David and Absalom – In the House of Love forever

October 5th, 2016

http://www.christianscienceneworleans.org/WedReadings.html

This Wednesday, we are finishing our series on King David, including finding some of David’s connections with the New Testament and with our textbook, Science and Health.  Have you noticed that Mrs. Eddy begins and ends the text of her book with a shepherd (p. vii) and a Psalm (p. 578)?  Throughout the triumphs and trials of his kingdom, David continued to sing his psalms of mercy and joy in the Lord — a joy that wasn’t the result of a supply of wants, but a joy having its source in God Himself.

Here are some Bible notes:

II Samuel 19:20 – House of Joseph, the northern tribes, Israel, as opposed to Judah.

II Samuel 19:25-30 – Ziba had accused Mephibosheth of plotting to take the throne. Mephibosheth here defends himself, saying that Ziba refused to help him to flee with David, and he could not leave on his own accord because of his physical condition. David’s decision indicates that he does not know which of them is telling the truth. (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, p. 474.)

Who do you think was telling the truth — Ziba, the servant; or Mephibosheth, the grandson of the anointed King Saul from the tribe of Benjamin? David told them to divide the land between them.  Did young King Solomon use a similar strategy when faced with two women — both claiming to be the mother of the same baby? If the true mother wouldn’t let Solomon divide the baby, then who might be the rightful owner of Saul’s land?   (I didn’t find this comparison in any commentary, although most scholars believe Mephibosheth’s affection was for his master, not for his property.)

Did a New Testament Saul, also from the tribe of Benjamin, originally choose the side that persecuted the Anointed One? Did this Saul let a “thorn in his side” stop him from claiming his place at the King’s table?  (The Bible doesn’t state exactly what Paul’s thorn was — some commentators think it might have been something physical such as poor eyesight; others think it was a strictly emotional battle over guilt which is why he writes so much on grace.)

We need the enthusiastic Pauls in our midst. Paul knew no borders in his outreach — geographic or cultural or religious. In my Bible study, I have really begun to see Paul as a symbol of the Comforter because, despite the thorn in his side, he was always “earnestly striving” to give birth to the real spiritual man. I think having that grace to see the real man in yourself and others is the true “primitive Christianity” desired in our Manual of The Mother Church (page 17).

Does anyone have anything to share from our study of David? There is a “leave a reply” link at the bottom of this blog, so I’d love to receive a response from those who have been reading along!

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David and Absalom – Finding the Comfort and the Christ in Crisis

September 21, 2016

http://www.christianscienceneworleans.org/WedReadings.html

During our Wednesday services, we’ve been studying the shepherd-king David in all his glory, but now there are challenging times in his kingdom, which began with his own household. David has been forced out of Jerusalem by his son Absalom, and so he has retreated to mourn at Mount Olivet, known in the New Testament as the Mount of Olives. These readings include how David responded to his betrayal, including his own words from the psalms he wrote during this experience.

Are you spotting more similarities between David and Jesus?  David’s son betrayed him; an enemy cursed him and threw stones at him; and lame Mephibosheth, whom David had taken into his own home, appeared disloyal. Throughout this ordeal, David continued to express mercy, a quality so clear in Jesus that he was called “the son of David.”

Another similarity which is not as obvious is that one of David’s priests was called Zadok.  Melchizedek, king of Salem (ancient Jerusalem) brought bread and wine to Abraham, since Melchizedek was the priest of the most high God (Genesis 14:18). Then in Hebrews, Jesus is described as being “a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 7:17).  (We actually did a Wednesday service on “Melchizedek? Melchisedec Who?”, and I like thinking of Daniel’s Zadok as providing a holy connection between the Old and New Testament priesthood.)

Both Jesus and David had gloomy nights on Mount Olive, but Jesus’ disciples slept. David’s household was awake and weeping with him, and different friends nourished David  and his mighty men.  In our Time for Thinkers Book Club, we’ve asked:  If Jesus’ disciples had been awake and supporting him in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, with all they had learned, would they have brought in the millennium? (Science and Health, p. 34)  David taught us mercy, but Jesus’ lessons were so much more!!

In our next readings, we will find out if Ziba was lying about Mephibosheth, if the cursing stone thrower reforms, and if David regains his kingdom. My husband thinks this is all quite the soap opera, so you will have to stay tuned in!

If you are wondering why I am spending so much time on David, here is an interesting article by William McCrackan from the December 1916 Christian Science Journal where he wrote, “Metaphysically considered, Christian Scientists are entitled to consider themselves direct descendants in the royal line of David. . .” and then he compared the “key of David” to our own “key to the Scriptures.” (Science and Health, p. 499, which has Revelation’s quote about the key of David). I’ve learned so many lessons from studying David which have opened up the Scriptures for me, and I’d love to hear your inspiration as well!