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When our focus turns from Jesus our King, we can find all sorts of reasons to be unhappy but with Christ we have peace.

2 Samuel 19:31-43 

31 Barzillai the Gileadite also came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with the king and to send him on his way from there. 32 Now Barzillai was very old, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33 The king said to Barzillai, ‘Cross over with me and stay with me in Jerusalem, and I will provide for you.’

34 But Barzillai answered the king, ‘How many more years shall I live, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king? 35 I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is enjoyable and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of male and female singers? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 36 Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way? 37 Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king. Do for him whatever you wish.’

38 The king said, ‘Kimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him whatever you wish. And anything you desire from me I will do for you.’

39 So all the people crossed the Jordan, and then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and bade him farewell, and Barzillai returned to his home.

40 When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham crossed with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel had taken the king over.

41 Soon all the men of Israel were coming to the king and saying to him, ‘Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, steal the king away and bring him and his household across the Jordan, together with all his men?’

42 All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, ‘We did this because the king is closely related to us. Why are you angry about it? Have we eaten any of the king’s provisions? Have we taken anything for ourselves?’

43 Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, ‘We have ten shares in the king; so we have a greater claim on David than you have. Why then do you treat us with contempt? Weren’t we the first to speak of bringing back our king?’

But the men of Judah pressed their claims even more forcefully than the men of Israel.

Cross,Jesus,God,Holy Spirit,Daily Devotion,Contentment

I remember reading this passage many years ago when I was living in a place I didn’t like and doing work I found very dissatisfying. To me, Barzillai was intensely frustrating because he had the opportunity to go to the exciting seat of power in Jerusalem. It was an offer to move and enjoy life. Yet he refused it.

Barzillai is described as a great man. He clearly was in several ways. He was great in the eyes of the world as a wealthy success. Providing for the King was no small matter. He also clearly understood what it was to know peace with God and humility; the mark of true greatness in God’s eyes.

He declined the very generous offer to live in the royal court because he was content with his current lot. He was awaiting death and none of the world’s best things could add to his contentment. On the other hand, he was more than happy for his man Kimham to enjoy such pleasures in his place.

In contrast there was bickering between the leading men of Israel and their counterparts from Judah. A scenario most of us are all too familiar with. Their King had returned, and peace was being restored. After the great strife caused by Absalom, the people could now live in harmony. Instead they were jostling for supremacy. Who was more important in the Kingdom? Was it Israel? Was it Judah? They were all wrong; the most important part of the kingdom was the King. Just as in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can be content because we delight in our King and because he reigns, we know all is well for eternity, or we can seek to be prominent and of great importance and miss the point altogether.

Head: Which attitude drives you? The contentment of Barzillai or the discontent of men of Judah and Israel?

Heart: We have all blessing in Christ Jesus for all eternity – forgiveness, everlasting life, perfectly loved, utterly secure, to name a few. Contentment, even when our life is not ideal is entirely appropriate. Our question when we wonder about our prominence or importance must be, what does this achieve of any lasting significance? Can we be like Barzillai and from the foundation of peace through the victory of King Jesus, seek the benefit of another?

Hands: Having reflected on our peace with God we can then consider others more important than ourselves. We can encourage the praise of others and not ourselves. We can in our families not always need to be the one who is right. In our workplace, school or neighbourhood we can be content if we find ourselves in something of a backwater. After all we have in Christ everything we could want for all eternity.

Prayer: Loving Father, please forgive me for the many times I have shown selfishness and impatience because I have not been deemed important enough. Let me learn contentment in all that I have in Jesus. When life is hard, teach me to focus on Jesus and be so content in his love that I can share his love with others. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen

A song to listen to: It Is Well

David Johnston

Living Church Creek Road

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