Suggested Reading: 1 Chronicles 19-20
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Key Verse: 1 Chronicles 19:4
Therefore Hanun took David’s servants, shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away.
King David’s first choice for Ammon was kindness and peace. However, when these were refused, war was practically inevitable. Even today, the war option should be absolutely the last resort. War should be avoided almost always. The shame inflicted on David’s ambassadors of kindness was too much for Israel to bear. It was war!
The key verse makes the point that shame is often considered in some cultures to be much worse than an honourable death in battle. David’s instructions to his ambassadors was for them to come half way to Jerusalem (Jericho) and wait there for further instructions. In 19:19, as we saw in an earlier reading, David brought about peace through strength. This was President Reagan’s approach to end the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
When we recognize that Almighty God is all-powerful and that all we have is human strength, we should make an intelligent choice and say to God, “I surrender.” Oh yes, we can persist in our own will. We are made in His image and likeness, and we have the right to say “no” to God. We must not blame God when we bear the consequences of our own decisions. God, Himself, comes to us with offers of kindness and peace.
We may want to read from the New Covenant Colossians 1:19-22. Like David with the King of Ammon, God took the initiative in sending to us ambassadors of kindness and peace, Jesus and the Apostles.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, I know that in rebelling against You, I will bring disastrous consequences upon myself and others. Therefore, I pray that in all things I will be Your subject, a citizen of Your eternal Kingdom. You are my forever King! Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
If the “Buttocks” story in our reading was not so serious, it could be humorous. In fact, yesterday I mentioned to a friend this story and I was asked the question, “What about the breeze?” I’m a little bit ashamed of myself that I responded, “Here is the answer to the question, ‘What’s under the kilt?'” O.K. I’m confessing I made a joke. But this was no joking matter to the ambassadors, and to King David. Loss of face, being shamed, can and has resulted in war many times through the centuries.
Here’s a “loss of face” story. In the orient, “loss of face” is particularly offensive. A TV crew from America arrived in Seoul, Korea. They were met by a delegation on behalf of Pastor David Yonggi Cho and driven to their hotel. When they asked about their TV production equipment they were told, “We’re looking after that for you.” Later that evening they met Pastor Cho and they asked about their cameras and TV gear. The pastor said, “As you leave Korea, your equipment will be restored to you. It’s locked up safely in a room at the airport. I will not allow you to use our Korean church to raise money for yourselves in America.” About two years earlier, Cho had been a guest on that particular American show. The host had raised a great deal of money to build a TV studio for Cho in Korea. Cho had gone home and told everyone what this generous U.S. TV host had offered. However, not a cent was ever sent to Korea. About a year after the American TV crew was sent home, Cho was a guest on 100 Huntley Street in Toronto. The entire telecast was on the theme of forgiveness. The moment we were off the air, Cho said, “God has just given me the grace to forgive ______.” He headed straight for the airport, changed his flight to one flying to the city where the promise had been made to him, and asked the forgiveness of ______. He was not in turn asked for his forgiveness. Nevertheless, Cho did what God required of him. Cho had lost face with his Korean people and felt deeply shamed, a most serious issue. I wondered how I would have reacted in a similar circumstance…and still wonder. Cho, in my opinion, is one of the truly great Christian leaders of our time. Check him out online. Since that time, God has blessed Cho in an unprecedented way. His church now seats about 40,000 people and is located on Yeouido Island, next to the South Korean Parliament. He has several services every Sunday in order to accommodate their massive congregation. It was called “The Full Gospel Central Assembly” and in the 1990’s was renamed, “Yoido Full Gospel Church” (click here).
Yours for learning to avoid causing anyone to be shamed or to lose face,