Monthly Archives: April 2013

2 Samuel 15: We Need God with Us

In 2 Samuel 15, we see a revolution taking place. Absalom was incredibly power-hungry.

2Sa 15:4  Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!

He would sit outside the room where David was acting as judge and would almost lobby the people as they went in to have their problems worked out. He would tell them exactly what they wanted to hear, and we find out later in verse six that he “stole the hearts of all the men of Israel.”

He was making sure that he had popular support. After all, it’s kind of hard to have a revolution if no one supports you.

However, even though it does seem like he had a pretty good amount of popular support and ultimately did follow through with his plan, he did not have the support of God.

He put all of his faith in the fact that the people loved him. However, having the support of God is absolutely the most important thing, and it seems as if God doesn’t always worry about the odds. Think about Gideon. He was vastly outnumbered, but God was with him, and that was enough. Joshua should not have been able to overtake Jericho, but God made it happen.

Rom 8:31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

I think this is a perspective that we need to keep. If we try to do what everyone else wants us to do in order to be popular, there’s a problem there. Popularity is not a bad thing, but our first priority needs to be doing what God would have us do rather than what is popular. Absalom thought that his popularity was enough to make him king. Making sure that he was in God’s will should have been the first priority rather than his desperation for power.

2 Samuel 14: Operate in God’s Time

Absalom was kind of an interesting guy, and we see that coming out in a different way in 2 Samuel 14. From yesterday, you will remember that he murdered his brother because he was upset that he had raped their sister.

He then ran away because he was a murderer. Even now I don’t get the impression that he was upset about what he did, but he knew that he had to preserve his life. David obviously did not defend his other son, but he also did not condone murder.

In this chapter, because of the work of Joab, David’s general, Absalom was finally allowed to return to the palace, but David would not look at him for two years. I think that five minutes of silence can be really awkward, but imagine being ignored for two years.

This is where Absalom take some very interesting action.

2Sa 14:29  Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come.

2Sa 14:30  Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.

2Sa 14:31  Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire?

2Sa 14:32  And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, Come hither, that I may send thee to the king, to say, Wherefore am I come from Geshur? it had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me.

He wasn’t getting the result that he wanted, an audience with the king, so he decided to force Joab’s hand. He burned down the field with the explicit purpose that it would force Joab to talk to him.

Both of these times, Absalom had an okay intent. He wanted to protect his sister, and he wanted to repair the relationship with his father. However, in both of these situations, he just took matters into his own hands.

I think that we need to be careful. Justice would have been done eventually in both of these situations, and probably the end result would have been the same in both of them. However, because Absalom decided to rush everything, he created many problems for himself and everyone around him.

2 Samuel 13: Keep Trusting God

Wow, 2 Samuel 13 is a pretty messed up chapter. We see a lot of people making a lot of really bad choices, and it ends with a brother killing his brother.
Absalom could not stand his brother Amnon. Of course, I think that most of us would agree that he had a pretty good reason to be really, really mad. Earlier, Amnon had pretended to be sick as a way to get his sister Tamar alone before he eventually raped her. I think that we would all agree that that was terrible. She was entirely innocent and did everything she could, but he was physically stronger than her and forced her.
One line made me particularly sad though.
2Sa 13:15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
I feel that this verse can be applied to so many sins in our lives. There are certain things that we really want to do. I’m not saying that many people think about these or similarly terrible things, but on one level, any sin is a problem. In fact, we might love them. It really can be anything in our lives, but it involves something that we put up on a pedestal.
As we discover this type of problem in our lives, there are really two types of responses. On one hand, we can make the problem worse by turning our hatred onto people who pointed our problem out. Amnon knew that he was wrong, and because his sister was resisting, it should have been pretty plain to him. That made him pretty upset because he wanted to have everything okay with the fact that he was sinning. He hated her for pointing it out.
Ideally, a better reaction involves testing what people say against the Bible. If the Bible says that something is wrong, then we should avoid it. That should be our final authority because it has been divinely inspired. Rather than turn our hatred on someone who tells us we are wrong, we need to do what is right.

2 Samuel 12: Bearer of Bad News

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would have wanted to be Nathan in 2 Samuel 12. Essentially, he had to bring the bad news to David about what God was going to do to him because he essentially had Uriah murdered to steal his wife.

2Sa 12:1  And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

2Sa 12:2  The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:

2Sa 12:3  But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

2Sa 12:4  And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

2Sa 12:5  And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:

2Sa 12:6  And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

2Sa 12:7  And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

2Sa 12:8  And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

2Sa 12:9  Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

2Sa 12:10  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

2Sa 12:11  Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

2Sa 12:12  For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

I know that that was a long passage, but I wanted to give you context. Essentially, we have a parable. There was a rich man who had so much of everything that David saw it as a travesty when he took the one lamb from the poor man who did not have very much.

The parallel is pretty obvious. David had such a public position and really had power to do whatever he wanted. He surely could have married almost any eligible woman, but he had to go kill a man to get what he ultimately wanted.

Naturally, there were consequences, and again we see the justice of God. However, I do want to point out one thing in closing. Even though God did punish David, David went right back to worship. He recognized that it was his own actions that were the problem.

2 Samuel 11: How Can God Forgive That?

David made arguably his biggest mistake in 2 Samuel 11. He fell in love with Bathsheba and decided that he needed to have her no matter what. Even when he found out that she was married, that wasn’t going to stop him. Instead of respecting the fact that she had another partner in life, David decided to send her husband Uriah to the frontline. He knew that survival rates on the frontline were pretty terrible, and Uriah did indeed become another victim. He died, David took his wife and God was not happy.

2Sa 11:27  And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

You might think that that word “displeased” is far too mild. However, if you look into the original Hebrew, the translation is something more like “broken up pleasure” and the breaking is typically used to indicate a violent act according to Strong’s numbers.

That is a much more serious connotation than you might have gathered from the original KJV translation.

I assume that you probably have the same question I have. David was called a man after God’s own heart by the early church (Acts 13:22). How on earth could that be possible? If he really loved God, he wouldn’t murder a guy just because he wanted his wife.

The best I can respond to that is to say that we are all made dirty by sin. Even if we only committed one sin in our entire lives, we would still be sinners. If we committed the millions of sins, we are just as much of a sinner.

I like to think of the guy who was crucified next to Jesus. He had obviously done something pretty bad to be crucified, but because he had sincere faith in God and repented, we know that he is in heaven today.

In many psalms David wrote, it is pretty obvious that he was a man who wanted to truly follow God. He wanted to do what God wanted him to do, and he wanted to live his life the way God would want him to. His faith was sincere.

It is certainly true that David made a mistake, and I’m not trying to cover that over or give the impression that it was no big deal. Murder is a big deal. However, I am trying to say that God will forgive sin. It might be big, or it might be something that seems a lot more innocent, but we all need forgiveness. God is willing to forgive. Isn’t that pretty remarkable?

2 Samuel 10: When You Are Taken Wrongly

It is hard to have people misjudge your intentions. In 2 Samuel 10, David felt bad that the king of Ammon passed away. If you remember a little while ago, this was the man that allowed David to stay in his country while Saul was hunting David down.

As a result, he sent a few servants down as mourners, but the new king thought that David sent them as spies, and a giant war erupted out of it.

2Sa 10:1  And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.

2Sa 10:2  Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.

2Sa 10:3  And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?

2Sa 10:6  And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.

2Sa 10:7  And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.

It is kind of interesting because yesterday I was part of a discussion where we were talking about intent versus impact. I think this is a very good example of that. David did not mean anything wrong. In fact, his intent was what any of us would do in the case of a funeral where someone we love has passed on.

However, the impact of that decision turned into something much greater because of the irrationality of the king of Ammon. I am not saying that it was David’s fault, but I’m just trying to point out that our best intentions can sometimes be taken wrongly.

The ultimate example of this is Jesus Christ himself. He came to earth to redeem humanity, and we crucified Him. He did a great work while He was here, and many people really did not and still do not understand the significance of that.

I hope that all of us are at a place where we can understand the intent and the importance of what Jesus did for all of us.

2 Samuel 9: Did David Hate People with Disabilities (Continued)?

A few days I wrote about the misconception that David hated people with disabilities, and if we look at 2 Samuel 9, there is even more proof that this is not the way David felt.

As you will remember from a while ago, David and Jonathan were absolutely the best of friends. However, they ended up not really hanging out very much near the end because Jonathan’s father Saul was obviously David’s arch enemy. Jonathan ended up dying in battle, and at this point, David is feeling like he needs to help whatever is left of Jonathan’s family.

2Sa 9:3  And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.

Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, apparently could not walk. This is an obvious physical disability that David would have been able to see.

I know that he largely hunted out him because he was Jonathan’s son. However, if he really hated disability that much, I do not think that the following passage would have happened. There would have been other ways to provide support and preservation.

2Sa 9:7  And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.

Eating dinner at the table of the king was an extraordinary privilege. It also was a very public privilege. If David did not like people with disabilities only because of their disabilities, I highly doubt that he would have put Mephibosheth in such a visual position. Whenever some dignitaries came to visit for dinner, this passage implies that they would have seen Mephibosheth.

I know that many people will probably counter and simply say that he did with this because of Jonathan. That was really the only reason that he was nice. The hatred was still there underneath. I somewhat agree with that first part. He never would have hunted out this boy if he was not the son of Jonathan. However, if he really had such a strong aversion, it is highly improbable that you would see Mephibosheth put in such a prevalent position that was equal to David’s own children (verse 11).

2 Samuel 8: God Follows Through

At the beginning of 2 Samuel 8, we find Israel back at war again in two separate campaigns.

2Sa 8:1  And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Methegammah out of the hand of the Philistines.

2Sa 8:3  David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates.

You have to wonder why Israel was fighting wars on two fronts. After all, isn’t one war enough?

In my mind, there are two separate reasons why Israel went to war here.

Gen 15:18  In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Gen 15:19  The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,

Gen 15:20  And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,

Gen 15:21  And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

Way back in Genesis, the Israelites were supposed inherit the land of the Canaanites. According to everything I have seen, the Philistine civilization was in Canaan. This is all part of the land that God had promised to Abraham far before any of this had happened. As a result, by David finally driving out another group of Canaanites, we can see how the promise to Abraham was fulfilled.

The second one is quite obvious. The parallel between verse three and verse 18 is clear.

Here is my question for you then. Why do we even care about this?

I think that this says something about the character of God. Abraham and David were separated by hundreds of years. At the time, I wonder if Abraham ever wondered when God would follow through on that promise of land.

2Pe 3:8  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

God exists outside of time. Although it is hard for any of us to conceptualize what this really means, I think that we can nevertheless conclude that it does not especially matter when God fulfills a promise with a few exceptions.

The reason I mention a few exceptions is because Jesus himself prophesied that He would rise in three days. Obviously, time was of the essence. However, if there is no time specified like there is in this example, then I believe that time does not matter.

The more significant part of any of the promises in the Bible is that they were fulfilled. Not only does it demonstrate the faithfulness of God, but it also adds additional proof that God is alive and real. He doesn’t just make up things that sound good at the time. He follows through.

2 Samuel 7: What Happened to the Throne of David?

We talk a lot about David being a man after God’s own heart, but I think that this really comes out strongly in 2 Samuel 7.

2Sa 7:1  And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;

2Sa 7:2  That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.

2Sa 7:3  And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.

From these few verses, we can tell that David was incredibly sensitive to the things of God. For some reason, he was the first person to realize that it was kind of odd for him to live in a nice house made of cedar while the Ark of the Covenant was only surrounded by curtains.

Of course, there was nothing wrong with the curtains, and the tabernacle was made exactly how God told Moses to make it in Leviticus, but David still thought that God should have a more permanent dwelling place.

Here is how God responded.

2Sa 7:13  He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

2Sa 7:14  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

2Sa 7:15  But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

2Sa 7:16  And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

God never said that He would not discipline David, and He never promised that David would be perfect. However, He did say that the throne of David would never end.

I think that some of you are going to say, “Wait a minute, his line did indeed end. There was a substantial time when the Israelites were in Babylon and therefore did not have a king on the throne.”

That is not exactly what is being said here though. It never says that there will always be someone on this throne. It says that the throne will always be there for the line of David to sit on. It will be ready for an eligible person to sit on it. The position might be vacant, but it still exists.

You might wonder who is there now. We have to go to the New Testament for that answer.

Luk 1:32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

The throne is still under the power of God, and it has certainly not disappeared. Jesus represents the fulfillment of that prophecy. He is forever seated at the right hand of God in a position of utmost authority and power. As a direct descendent of David, David’s line will indeed sit on that throne forever.

It always amazes me how the Bible was written over such a long amount of time, but everything fits together. If we just had the book of 2 Samuel, we might wonder what happened to the throne of David. We might wonder where God went.

I know that this is a somewhat controversial passage because some people interpret it differently, but I think that the basic fact of the matter comes down to Jesus. He was of the house and lineage of David, and it makes sense that He would be eligible to take that position.

2 Samuel 6: Does God Prefer a Certain Style of Music?

Let me take on a slightly more fun topic today. In 2 Samuel 6, we hear about a procession that was accompanying the Ark of the Covenant.

2Sa 6:5  And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

There was apparently a pretty wild party going on. People were excited, and they were playing all kinds of music.

This obviously begs the question as to what type of music we should use for worship. Surprisingly, this is a huge deal for many people. It is possible that all of these differences are stylistic, but there are some people who claim that only certain types of music should be allowed an acceptable forms of Christian worship.

Personally, you can tell from the videos I post that I do not have a problem with any style of music, but I do think that there are certain criteria that we need to use for all types of music.

First, whatever we listen to should be God-honoring. It needs to be primarily focused on worshiping and praising God. This would actually be consistent with the absolute last verse in the final Psalm, Psalm 150.

Psa 150:6  Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

The implication of this verse is that all living things need to praise God in all ways, but even though the rest of the chapter list of ways in which people might praise God, there is no claim in any of this that it is an exhaustive list. Whatever we do should be an act of worship. In other words, going to work, hanging out with friends or even disagreeing with someone needs to be God-honoring.

That should be the first and most important criteria for this debate. If the music does indeed honor God, I do not see a problem here. The musical notes themselves and the instruments are morally neutral. They do not do anything without us using them. Therefore, if our music is used for the right reason and delivers the right message, there should not be very much of a problem.

Some people have made the argument that listening to certain styles of music is getting too close to the world. For example, rock music has a rather un-Christian history, so for these people, we are violating Romans 12:2.

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

They would argue that we are conforming to become too much like the world and need to make sure that we are different. After all, we are certainly called to stand out and make people wonder what is so special about us (nothing outside of God, we are still sinners saved by grace).

For people who believe this, I guess I only have one response. If you listen to three minutes of Christian rap for example, you’ll immediately notice something different about this song. I would again contend that the notes and instruments are morally neutral. When Christian artists use them, they are pointing people towards God and praising Him. That will make them so different than the mainstream that that fear should be forgotten rather easily.

Naturally, we all have different musical tastes. We all certainly have the right to prefer certain types of music over other types. However, I do not feel like you can make a conclusive case to say that God prefers a certain type of praise. If your heart is in the right place and you’re worshiping Him, I think you can be playing the electric guitar or the organ.