Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Sa 11
When I was growing up, "adultery" was a word one whispered.
Today the word is "affair", and it is a subtle yet revealing change. "Affair"
has an air of mystery about it, and romance, and excitement. Radio, television,
movies, books -- all of the media -- assume or encourage the affair. It is easy
to fall into the trap: everyone is doing it, so it must be okay. Unless, of
course, you believe in keeping the laws of God.
For whatever reason, keeping the seventh commandment is
becoming more difficult for more and more Christians. In fact, Allan Petersen
begins his new book, "The Myth of the Greener Grass", with a question: "Is
anyone faithful Any more?" And it's a good question. He writes that in his 38
years of traveling ministry he has counseled pastors, pastors' wives,
missionaries, Sunday school teachers, Christian counselors, and church members
who reflect the increasing incidence of extramarital affairs among professing
Christian people. There is a "tendency to find reasons to support this behavior,
even though those reasons might be contrary to the moral and Biblical
convictions we have long held."
Today we want to talk about relationships, not sin. Peterson
points out the relationship of David and Bathsheba, and the results of their
affair. The lessons we can learn from the story of David, a man of God who fell
into sin, apply to all of us, men and women alike. Here are some of them,
pointed out by Petersen:
No one, however chosen, blessed, and used of God, is immune to an
Anyone, regardless of how many victories he has won,
can fall disastrously.
The act of infidelity is the result of uncontrolled
desires, thoughts, and fantasies.
Your body is your servant or it becomes
A Christian who falls will excuse, rationalize, and conceal,
the same as anyone else.
Sin can be enjoyable but it can never be
One night of passion can spark years of family
Reading 2 - Jer 15:1
"Then the LORD said to me: 'Even if Moses and Samuel were to
stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from
my presence! Let them go!' " (Jer 15:1).
"What greater discouragement could the LORD have spoken to
him? If two venerable leaders of God's people in ancient days were to add their
petitions in vain, what hope that Jeremiah might storm the citadels of heaven?
"At the apostasy of the golden calf, Moses, for all his hot
anger, made long drawn-out intercession for his people, and saved them from
utter dereliction (Deu 9:18-20). Again, when the exhortation of the faithful
Caleb and Joshua was spurned, the people being ready to turn their backs on the
Land of Promise, the prayer of Moses saved the situation (Exo 32:11,12,30-32;
"In very different circumstances, on two occasions when the
people of Israel had only Samuel to lean on in their extremity, the intercession
of that prophet brought aid from heaven in thunder and in rain (1Sa 7:8-10;
"But now, so serious the situation, so intense the anger of
the LORD, that Moses, Samuel, and Jeremiah combined (or Noah, Daniel, and Job:
Eze 14:14-20) would seek in vain to fend off the impending judgment" (Harry
Whittaker, "Jeremiah" 54,55).
Reading 3 - Mat 26:45-48
"Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, 'Are you
still sleeping and resting?..."
...He sits with the sleeping disciples, as a shepherd keeping
watch over his flock, quietly awaiting the coming of the band of men to arrest
him. (It may be suggested that a long period, an hour or two, elapsed here while
they sleep... before Jesus' "Look!" of the next verse. During the last part of
this waiting, Jesus would see the approach of the arresting party, a good way
off. We can know this because: (a) they came late at night, (b) with torches,
(c) descending into valley from city, (d) climbing the mountain on the opposite
side, toward the garden...
"Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into
the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!'..."
...Not only does he await his persecutors and murderers, but
he rises to go and meet them!
"While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve,
arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the
chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a
signal with them: 'The one I kiss is the man; arrest him' " (Mat
Why was it necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed with a
kiss? There is, of course, the obvious symbolism: the deceitful treachery of a
familiar friend. But, on close examination, there would appear to be a practical
reason for Judas to suggest a kiss: the time set for Jesus' arrest was night,
and the place a rather secluded garden. The Jews bent on taking Jesus have
realized that, in the confusion of an arrest, he could slip out of their hands
quite easily. The trick would be to single him out from his followers while they
were still at some distance, so that -- when they fled, as it was supposed they
would do -- the soldiers would know which of the shadowy figures to pursue and
lay hands on. (Under normal visibility there would have been no problem
identifying Jesus.) And thus the stratagem of having Judas precede the
multitude, for only a member of the inner circle (so they would suppose) could
get close enough to single out the leader from his followers.