Lessons for Proper 9, July 8, 2018

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10

With Saul’s death the fortunes of Israel now center around David. At the Lord’s command he establishes his power in Hebron, south of Jerusalem. But a new problem arose when Abner, Saul’s army chief, installs Saul’s son, Ishbaal as king of all Israel. A battle ensues between Abner’s people and those loyal to David; David’s side wins the bloody contest. After more battles, Abner and his king, Ishbaal, are killed and the way is now open for acceptance of David as Israel’s single king. In today’s passage, representatives of all the tribes come to Hebron to finally anoint David and finalize his authority in a covenant. It took seven and a half years for the elders of Israel to agree that David was the only choice. Still later, he marched on Jerusalem, making it his capital city, the City of David.

2 Corinthians 12: 2 – 10

Paul desires to boast of his life in God, yet he knows this is not a good idea. Using an oblique phrasing of a “person in Christ” to express his point that weakness is the best position to avoid claiming personal triumph, Paul drifts through a mystical experience to illustrate his feelings without taking credit for avoiding boasting. Conjuring up visions to illustrate his view, he tries to impress on the Corinthian church his teaching of God’s grace in overcoming misdirected personal efforts, maintaining that a gift of weakness as the route to life in Christ.

Mark 6: 1-13

Mark describes a scene early in Jesus’ ministry when he returns to his home town of Nazareth and begins to teach, startling the elders of the village. It is a high contrast of sophisticated speech in a small agricultural setting unused to the preaching as Jesus did that day. Following this experience Jesus lays out the mission of his twelve disciples, detailing their clothing and the approach they are to make as they travel about the countryside.