April 27

Luke 21:1-19

Much of this chapter is focused on the temple in Jerusalem. It starts with Jesus observing the people giving, pointing out the widow who gave all she had in surrender to the Lord. Then Jesus talks about how the temple will be destroyed, with not a stone left on top of another. We know that in 70 AD, Rome destroys the temple in opposition to the Jews. The temple was the most important gathering place for Jews, so tearing it down and burning the city was what caused the Jews to scatter, also known as the Diaspora, the dispersion of the Jews.

From Daniel 9:26, we know that the Antichrist will come from the nation that destroyed the temple. Therefore, the Antichrist will either be of Italian descent or come from a nation once ruled by Rome.

In verse 24, Luke speaks of the scattering of the Jews as an intentional happening with a purpose: “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” The Jews were scattered and the Gospel of Jesus Christ has literally gone around the globe.

2 Samuel 17-18

In chapters 17 and 18 we read about Absalom’s defeat and death. In the big picture, there are two matters we should keep in mind. One, David is God’s choice. It may not have appeared that way in the moment, but God often works His plan when it appears differently to us. Two, David sinned against the Lord and brought trouble on his own house. He not only had a dysfunctional family made up of multiple wives and concubines; but he also took Bathsheba and murdered her husband. God allowed David to reap what he sowed.

In 17:2, we read Ahithophel’s plan, but it sounds like how Satan often works to attack us. He says, “I will come upon him while he is weary and weak, and make him afraid.” Satan’s attacks are strategic, trying to get us to a place of being weary, weak, and afraid before going in for the kill. It is important that we make sure we are leaning in on the Lord, making sure we are staying rested, strong, and confident in His ability and strength.

Then Ahithophel plans for all David’s supporters to flee so he can get David isolated and cause him to be vulnerable for attack. We are stronger when we are together. Let’s make sure we support each other and guard against division. Let’s recognize an attack when we see one! In addition, let’s not turn on our leaders when times get tough. Satan is out to destroy God’s kingdom by taking out the Lord’s leaders.

Hushai warns David to escape. When trials come, they often expose the true character of hearts that surround you. Allow God to do some shaking in your life and ministry from time to time. God doesn’t want to decrease you; He wants to increase you. If He prunes a branch, it’s because He wants to remove what isn’t productive and replace it with what is.

In 17:10, it says, “All Israel knows that your father (David) is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men.” David had a reputation as a strong leader. Don’t despise the strength the Lord has given to those in leadership. They are built in a way that can forge through difficulty so others can follow and be blessed. If a leader is humble, then that strength is used by the Lord for His kingdom purpose. If a leader gets into pride, then that strength is used for self-promotion. David was not perfect, but David was humble. When he failed, he repented and humbled himself again.

David mourns Absalom’s death. Jesus said we are to love and pray for our enemies. If our focus in a conflict is on self-preservation, then conflict will cause us to hate and condemn those in opposition to us. However, if our focus is on the Lord, then we are able to catch his heart for those who oppose us. Loving and praying for an enemy, as if they were our own son or daughter, doesn’t mean we don’t stand up for ourselves or care for our responsibilities, but it does mean we hope the opposition will see our love and reconcile.

In this situation, Absalom was under David’s authority as a son and a citizen. David was both his father and his king. Absalom refused to submit to David. Submission isn’t supposed to be a negative idea, but a positive one. When we follow our leader, there is unity and peace. It’s easy to submit to a leader that is perfect, but most leaders aren’t perfect. It’s not difficult to submit to a leader that does things your way, but sometimes leaders will have a different perspective or method. Submission is a choice – not a feeling. For the sake of unity and peace, let’s humble ourselves and follow our leaders and they follow God.

Leaders, in the same regard, must make certain they are seeking God in each situation, being submitted to Him. God called David to be the king. To some, that sounds like a wonderful position to have – to have influence and power; but along with leadership comes sacrifice and responsibility. It could have been easier on David to give up the throne. He could let go of the weight of caring for a nation and get some rest. He could go back to singing in a field under a tree and watching over sheep. However, if you are leader, you know you can’t go back. Leaders have a call to lead people forward, and that call will leave a person discontent until they know they are doing what they were chosen and equipped to do.

In summary, whatever our position of authority, let’s be submitted to God so there can be unity and peace.

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