READ: 2 Samuel 18-19
THINK: Have you ever felt deeply grieved or desperately hopeless because someone close to you was going through an intensely difficult time and there was nothing you could do to help? Worse yet, maybe you've felt somehow responsible for the crisis, but the consequences were beyond your control. Few things are more anguishing than the sense that you could have done something to prevent a tragedy-whether or not that was truly the case. Thankfully, you don't have to bear the weight of pain or regret alone. In fact, God is able to heal the hurts and help us move beyond our failures to a future filled with hope. His plans supercede our sins and shortcomings. As we turn from these things and humbly surrender to Him, He can bring purpose from pain and turn tragedy into triumph.
RESPOND: Why did David still have compassion for Absolom, ordering the troops to "be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake" (18:5)? Why do you think Joab disregarded the king's orders to spare Absalom's life? What do Absalom's actions described in 18:18 reveal about him? Why do you think Ahimaz was so anxious to deliver news of the battle's outcome to David (18:19-23)? What does David's reaction to the news reveal about him (18:33)? Why do you think David grieved so intensely over this? (See 18:33 note.) Why was Joab angry with David following the battle (19:5-7)? Do you think Joab's concerns were valid? Why or why not? Did David listen to the advice (19:8)? Why was David's tribe of Judah so fond of him (19:14)? How is Mephibosheth's humility and love for David evident in how he greeted the king as he approached the city (19:24-30)?
PRAY: Give God thanks for helping you win spiritual victories, despite past sins, failures and difficulties. Give Him thanks for forgiving you, for healing your hurts and for helping you move on with His purposes for your life.
ACT: Express thanks to someone who has personally helped you through a difficult time. Let them know that you are praying that God will bless them for their kindness. Also, do you know of anyone who is still experiencing difficulties or consequences related to something you did or were responsible for? While you don't need to dredge up past failures, you should make sure you've done what you can to make things right. If it's appropriate and won't stir up more trouble, do something to help or encourage the other person or persons involved.
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