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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Daily Devotion for June 21, 2014

<i>Thou Art the Man</i> by Peter Rothermel, ca. 1878.  Nathan condemns David for his sinful conduct with Bathsheba.
Thou Art the Man by Peter Rothermel, ca. 1878. Rothermel, best-known for his U.S. civil war paintings, captures the drama of Nathan condemning David for his sinful conduct with Bathsheba.



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Oddly, Elvis Presley won only three Grammy Awards in his life; but even odder, all three were for a gospel song: How Great Thou Art.

Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning

I  give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.


Prayer in Times of Low Spirits (from Psalm 42)

Like a deer thirsts for the water of a clear cool stream, my soul thirsts for you, my God. I await with longing the day when I may finally appear before you. I sometimes become unhappy; my spirit becomes downcast, as my enemies deny you and mock me; and yet, always, I discover the joy of your Spirit and turn my face to you, and you heal me. By day you command my steadfast love, and by night your song comes to me. The wickedness of the world taunts me and evil people put a bullet in my back, saying “Where is your God”? But why are you in turmoil, oh my soul? My hope is in God. I will turn again to you, my Lord, and praise you, my salvation and my God.



[The thirst for God that I feel.]


O  God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

<i>Bathsheba</i> by Frederic Bazille, ca. 1870.
Bathsheba by Frederic Bazille, ca. 1870. This early French Impressionist work looks very much like Manet. Bazille, unlike earlier painters of Bathsheba, captures the sheer animal appeal that would have motivated David.

Proverbs 6:32 (NIV)

But a man who commits adultery has no sense;
whoever does so destroys himself.

Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never be wiped away.

Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 1:11-30 (The Message)

The Story of Solomon (2)

(This passage is editedTo eliminate repetition and padding, the passage has been heavily redacted without ellipses or other marks of omission. . Click here to read the full passage.)

Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Did you know that Adonijah, Haggith’s son, has taken over as king, and our master David doesn’t know a thing about it? Go immediately to King David. Speak up. While you’re there talking with the king, I’ll come in and corroborate your story.”

Bathsheba went at once to the king in his palace bedroom. He was so old! Abishag was at his side making him comfortable. Bathsheba bowed low, honoring the king. “My master,” she said, “you promised me in God’s name, ‘Your son Solomon will be king after me and sit on my throne.’ And now look what’s happened — Adonijah has taken over as king, and my master the king doesn’t even know it! He has thrown a huge coronation feast, inviting all the king’s sons, the priest Abiathar, and Joab head of the army. But your servant Solomon was not invited. My master the king, every eye in Israel is watching you to see who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him. If you fail to act, the moment you’re buried my son Solomon and I are as good as dead.”

Abruptly, while she was telling the king all this, Nathan the prophet came in. “My master the king,” Nathan began, “did you say, ‘Adonijah shall be king after me and sit on my throne’? Because that’s what’s happening. He’s thrown a huge coronation feast. They’re having a grand time, eating and drinking and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ Is this something that my master the king has done behind our backs?”

King David took action: “As God lives, the God who delivered me from every kind of trouble, I’ll do exactly what I promised in God’s name, the God of Israel: Your son Solomon will be king after me and take my place on the throne.”

Notes on the Scripture

First, a procedural note. In recounting the history of the Jewish Empire, we are going to use different translations, some of them modern, and frequently will edit the passages extensively; otherwise, 1 Kings (and as much of 2 Kings as we read) is going to be heavy sledding. Nothing important will be left out, and we will always have a link to the full version in the excellent ESV translation. But we felt it was important to present this entire scene at one sitting, and 20 verses is too long in full version.

King David icon
King David

After many decades, Bathsheba still has David's heart. For a quick bit of backstory, “It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful.” (1 Sam 11:2) He was utterly smitten. He had her summoned, and seduced her, even though she was married (she would have been very young at the time) to Uriah the Hittite, one of his soldiers. She even became pregnant. David arranged to have Uriah — a good and faithful soldier — put at the very front of an assault on a fierce enemy without proper support, so that he was killed.

David suffered much for this terrible sin; in fact, it speaks volumes of God's love for him that David was not deposed and/or killed. Even though God forgave David, He took the life of the child Bathsheba was carrying as retribution, for “sin requires blood”; and it weighed on David the rest of his life. But at least his love was true: He married her, and Solomon was her second pregnancy.

It was not clear in verses 1-10 just how far Adonijah had gone; it seemed that he was rallying support for his coronation at David's death, but the passage begins with Nathan's startling news that Adonijah was already acting as king. Moreover, remember that he has a huge and powerful force on his side. Joab, especially. Joab was the general of David's army, and army generals are often the single deciding factor in civil war. Nor was Joab just an old hack sitting at the top of the chain of command; he was an excellent fighting general in the prime of his power.

David, so old that he cannot get warm — at death's doorstep — is served well by the loyal Bathsheba and Nathan. They are able to rally him to take action. We might infer that this was difficult for all involved, that David had gotten so old that both mind and body were but a flickering light.

endless knot

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Memory Verse

Matthew 7:7-8 (NKJV): Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

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