Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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April 11 - Morning

"In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him,
'What town are you from?'
He would answer, 'Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.'
Then Absalom would say to him, 'Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.'
And Absalom would add, 'If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.' "
- Second Samuel 15:1-4

Absalom Stirs Discontent and Promotes Himself

Absalom tries to sow seeds of discontent without actually challenging his father’s authority. Absalom focuses on trying to find people throughout the kingdom who are discontent with something, anything, but nothing in particular. The only unifying factor that Absalom is looking for is people who are discontent and feel like they have not received justice in the kingdom or have not received their fair share.

Absalom did not say he wanted to be king, but he dressed the part of a king and always appeared in public with an escort of fifty men who served as a body guard, entourage and traffic police for Absalom’s chariot. Samuel had warned of this kind of flamboyant, self-serving behavior if Israel received the king they asked for. Samuel had said:
“This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.” – 1 Samuel 8:11

The chariot pulled by horses was a clear image of royalty. In ancient cultures from the Mesopotamians to the Hittites down to Egypt royalty and import public figures would have runners alongside and in front of their chariots. It was considered an honor to run by the wheels of the king’s chariot. Absalom’s brother would later do the same thing as he tried to usurp the throne from his brother Solomon:
“Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, ‘I will be king.’ So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him.” – 1 Kings 1:5

Absalom’s appeal for justice for the people was the main responsibility of the king in this ancient world. King Hammurai writes:
“When Marduk commissioned me to guide the people aright, to direct the land, I established law and justice in the language of the land, thereby promoting the welfare of the people.” (Details 1, 2)

It is written that King Ur-Mammu of Ur brought “equity in the land” and “banished malediction, violence and strife.”  (here)

So, Absalom is clearly trying to establish the impression that David has not treated people fairly or judged situations justly. And, if you are Bathsheba or Tamar or someone from Saul’s royal family who lost their claim to royalty, then there may be some truth to this accusation. Yet, even if Absalom’s claims may have a grain of truth to them, his motivation is clearly not sincerely for the people’s best interest. Absalom is playing the political game of public manipulation for his own self-interests.

Absalom is creating or developing two illusions:
1) David is unjust, 2) Absalom is a worthy, capable royal leader
And, Absalom will be successful in his development of these two illusions as he turns the kingdom against David and towards himself.
Qadash (Hb) - Sanctify (Eng) - qadash is the Hebrew word that means “to sanctify” and “be holy” with the main idea being that something or someone is set aside for God.
Do I manipulate situations and people for my own advantage? Do I color the truth to make others look bad and myself look worthy of more respect and honor? I will refrain from manipulation. I will cease using others mistakes and shortcomings to exploit my own position. Instead I will serve and speak truth as I seek to wellbeing of all men. (1 Corinthians 10:24)

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text


Discernment concerning truth and deception


Holy Spirit activity

A model of Herod's tomb sets on the side of the Herodian where it was discovered in 2007. The original was smashed by Jewish Zealots during the Jewish war 66-73 AD.
(Photos I took of the original discovery in June of 2007 about 6 weeks after it was uncovered in late April 2007.) Image of tomb and sarcophagus. Details 1, 2.
Dr. Carl Rasmussen's photos)
A map of Israel surrounded by actual photos of a few of the locations in Israel referred to in the Bible's account of Joshua's entrance into the land and his central campaign recorded in the book of Joshua.

Someone to Quote

“He is not fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

Something to Ponder

“In reality, when a postmodernist calls for justice or fairness, he is borrowing this idea from a Christian worldview and trying to make it fit into his own, since there is no such thing as fairness found within his own worldview.” - David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times

Here’s a Fact

The Bible records long life spans that extent several centuries in Genesis 5:3-32 (Adam 930, Seth 912, Mahalalel 895, Enoch 365, Methuselah 969, etc.). A clay prism found in Sumer dated to around 2000 BC says from the beginning of creation until the Flood the world had been ruled by eight kings who together ruled for 241,200 years. How is this possible? (1) They measured time differently? (2) They exaggerated to honor their leaders? (3) The flood altered life on earth by releasing poisonous toxins from inside the earth and allowing radiation from outer space to permeate the earth’s atmosphere?
Whatever the answer this clay prism from Sumer parallels the biblical account of creation, a short genealogical list and a worldwide flood that altered the human experience.


"Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing."
- Proverbs 11:7

Coach’s Corner

When you judge others, first reflect your expectations on yourself by judging your own character and your own performance.

1 Corinthians 10:24
New International Version (NIV)
24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
Deuteronomy 32
New International Version (NIV)
Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;     hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.

Let my teaching fall like rain     and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass,     like abundant rain on tender plants.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.     Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

He is the Rock, his works are perfect,     and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong,     upright and just is he.

They are corrupt and not his children;     to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation.

Is this the way you repay the Lord,     you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator,     who made you and formed you?

Remember the days of old;     consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you,     your elders, and they will explain to you.

When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,     when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples     according to the number of the sons of Israel.

For the Lord’s portion is his people,     Jacob his allotted inheritance.
In a desert land he found him,     in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him;     he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
like an eagle that stirs up its nest     and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them     and carries them aloft.
The Lord alone led him;     no foreign god was with him.
He made him ride on the heights of the land     and fed him with the fruit of the fields. He nourished him with honey from the rock,     and with oil from the flinty crag,
with curds and milk from herd and flock     and with fattened lambs and goats, with choice rams of Bashan     and the finest kernels of wheat. You drank the foaming blood of the grape.
Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;     filled with food, they became heavy and sleek. They abandoned the God who made them     and rejected the Rock their Savior.
They made him jealous with their foreign gods     and angered him with their detestable idols.
They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God—     gods they had not known,     gods that recently appeared,     gods your ancestors did not fear.
You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;     you forgot the God who gave you birth.
The Lord saw this and rejected them     because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
“I will hide my face from them,” he said,     “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation,     children who are unfaithful.
They made me jealous by what is no god     and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people;     I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.
For a fire will be kindled by my wrath,     one that burns down to the realm of the dead below. It will devour the earth and its harvests     and set afire the foundations of the mountains.
“I will heap calamities on them     and spend my arrows against them.
I will send wasting famine against them,     consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts,     the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
In the street the sword will make them childless;     in their homes terror will reign. The young men and young women will perish,     the infants and those with gray hair.
I said I would scatter them     and erase their name from human memory,
but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy,     lest the adversary misunderstand and say, ‘Our hand has triumphed;     the Lord has not done all this.’”
They are a nation without sense,     there is no discernment in them.
If only they were wise and would understand this     and discern what their end will be!
How could one man chase a thousand,     or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them,     unless the Lord had given them up?
For their rock is not like our Rock,     as even our enemies concede.
Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom     and from the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are filled with poison,     and their clusters with bitterness.
Their wine is the venom of serpents,     the deadly poison of cobras.
“Have I not kept this in reserve     and sealed it in my vaults?
It is mine to avenge; I will repay.     In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near     and their doom rushes upon them.”
The Lord will vindicate his people     and relent concerning his servants when he sees their strength is gone     and no one is left, slave or free.
He will say: “Now where are their gods,     the rock they took refuge in,
the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices     and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up to help you!     Let them give you shelter!
“See now that I myself am he!     There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life,     I have wounded and I will heal,     and no one can deliver out of my hand.
I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear:     As surely as I live forever,
when I sharpen my flashing sword     and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries     and repay those who hate me.
I will make my arrows drunk with blood,     while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives,     the heads of the enemy leaders.”
Rejoice, you nations, with his people,     for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies     and make atonement for his land and people.
44 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. 45 When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. 47 They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Moses to Die on Mount Nebo
48 On that same day the Lord told Moses, 49 “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. 50 There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51 This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. 52 Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”
1 Samuel 31
New International Version (NIV)
Saul Takes His Life
31 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.
Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”
But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.
When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.
When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.
The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.
1 Samuel 13
New International Version (NIV)
Samuel Rebukes Saul
13 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty- two years.
Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.
Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.
The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear.
He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash,
12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.
Israel Without Weapons
16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeah in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Mikmash. 17 Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three detachments. One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual, 18 another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland overlooking the Valley of Zeboyim facing the wilderness.
19 Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened. 21 The price was two-thirds of a shekel for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.
22 So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.
Jonathan Attacks the Philistines
23 Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Mikmash.

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