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man with amputated leg May 12, 13 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Psalms 55, 58, 61, 62, 63, 64, 69, 70, 141, 143; 2Samuel 17:24–18:18. (Note: this is a two day study. It is suggested that the Bible reading be done on May 12 and the Bible study on May 13)

A Painful Cure

Gangrene is a dreadful condition which often forces doctors to remove limbs. Those who lose a limb suffer great emotional pain before and after they lose it. The prospect of this loss is so great they might wish they could die instead, or at least find some pill to make all the pain go away. Unfortunately, some people have to go through the pain of an amputation (physically or emotionally) before they can be cured and restored to health. King David could relate to that; he suffered emotional and spiritual pain when his kingdom was suspended, and the cure for his restoration would be very painful, even worse than an amputation.

In recent Bible studies we have seen King David disgraced—his favorite son, Absalom staged a coup against him. Instead of allowing Jerusalem to suffer civil war, David, his soldiers, relatives, and attendants leave Jerusalem and live in the desert. At first, he seems to think God will restore him quickly but it does not happen. David, therefore, slips into despair. When he sinks to his lowest point, however, he looks up to God. Although forgiven, David realizes the LORD is disciplining him for murdering Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, and for his adultery with her. His kingdom is suspended, and it is his own fault. Instead of continuing in despair or looking elsewhere for help, however, David looks to God. Still, he does not experience immediate deliverance. However, the LORD is quietly working against Absalom.

While waiting, David continues to experience pain from Absalom's treachery. Absalom is like gangrene—he is destroying the kingdom and everything decent in Jerusalem. The king’s son dishonors and shows disdain for his father by sleeping with his concubines (secondary wives, which David had left at the palace to care for it). Absalom has sexual relations with them on top of the palace wall in broad daylight before all the eyes of Israel. Now Absalom is preparing for war against his father to kill him and take full control as king. How does David feel about this? In a probable reference to Absalom, he says,

If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend...My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall [be shaken from his place of favor]. But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you. (Psalm 55:12-13, 20-23, NIV)

How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down-- this leaning wall, this tottering fence? They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place [David's throne]; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. (Psalm 62:3-7,NIV)

When we are in pain, where is our refuge? David's refuge is in God. The king expresses confidence that God will eventually vindicate him.

They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God's name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced. (Psalm 63:9-11, NIV)

David overcomes his despair and has renewed confidence in the LORD. David, his troops, and the people from Jerusalem, however, are weak and hungry in the desert. God provides for them, even in this desolate place. He can do the same for us.

When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows' milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert,” (2Samuel 17:27-29, NIV).

King David is still emotionally hurt, but he prepares to defend himself against Absalom's troops. David's men tell him to stay behind as they fight the army of Absalom; they can not afford the possibility that David might be killed. David's words in his Psalms are prophetic—God will destroy the wicked who seek his life; and, unfortunately, the leader of that wicked band is his own son. In God's grace and mercy David does not see the death of Absalom. No matter how wicked our children become, it is never easy to lose them—it is much worse than losing a limb.

Absalom's wickedness was great against his father and Jerusalem. In God's sovereign will the pain of Absalom's death is the cure for stopping the wickedness in Zion (Jerusalem) and returning David back to his kingdom. King David would be restored to his prominence, although his trouble was not quite complete. We will see this in our next lesson.

Are we in pain? Sometimes the cure is painful, but we need to keep trusting God to work out his sovereign will in our lives.

Lessons to Live By

  • Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall [be shaken from his place of favor]. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge (Psalm 62:7, NIV). Is God our rock and refuge? (more...)
  • Sometimes the cure is painful, but we need to keep trusting God to work out his sovereign will in our lives.
  • God will continue to care for us who are committed to him as he did with David in the wilderness.

Focus Verses

Psalm 62:5-7, (NIV) Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

A Look Ahead: Now that Absalom is dead, King David has a chance to Start Over. What does he do after he returns to Jerusalem? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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