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The Plot to Kill a Guy Who Already Died

John 12:9–11 ESV
When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
What Happened: Most Christians know that Jesus was #1 on the Pharisees’ list of Israel’s Most Wanted to get rid of. But do you know who #2 was? Lazarus.
After Jesus raised his friend from the dead, Lazarus became a local celebrity, telling people about Jesus’ miraculous power over life and death. The religious leaders couldn’t have that, so they schemed to kill him too. Or re-kill him, as the case might be.
Remember:

The reason Lazarus was a threat was because his testimony of what God had done in his life changed the people around him.

What a great example for us!

Worst Hair Day Ever

2 Samuel 18:6–33 ESV
So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword. And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. And a certain man saw it and told Joab, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king’s son, for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake protect the young man Absalom.’ On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him. Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained them. And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled every one to his own home. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and carry news to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king’s son is dead.” Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?” “Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and outran the Cushite. Now David was sitting between the two gates, and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. The watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he drew nearer and nearer. The watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings news.” The watchman said, “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man and comes with good news.” Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” And the king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I do not know what it was.” And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still. And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
2 Samuel 18:9
What Happened: King David’s pretty boy son staged a coup and drove his father out of Jerusalem. I say “pretty boy” because he had lovely locks of hair that he actually weighed when he got a yearly haircut (). Later, when David had gathered his loyal supporters to take the kingdom back, Absalom fled the battle on his horse… until his long hair got tangled in a tree and left him hanging there until he was captured and killed. Should’ve gotten a trim before the battle, clearly.
2 Samuel 18:9 ESV
And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.
Literally this reference to “head” means”hair of the head”.
Remember: The little detail about Absalom's long locks was mentioned four chapters before the story of his death. The Bible doesn't typically mention a person's physical appearance unless it has something to do with the story, kind of like foreshadowing. (But does that make the method of Absalom's death less weird? Not really.)

Sometimes, the thing that makes us vain can kill us.

Be careful what you brag about and bank on.

Outsmarted by A Donkey

describes an interaction between Balak and Balaam where Balak wanted Balaam to come and curse the Israelites.
What Happened: The Israelites were marching into the Promised Land, conquering cities and winning battles, and the Moabite king got nervous. So he summoned a guy named Balaam to come and put a curse on the Israelites. Baalam started to leave for his curse-making assignment, but his donkey started acting really strangely, first running away, then smashing his leg against the canyon, and finally talking. He told Baalam, basically, “Quit beating me up! I’m just trying to keep you from being cut to pieces by the angel with the giant sword blocking our path.” Then the angel revealed himself, informed Baalam that the cursing would not work, and let him pass. (Spoiler alert: When he finally gets to his destination, Baalam is only able to bless Israel and prophesy good things about them, to no one’s surprise.)
The prophet Balaam was riding on his donkey when the donkey suddenly turned off the road into a field. After hitting the donkey to get back to the road, the donkey started pushing Balaam’s leg up against a wall. After hitting his donkey again to move, the donkey just laid down. So Balaam, angry that his donkey wasn’t cooperating, struck it again. The Bible tells us what happened next:
Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam,
Numbers 22:28–29 ESV
Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.”
“What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” ()
Apparently Balaam is too angry to realize that his donkey is talking to him.
And the donkey said to Balaam,
Numbers 22:30 ESV
And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”
“Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.” ()
Amazingly, the donkey wins the argument!
Numbers 22:31–33 ESV
Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.”
Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” ()
Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” ()
What Happened: The Israelites were marching into the Promised Land, conquering cities and winning battles, and the Moabite king got nervous. So he summoned a guy named Balaam to come and put a curse on the Israelites. Baalam started to leave for his curse-making assignment, but his donkey started acting really strangely, first running away, then smashing his leg against the canyon, and finally talking. He told Baalam, basically, “Quit beating me up! I’m just trying to keep you from being cut to pieces by the angel with the giant sword blocking our path.” Then the angel revealed himself, informed Baalam that the cursing would not work, and let him pass. (Spoiler alert: When he finally gets to his destination, Baalam is only able to bless Israel and prophesy good things about them, to no one’s surprise.)
Remember:

God was good at getting people’s attention in ways that made sense to their culture.

Prophecies, plagues, stars, burning bushes, fingers writing words on a wall, talking animals—

God can use anything to convey his message.

Luke 19:40 ESV
He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Romans 1:18–23 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Denying God does not mean He does not exist.

Do Not Tease The Prophet

2 Kings 2:23–25 ESV
He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.
What Happened: Elisha the prophet was traveling, going about his message-from-God business, when a gang of teenagers surrounded him and started harassing him, yelling insults and calling him “baldy.” Proving that the Lord doesn’t take mockery lightly, he answered Elisha’s prayer for justice with two angry bears who attacked the group and mauled over 40 of the young men. Hopefully, the other ones learned their lesson.
Remember:

If people don’t respect the prophet, they won’t respect the message he brings… and that’s a serious, life-or-death matter.

Don’t let your mouth outrun your head

Don’t let the messenger distract you from the message.

So, what did I learn from all these stories?
I Learned:
What a great example for us!-Does my Life impact others?
Be careful what you brag about and bank on.
God can use anything to convey his message.
Denying God does not mean He does not exist.
Don’t let the messenger distract you from the message.
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