Today the church gives us an exhortation on how Christ's flock is to conduct itself and an oblique allusion to the Ascension.
2 Samuel, Chapter 1, Verse 14
David said to him, “How is it that you were not afraid to put forth your hand to desecrate the LORD’s anointed?
The lesson here is, do not be a person who seeks to gain from another’s misfortune.
Cue up the Sad Violins
· As 2 Samuel begins, Saul and Jonathan have just died fighting the Philistines—David almost fought for the Philistines, but ended up getting excused at the last second, and headed off to fight the Amalekites.
· Saul had committed suicide after seeing his defeat was inevitable (with, as it turns out, a little help), and Jonathan was killed in the battle.
· A survivor from Saul's army finds David and tells him the news. It turns out the survivor was an Amalekite who (at Saul's request) helped Saul finish dying, giving him a fatal sword thrust, before bringing Saul's crown and armlet to David.
· However, David is offended that this guy had the guts to help kill the Lord's anointed, so he has one of his own men kill the Amalekite.
Singing the Blues
· Then, David sings the blues. In a song, he laments the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, singing, "How the mighty have fallen!"
· He hails them both, paying tribute to their strength and good qualities, and telling the rest of Israel to weep for them in mourning.
· He also says that Jonathan's love for him was "wonderful, passing the love of a woman," before repeating again, "How the mighty have fallen."
Honor God’s Anointed
It appears that the Amalekite was trying to get a reward for killing the enemy of David (Saul). Everyone in the nation knew that Saul and David were at odds and that Saul was trying to kill David. When he stumbled onto the body of Saul he thought that he had hit the jackpot. Instead of telling the truth about what he found he lied to David with the hope of getting gain. David was faultless in killing him because the man told David that he had killed the Lords anointed. In David’s eye that was a serious crime and the man brought it on himself. Notice and verse 14 of second Samuel he says "How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lords anointed?" and in verse 16, "And David said unto him, thy blood be on thy upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying I have slain the Lords anointed." Even though he did not kill Saul he lied in hopes of being rewarded and he was, just not in the way he thought though. The wages of sin is death.
Third Sunday after Easter
In what does the perfection of the Christian life consist? In the perfection of love (Col. iii. 14). The more a man separates himself from the world, and unites himself with God, the more perfect he will be. We can attain to the perfection of the Christian life by means of certain excellent practices known as the evangelical counsels which Jesus Christ lays before us, and to which He calls us, without directly commanding us to adopt them. So that the difference between the commandments and the evangelical counsels consists in this: that the commandments bind us by an indispensable obligation, but the evangelical counsels do not. The evangelical counsels are:
1. Voluntary poverty.
2. Perpetual chastity.
3. Entire obedience under a spiritual director.
By voluntary poverty is understood a free-will renunciation of the riches and goods of this world in order to follow Jesus Christ in His poverty. By perpetual chastity we understand a free-will, life-long abstinence, not only from everything that is contrary to purity, but also abstinence from marriage, in order to live only for God and His holy service in virginal purity. By entire obedience we are to understand a voluntary renunciation of one’s own will in order to follow the will and command of a superior whom one chooses for himself. In practicing the evangelical counsels there are three points to be observed, in order that they may serve, or help to eternal salvation:
1. They must be practiced with a pure intention, seeking thereby nothing else than to please God and to praise His holy name.
2. with great humility, in no way giving ourselves preference over others.
3. By great fidelity in observing not only what one has vowed, but also what is commanded. Also, one should live diligently and strictly according to the commandments; otherwise the practicing of the evangelical counsels will be of no avail.
Encouragement to Patience in Adversity
“You shall lament and weep.” John xvi. 20.
Many think that true happiness on earth consists in honors, riches, or pleasures, but Christ, calls, not the rich, but the poor and persecuted, “blessed.” He even predicts to His disciples nothing but sorrows in this world while to the rich and great, who set their hearts on this world, He predicts nothing but woe, mourning and weeping in the world to come. How much, therefore, are they to be pitied, who, regardless of this truth, think only of spending their days in luxury, but encourage themselves in the illusory hope of reaching heaven, when Christ and all saints have ascended thither only by the way of the cross, and of suffering, and when it is certain that no one can have part in their joys who has not also first borne part of their sorrows.
Gofine’s Devout Instructions, 1896