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First Reading: 2 Samuel Chapter 13 and 14
2 Samuel 13
1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.
2 And Amnon was so vexed that he fell sick because of his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything unto her.
3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother; and Jonadab was a very subtle man.
4 And he said unto him, Why, O son of the king, art thou thus lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.
5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and feign thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, Let my sister Tamar come, I pray thee, and give me bread to eat, and dress the food in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it from her hand.
6 So Amnon lay down, and feigned himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, Let her sister Tamar come, I pray thee, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon's house, and dress him food.
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house; and he was laid down. And she took dough, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.
9 And she took the pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.
10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from thy hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
11 And when she had brought them near unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come, lie with me, my sister.
12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
13 And I, whither shall I carry my shame? and as for thee, thou wilt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.
14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice; but being stronger than she, he forced her, and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with exceeding great hatred; for the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
16 And she said unto him, Not so, because this great wrong in putting me forth is `worse' than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
18 And she had a garment of divers colors upon her; for with such robes were the king's daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colors that was on her; and she laid her hand on her head, and went her way, crying aloud as she went.
20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but now hold thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; take not this thing to heart. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house.
21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.
22 And Absalom spake unto Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.
23 And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheep-shearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king's sons.
24 And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheep-shearers; let the king, I pray thee, and his servants go with thy servant.
25 And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.
26 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?
27 But Absalom pressed him, and he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.
28 And Absalom commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now, when Amnon's heart is merry with wine; and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon, then kill him; fear not; have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.
29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.
30 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that the tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left.
31 Then the king arose, and rent his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.
32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king's sons; for Amnon only is dead; for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king's sons are dead; for Amnon only is dead.
34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill-side behind him.
35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king's sons are come: as thy servant said, so it is.
36 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king's sons came, and lifted up their voice, and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.
37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai the son of Ammihur, king of Geshur. And `David' mourned for his son every day.
38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
39 And `the soul of' king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.
2 Samuel 14
1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom.
2 And Joab sent to Tekoa, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on mourning apparel, I pray thee, and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that hath a long time mourned for the dead:
3 and go in to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.
4 And when the woman of Tekoa spake to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king.
5 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, Of a truth I am a widow, and my husband is dead.
6 And thy handmaid had two sons, and they two strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one smote the other, and killed him.
7 And, behold, the whole family is risen against thy handmaid, and they say, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he slew, and so destroy the heir also. Thus will they quench my coal which is left, and will leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the face of the earth.
8 And the king said unto the woman, Go to thy house, and I will give charge concerning thee.
9 And the woman of Tekoa said unto the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father's house; and the king and his throne be guiltless.
10 And the king said, Whosoever saith aught unto thee, bring him to me, and he shall not touch thee any more.
11 Then said she, I pray thee, let the king remember Jehovah thy God, that the avenger of blood destroy not any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As Jehovah liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth.
12 Then the woman said, Let thy handmaid, I pray thee, speak a word unto my lord the king. And he said, Say on.
13 And the woman said, Wherefore then hast thou devised such a thing against the people of God? for in speaking this word the king is as one that is guilty, in that the king doth not fetch home again his banished one.
14 For we must needs die, and are as water split on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God take away life, but deviseth means, that he that is banished be not an outcast from him.
15 Now therefore seeing that I am come to speak this word unto my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and thy handmaid said, I will now speak unto the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant.
16 For the king will hear, to deliver his servant out of the hand of the man that would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.
17 Then thy handmaid said, Let, I pray thee, the word of my lord the king be comfortable; for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: and Jehovah thy God be with thee.
18 Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, aught that I shall ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.
19 And the king said, Is the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from aught that my lord the king hath spoken; for thy servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thy handmaid;
20 to change the face of the matter hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
21 And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom back.
22 And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and did obeisance, and blessed the king: and Joab said, To-day thy servant knoweth that I have found favor in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath performed the request of his servant.
23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24 And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, but let him not see my face. So Absalom turned to his own house, and saw not the king's face.
25 Now in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
26 And when he cut the hair of his head (now it was at every year's end that he cut it; because it was heavy on him, therefore he cut it); he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, after the king's weight.
27 And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance.
28 And Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem; and he saw not the king's face.
29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king; but he would not come to him: and he sent again a second time, but he would not come.
30 Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.
31 Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire?
32 And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, Come hither, that I may send thee to the king, to say, Wherefore am I come from Geshur? it were better for me to be there still. Now therefore let me see the king's face; and if there be iniquity in me, let him kill me.
33 So Joab came to the king, and told him; and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians Chapter 12
2 Corinthians 12
1 I must needs glory, though it is not expedient; but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven.
3 And I know such a man (whether in the body, or apart from the body, I know not; God knoweth),
4 how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 On behalf of such a one will I glory: but on mine own behalf I will not glory, save in `my' weaknesses.
6 For if I should desire to glory, I shall not be foolish; for I shall speak the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should account of me above that which he seeth me `to be', or heareth from me.
7 And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch.
8 Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for `my' power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
11 I am become foolish: ye compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing was I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I am nothing.
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and wonders and mighty works.
13 For what is there wherein ye were made inferior to the rest of the churches, except `it be' that I myself was not a burden to you? forgive me this wrong.
14 Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be a burden to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15 And I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved the less?
16 But be it so, I did not myself burden you; but, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
17 Did I take advantage of you by any one of them whom I have sent unto you?
18 I exhorted Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? walked we not in the same spirit? `walked we' not in the same steps?
19 Ye think all this time that we are excusing ourselves unto you. In the sight of God speak we in Christ. But all things, beloved, `are' for your edifying.
20 For I fear, lest by any means, when I come, I should find you not such as I would, and should myself be found of you such as ye would not; lest by any means `there should be' strife, jealousy, wraths, factions, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults;
21 lest again when I come my God should humble me before you, and I should mourn for many of them that have sinned heretofore, and repented not of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they committed.
JESUS IN THE BEGINNING
Part 5 of 7
SAVED THROUGH WATER
When we reach chapters 6 through 9 of Genesis we find the detailed story of a man named Noah, along with this family, who lived at a time when mankind was so wicked that God decided to destroy them and start over with Noah. The description is given of this generation in Gen 6:5-6 that "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain."
We all know the story of Noah: How God told him that he was going to destroy mankind and save Noah and his family. That Noah was to be saved by a boat that would float on the flood waters that were coming. And Noah believed and obeyed and he and his family and the animals were saved from the destruction.
The theme of man's failure and God's provision for salvation through belief and obedience is established. The concept of salvation through water is picked up in the New Testament in the command for baptism in water. Peter makes a direct connection in his first letter, chapter 3 and verse 20--"who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God....
The account of Noah and the flood ends with a promise or covenant given by God to Noah (Gen 8:20-9:17). God promises: "Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God gives the rainbow as a sign of that promise.
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