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Nathan and King David

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.” When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord, and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. (2 Samuel 11:1-5, 26-27; 12:1-9, NRSV)

Nathan came to tell David that the Lord was not happy with him taking Uriah’s wife.

I remember this story from Veggie Tales. It is King George and the Ducky. And Nathan comes in at the end to explain to David with a flannel graph of sheep and poor and rich man. You see David was focused on what he wanted. In the Bible story it is Bathsheba, and in the Veggie Tales version even though King George has all of these wonderful duckys he see the ducky that Uriah has and he has to have it.

You see when we put ourselves before others we are not living the way that God and Jesus have taught us to live. It is not about us but the other.

How can we focus on the other to live as Jesus taught us?

 

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Rules for a Godly Community

You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:13-18, NRSV)

This section could basically be summed up in love your neighbor as yourself.

All of these things are things we would not want people to do to us. So simply put treat everyone like you want to be treated.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all treated each other like we want to be treated?

 

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Joseph’s Dreams

Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. This is the story of the family of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him. Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words. He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?”So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” He answered, “Here I am.” So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron. He came to Shechem, and a man found him wandering in the fields; the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” “I am seeking my brothers,” he said; “tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.”The man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’“ So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him” —that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. (Genesis 37:1-24, NRSV)

When we focus on what others have we can easily get pulled into the fires of jealousy. You see we all have within us the ability to focus only on ourselves and to want what is best for us.

Like Joseph’s brothers who ultimately think that if they kill Joseph their father will have more love for them. I struggle with this every day and trying to make sure that my daughters don’t think that I love any one of them more than the others. I don’t want to play into the jealousy that is there.

How can we live our lives so that we help others avoid jealousy and focus more on loving others?

 

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Hope in the Land

The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse— who can understand it? I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings. Like the partridge hatching what it did not lay, so are all who amass wealth unjustly; in mid-life it will leave them, and at their end they will prove to be fools. (Jeremiah 17:9-11, NRSV

The Lord will search our minds and our hearts to give us what we deserve according to our ways, according to the fruit of our doing.

The Lord knows the reason we do the things we do. Is it out of the love that the Lord has poured into our hearts, or for our own gain?

The heart desires what it wants, but we must know if it is for the Lord or our own selfish gain. The Lord will always know.

Live for others, as the Lord lives for you!

 

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God’s Principles of Judgment

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all. (Romans 2:1-16, NRSV)

The bible doesn’t say that we shouldn’t judge others. It says do not judge unless you want to be judged by the same judgment. And usually as our passage today says when we judge someone we too are guilty of that same thing.  In fact, when we point our finger at someone, we are usually pointing 3 fingers back at ourselves.

You see God forgave us and wants us to forgive others. Not tell them they are wicked and evil and going to be eternally separated from God, but that God loves us and them and when we confess our wrongs God forgives us.

So do you judge others, and do you realize you are also judging yourself?

 

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The Marriage of Ruth and Boaz

Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one took off a sandal and gave it to the other; this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the next-of-kin said to Boaz, “Acquire it for yourself,” he took off his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have acquired from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, to be my wife, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance, in order that the name of the dead may not be cut off from his kindred and from the gate of his native place; today you are witnesses.” (Ruth 4:7-10, NRSV)

So Boaz removed his shoe and purchased the land and legally acquired Ruth as his wife.

Since the unnamed relative was not able or unwilling to marry Ruth and carry on Elimelech/Mahlon’s name Boaz was able to marry Ruth and provide for her and Naomi.

Would we be so bold as to do this for a relative?

How much are we willing to give to help others live?

 

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Epilogue

And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one—to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. (1 John 5:14-17, NRSV)

Sin is any wrongdoing that separates us from God. There are sins that lead to death, mortal sins, and sins that do not lead to death. And if a sin is not mortal you can pray to God for help for those you see committing these sins. And that will give life to others.

So request that God give life to those you see that are separated from Him.

By praying for others you are also bringing life to yourself.

 

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