We get a glimpse of how the two sides are getting ready for battle. Absalom is mobilizing his troops and David and his men are being cared for and supported by non-Israelites! What a difference!
Absalom puts Joab’s cousin, Amasa, in charge as commander. That must have been quite an honor for Amasa. It’s not mentioned, but I can’t help but wonder if there was any tension for Amasa knowing his cousin was loyal to King David? Again unspoken, but how was young Absalom feeling in this moment?
I couldn’t believe what I read in this text. I thought about splitting up the chapter, but having read the whole thing today knew I wouldn’t want to put off writing about this for one minute.
I know there are texts that are awesome and amazing to write about. I’ve found them on my journey through the Bible with you. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Old Testament or New Testament, there are gems galore. This is not a gem today. In fact, this is the UGLIEST rock I’ve ever seen (if we stay with that analogy.) So what did you think of this?
The dragon now has another agent to help with his corruption of the world. It’s a little creepy how we see the formation of a demonic trinity here. Did you notice the attempts to “appear” similar to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Look closely. But these creatures truly represent false prophets because true prophets will lead people to God the Father, not a dragon or beast set on destruction.
It was in today’s passage that the “famous” mark of the beast is revealed. I say famous because it seems like most people associate the number 666 with the book of Revelation. Many times, that’s all people really know about the book. Yet they don’t truly understand what it means. And did you notice in the footnotes that some manuscripts record it as 616 instead of 666?
I’m pretty sure that everyone who reads Revelation is waiting to meet the beast. Not really “meet” as in a face to face encounter, but it’s who we’ve been expecting to see. There is a lot of attention given to the beast, so let’s figure out what we can about him.
We know that as Chapter 12 came to an end, the dragon was waiting for him. The text in 12:18 read, “Then he stood waiting on the shore of the sea.” We didn’t know then what the dragon was waiting for. But the fact that John’s vision included that gave me pause to wonder “waiting for what?” People often wait for “their ship to come in,” an idiom for the anticipation of success or wealth. Surely after his defeat in heaven, the dragon (Satan) was waiting for success.
God’s instructions through Moses have a common theme for the most part–to purge evil from among them. To me, that speaks volumes. God not only acknowledges evil, but he calls it out. His warnings were clear. We also know God created us with minds to make our own decisions. Even when God’s word in Scripture is clear, we often think we know better than God.
It happened in Bible times and it happens now. We have wisdom and truth available to us in God’s word, yet we still try to figure it out our own way. As an example, think of your childhood. Did you obey everything your parents told you? After all, we are to obey our parents according to God. I don’t think I was the only wild child that pushed the envelope, tested the boundaries, and tried doing things my way. Did I get into trouble? Sometimes. Did I learn that I wasn’t that smart, and that I should rely on the wisdom of others who had gone before me? Absolutely!