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Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
August 29, 2021 7:00 pm


Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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August 29, 2021 7:00 pm

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Have your Bibles with you today. Turn with me, if you would, to 2 Samuel chapter 19.

We're going to be looking, first of all, at verses 41 through 43. Now with me, as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, I lift up Martin Ephraim to you this morning as he's still in the hospital going through a very difficult time. We pray, Lord, that you would spare his life. Lord, that you would save his life and give him more years here on this earth to serve and love you. We pray, Heavenly Father, that you would be with my brother Larry Cranford as he's experienced the death of his wife this weekend. And ask, Father, that you comfort him, put into his heart a peace that passes all understanding. Pray for Wendy Crestar, Lord, that you would be with her as she has surgery coming up tomorrow on her eye. We pray, Father, that that eye will heal very quickly and that she will have her sight restored to her. Heavenly Father, in my interactions with Christians over the last 18 months, I have seen depression, hopelessness, anxiety, and fear. I understand that. Times are tough, things are uncertain.

Institutions that we thought we could trust have failed us. So, Lord, please use the Word of God to give us victory over these things, these feelings, these emotions that we have. Paul said, be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication and with thanksgiving.

Let your quest be made known unto God. The peace of God that passes all understanding shall guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus. Paul said, for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a power of love and of a sound mind. David said, the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. And it was Jesus who said, in this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. Father, help us to leave this place today with our heads held high and our eyes focused on you. There is no trial greater than you.

There is no problem you can't solve. Help us to surrender every thought, every emotion, and every tear to your sovereign hand. May the trials of this life build character into our hearts and dependence upon you, for it is in the precious name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. In 737 BC, the prophet Isaiah walked into the temple of God to seek comfort. His king, king Uzziah, had died. King Uzziah had reigned over Judah for 52 years. He was a good king. He was a king who loved the Lord. Isaiah trusted him.

He was very comfortable with him as their king. But now he has died. And his son Jotham, who is ascending to the throne. And Isaiah knows that Jotham does not possess the same character and integrity that his father did.

And he's very worried about what's going to happen to Judah. So Isaiah walks into the temple of the Lord and the scripture says that God gave him a vision. I don't think that this was just a thought or some little dream that he had. This was a powerful, powerful vision. It was almost like he had been transported to heaven itself.

It was that real to him. In Isaiah chapter 6 verse 1, the scripture says, I saw the Lord hide and lifted up on his throne, and his train filled the temple. The train was a symbol of authority. The longer the king's train on his robe, the greater the authority. If a king sat down on his throne and the train went all the way down to the floor, that meant he had great authority. But Isaiah looks up and he sees God on his throne.

And his train doesn't just go down and touch the floor. But it keeps on flowing and it keeps on flowing and it keeps on flowing until it fills the entire temple. Folks, that was a statement God was making.

And the statement was this. The statement says, our Lord doesn't possess just some authority. Our Lord doesn't just possess great authority, but our Lord possesses all authority.

No one can stay his hand. No one can change his mind or thwart God's purpose. God is not just powerful. He is sovereignly, totally powerful.

But then he sees something. He sees the angels, the bright shining seraphim, and they're encircling the throne and they're singing out, Holy, holy, holy. Now, he is not only powerful, but he is also perfectly righteous.

He is also perfectly good. He is holy. I have a personal belief that holiness is the attribute that best describes our God. He is a holy God. Never do we see in the scripture where the angels are singing, Love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, Joy, joy, joy, even sovereign, sovereign, sovereign. It is holy, holy, holy.

I don't know about you that that makes me tremble on the inside. It made Isaiah tremble on the inside and the outside. Isaiah sees the Lord high and lifted up on his throne, and he falls down on the floor, trembling and shaking, and he says, Woe is me, for I am an unclean man who lives in the midst of an unclean people. God sent an angel to go over to the altar, and he takes a coal off the altar, and he brings it over to Isaiah, and he presses it on his lips, and it burns, and it stings, and it hurts, but it also cleanses. God is calling Isaiah to be his prophet.

He will be a statesman prophet, and he will take the messages of God back to the kings. I wonder if Isaiah said to himself, I just wish that I could have talked to David, who reigned 200 years before this. He said, I just wish that I could have talked to him, because David was the apple of God's eye. He was a man after God's own heart.

He was the killer of giants. He was a great, mighty warrior, the greatest warrior that Israel or Judah had ever seen before, and he said, here's a man who went through unbelievable trials and unbelievable heartaches. I wonder if he didn't take 2 Samuel 19 and 20 and meditate on these chapters that we've been looking at and look at those chapters and say, wow, these are truths here that can help me to help Jotham with the trials that Judah is getting ready to go through. Now, in 2 Samuel chapters 15 through 18, we've been studying Absalom's rebellion against David and God. These were the toughest trials that David would ever have to face in his life, or at least he thought, and what he finds out is that the trials that are coming up are even tougher. Isn't that interesting? Last week, we saw David express grace and mercy in ways that absolutely blew my mind, and we saw that David was a picture, a type, a symbol, a foreshadowing of Christ to come, and in 2 Samuel chapter 19, we see David become more like Christ than he is in his entire life.

It is amazing. He shows grace and mercy to the most undeserving people in the world. He shows grace and mercy to Shimei, who cursed him and threw rocks at him. He shows grace and mercy to Amasa, who was the military commander over Absalom's army that was trying to kill David. David not only forgave him, but he elevated him to become the commander of his army. Folks, as I look at this, all I can see is Jesus in David, and all I can see is Jesus hanging from that cross, looking down from the cross at the people who were down below, and they were cursing him and yelling at him and screaming at him and spitting at him, and Jesus looked up into heaven and he said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. That's the kind of grace I see in David as he gets ready to retake the throne. Now, in my human mind, I would think that God would reward David after all that with a trouble-free period of time.

That doesn't happen, folks. In fact, the trials get deeper and tougher for David. Brothers and sisters, for over a decade now, I have been seriously warning Grace Church that persecution is coming. I have warned you of a growing hatred against God's true people.

I have encouraged you to make Bible memorization a daily practice and to get mentally, spiritually, and emotionally ready for persecution. Be prepared to be slandered. Be prepared to be lied about and misquoted. Be prepared to be called names.

Be prepared to be isolated and canceled out. It's time to get spiritually tough, folks. It's time to get spiritually tough and to fall more in love with Jesus than you have ever been in your life. And don't think just because you love Jesus and just because you have a heart that's willing to repent that the trials are going to get easier. For David, they did not.

They got tougher, and it may be the same with us. It takes us to our text, and there are three points that I want to share with you. Point one is a brewing tempest. Look with me at verse 41 through 43 again. Then all the men of Israel came to the king and said to the king, Why have our brothers, the men of Judah, stolen you away and brought the king and his household over to Jordan, and all David's men with him? All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel because the king is our close relative.

Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten it all at the king's expense, or has he given us any gift? And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you.

Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king? The words of the men of Judah were fiercer in the words of the men of Israel. If you remember, there were many in Judah who betrayed David and followed Absalom. Judah was David's tribe. They were his kinfolk, his near kin, his family. They were his people. So David wanted to start this process of repairing the breach there in his country by going, first of all, to those who were closest to him. So he got two priests, Zadok, the high priest, another priest named Abiathar, and he sent them to go deal with Judah. They went to Judah and they said to Judah, You have blown it. You have messed up royally.

You have been deceived by Absalom. Now you need to apologize to David, and you need to show the entire world that you support David with all your heart. And the people of Judah thought, That's a great idea.

That's exactly what we need to do. And so all Judah went to meet with David so they could march with David back to the palace in Jerusalem, and he could retake the throne. But the other ten tribes of Israel see Judah doing all this, and they realize that they have not come out to honor David in great numbers. And that kind of embarrasses them. Israel's ten times larger than Judah, and yet the numbers they have are much smaller than Judah's numbers. And so guess what? Instead of kicking themselves in the seat of the pants like they should have done, they get jealous of Judah, and they started a ruckus.

Listen to what Richard Phillips says. This is a great analogy. He said, Of course, until they noticed the assembly of Judah to greet David, the northern tribes had little interest in honoring the returning king, but instead had fled every man to his own home. Only when their pride and jealousy were provoked did they care for such honors.

A modern-day analogy might involve a younger sister who sulks over being denied the privilege of being made of honor and consequently tries to ruin the wedding for the entire family. It can easily be charged that David and Judah might have been more sensitive to the feelings of their brothers, yet David can only have been exasperated over the ease by which a nation freshly returned from civil war would devolve into factional bickering again. Despite the accusations that Judah had stolen David, there was in fact no conspiracy, no real advantage gained by Judah in the affair. Nonetheless, the tribes of Judah decided it was all part of a plan by Judah to humble them and make them less impressive in the victory parade. There was no willingness to give the benefit of the doubt, no recognition that other factors, including the king's best judgment, might have played a part, not even the slightest interest in an explanation, only naked prejudice, recrimination, and accusation.

What was Israel doing? They were trying to read motives. They were saying, we know what you're thinking.

They were saying, we see the conspiracy that you are concocting, and we will act on the basis of what we think you are thinking. Wow. That's a sin, folks.

And you know what? I am guilty of that sin way too often. I do that sometimes. I hate to admit that, but I do.

Thinking that I know what somebody else is thinking, I look at them and I see what they've said or I've seen what they've done, and immediately I can make a determination in my mind, well, this is their motive, this is what they're thinking. Have you ever felt snubbed by somebody? And you say, wow, what's his problem? Did I do something? Did I say something to hurt his feelings? Did Clemson beat his football team and he's mad at me? What's going on here?

Why is he acting like this? Then you talk to that person. You say, are you mad at me?

They say, why would you ask? Well, you didn't speak to me. And they say, I didn't even see you. What are you talking about? I had my mind on an argument that I had with my wife. It had nothing to do with you.

I had misread a motive. That ever happen to you? I've been in the middle of a sermon. Somebody will get up right in the middle of a sermon and walk out the back door of the church.

Guess what I'm thinking? Uh-oh, I've hurt somebody's feelings. I've just said something that's so offended them. They're leaving the church.

They may never come back again. And so I call them up and say, I saw you leave the church today. Are you okay? They said, my mother's sick. And she texted me on the phone. She said she needed me right then. So I jumped up and I took off out of there. Huh. What had I done? I jumped the gun. I tried to read someone's motives.

Folks, I would do well not to do that. That's exactly what Israel was doing. So what did Judah do? They did not apologize for what the situation looked like.

They could have eased the tension if they had just done that, but they didn't. They told the truth, but they said it in a way that would make Israel look stupid and petty. Look at verse 42. All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, because the king is our close relative, why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten it all at the king's expense, or has he given us any gift? They were saying to Israel, get a grip, guys. What is wrong with you? David is a Judean.

He's family. He didn't give us a gift. We didn't do anything for privilege. We gained no benefit from this. Besides that, who kept you from going? You could go just like we are.

Nobody stopped you from that. Why are you even saying this? In Ephesians 4.15, Paul gives us a command. He says that we are to speak the truth in love. They are speaking the truth.

Let me tell you, it's not in love. It's not kind at all. Verse 43 says that the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel. How does that apply to us?

Richard Phillips had a great answer, a very convicting answer. He said, the bickering between Israel and Judah mirrors the kind of dissension that rips apart communities and even fellow Christians within the church. Believers today sometimes long for the ideal times of the early church, when bonds of love united the first Christians. But they forget the actual descriptions of the New Testament. Paul lamented that each one of you says, I follow Paul, or I follow Apollos, or I follow Cephas.

So it continues today. Inflamed pride leads to injured sentiments responded with inflamed suspicions and unwarranted accusations. Unless one or both parties humble themselves in a spirit of Christ-like grace, the result can be a rent that deeply injures people and communities. It is in this way that long-serving churches split over the style of music and families sever over thoughtless comments made at a holiday meal.

Is that not true? That takes us to point to a breaking storm. Look at verses 1 through 13 and chapter 20. There happened to be there a worthless man whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite. And he blew the trumpet and said, We have no portion in David.

We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tent, O Israel. So the men of Israel withdrew from David, followed Sheba, the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem. David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house and put them in a house under guard, provided for them, but did not go into them.

So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood. Then the king said to Amasa, Call the men of Judah together to me. Within three days and be here yourself. So Amasa went to summon Judah. But he delayed beyond the set time that had been appointed him. And David said to Abishai, Now Sheba, the son of Bichri, will do us more harm than Absalom. Take your Lord's servant and pursue him, lest he get himself to fortified cities and escape from us. And there went out after him Joab's men and the Carathites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men.

They went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba, the son of Bichri. When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldier's garment, and over it was a belt with a sword in it, sheath fastened on his thigh.

As he went forward, it fell out. And Joab said to Amasa, Is it well with you, my brother? Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him, but Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab's hand. So Joab struck him with it in the stomach and spilled his entrails to the ground without striking a second blow, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai, his brother, pursued Sheba, the son of Bichri. And one of Joab's young men took his stand by Amasa and said, Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab. And Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the highway. Anyone who came by seeing him stopped.

When the man saw that all the people stopped, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field and threw a garment over him. When he was taken out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba, the son of Bichri. When David arrived in Jerusalem, the first thing you had to deal with was ten heartbroken, devastated women. These were David's concubines. Now, I could spend a lot of time telling you why David should not have had concubines. He should not have had plethora of wives. The Scripture says that a marriage is between one man and one woman, not one man and one man, not one woman and one woman, one man and one woman till death do us part.

I won't spend a lot of time on that. David shouldn't have done what he did, but he did. And what we need to see here is that these ten women were his.

Now, what happened to them? Absalom came into Jerusalem. He sexually molested all ten of David's concubines. What was wrong with him?

Was he just a sex pervert, an infomaniac? Might have been, but that's not why he did it. He did it in order to put David down. He did it to say to David, Not only am I going to take your life, I'm taking your throne and I'm taking your women.

You know what this was? This was a prophecy being fulfilled. You remember when Nathan gave the prophecy to David about his family? He said this in 2 Samuel 12, Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house, and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor.

He shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun, for you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before Israel and before the sun. David met with these women. He gave them a place to live. He provided food and everything else they needed, but he no longer had relations with them.

He completely broke that off, and the Scripture says that they went on from there to live in a joyless, dreary existence as widows for the rest of their lives. After that, another trial came. A man from Israel named Sheba decided that if Absalom could not dethrone David, that he could. So he went and he rallied the troops together from Israel. He said, You come with me and we'll go and we'll fight, and we'll kill David, we'll take his life, and we'll take his throne.

Folks, listen carefully. It was the will of God that David be the king of Israel. God put him on the throne. God appointed him to be king. And when the people turned against him and went following after Absalom, they were not just thumping their nose in David's face, they were thumping their nose in God's face. Now Sheba is doing the very same thing that Absalom did. He rejected David, and he thumped his nose in God's face.

What was the problem? The problem was that Israel had never truly repented from the sin that they did with Absalom. There had never been true repentance. They just said, Well, I guess we're just going to have to accept David now. There's nothing else we can do about it. And then when Sheba comes along and offers them some false promises, they jump on that again, just like they did with Absalom.

Folks, that's the problem with half-hearted repentance. It has no power to conquer. It has no power to last. Maybe you're here today and you're an alcoholic, and you're trying to break that thing in your life. Well, what do you do about it? Well, I'm just going to cut down. Let me promise you, that will not work.

What do you need to do? You need to go to the Lord and say, By the grace of my Lord, and through the power of Jesus' name, I will never ever touch it again. Get all the alcohol out of your house, completely and totally. If you've got friends that are drunkards, get new friends.

Don't go to places where you're going to be tempted to do that anymore. Folks, let the repentance be real. Israel did not repent of their sin with Absalom. Now it's happening with Sheba. So Amasa, the new leader of the military, has been sent by David to go after Sheba.

David took the command away from Joab, because Joab had killed his son Absalom and disobeyed him, and now he gave that command to Amasa. So Joab's there, and Joab once again takes matters into his own hands. He sees Amasa, and he walks over to Amasa like he's his best friend. And he walks over to him. He's got this outer army garment on. His sword is up underneath it, and all of a sudden his sword drops out, just laying on the ground. That gives Amasa the idea that he is without ammunition, that he's without a weapon, that he's okay. So he goes over to him, and he doesn't know that he's got another sword in his hand. He reaches up, and he takes him by the beard, and he pulls him over to give him a kiss on the cheek, and he takes that sword, and he rams it right through his belly, and kills him right there on the spot. Think of the men that Joab has killed.

Abner, Absalom, and now Amasa. Joab is a cold, heartless man. So everybody else stands there, and they watch Amasa, as he's wallowing in his own blood, and Joab just kind of snickers, and he says, Guys, if you want victory, then you follow me, and we'll get victory for David. We'll get victory for him. People, did Joab get away with that sin?

The answer is no. Before David died, he commanded his son, Solomon, to be sure to put Joab to death for the murder of Abner, Amasa, and Absalom. Numbers 32, verse 23 says this, You have sinned against the Lord, and be sure of this, your sin will find you out. All right, point three, the blowing of the trumpet, verses 14 through 22. And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Bethmakkah, and all the Bichrites assembled and followed him in. And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him and Abel of Bethmakkah.

They cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down. Then a wise woman called from the city, Listen, listen, tell Joab, come here that I may speak to you. And he came near her, and the woman said, Are you Joab? He answered, I am. Then she said to him, Listen to the words of your servant.

And he answered, I'm listening. Then she said, They used to say in former times, Let them but ask counsel at Abel, and so they settled a matter. I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord? Joab answered, Far be it from me, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.

That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim called Sheba the son of Bichri has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city. The woman said to Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall. Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. They cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city every man to his home, and Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. When Joab took over, Sheba realized that they were in trouble. He went to a place called Abel. It was a city that was built like a fortress. He thought, We're in a fort.

We'll be okay. And so all of a sudden, Joab shows up. He and his army surround the city.

He says, I know what I have to do. I have to knock down a portion of this big wall around the city, and then I'll march my troops in. We'll kill Sheba, and then we'll kill every other troop that will not surrender.

That's what we'll have to do. All of a sudden, the scripture says that a wise woman came out from the city of Abel, and she came over to talk to Joab, and she said, I want to talk to you privately. They got off to the side, and she said, I thought you loved Israel. He said, I do love Israel. She said, Then why are you getting ready to destroy our city? We aren't part of a rebel army. We love David.

What are you doing this for? And Joab said, You got me wrong. I'm not against you, but behind the walls of your city, there resides a very wicked man named Sheba. She says, If you will get that man to me, then we will spare your city.

She said, Done deal. And she went to her men. They went after Sheba, and they beheaded him. She took the head of Sheba and threw it over the wall, so it landed right before Joab.

What did Joab do? Joab knew at that point in time, this battle is over. It's over with. We have won. The victory is ours.

And he reached up, took the trumpet, put it to his lips, and he blew a loud blast on the trumpet. And all the tribes of Judah went back home, and they went and talked to David and told David what had happened, and David greatly, greatly rejoiced. A few nights ago, Cindy and I were watching the news on TV. We saw the Taliban Muslims as they were taking power in Afghanistan. We saw soldiers that were killed in a suicide homicide mission.

We heard about COVID spikes all over the world. We even heard a story that night about a doctor who's desiring to do a sex change operation on a four-year-old child. We picked up a Christian periodical. We're reading where pastors that we at one time had great respect for had decided that they were now woke pastors, and they were more concerned about pleasing the culture than they were about pleasing God. Cindy and I looked at each other, and we said, you know, in our lifetime, we have never seen it this bad. In our lifetime, it's not been this bad. In our lifetime, it's not been a situation where God has been mocked and ignored like He is today.

So our question was, where's our hope? Could God send a revival to this nation and bring a spiritual awakening here? Absolutely, He could. Could God stop political corruption, material greed, and our world's fascination with sex?

Absolutely, He could. And we should pray toward that end. My question is this.

What if He doesn't? Where is our hope? In this story, peace came when the trumpet blew. That trumpet sound is a picture.

It is a type. It is a symbol. It is a foreshadowing of a greater trumpet that one day will sound. Paul spoke of that trumpet in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 13 through 18, when he said this, But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, for that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep with Jesus, will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain in the coming of the Lord shall not perceive those who are asleep, for the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and the trump of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort ye one another with these words. I am not going to categorically tell you that I have some hotline to heaven where I know what the future is going to be. I don't know what God might do. God could bring a spiritual awakening to our nation, to our world, and this world could continue on like it's doing right now and get better. It could happen. God could do that, and the world may last for thousands of more years. But I will not deny the possibility of the soon second coming of Jesus Christ.

And folks, let me tell you something. When that sound of that trumpet blows, it's over. And you and I, if we remain on this earth, we will be taken, translated to meet the Lord in the clouds, given new glorified bodies. Those who are dead in Christ are right now with Him spiritually. They will receive new glorified bodies, and we will be with Him. Sin will be vanquished.

Satan will be cast into the burning lake of fire. And we will be with the Lord forever and ever and ever. Lift up your heads, children of God. Lift up your heads.

I don't know everything, but I do know this. Jesus wins. Jesus wins. Praise God. Jesus wins.

Let's pray. Father David did a lot of good things. He killed Goliath. He wrote the majority of the Psalms.

He served God as the king of Israel. We could praise you all day for his many accomplishments, but the greatest thing he ever did was to point us to Jesus. David was our signpost, and we saw today that David's victory points us to the last trump. It points us to the greatest victory that our world will ever see, the return of Christ. In David's day, Israel and Judah bowed before him. But when Jesus returns, it won't be just a few who will bow. It will be all. For God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. For it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-12 11:54:15 / 2023-09-12 12:08:33 / 14

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