 3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. 4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. 5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. 6 And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. 7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. 8 And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day. 9 And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me? 10 So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. 11 And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household. 12 And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. 13 And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. 14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. 17 And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 18 And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. 19 And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house. 20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! 21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. 22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor. 23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.


The New Testament reading is verses 18-43 from chapter 18 in the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus is en route to Jerusalem and the Cross.  But on the way, He was also teaching that our citizenship must be in Heaven, not in this world, and that we do wrongly to heed and love this world more than we do the Lord.  And, yes, it's "natural" to do so.

Luke 18:18-43
18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. 29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, 30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. 31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. 35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: 36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. 37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. 38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. 39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. 40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, 41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

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