Tag Archives: mourning

Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #44 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 16

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, to share with the Lord’s people who are in need, to practice hospitality, and to bless those who persecute them.

Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 15.

The sixteenth critical imperative is —

16. Believers are to USE THEIR EMOTIONS FOR THE LORD . . . AND FOR EACH OTHER (v. 16)!

“Feelings, nothing  more than feelings . . .” A popular song reminds us that we are often victims of our own emotions. “You can’t help how you feel!”, I’ve heard Christians say. No? We can’t?

The emotional life of the believer is very important. The Lord Jesus displayed various emotions in His earthly life — and we are to model every aspect of our lives after Him. Perhaps we can’t help our initial emotional response to something, but we are to have control over continuing emotions.  And we can choose to identify with other believers in their joy and sorrow. This assumes that we are attentive to their emotional state and that we want to encourage them in their circumstance, whether that circumstance is joyful or mournful.

What control do we have over our emotions? From this critical imperative we must conclude that we can identify with those who are rejoicing — and join them in their pleasure. We can empathize with those who are grieving — and join them in their sorrow.

Today’s Challenge: Think of a specific believer that you know right now who is going through either joy or sorrow. How might you express your identification with that person?

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Posted by on March 7, 2021 in Romans 12


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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel! (3:22-39) Vengeance!

We have a sad text before us this morning. Let’s notice what happens in the last section of 2 Samuel 3:
From our previous section, we learned that Abner had slept with one of Saul’s concubines and had been reprimanded by Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son, for doing so. Ish-Bosheth reigned over Israel as king for two years.

This reprimand infuriates Abner and he defects to David’s side and promises him the entire kingdom of Israel. They make an agreement (contingent upon Abner’s bringing Michal to David) and David provides a feast for Abner and his men.

In this section of 2 Samuel 3 we see that Joab, the commander of David’s men, returns from a raid and is incensed that David had sent Abner away in peace (v. 25).  Joab has Abner captured without David’s knowledge. Joab takes Abner aside into an inner chamber and kills him to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel (the swift runner).

David mourns Abner’s murder, proclaims himself and his kingdom innocent of the action, and calls down a curse on Abner and his family (“May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.”) (v. 29).

The text tells us again why Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner. David has Joab and all the people with him mourn Abner’s death. The king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb and even sang a song of lament for Abner (v. 33). David fasted until sunset — which pleased the people who now knew that David had no part in the murder of Abner. David addresses his men and says that a great man has fallen in Israel this day, that he is weak, that the sons of Zeruiah (Joab, Abishai and Asahel) are too strong for him, and that the Lord would repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds (v. 39).

Some takeaways for me:
1. A longing for vengeance causes one to deceive, take matters into one’s own hands, and jeopardize one’s entire family. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord!
2. It is always right to mourn the wrongful death of another. David’s mourning (with fasting) shows that he had no part in Abner’s murder.
3. What is the place of calling down God’s curse on another person? David doesn’t hesitate to do so, but I know of no biblical commands for us to follow his example.
4. There is a transparency in David that is convicting. He admits that he is weak.

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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in 2 Samuel 3


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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel! (1:17-27) Mourning a Great Loss!

We have lost the ability to lament, haven’t we? David laments the loss of Saul and his son Jonathan in our text this morning. His grieving is so deep that he composes this “lament of the bow” which he ordered the people of Judah to learn.

“How the mighty have fallen!”, David says. And he does not want the sad news proclaimed lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice.

He calls out for a drought on the mountains of Gilboa as he thinks about Saul’s shield never being used again. Both Jonathan’s bow and Saul’s sword will no longer be used against Israel’s enemies.

David describes Saul and Jonathan as loved and admired in life, swifter than eagles, stronger than lions (v. 23). He calls on the daughters of Israel to weep for Saul who provided luxurious clothing for them.

Mourning the deaths of Saul and Jonathan

He then mourns the death of his friend Jonathan, one who was very dear to David. He says that Jonathan’s love was “more wonderful than that of women” (how sad that the homosexual agenda has to sexualize that statement) (v. 26).

David concludes his lament by saying “How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!” (v. 27)

Some takeaways for me:
1. Even though Saul was David’s enemy, David mourns Saul’s death. There is a time to grieve, even for one’s enemies.
2. We have lost the ability of lamenting. We need to take the time to grieve, to mourn, the loss of loved ones, the bad choices others have made (or are still making), the missed opportunities to serve the Lord.
3. I have much to learn about deep friendships — with other men.

Got time to mourn today? Feel free to leave a comment below on the topic of your grieving.

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Posted by on December 30, 2018 in 2 Samuel 1


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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (16:1-13) A TIME TO MOVE ON!

We’ve seen in I Samuel 15 that King Saul disobeyed a clear and direct command from God to annihilate the Amalekite people, including their animals! Saul is then rejected as king by the Lord. Samuel mourns this turn of events, and the Lord commands him to stop mourning (v. 1)! There is a time to mourn and there is a time to get on with the Lord’s business!

The Lord sends Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as king. Samuel understandably fears a reprisal by Saul. The Lord gives Samuel a plan — a plan to have a worship service and to invite Jesse to the sacrifice (v. 3).

The Bethlehem elders tremble when they see Samuel, asking if he was coming in peace. Samuel consecrates Jesse and his sons at the service (v. 5).

Samuel then goes through (in his mind) the selection process, seeing Eliab and thinking, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed” (v. 6). The Lord says to Samuel, ““Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (v. 7). [Remember that Saul’s height was one of his impressive features when he was anointed king].

A second son, Abinadab, was presented to Samuel who then said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either” (v. 8). Then Shammah passes by and is rejected. Seven of Jesse’s sons pass by Samuel and are rejected. “Are these all your sons?”, Samuel asks Jesse.

“There is still the youngest, tending the sheep,” Jesse said. Samuel asks that he be sent. When David arrives, the text says, “He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.”

The Lord commands Samuel to anoint David who promptly obeys. We read that, “from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” (v. 13).

Some takeaways for me:
1. There is a time to mourn. And some of us do precious little mourning. But there is also a time to move on and do the Lord’s work!
2. Like King Saul, we can trust our evaluative processes too much. Samuel’s sense of which son of Jesse should be anointed was not the Lord’s will. We should use the best powers of judgment the Lord gives us, but tentatively, realizing the Lord may have other plans.
3. I need to long that the Spirit of the Lord would come powerfully on me to do the work that He has set out for me. The same goes for you, my friend.

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Posted by on December 3, 2018 in I Samuel 16


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