God Ordains Harm For Absalom

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #21:

2 Samuel, chapters 16-17
Psalm 114
Mark 15:1-15
Galatians 4:1-20

If God ordains ALL things, then it would follow that God ordains not only good things but also bad things… blessing AND harm. A common reaction to this idea is that God must in fact NOT ordain all things, because if he did then he would be responsible for harming people, and a “good” God wouldn’t do that. With this in mind, consider verse 14 of 2 Samuel 17: “For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom.” And out the window goes the presupposition that God doesn’t harm people. So the question then becomes: Can God ordain harm for Absalom and Ahithophel and still be a “good” God?

I didn’t have any notes written for Psalm 114, but a quick Google search brought up this insightful word from Matthew Henry.

“For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up” (Mark 15:10). Even Pilate can see that the Pharisees and Jewish leaders were just jealous of Jesus. This makes me wonder if the Pharisees themselves were aware of their real motives for delivering Jesus to Pilate. Did they, on any level, actually think that they were doing the Jewish people a favor by getting rid of Jesus?

Galatians 4:4-5 jumped out at me just now as I read today’s texts, reminding me that God’s plan of salvation for humankind and revelation of himself has always included a timeline. AD 2011 is in the “post-Christ” era, when God has allowed us to now receive our “adoption as sons.”

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #22:

2 Samuel chapters 18-19
Psalm 115
Mark 15:16-32
Galatians 4:21-32

Wow… Joab comes across as pretty hardcore in today’s 2 Samuel chapters. Not only does he put THREE javelins through Absalom to kill him, but then he scolds King David and gets him to stop grieving. Dude had some guts.

Psalm 115:8, regarding idols: “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” A short and to-the-point summary of Romans 1:18-32.

“Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:32). This verse reminds me of Matthew 12:38-42.

Paul seems to continue his timeline of salvation in Galatians 4 with the analogy of the slave woman and the free woman, which he says corresponds to the two covenants. “But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants” (Gal 4:23-24). Interestingly, Paul goes on to compare the slave and the free to the CURRENT Jerusalem and the “Jerusalem above.” So it seems that now Paul is seeing two eras of salvation as one current and one future… as opposed to current and past (enslavement and adoption as sons) that Paul contrasted at the beginning of Galatians 4.

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