828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Christian Formation for Aug. 12, 2012: 2 Samuel 18:1-33; The Absalom Trilogy

2 Samuel 18:1-33
The Defeat and Death of Absalom
David Hears of Absalom’s Death
David Mourns for Absalom

Background: The book of 2 Samuel is considered part of the Deuteronomistic history and continues developing the history of the Davidic kingship in the nation of Israel. 2 Samuel highlights the nature of the human king; faithful and fallible. David’s story continues as he and his family pays for his wanton sin with Bathsheba.

Theme: In this passage the writer describes the death of Absalom at the hands of David’s military leaders and hired mercenaries. The story of subterfuge and distrust continues with David’s leaders actively violating David’s orders; even by going so far as to chastise David when he mourns his son’s death.

Questions to Ponder
* Please read the entire passage 2 Samuel 18:1-33.
* Identify the following: Ittai the Gittite; the forest of Ephraim; Ahimaaz son of Zadok; and Cush.
* Describe the events that have transpired between David’s condemnation by Nathan and today’s reading.
* Why might David have wanted to go to battle against Absalom and the army of Israel?
* Why might David’s commanders attempt to prevent David from going into battle?
* With regard to David’s plea for leniency for Absalom: why might he want the army to be lenient with Absalom? Why might the military leaders be hesitant to do so? What issues might arise from David’s desire and the need of the army?
* What seems odd about the apparent chance meeting between Absalom and David’s servants?
* Why might the man who reported seeing Absalom’s plight have been chastised by Joab? Do you think the servant was justified in not striking Absalom dead, even with the promise of money?
* Do the actions of Joab and his assistants seem to be excessive? Why might they have treated Absalom with such vengeance and utter disrespect?
* Why might Joab have not wanted to send Ahimaaz with a message of the battle to David? Why might Joab have been willing to send a Cushite to deliver the message instead?
* Why do you think the message delivered by Ahimaaz and the Cushite were different?
* What might be the symbolism behind the Cushite’s indirect answer to David?
* Why do you think David was sorrowful at the death of Absalom? Do you think his sorrow was justified? Why or why not?
* What do you see as the principle message in today’s story? How might that message be applied to St. John’s today – especially considering we are not at war in the same sense that David was at war?
* What is the message of good news in today’s passage?
* What are some of the practical applications of the message for our church, the Denomination, and our faith?

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