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February 24, 2019

February 24, 2019
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Read 2 Samuel 3
 
Scripture- 2 Samuel 3: 1 “The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.”
 
Observation- The narrative of the ongoing battle between Saul’s family and David for the kingdom continues in Chapter 3. The chapter depicts imperfect people and their weaknesses as they struggle to live under the Law. David took six wives which went against God’s commands in Deuteronomy 17:17, and his plan for marriage in Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 16:4-6. Abner, the ultimate opportunist and skilled military commander, took advantage of Saul’s weak successor, Ish-bosheth, and made a covenant with David. Joab, David’s nephew and captain of his army, added to the wickedness as he avenged the death of his brother, Asahel, at the hands of Abner by murdering him just outside the gates of Hebron, which was a city of refuge. At the end of chapter 3 however, the position of new king of Israel, selected by God for a special reason not yet understood by the people, had begun to strengthen with the people of Israel.
 
Application- As imperfect people and Christ followers we have from the lineage of David the gift of the risen Savior whose forgiveness and grace are immeasurable. When we read Acts chapter 1, Jesus tells his disciples of another gift God issending them, and Acts chapter 2 includes a quote from David which reiterates the importance of studying both the Old and New Testaments. Though most importantly, chapter 2 speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit Jesus promised to his believers to give them strength on their faith journey. When studying Romans chapter 8, we learn how to live a life in the power of the Holy Spirit, declare our freedom from condemnation, find our help in times of weakness, and understand we are more than conquerors today due to power of the Holy Spirit. The question for us at New Hope is… are we growing stronger by reading, meditating and studying Scripture, praying, fasting, regularly attending worship, healthy living, and sharing our faith with others in the Wesleyan Means of Grace?
 
Prayer- Excerpt from St. Patrick’s Breastplate
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
 
 
Becky Jordan

"Some trust in their war chariots and others in their horses, but we trust in the power of the Lord our God. Such people will stumble and fall, but we will rise and stand firm.

Give victory to the king, O Lord; answer us when we call."

Psalm 20:8-9 (GNT). A psalm by David.
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February 24, 2019 #2

Deep Convictions
February 24, 2019
Read 2 Samuel 3
 
Scripture – 2 Samuel 3:7-11 One day Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, accused Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, a woman named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah.
Abner was furious. “Am I some Judean dog to be kicked around like this?” he shouted. “After all I have done for your father, Saul, and his family and friends by not handing you over to David, is this my reward—that you find fault with me about this woman? May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t do everything I can to help David get what the Lord has promised him! I’m going to take Saul’s kingdom and give it to David. I will establish the throne of David over Israel as well as Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.” Ishbosheth didn’t dare say another word because he was afraid of what Abner might do.
 
Observations – Ishbosheth was certainly right to speak out against Abner, but he was also lacking a certain "moral" strength to keep authority. For the next four centuries we will see how a lack of moral backbone plays out in Israel's troubles, especially in it's leadership of kings.
 
Application – If you believe in something, then taking a stand for it requires the utmost courage and conviction. However, many times we are faced with what we are up against and allow ourselves to be talked out of our position. If it is possible to know something is wrong, and yet persuasion powers over us, how can we firmly stand strong to what we know is right? Personally, I would say that we were not as convicted as we thought we were.
In St. Louis, we know that there are sides taking their last attempt at what they would prefer for change. Each convicted and courageous. Perhaps and but maybe a handful will be persuaded to see things another way when they walk away from it. But it is in times like these where regard and praise must be given to our leaders who press on to see things for the present and future days of what we want this church to stand on. If there could be any persuasion or change in position, I pray that it happens with those who want to challenge this conference with aggression and hostility. I have complete faith that our leaders who represent New Hope UMC are of the love of Christ and are walking, talking and living in kindness. They stand on their morals and convictions. They have prayed to God for strength. They rely on this. Perhaps that is the key.
 
Prayer – God give us strength. Amen.
 
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