Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Samuel 14
"Problems in David's family continue. His son Absalom, now the eldest and in line for the throne, conspires against his father, thus repeating the attitude of king Saul against the shepherd-elect. But, like Saul, Absalom has no scruples against Yahweh's Anointed! He meditates on seizing the throne. But the powerful Joab acts with a political intent.
Joab schemes to fetch Absalom home: vv 1-3. Three years have passed, and Joab seeks opportunity to influence David.
Then came a woman of Tekoah with a plea: vv 4-11. She presents a case in which forgiveness should be exercised. One brother had killed another, but had been incited to do so. She pleaded the intervention of David, who was so touched by the case, he granted the request. Then the case became personal.
The woman pleads for Absalom: vv 12-17. Although the nation endorsed the action of the king, it was a subtle suggestion, that if the king recalled Absalom from exile, his action would be endorsed by the people. It was a suggestion based on what Joab knew the king wanted.
Absalom is recalled but not forgiven: vv 18-24. Then the record reveals:
Absalom's appealing responsibility: vv 25-27. His was an appeal to the flesh, and traded on such appeal. He became renowned for his hair. the weight of which was recorded throughout the kingdom.
Absalom seeks power: vv 28-33. Though recalled from exile, the king's obvious disapproval of Absalom stood in the way of his ambition and power. Absalom reveals the ruthlessness of his nature in this action towards Joab" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 2 - Jeremiah 18:1-4
"This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 'Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message.' So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him" (Jer 18:1-4).
"The potter was making a vessel on the wheels, the upper and lower discs made of stone or wood. The lower one was worked by the foot of the potter and was attached by an axle to the upper one, on which the clay was worked. The discs were in a horizontal position. As happened frequently in the daily life of a potter, the clay did not turn out right. Often in throwing the clay, some defect would become evident. The potter then rolled the clay into a lump to begin his task again to make a more suitable product. The chief point here is the power the potter had over the clay. The clay was in his hand and under his control. The defects were in the clay, not the hand of the potter. The potter's perseverance must not be overlooked at this point in this passage" (Expositors Bible Commentary).
In contrast to the clay pot in Jer 19:1,10, the same clay here could still be changed into a different vessel -- not having been hardened yet.
Reading 3 - Rom outline
Romans, a brief outline, chapter by chapter:
Men may have a knowledge of God from general revelation, and thus all men are in some sense guilty, since they have rejected this revelation.
The Jews are guilty of rejecting God's law as well, and thus are doubly guilty.
Since no man can be saved by his own righteousness, justification can only be by faith in the work of Jesus Christ.
The chief Old Testament example is Abraham, who was saved by faith.
The fruit of this justification is peace with God.
Free grace gives no license for sin, but rather provides resurrection power for a new life of righteousness.
Nevertheless, our regeneration introduces a struggle, within our own natures, against indwelling sin.
Christ works with us in the war against sin, and guarantees us our final victory in the resurrection.
Our security in Christ is grounded in God's choice of us, not our choice of Him.
God brings His elect people to Himself by means of the preaching of the gospel.