Paul is recommending the Corinthians look for encouragement from other brothers and sisters of the faith. It’s like networking and fellowship combined. The movement of Christ-followers is growing. Without the internet and more modern ways of connecting, word of mouth was key in connecting people who should spend time together.
The Corinthians had the assurance that they weren’t alone. Sometimes it can be frightening to head in a new direction in life. To embrace a Christian life and start a new relationship with a Savior who was not visibly present was daunting for them, and it can be daunting for us as well. That’s why Paul models for us the importance of community, faith communities to be precise.
The wise woman saved a town and gave King David’s leaders what they wanted. Sounds like a win-win, except for Sheba. Funny that I pictured her to be an old woman, hunched over with a shawl. Our reading doesn’t say anything about her age! Hmm. Curious.
I guess I usually equate wisdom with age. After all, I feel a lot smarter than I did when I was younger. Life lessons, plenty of mistakes and wrong directions, including smart course corrections. But then I also think that my granddaughter is “wise beyond her years!”
You can’t read this account and not wonder why Joab is still free to kill whoever gets in his way. You’ll recall that David replaced Joab with Amasa. What fuels Joab’s anger? Is it jealousy?
In this case, it certainly could be. Amasa had taken his place beside the king. But Amasa was his cousin! Shouldn’t Joab have showed some mercy? Amasa was even on a different mission than Joab. This isn’t the first time Joab acted with such ruthlessness that a life was lost.
Do you recall Nathan’s discussion with David back in Chapter 12? It was more a message from God rather than a discussion. Nathan had used a story to elicit an angry response from David, only to point the finger at David as being the “bad guy” in the story. His rebuke came as a surprise to David.
Thankfully, David didn’t die that day for arranging the death of Uriah and taking of Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife as his own. But recall the proclamation made by God in verses 11 and 12, “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
This was a tough passage for me. Standing up for Jesus is exactly what I do, and it’s how I roll. But it wasn’t always the case. I was often deceived by those in church who “sounded good” but weren’t living a godly life. These folks didn’t have God’s seal of approval, but because they were in church, I thought they could be trusted. Jude is putting us on alert to be careful about these people. His opening lines welcome “all who have been called by God the Father,” and the message is timely for us today as well.
It takes more than going to church to make a person holy or in tune with God’s direction for their life. Over the past couple years, I’ve taken a much deeper look into what my faith means to me, what my relationship with God looks like, and how I’m sharing the gifts God has given me. It’s been a process. I’m the first to admit I’m a work in progress! We need to listen up to Jude’s warning here. It’s my prayer for you, as well, to be building a deeper relationship with God.