2 Samuel 11:1–12:31, 2 Peter 1:11–8, Psalm 139:1–24

Today's Reading

July 23: Finding God in Sheol

Today's Devotional Reading


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2 Samuel 11:1–12:31

LEB

David Commits Adultery with Bathsheba

11 It came about in the spring , at the time kings go out, David sent Joab and his servants with him and all of Israel. They ravaged all of the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David was remaining in Jerusalem. It happened late one afternoon that David got up from his bed and walked about on the roof of the king’s house, and he saw a woman bathing on her roof. Now the woman was very beautiful .David sent and inquired about the woman, and someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) And she returned to her house. The woman became pregnant, and she sent and told David, and she said, “I am pregnant.” So David sent to Joab, “Send Uriah the Hittite to me.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. Uriah came to him, and David asked how Joab and the army fared and how the war was going .David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” So Uriah went out from the king’s house, and a gift from the king went out after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his master and did not go down to his house. 10 They told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house.” David said to Uriah, “Are you not coming from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are living in the booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping on the surface of the open field; and I, shall I go to my house to eat and to drink and to sleep with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I surely will not do this thing.” 12 David said to Uriah, “Remain here today , and tomorrow I will send you away.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem on that day and the next. 13 David invited him, and he ate and drank in his presence so that he became drunk , and he went out in the evening to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. 14 And it happened in the morning, David wrote a letter to Joab, and he sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 He had written in the letter, “Put Uriah in the front, in the face of the fiercest fighting, then draw back from behind him so that he may be struck down and die.”

16  When Joab was besieging the city, he put Uriah toward the place which he knew there were valiant warriors .17 The men of the city came out and fought with Joab. Some from the army from the servants of David fell; Uriah the Hittite also died. 18 Joab sent and told David all of the news of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger, saying, “As you are finishing to speak all the news of the battle to the king, 20 if the anger of the king rises and he says to you, ‘Why did you go near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from atop the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelech the son of Jerub-bosheth, if not a woman who threw an upper millstone on him from atop the wall and he died at Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?’ Then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite also died.’ ” 22 Then the messenger left, and he came and told David all that Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, “Because the men overpowered us , the men came out to us in the field, but we forced them back to the entrance of the gate. 24 The archers shot at your servant from atop the wall, and some of the servants of the king died; your servant Uriah the Hittite also died.” 25 Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab, ‘ Do not feel badly about this matter ; now one and then another the sword will devour. Intensify your attack on the city and overthrow it.’ ” And he encouraged him. 26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned over her husband. 27 When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his household, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing which David had done was evil in the eyes of Yahweh.

Nathan Reproves David

12 So Yahweh sent Nathan to David, and he came to him and said, “Two men were in a certain city; one was rich and the other was poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing except for one small ewe lamb which he had bought. He had nurtured her, and she grew up with him and with his children together. She used to eat from his morsel and drink from his cup, and she used to lie in his lap and became like a daughter for him. And a visitor came to the rich man, but he was reluctant to take from his flocks or from his herds to prepare a meal for the traveler when he came to him. So he took the ewe lamb of the poor man and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” Then the anger of David was kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “ As Yahweh lives , the man who has done this deserves to die !He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold because he has done this thing, and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to him, “You are the man! Thus says Yahweh the God of Israel: ‘I anointed you as king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you the household of your master and the women of your master into your lap. I also gave you the house of Israel and Judah; if that had been too little, I would have added to you much more .Why have you despised the word of Yahweh by doing evil in his eyes? Uriah the Hittite you have struck down with the sword, and his wife you have taken to yourself as wife! You have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites !10 So then, a sword will not turn away from your house forever, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife!’ 11 Thus says Yahweh, ‘Look, I am going to raise up evil against you from within your house, and I will take your women before your eyes, and I will give them to your neighbor, and he shall sleep with your wives in broad daylight .12 Though you did this in secret, I will do this thing before all of Israel in broad daylight !’ ”

David Repents, But the Child Dies

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against Yahweh!” Nathan said to David, “Yahweh has also forgiven your sin; you shall not die. 14 But because you have utterly scorned Yahweh in this matter, the son born for you will certainly die .”15 Then Nathan went to his house, and Yahweh struck the child that the wife of Uriah bore for David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God on behalf of the boy and David fasted. He went to spend the night and lay upon the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood over him to lift him up from the ground, but he was not willing, and he did not eat any food with them. 18 It happened on the seventh day that the child died, and the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Look, when the child was alive, we spoke to him, but he would not listen to our voice. How can we tell him, ‘The child is dead’? He may do something evil.” 19 When David saw that his servants were whispering together, he realized that the child was dead. Then David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” 20 David stood up from the ground and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothing. Then he went to the house of Yahweh and worshiped, and he went to his own house. He asked, so they served him food, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; now that the child has died, you get up and eat food!” 22 He said, “When the child was still alive, I fasted and I wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? Yahweh may have mercy on me that the child will live.’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I be fasting? Am I able to return him again? I am going to him, but he cannot return to me.” 24 David consoled Bathsheba his wife, and he went to her and slept with her. She bore a son, and he called him Solomon, and Yahweh loved him. 25 He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet, so he called him Jedidiah because of Yahweh.

Battle with the Ammonites

26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites , and he captured the royal city .27 Then Joab sent messengers to David and said, “We have fought against Rabbah, and we captured the city of the waters. 28 So then, gather the remainder of the army and encamp against the city and capture it, lest I capture the city and my name be proclaimed over it.” 29 So David gathered all of the army, and he went to Rabbah and fought against it and captured it. 30 He took the crown of their king from his head. (Now its weight was a talent of gold, and there was a precious stone in it and it was put on David’s head.) He brought out the plunder of the city in great abundance .31 He also brought out the people who were in it and put them to the saws and to the iron picks and to the iron axes, and he sent them to the place of the brickmakers. Thus he used to do to all the cities of the Ammonites , and he and all of the army returned to Jerusalem.


2 Peter 1:11–8

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11 For in this way entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied for you.

12 Therefore I intend to remind you continually concerning these things, although you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 But I consider it right, for as long as I am in this habitation, to stir you up by a reminder, 14 because I know that the removal of my habitation is imminent, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will also make every effort that you are able at any time, after my departure, to recall these things to mind .

The Reliable Prophetic Word of Testimony

16 For we did not make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ by following ingeniously concocted myths, but by being eyewitnesses of that one’s majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice such as this was brought to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we ourselves heard this voice brought from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain,


Psalm 139:1–24

LEB

O Yahweh, you have searched me, and you know me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up.

You understand my thought from afar.

You search out my wandering and my lying down,

and are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word yet on my tongue,

but behold, O Yahweh, you know it completely.

You barricade me behind and in front,

and set your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.

It is set high; I cannot prevail against it.

Where can I go from your Spirit,

or where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, there you are,

and if I make my bed in Sheol, look! There you are.

If I lift up the wings of the dawn,

and I alight on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand would lead me,

and your right hand would hold me fast.

11 And if I should say, “Surely darkness will cover me,

and the light around me will be as night,”

12 even the darkness is not too dark for you,

and the night shines as the day—

the darkness and the light are alike for you.

13 Indeed you created my inward parts ;

you wove me in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, because I am fearfully

and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works,

and my soul knows it well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was created secretly,

and intricately woven

in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my embryo,

and in your book they all were written—

days fashioned for me when there was not one of them.

17 And to me, how precious are your thoughts, O God;

how vast is their sum.

18 If I should count them,

they would outnumber the sand.

I awaken, and I am still with you.

19 If only you would kill the wicked, O God—

so get away from me, you bloodthirsty men

20 who speak against you deceitfully.

Your enemies take your name in vain.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Yahweh?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

22 I hate them with a complete hatred;

they have become my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 And see if there is in me the worship of false gods ,

and lead me in the way everlasting.


July 23: Finding God in Sheol

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional


We’ve all felt distant from God. Sometimes it’s sin that makes us feel separated from Him; other times it could be a lack of prayer. Either way, when we feel apart from God, God has not moved away from us. God never moves—we do. But we can find solace in the words of Psa 139: “O Yahweh, you have searched me, and you know me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought from afar” (Psa 139:1–2).

We spend so much of life explaining ourselves to others. Trying to manage perceptions is a norm in our society—especially for those of us in fast-paced work environments. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as our motives are pure, we’re being honest, and we’re not obsessed with what others think. But it’s certainly comforting to know that with God, we never have to explain ourselves. He already knows. He has already searched us—and He is always present.

The psalmist writes, “You barricade me behind and in front, and set your hand upon me.… If I ascend to heaven, there you are, and if I make my bed in Sheol [the ultimate symbol of darkness in the Ancient Near East], look! There you are. If I lift up the wings of the dawn, and I alight on the far side of the sea, even there your hand would lead me, and your right hand would hold me fast” (Psa 139:5, 8–10). God is in all places. We may accept these concepts intellectually, but our minds become distracted when we’re feeling alone. Loneliness is heart work, as Psa 139 portrays.

Psalm 139 concludes with the words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there is in me the worship of false gods, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa 139:23–24). The God who created the universe is waiting for us. He is ready to find our false gods and cast them out. He is ready to help us acknowledge His work of goodness and order in the world, and to alleviate the anxiousness we feel. Only He who is all-knowing and all-present can bring us ultimate comfort. Only He can close the gap we feel.

What false gods are you fighting? What anxiousness do you need to ask God to cast out?


John D. Barry is the publisher for Logos Bible Software, editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine, general editor of Faithlife Study Bible, and editor of Lexham Bible Dictionary. He is the author of The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah and the coauthor of Mary: Devoted to God's Plan.


Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.


2 Peter 1:17

Verse of the Day bible.faithlife.com