We are studying 2 Samuel 14 and 15 today at house church.
In chapter 14, verse 14 we read about a woman saying this to King David:
“Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.”
She was absolutely correct. The nature of God is restorative. He loves us so much that he sent his son Jesus to this earth to die for us and create a pathway back into relationship with him.
So our question should not be, "Why does God not create multiple paths to him?", but, "Why do we want multiple paths instead of taking advantage of the one he provided?"
If you ask me, it all comes down to control. We want to be in control. We want multiple choices because it gives us a sense of control, and that's just not how establishing a relationship with God works.
Now, after the sinful separation has been taken care of by the work of the cross, there is a lot of collaboration and freedom between a Christian and the Father! It seems a lot of people resist the gospel message of Jesus Christ because they think God is controlling, because the pathway to him is narrow and after the relationship is established it will continue to be one of control by God.
Being part of a Christian community helps you understand that this is not the case. It is here where you will find freedom in Christ and the creativity of God in ways you've never imagined.
Is feeling a loss of control keeping you from establishing a relationship with God through Christ and living in biblical community?
This week we read II Samuel Chapter 13 and learned that David's struggles with his kids were not over. Earlier in II Samuel, David had a child with Bathsheba that died after David's sinful act of taking Bathsheba and having her husband killed in war. Now, in chapter 13, we see a whole drama played out with 3 of David's kids and 1 nephew.
Absalom and Tamar are brother and sister from the same mother and children of David. Amnon is another son of David born from a different mother, and also at this point, the eldest son which has significance in the king's lineage. Then we have their 1st cousin Jonadab. The beginning of this chapter tells the story of how Amnon has inappropriate, lustful feelings for his half-sister Tamar. He makes himself sick over it and gets counsel from his cousin Jonadab about how to handle it. Jonadab recommends that he pretend to be very ill and have his father send Tamar to take care of him.
In chapters 7-14, David plays an unwilling part in this plan by granting Amnon his wish and sends for Tamar to care for and prepare food for Amnon. During this care, Amnon urges Tamar to lie with him. Tamar pleads with Amnon not to violate her and explains that it would not only make her a desolate woman (as she is a virgin and intent on staying that way until marriage), but it will also make Amnon a fool among the Israelites. We must remember that these kids are part of the Royal Family of Israel. Amnon doesn't listen to Tamar and rapes her anyways.
In the next chapters, we see how Amnon now despises Tamar and has her sent away. Tamar grieves deeply because that is a worse insult than the rape itself according to her and the culture. She runs to her brother, Absalom, tells him what happened and he shelters her for the next 2 years while not saying anything good or bad about his half-brother Amnon who did this thing to his sister. At this point, David also hears about these events, and although furious over them, he takes no action towards Amnon.
Verses 24-39 describe the events 2 years later when Absalom decides to avenge his sister. Absalom now has sheep-shearers. As part of the spring season, when the shearing of sheep happens, there is usually a large feast and celebration for the event. Absalom uses this event to urge David to bring all his sons to the feast. David declines, but after urging, allows all his sons to travel the 20 miles and be part of the feast. During the party, Absalom devises a plan with his servants to wait until Amnon is drunk and happy, then on his mark they will kill him. As planned, the servants kill Amnon and the rest of David's sons attending jump on their mules and literally 'haul ass' (get it?) out of there. News arrives to David first, that in the tragedy, all of his sons were killed. David tears his clothes and lays on the ground to mourn, then soon after, Jonadab comes and lets him know that only Amnon was killed by Absalom. The rest of David's sons arrive and we learn that Absalom flees. David mourns, but longs to go out for Absalom after finding comfort in the death of yet another son, Amnon.
From this chapter, we see a horrible scene play out between the children of David, but we also see a glimpse of David and how he has to deal with these events. When he learns his daughter was raped by his son, he gets furious but does nothing, then he gets news that his sons are killed, he mourns until he learns otherwise, then he mourns a little and wishes to see Absalom. We can't help but notice that the heart of David has been conditioned and reminded of his own sins with Bathsheba.
As Christians, we must always be mindful of where we put God in our lives. We must not be surprised that there may be times in life when those close to us may treat us poorly, but we should always ask ourselves... "Do I treat God any better when I sin against Him? When I put idols above Him? When I ignore His direction in my life and decide to do the things I want?
In the Bible, there are a handful of covenants (promises) from God. He made a covenant with Noah after the flood, Abraham for his descendants, the Israelites thru Moses, and of course, the covenant of Christ and the promise with mankind that salvation has come based on the death and resurrection of His son.
In Chapter 7 of 2 Samuel, we see another covenant that God makes with David. The promise to David that his descendants will remain as heirs to the throne of Israel, and it reaches its fulfillment with Jesus Christ.
Chapter 7 starts with David as the established king of Israel, and has brought the ark to Jerusalem. He’s built a palace for himself and is enjoying a break from all his enemies, David realizes that he is living in a nice house, but the ark of the Lord is sitting in a humble tent. In conversation with the priest Nathan, he decides he needs to build a temple for the Lord. Nathan, quickly encourages him to do as his heart desires. It sounds like a good idea.
That night, God talks to Nathan, rejecting that idea and reminding them both that He is God and building a house for Him is not His plan. Immediately, following this rejection, comes the Davidic Covenant. Verses 8-17 detail that David is to have a child (Solomon) who will build the temple instead of him. The promise continues that the throne of his kingdom shall be established forever, never to be taken away and will be established by the line of David. You can see in Luke 1:31-33 where the line of David is referenced regarding the birth of Christ and a reminder that the covenant of David is forever.
In this, we first see one important aspect. God reminds us that He is the one driving. He is establishing David as King, and He will dictate if/when He needs a temple and by who. And of course, second, we see that God is making big plans for David’s house.
In chapters 18-29, we see David’s heart in his response to God. A heart of humility and thankfulness as he calls himself a servant, although a king on earth, conveying his thankfulness and trust to an Almighty God.
In this, we can learn from David how we should be living our lives each day. …remembering that God is truly in charge. We need to be humble in our accomplishments and continue to give our direction over to the Lord each day, trusting that He will care for us. Ponder on how you can make this a daily matter of prayer.
Last Sunday, we read thru the final 3 chapters of 1 Samuel. While wrapping up the book that gave us the story of Samuel, Saul and David, we were able to see once again how God delivers David in spite of himself.
At the start of chapter 29, David is pretending to be an ally of Achish. We know that David is called by God to be the next king of Israel and the dominant enemy to Israel are the Philistines. However, while hiding from the current king of Israel, Saul, David has decided to find protection with his enemies through lying and has convinced the Philistine king, Achish, that he is a fighting ally against Israel. By David's tall stories to Achish, David is placed in a leadership role in the Philistine invasion against David's own people. As the forces are moving to fight Israel, David and his men are marching at the rear with Achish. The other leaders marching with David and Achish have their doubts about David's loyalty based on previous history and convince Achish to send David away and out of this fight. So the next morning, David got up, gathered his men and returned to the land of the Philistines.
In chapter 30, we see that those events of getting David removed from the fight, led to the timing of his men to return to Ziklag. (the home where David and his men kept their families) Ziklag was raided, burned and all the women and children were taken by the Amalekites. We learned awhile back that Saul failed to destroy every single Amalekite, and now this is one instance of that decision coming back to haunt the people of Israel. Upon seeing this, David got his priest and inquired on whether he should pursue them. God told David to chase them and he will succeed in getting everyone back. Him and his 600 men, in the middle of grief and mourning, set off to catch the Amalekites an regain their loved ones. Only 400 men had the energy to cross the valley, so 200 stayed behind at one point to watch the gear.
On the road, we see God deliver help in the way of an Egyption slave who was left behind by the raiders to die alone. In return of his life, the slave led David's men to the camp of the Amalekites and they spent from dusk until evening the next day laying waste to the raiders and getting back everything that was taken from them.
As David returned with the families, we see David's heart when he shares the plunder, against popular suggestion from the 400 who fought, with the 200 men who didn't participate in the victory. He claimed that they must not hold back anything from which the Lord delivered to them and it became an ordinance from then on.
In the short chapter 31, we change the scene over to Saul where the Philistines are coming to destroy him at Mount Gilboa. The Philistines kill Saul's sons, including Jonathan who David loved dearly. Saul decided he doesn't want to be slain by the Philistines and throws himself on his own sword killing himself.......
.....or did he?
Tune in for 2 Samuel to find out.
Today we are studying 1 Samuel 27 and 28, which shows David and Saul's current spiritual condition, neither of which is healthy.
In 27, David has gone with his men and their families to live among the Philistines, who are vile people who are the enemy of Israel. Last time he was in this territory he was afraid he'd be discovered and started fake-drooling like a mad man to throw off the king and left alive.
This time around, the King thinks David is on his side and tells David and his men to settle in a town 25 miles away from the king's city.
David tells the Philistine king he is raiding Israelite towns, but he is actually raiding other enemies of Israel and killing all the humans (so there are no witnesses to his activity) and taking their livestock and goods, sharing it with both the Philistine King as well as the Israelites in the area. He thinks he's got everyone fooled!
In the first verses of 28, Achish the Philistine King decides to go to war with Israel in a big way and crush them. He tells David his plan and David must keep up the lie that he is a hater of Israel now. Achish even makes him his bodyguard for life!
"Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive!"
Folks, one lie gives birth to bigger lies and they just keep getting bigger and they get us deeper into trouble than we could ever imagine. The lesson here is to tell the truth!
Oddly, David's story line is out on the back burner and 28 delves into Saul's last days.
Saul is up against a wall with the Philistines about to attack and his perception that David has joined them against him. God is not speaking so he consults a medium and asks her to conjure the spirit of Samuel (who was a priest that gave him advice in the past).
I am not sure it was actually Samuel she conjured or not, but the spirit didn't tell Saul what God's will was... But did tell him how bad things were between him and God.
The chapter ends with Saul losing his appetite and being coerced into eating a fatted calf with the medium.
The lesson here is straightforward: if you are a Christian, don't think that you can ignore God and run back to him anytime you like...you will keep your salvation through Christ, but if you thumb your nose at God for too long (remain disobedient) you may just lose the JOY of your salvation... And the joy of one's salvation is what makes the hard times we all face bearable!
We'll be talking about Joshua Chapter 6 this Sunday! Come share with us!
Welcome our new member, June Bug! House church level of 'love' just multiplied!