Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Thursday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on August 8, 2019 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: 2 Samuel 15:1-15 (NKJV)
15:1 After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.” 4 Moreover Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” 5 And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. 6 In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 Now it came to pass after forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the Lord. 8 For your servant took a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If the Lord indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’ ”
9 And the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.
10 Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron!’” 11 And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything. 12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city—from Giloh—while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.
13 Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
15 And the king’s servants said to the king, “We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands.”
In the verses before our reading King David had forgiven Absalom and welcomed him home. But Absalom again dishonored his father and began the process of trying to make himself king. Absalom was clearly in violation of the Fourth Commandment. He did not honor his father and he soon met an untimely death.
We live in a world where the Fourth Commandment takes quite a beating. Parents are disobeyed. Laws are ignored. Government officials are despised and disrespected. The Church and God’s Word are held in contempt. Sometimes we wonder why things are going so badly. This is not new. It started in the Garden of Eden. It continued throughout the Old Testament. It came to a culmination when Christ was crucified, and it continues on today. This world considers authority to be bad.
Dr. Luther’s explanation of the Fourth Commandment says, “We should fear and love God, that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities,but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.” As baptized Christians you and I know we are to keep the Commandment, but we are sinners. We want to obey, but we don’t. Like the man in Mark 9:24 we too cry out and say, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” To our cry Jesus says, “Go, your sins are forgiven; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And we are forgiven! Thanks be to God!
We pray: O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in Heaven and Earth, we humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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