Friends With God: 3

‘He made known His ways to Moses.’ Psalm 103:7 NIV

Let’s check out what Moses said as he talked to God. ‘If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favour with You.’ (Exodus 33:13 NIV) Israel was in a crisis that threatened their relationship with God, but what did Moses pray for? Not, ‘Lord, You’ve got to resolve it for me!’ Instead he prayed, ‘Teach me Your way so I may know You.’

He wanted more than just information about God, he wanted intimacy with Him: to know His heart and mind—how He thought and felt about the situation. Why? Because knowing God and having His favour would bring all the other things he needed, including a solution to the crisis.

And God gave him what he asked. ‘He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel.’ God responded to Moses’ request, saying, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ (Exodus 33:14 NIV) In the Hebrew text ‘you’ is singular. God promised to accompany Moses and give rest to only him. Anybody else would have accepted gladly, but not Moses!

His prayer surpassed his own concerns: ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.’ (Exodus 33:15 NIV) In other words: ‘Lord, it’s not me I’m praying for, it’s us!’

Question: Are your prayers bigger than yourself and your own needs? The Bible says, ‘For God so loved the world.’ (John 3:16 NIV) So pray that your family, your town, and a lost world will not perish but have everlasting life!

SoulFood: 2 Sam 20:1–22:30, John 4:1–12, Ps 100, Pro 23:22–28

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

2 Samuel 20–22:30 ()

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20:1 Now there happened to be there a worthless man, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. And he blew the trumpet and said,

  “We have no portion in David,
  and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
  every man to his tents, O Israel!”

So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

And David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house and put them in a house under guard and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood.

Then the king said to Amasa, “Call the men of Judah together to me within three days, and be here yourself.” So Amasa went to summon Judah, but he delayed beyond the set time that had been appointed him. And David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. Take your lord's servants and pursue him, lest he get himself to fortified cities and escape from us.” And there went out after him Joab's men and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men. They went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldier's garment, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his thigh, and as he went forward it fell out. And Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 But Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab's hand. So Joab struck him with it in the stomach and spilled his entrails to the ground without striking a second blow, and he died.

Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11 And one of Joab's young men took his stand by Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.” 12 And Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the highway. And anyone who came by, seeing him, stopped. And when the man saw that all the people stopped, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field and threw a garment over him. 13 When he was taken out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

14 And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah, and all the Bichrites assembled and followed him in. 15 And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah. They cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down. 16 Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’” 17 And he came near her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” 18 Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. 19 I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the LORD?” 20 Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.

23 Now Joab was in command of all the army of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24 and Adoram was in charge of the forced labor; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25 and Sheva was secretary; and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26 and Ira the Jairite was also David's priest.

21:1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the LORD. And the LORD said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites. Although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had sought to strike them down in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah. And David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement, that you may bless the heritage of the LORD?” The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “What do you say that I shall do for you?” They said to the king, “The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel, let seven of his sons be given to us, so that we may hang them before the LORD at Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD.” And the king said, “I will give them.”

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan, because of the oath of the LORD that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. The king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite; and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before the LORD, and the seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest.

10 Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell upon them from the heavens. And she did not allow the birds of the air to come upon them by day, or the beasts of the field by night. 11 When David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12 David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, on the day the Philistines killed Saul on Gilboa. 13 And he brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14 And they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of Kish his father. And they did all that the king commanded. And after that God responded to the plea for the land.

15 There was war again between the Philistines and Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines. And David grew weary. 16 And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, “You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.”

18 After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. 19 And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. 20 And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. 21 And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David's brother, struck him down. 22 These four were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

22:1 And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said,

  “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
  my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
    my stronghold and my refuge,
    my savior; you save me from violence.
  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
    and I am saved from my enemies.
  “For the waves of death encompassed me,
    the torrents of destruction assailed me;
  the cords of Sheol entangled me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
  “In my distress I called upon the LORD;
    to my God I called.
  From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry came to his ears.
  “Then the earth reeled and rocked;
    the foundations of the heavens trembled
    and quaked, because he was angry.
  Smoke went up from his nostrils,
    and devouring fire from his mouth;
    glowing coals flamed forth from him.
10   He bowed the heavens and came down;
    thick darkness was under his feet.
11   He rode on a cherub and flew;
    he was seen on the wings of the wind.
12   He made darkness around him his canopy,
    thick clouds, a gathering of water.
13   Out of the brightness before him
    coals of fire flamed forth.
14   The LORD thundered from heaven,
    and the Most High uttered his voice.
15   And he sent out arrows and scattered them;
    lightning, and routed them.
16   Then the channels of the sea were seen;
    the foundations of the world were laid bare,
  at the rebuke of the LORD,
    at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
17   “He sent from on high, he took me;
    he drew me out of many waters.
18   He rescued me from my strong enemy,
    from those who hated me,
    for they were too mighty for me.
19   They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    but the LORD was my support.
20   He brought me out into a broad place;
    he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
21   “The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
22   For I have kept the ways of the LORD
    and have not wickedly departed from my God.
23   For all his rules were before me,
    and from his statutes I did not turn aside.
24   I was blameless before him,
    and I kept myself from guilt.
25   And the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to my cleanness in his sight.
26   “With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
    with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
27   with the purified you deal purely,
    and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
28   You save a humble people,
    but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.
29   For you are my lamp, O LORD,
    and my God lightens my darkness.
30   For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.

John 4:1–12 ()

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4:1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”

Psalm 100 ()

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A Psalm for giving thanks.

100:1   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
    Serve the LORD with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!
  Know that the LORD, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
  Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!
  For the LORD is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Proverbs 23:22–28 ()

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22   Listen to your father who gave you life,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23   Buy truth, and do not sell it;
    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24   The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
    he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
25   Let your father and mother be glad;
    let her who bore you rejoice.
26   My son, give me your heart,
    and let your eyes observe my ways.
27   For a prostitute is a deep pit;
    an adulteress is a narrow well.
28   She lies in wait like a robber
    and increases the traitors among mankind.

Fri 11 October, 2019


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