August 14, 2018
Grow in Grace and Knowledge
August 14, 2018
Continuing King David’s story, we see him immobilized by the death of Absalom in battle as his rebellion is put down. David’s subjects rally round him, and his troops are waiting to be honored for the victory, but the loss of Absalom overwhelms David, and he voices the lament of all parents who lose a child, “If only I had died instead of you.” His grief is complicated by the problematic relationship David had with his sons, and what we might call today family dysfunction. David knows his failures as a parent and a husband, and his sorrow is compounded. One reason David’s story stays with us is that the Bible never fails to show us his humanity. His very real suffering and his flaws make him one with the people he leads, and with those of us who hear his story. What sets him apart from other flawed leaders is his confession of sin (see Ps 51) and his sorrow. In a time of turmoil, Psalm 57 reminds us that David was able to sing of God’s greatness even “in the midst of lions” (v. 4)?
As God was patient with David, so the writer of 2 Peter reminds us that “our Lord’s patience means salvation” for us. Certainly, we need God’s patience as we sometimes struggle with Scripture, which can be hard to understand and which “ignorant and unstable people distort” (v. 16). But we may not give up. With God’s guidance, we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 18).
QUESTIONS FROM THE FIELD
- “I do not mean to be sentimental about suffering … but people who cannot suffer can never grow up, can never discover who they are” (James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time). What do you think Baldwin meant? Give examples of people who illustrate his point.
- Read or sing the hymn “Come Ye Disconsolate” as you reflect on David’s anguish. (United Methodist Hymnal #614)
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- What does it mean to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”?
- How does your family read the Bible together?
- What parts do the children like to hear?
- What parts are hard to understand and how do you deal with the difficult parts? (Suggestions: Workshops for parents on Bible study with children. Recommended reading for adults: The Bible Makes Sense, Walter Brueggemann.)
Be patient with us, Lord, for we know our failures and must turn toward you again and again. Give us courage to acknowledge our sins and come to you in humility and gratitude for your forgiveness and grace. Amazing grace; your love abounds! In Jesus’ name. Amen.