I came across two gems from Scripture in my reading this morning . . .
Gem 1: 2 Samuel 13:3
But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother:. And Jonadab was a very crafty man.
2 Samuel 13 contains a heinous sin: Amnon raped his sister. It is one (of many) moments in Scripture that very candidly reveals that Biblical characters were depraved men and women. Amnon desired to have his sister but there was something in Amnon that said “no, this is not right” which is why he was so despondent (13:2). However, I’m not so sure that it was his values restraining him, but rather an opportunity. Nevertheless his friend persuaded him to pursue this sin against his sister. He even gave him a plan to make it happen. Amnon heeded his friend’s plan and violated his sister. The gem in the midst of this dreadful account is friends are life-shapers. Make no mistake, those with whom we spend time says much about us. We should not underestimate the degree to which they influence us in virtue or vice. Young people in particular need to remember this.
Gem 2: 2 Corinthians 6:7b
with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left
The Apostle Paul is about half way through a list of evidences concerning his apostolic ministry. He employs a military metaphor to get his point across. It is generally understood that offensive weapons were in the right hand and defensive weapons in the left (Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament; Plummer, 2 Corinthians, 198). Calvin says “By righteousness you must understand – rectitude of conscience and holiness of life.” So what Paul is arguing is that his life and ministry were characterized by righteousness. His defense was not in his words but in his life. What a powerful lesson for every Christian. The gem in this phrase is that the Christian’s best defense concerning the validity of the gospel will not come merely by words but perhaps more powerfully by one’s life. This is likely what is in view when Paul wrote in Philippians 1:27: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”