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Connect the Testaments

July 18: When Kings Mourn
2 Samuel 1:1–2:32; 1 Peter 3:1–7; Psalm 133:1–134:3
No one can tell you how to mourn. You have to mourn as you see fit, making sure you don’t introduce sin into the grieving process.
Several people who were dear to my heart have died. Each time, I processed it differently—immersing myself in work, weeping, or getting angry. If you’ve lost someone close to you, your experience with death is likely similar. But you may have noticed something else in the process: When someone passes away, we become weak and vulnerable to temptation. Wanting to vent our emotions, we may fall prey to sin. But loss is no excuse for sin; there is no excuse.
King David, for all his strength, was always a very broken man when someone important to him died. Such brokenness is understandable, but a king must balance his behavior; he must be careful not to insult those who have loyally fought for him. David’s mourning over his best friend, Jonathan, was completely understandable (e.g., 1 Sam 18:1–4; 19:1–7; 20), but his sense of loss over King Saul was overwrought. We should never celebrate anyone’s death, but God had disowned Saul and anointed David (1 Sam 15:10–16:13). Saul had no right to his throne (see, e.g., 1 Sam 16:14–23). Furthermore, Saul had been trying to kill David and his men (1 Sam 19:8–24; 23:14–29). Yet while David’s overly dramatic mourning of Saul may have offended his supporters, he went well beyond offense and into sin: He killed the man who put Saul to death (2 Sam 1:14–16). In this time period, it was customary for warriors to kill fallen enemies who were dying a slow and painful death, thus making David’s reaction even more outlandish.
We can learn many great things from David, but in this passage, he teaches us what not to do. Don’t let emotions control you in a time of pain, for those emotions could overtake you in temptation to sin.
How can you rely on God during times of mourning? How can you ward off temptation?
John D. Barry


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

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