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Category Archives: 2 Samuel

Ahithophel

2 Samuel 15-17

Dear God, Fred Smith taught me something I didn’t know this week in his blog post “A Friend’s Revenge.” He taught me that Ahithoophel was likely Bathsheba’s grandfather, and the fact that Ahithophel aligned himself with Absalom in the attempted overthrow of David was possibly motivated by revenge for what David had done to Bathsheba and Uriah. What?!? How have I read that story so many times and not figured that out? I did a little research in Wikipedia (so it must be true) and it indicated that 2 Samuel 23:34 says Ahithophel was Eliam’s father, and 2 Samuel 11:3 tells us that Bathsheba’s father was named Eliam. This could have been a coincidence, but it would be an interesting vagueness for the author to leave us if the connection isn’t there.

That being said, and working from the assumption that this is true, I have a couple of thoughts.

  1. How did Ahithophel think this would end for Bathsheba and his great grandson Solomon? Absalom would certainly have killed Solomon, and Bathsheba would either have been killed or become Absalom’s wife/concubine. Given her age by that point, I doubt she would have been first choice for wife/concubine. So he was putting her in even more danger.
  2. Did he really think a kingdom run by Absalom would be better than a kingdom run by David. At that point, maybe he did. David seems to be  abdicating a lot of responsibility and lying down on the job. In fact, he was in a downward spiral ever since he decided not to go go and join the troops back when he hooked up with Bathsheba. I would imagine that succession planning was so unofficial back then that he might have been just trying to figure out which way the wind was blowing and go with it.
  3. Again, if this is true, then it was obviously an open secret what David had done to both Bathsheba and Uriah. That means that everyone knew including Solomon, which would help to explain why he treated women the way he did as an adult. Isn’t that what kings do?

But let me spend some time on this aspect of revenge as motivation. The most remarkable people in the world are those who do not seek revenge. Dr. Martin Luther King is regarded with more reverence by most people because he was forceful in his demands for justice and equality without being vengeful. The same is true for Nelson Mandela. In fact, in the midst of all of the racial tensions right now in this country, I wonder how much we have to learn from South Africa. I literally don’t know enough to know the answer to that question, but it is certainly remarkable that when Nelson Mandela came to power, as I understand it, he did not seek revenge on those who persecuted him.

I’ve wondered a lot this week about how Jesus would be responding right now if he were here in the flesh. Would he be attending protests? Would he be posting on social media? Would he be giving interviews or making public speeches? Would he just be talking to those in his sphere of influence and loving on them? Would he be seeking out regional and national leaders to give them counsel? Would he be participating on racial equality panels? Would he be vandalizing statues and destroying businesses and burning churches? Would he be taking photos of himself with a Bible? Some of these are obvious “yes’s” and some are obvious “no’s,” but many are vague and I don’t know what he would do. But I do know that revenge would not be part of the motivating factor. After all, even as he died, he asked that you would forgive those that were killing him.

Father, help me to be an instrument of your peace. Help me to know how to forcefully join a peaceful call for action that is not laden with revenge. And please raise up leaders who will lead in this spirit. The spirit of revenge that is flowing through our country right now is painful to watch. Let mercy lead.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2020 in 2 Samuel, Matthew

 

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Mothers of the Bible — Bathsheba

In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.” Then David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing. Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax. ” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace. But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?” Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.” “Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers. Then Joab sent a battle report to David. He told his messenger, “Report all the news of the battle to the king. But he might get angry and ask, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall? Why would you get so close to the wall?’ Then tell him, ‘Uriah the Hittite was killed, too.’” So the messenger went to Jerusalem and gave a complete report to David. “The enemy came out against us in the open fields,” he said. “And as we chased them back to the city gate, the archers on the wall shot arrows at us. Some of the king’s men were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.” “Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!” When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done. After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?” Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the Lord”), as the Lord had commanded.
2 Samuel 11:1-27, 12:15, 18, 24-25

Dear God, as I think about Bathsheba as she experiences this course of events, I can’t help but think of the illustration I’ve used a few times over the last three or so weeks about the blind men who experience an elephant for the first time. Each one has a different description of the elephant because they are touching a different part. Here’s what I perceive to be a point-by-point experience for Bathsheba:

  • Her husband Uriah is gone to war and she is home alone. Living all alone? With any family? I don’t know, but we’ll presume she is alone.
  • She gets summoned to see king David and doesn’t know why. Did David have a reputation for doing this? Had he done this before with other women? Did she know what to expect when she got there?
  • She slept with David. Did she want to sleep with him? Did he force her? Did she have a choice? She had just finished her period. Was there a part of her that was lonely with Uriah gone and wanted to sleep with the King? In any event, she slept with him and I’m sure felt shameful as she went home.
  • She finds out she’s pregnant several weeks later. Let’s say it’s about 6-8 weeks. I don’t know how long it took to figure it out back then. I can’t imagine the horror she must have felt. Her husband is away at war and she is pregnant by the King. Well, she won’t be able to handle this problem alone so she involves David.
    • At this point I’d like to point out that apparently at least one other person knows about this whole situation. Someone had to summon her for David and someone had to deliver the pregnancy message to him. It might have been the same person, but the total number of people who know about that is at least three. I would venture to say more.
  • We aren’t told that David responded directly to her, but all of a sudden Uriah is back! What? How did she feel when she saw him? Did he know? Do the king tell him? Would someone else tell him? Why is he here? But he wouldn’t sleep with her. David had finally met his ethical match. Uriah followed his own code of honor.

    Uriah is gone again.
    She gets word that Uriah is dead. She is pregnant with, presumably, her first child and now her husband is dead. She mourned appropriately for him.
    David publicly moved her to the palace and married her, pregnant and all. Was it the worst kept secret in Jerusalem that the baby was his? Was the company line that it was Uriah’s from when he visited home and David was being a great guy by marrying her. How much shame and confusion did she feel during this time? What a whirlwind! What a tragedy.
    But something worse is coming, and she doesn’t deserve it. David does. The child is going to die. I have to tell you, Father, this seems so mean to me.
    After the son dies she is now left with a dead husband (I assume she loved him–he was apparently an honorable man) and a dead son. She has nothing.
    She has another child with David. This one turns out to be Solomon. She gets word from Nathan that he is “beloved of the Lord.” Who will this boy be?
    We saw yesterday how she orchestrated Solomon’s attaining of the throne. He wasn’t the obvious choice from a line-of-succession standpoint. Adonijah was. And I don’t know when David made his promise to her about Solomon getting the throne (1 Kings 1:17), but did he do it as part of his comforting of her back when she was pregnant with him or when he was born? Either way, it seems that she was ready to do what it took to see that Solomon became king.

Father, this seems like such a terrible deal for her. It seems so unfair. She got caught up in circumstances that were so much bigger than her. She made the best of them, but I can’t help but not like this story even more when I think about how she must have experienced it. But I guess life can be like that. We can get caught up in circumstances that are beyond us. It’s not fair. But as you ultimately did with Solomon, you can come along and redeem it. You can redeem the divorce. You can redeem the criminal. You can redeem anything. You can make us stronger through driving us to depend upon you. Thank you for ultimately providing for Bathsheba. In the end, she got to see her second-born son become king of Israel. I hope that at the end of her life she was able to be at peace.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
 

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Fathers of the Bible — David (Part 4)

Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, but he never got to see the king. Then Absalom sent for Joab to ask him to intercede for him, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but again Joab refused to come. So Absalom said to his servants, “Go and set fire to Joab’s barley field, the field next to mine.” So they set his field on fire, as Absalom had commanded. Then Joab came to Absalom at his house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?” And Absalom replied, “Because I wanted you to ask the king why he brought me back from Geshur if he didn’t intend to see me. I might as well have stayed there. Let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then let him kill me.” So Joab told the king what Absalom had said. Then at last David summoned Absalom, who came and bowed low before the king, and the king kissed him. After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!” When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel. After four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and fulfill a vow I made to him. For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the Lord in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.” “All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.” So Absalom went to Hebron. But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.’” He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum. A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!” “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.” “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.” So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard. Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness. ” But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens—whether it means life or death.” David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along. Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness. Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until everyone had passed out of the city. Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.” The king also told Zadok the priest, “Look, here is my plan. You and Abiathar should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River and wait there for a report from you.” So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there. David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, “O Lord, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!” When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning. But David told him, “If you go with me, you will only be a burden. Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, ‘I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father’s adviser in the past.’ Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel’s advice. Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king’s palace, and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on.” So David’s friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived. Meanwhile, Absalom and all the army of Israel arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel. When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. “Long live the king!” he exclaimed. “Long live the king!” “Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?” “I’m here because I belong to the man who is chosen by the Lord and by all the men of Israel,” Hushai replied. “And anyway, why shouldn’t I serve you? Just as I was your father’s adviser, now I will be your adviser!” Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, “What should I do next?” Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to look after the palace. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support to you.” So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father’s concubines. Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God. David now mustered the men who were with him and appointed generals and captains to lead them. He sent the troops out in three groups, placing one group under Joab, one under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one under Ittai, the man from Gath. The king told his troops, “I am going out with you.” But his men objected strongly. “You must not go,” they urged. “If we have to turn and run—and even if half of us die—it will make no difference to Absalom’s troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth 10,000 of us, and it is better that you stay here in the town and send help if we need it.” “If you think that’s the best plan, I’ll do it,” the king answered. So he stood alongside the gate of the town as all the troops marched out in groups of hundreds and of thousands. And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom.” And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders. So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim, and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David’s men. There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives. The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were killed by the sword. During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. One of David’s men saw what had happened and told Joab, “I saw Absalom dangling from a great tree.” “What?” Joab demanded. “You saw him there and didn’t kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver and a hero’s belt!” “I would not kill the king’s son for even a thousand pieces of silver, ” the man replied to Joab. “We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake, please spare young Absalom.’ And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son—and the king would certainly find out who did it—you yourself would be the first to abandon me.” “Enough of this nonsense,” Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom’s heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree. Ten of Joab’s young armor bearers then surrounded Absalom and killed him. Then Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men returned from chasing the army of Israel. They threw Absalom’s body into a deep pit in the forest and piled a great heap of stones over it. And all Israel fled to their homes. During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to carry on my name.” He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom’s Monument to this day. Then Zadok’s son Ahimaaz said, “Let me run to the king with the good news that the Lord has rescued him from his enemies.” “No,” Joab told him, “it wouldn’t be good news to the king that his son is dead. You can be my messenger another time, but not today.” Then Joab said to a man from Ethiopia, “Go tell the king what you have seen.” The man bowed and ran off. But Ahimaaz continued to plead with Joab, “Whatever happens, please let me go, too.” “Why should you go, my son?” Joab replied. “There will be no reward for your news.” “Yes, but let me go anyway,” he begged. Joab finally said, “All right, go ahead.” So Ahimaaz took the less demanding route by way of the plain and ran to Mahanaim ahead of the Ethiopian. While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates of the town, the watchman climbed to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked, he saw a lone man running toward them. He shouted the news down to David, and the king replied, “If he is alone, he has news.” As the messenger came closer, the watchman saw another man running toward them. He shouted down, “Here comes another one!” The king replied, “He also will have news.” “The first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok,” the watchman said. “He is a good man and comes with good news,” the king replied. Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “Everything is all right!” He bowed before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Praise to the Lord your God, who has handed over the rebels who dared to stand against my lord the king.” “What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?” Ahimaaz replied, “When Joab told me to come, there was a lot of commotion. But I didn’t know what was happening.” “Wait here,” the king told him. So Ahimaaz stepped aside. Then the man from Ethiopia arrived and said, “I have good news for my lord the king. Today the Lord has rescued you from all those who rebelled against you.” “What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?” And the Ethiopian replied, “May all of your enemies, my lord the king, both now and in the future, share the fate of that young man!” The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.” Word soon reached Joab that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom. As all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of that day’s victory was turned into deep sadness. They crept back into the town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle. The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” Then Joab went to the king’s room and said to him, “We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves. You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.” So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him. Meanwhile, the Israelites who had supported Absalom fled to their homes.
2 Samuel 14:28-15:37,16:15-23,18:1-19:8

Dear God, this is a long story, but I felt like I needed to combine it all into one. This particular father/son relationship was very interesting. I really think that if David had handled the Amnon situation differently and then the Absalom thing differently after he killed Amnon then all of this could have been avoided. I honestly don’t know what David was thinking when he just let all of this go.

I read a book about 20 years ago called The Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. I like it when I originally read it because his thesis was that David had the right approach to attaining and then holding onto the kingdom. While Saul and Absalom (the other two kings) tried to forcibly hold onto or attain the throne, David allowed it to happen in its own time and then allowed you to take it away if that’s what you desired. Cool thesis. But I went back and read it again a couple of years ago and found myself substantially disagreeing with it. I felt like Mr. Edwards completely disregarded Absalom’s experience as a son and a brother. I believe it was a combination of bitterness and a true belief that his father was no longer fit to be king that drove him to try to steal the throne.

The irony is that Absalom ultimately ends up being about as guilty as Amnon after he sleeps with David’s concubines. Even worse, he does it as publicly as possible. He doesn’t even do it for attraction, love, or even lust. He forces these women to have sex with him out of pure pride and ego. As a display of his power. How horrible for these women.

And then there is David. He simply doesn’t know what to do. It reminds me once again of what we’ve talked about many times–the fog of war. David was deep, deep in the fog on this one. He had no idea what to do. He had no perspective. He had even become a bad general. He was lost and clueless. He couldn’t play the tape to the end. Why? Probably because it involved his son and he had no idea how to be a father. It makes me wonder what kind of father Jesse was to him and his brothers. What did he see modeled?

Another irony is that Joab is the one that ends up killing Absalom. He is the one who interceded and got David to bring him back to Jerusalem. He is the one who got David to see Absalom again. And now he is the one who saw Absalom’s ultimate betrayal and killed him. Joab was an interesting character in the tales of David.

Father, I can appreciate the idea that David was willing to let go of the kingdom if that is what you wanted. That is something that Saul was unable to do when it came to Jonathan’s right to the throne vs. David’s destiny for it. How much of this went back to the shame of Bathsheba? I don’t know. But as public as his humiliation was or wasn’t, surely this humiliation was very public. Help me to deal well with my sin. Help me to claim it, repent of it, and then not let it get in the way of doing anything you have for me to do.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
 

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Fathers of the Bible — David (Part 3)

Now it was after this that Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David loved her. Amnon was so frustrated because of his sister Tamar that he made himself ill, for she was a virgin, and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother; and Jonadab was a very shrewd man. He said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so depressed morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Then Amnon said to him, “I am in love with Tamar, the sister of my brother Absalom.” Jonadab then said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill; when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me some food to eat, and let her prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat from her hand.’” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.” Then David sent to the house for Tamar, saying, “Go now to your brother Amnon’s house, and prepare food for him.” So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, and he was lying down. And she took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. She took the pan and dished them out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “ Have everyone go out from me.” So everyone went out from him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon. When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful thing! As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up, go away!” But she said to him, “No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!” Yet he would not listen to her. Then he called his young man who attended him and said, “Now throw this woman out of my presence, and lock the door behind her.” Now she had on a long-sleeved garment; for in this manner the virgin daughters of the king dressed themselves in robes. Then his attendant took her out and locked the door behind her. Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her long-sleeved garment which was on her; and she put her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went. Then Absalom her brother said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now keep silent, my sister, he is your brother; do not take this matter to heart.” So Tamar remained and was desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry. But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar. Now it came about after two full years that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. Absalom came to the king and said, “Behold now, your servant has sheepshearers; please let the king and his servants go with your servant.” But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, we should not all go, for we will be burdensome to you.” Although he urged him, he would not go, but blessed him. Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” But when Absalom urged him, he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him. Absalom commanded his servants, saying, “See now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then put him to death. Do not fear; have not I myself commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.” The servants of Absalom did to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose and each mounted his mule and fled. Now it was while they were on the way that the report came to David, saying, “Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left.” Then the king arose, tore his clothes and lay on the ground; and all his servants were standing by with clothes torn. Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, responded, “Do not let my lord suppose they have put to death all the young men, the king’s sons, for Amnon alone is dead; because by the intent of Absalom this has been determined since the day that he violated his sister Tamar. Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take the report to heart, namely, ‘all the king’s sons are dead,’ for only Amnon is dead.” Now Absalom had fled. And the young man who was the watchman raised his eyes and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the road behind him by the side of the mountain. Jonadab said to the king, “Behold, the king’s sons have come; according to your servant’s word, so it happened.” As soon as he had finished speaking, behold, the king’s sons came and lifted their voices and wept; and also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly. Now Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom had fled and gone to Geshur, and was there three years. The heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, since he was dead. Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was inclined toward Absalom. So Joab sent to Tekoa and brought a wise woman from there and said to her, “Please pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning garments now, and do not anoint yourself with oil, but be like a woman who has been mourning for the dead many days; then go to the king and speak to him in this manner.” So Joab put the words in her mouth. Now when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself and said, “ Help, O king.” The king said to her, “What is your trouble?” And she answered, “Truly I am a widow, for my husband is dead. Your maidservant had two sons, but the two of them struggled together in the field, and there was no one to separate them, so one struck the other and killed him. Now behold, the whole family has risen against your maidservant, and they say, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed, and destroy the heir also.’ Thus they will extinguish my coal which is left, so as to leave my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.” Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “O my lord, the king, the iniquity is on me and my father’s house, but the king and his throne are guiltless.” So the king said, “Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore.” Then she said, “Please let the king remember the Lord your God, so that the avenger of blood will not continue to destroy, otherwise they will destroy my son.” And he said, “ As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.” Then the woman said, “Please let your maidservant speak a word to my lord the king.” And he said, “Speak.” The woman said, “ Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one. For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him. Now the reason I have come to speak this word to my lord the king is that the people have made me afraid; so your maidservant said, ‘Let me now speak to the king, perhaps the king will perform the request of his maidservant. For the king will hear and deliver his maidservant from the hand of the man who would destroy both me and my son from the inheritance of God.’ Then your maidservant said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king be comforting, for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and evil. And may the Lord your God be with you.’” Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me that I am about to ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king please speak.” So the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” And the woman replied, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Indeed, it was your servant Joab who commanded me, and it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant; in order to change the appearance of things your servant Joab has done this thing. But my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is in the earth.” Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I will surely do this thing; go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom.” Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, O my lord, the king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant.” So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. However the king said, “Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face.” So Absalom turned to his own house and did not see the king’s face.
2 Samuel 13-14

Dear God, something I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this before, but Amnon made David an unwitting accomplice in his plan. It’s also interesting the language the translators use to describe what Amnon did to Tamar. This NASB choosed “violate.” The New Living Translation (a more modern so it actually uses the word “rape,” as does The Message and the NIV. King James just says “forced.” Rape is an ugly word, but that’s what it was. It was rape.

So as a dad, David had an interesting response to this rape and then Absalom’s reaction. He did nothing. It says he got angry, but, functionally, he did nothing. I am only left with assumptions, but I can’t help but wonder how his getting caught with Bathsheba (I am convinced everyone knew) caused him to give up the moral high ground with Amnon. His oldest son probably knew he had, essentially, raped Bathsheba and killed her husband after she got pregnant. Did the shame from this keep David from confronting Amnon and defending his daughter?

It’s always interesting to try and hold my children to a higher standard than I’m willing to live up to. Examples (not necessarily from my own life):

  • You have to go to church, but I don’t
  • You shouldn’t drink or do drugs in high school, but I did
  • You shouldn’t experiment sexually before marriage, but I did
  • You shouldn’t cheat in school, but I did
  • You should date and marry only Christians, but I didn’t

I have a friend who did A LOT of stuff in high school. He is a very conservative Christian now, but when he told me he did a lot of very edgy stuff as a teenager, including messing around with some sodomy. Now that he is a father of a teenager, he finds himself trying to reconcile himself between his own history and where he ended up and what he wants for his son and what he expects of his son.

The real victim here is Tamar. David simply wasn’t there for her. He didn’t even take her into the palace. He left it undone. He was an unwitting accomplice to Amnon’s sin (he had led her to the lion’s den) and he did nothing afterward. Thankfully, Absalom was at least able to show his sister some love and support. I’m not saying he did the right thing by killing Amnon and then, eventually, trying to take over his father’s throne, but I can certainly see how he ended up where he did.

Father, I am sorry for my sin. I’m sorry for the times I failed my own parents growing up and when I’ve failed you. I’m sorry for the times I didn’t provide the leadership my children needed. I’m sorry for when I’ve failed my wife. Please heal over those shortcomings so I can be the father you need me to be for my children and the husband I need to be for my wife.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
 

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Fathers of the Bible — David (Part 2)

When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done. So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.” Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the Lord by doing this, your child will die.” After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused. Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?” When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate. His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.” David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.” Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the Lord”), as the Lord had commanded.
2 Samuel 11:26-12:25

Dear God, what must it have been like to be Bathsheba? She was forced into adultery. Her husband was killed. Her baby (presumably her first child) died. Then, ultimately, her next son ends up being the king of Israel. She would never had guessed the life you had for her, but I can’t help but feel sorry for her and wish for her the normal life she foresaw for herself.

But in terms of David as a father, he seems very detached in this story. I think I mentioned this in my last prayer journal about this. He didn’t seem to care that he wouldn’t get to know this child. His approach to comforting Bathsheba was to sleep with her. What? As if the opportunity to have sex with him made it all better? I don’t know. Maybe it did.

I’ve also mentioned this before, but I wonder how much of David’s attitude towards women got passed down to his children. Amnon raped his sister. Solomon slept with, at minimum, hundreds of women. One of the other sons, I can’t remember which one, slept with one of David’s concubines. And I’m sure that it was a poorly kept secret what David had done with Bathsheba and Uriah. I’m sure Solomon and all of the other children grew up hearing the stories. How did that impact David’s relationships with them? Did he lose the high ground forever? When one reads 2 Samuel, this is certainly the beginning of the decline of David’s success. The apex of his joy and victory is certainly behind him at this point.

Yes, the losing of the moral high ground is probably really significant when it comes to his relationships with his children. They probably did not respect him after that. Absolom didn’t.

Father, I don’t want or need my children to see me as perfect, but I certainly want to set an example for them. A perfect example doesn’t help because it gives them an unrealistic, condemning view of what a man should be. At the same time, a life of debauchery is no good either. Help me to just be a man that follows you, is humble about his mistakes, and gives his children the love and direction that. you need them to have through me. Do it all, ultimately, for your glory so that you might live through them and enter the world through them.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2020 in 2 Samuel, Fathers of the Bible

 

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Fathers of the Bible — David

These are the sons who were born to David in Hebron: The oldest was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel. The second was Daniel, whose mother was Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. The third was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital. The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, David’s wife. These sons were all born to David in Hebron. After moving from Hebron to Jerusalem, David married more concubines and wives, and they had more sons and daughters. These are the names of David’s sons who were born in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.
2 Samuel 3:2-5,5:13-16

Dear God, for a long time now, David has been one of my “great man, bad father” examples.

One of the interesting things to note is that, of the first six boys born to him, they all had different mothers. Another interesting thing. Right before Solomon, it lists Nathan. Is this Bathsheba’s first child that died? Did they name him after the prophet that confronted David with his sin? Interesting.

You know that I started wondering last year about whether or not David would have made an even better judge for Israel than king. Was it the power of being king that corrupted his heart and distracted him? Not that Samuel was that great of a father. It’s just an interesting question.

We will see some interesting stories coming up about David’s parenting. Amnon will do something reprehensible–what will David do? Absolom will respond to Amnon’s action–what will David do? Even when Bathsheba’s baby dies, David’s response is peculiar. He didn’t seem to care about this child as his own. He didn’t mourn not getting to spend the rest of his life with this child. He treated it more as a random life for which he had responsibility, and he cared whether or not you would save it. When you didn’t, he moved on. I wonder if this story by itself gives us the insight we need into how David felt as a father. Is this how all fathers felt back then? Was this the cultural norm?

Father, you know how I feel about my children. It fascinates me how much of my thoughts they consume, even now that they are in their 20s. I hope for them. I pray for them every day. I reach out to them. I try to show them love. But now that they are older, I also try to back off enough so that they can have the space they need to develop their own relationships with you. Help me to find that line. Help me to be exactly what you need me to be for them. I’m sorry for how I’ve failed them and failed you in the past. I know I’ve let my own ego get wrapped up in my responses to them. I’m doing my best to not let that happen anymore.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2020 in 2 Samuel, Fathers of the Bible

 

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2 Samuel 7:1-13

When King David was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all the surrounding enemies, the king summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent!” Nathan replied to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you have in mind, for the Lord is with you.” But that same night the Lord said to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord has declared: Are you the one to build a house for me to live in? I have never lived in a house, from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until this very day. I have always moved from one place to another with a tent and a Tabernacle as my dwelling. Yet no matter where I have gone with the Israelites, I have never once complained to Israel’s tribal leaders, the shepherds of my people Israel. I have never asked them, “Why haven’t you built me a beautiful cedar house?”’ “Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth! And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won’t oppress them as they’ve done in the past, starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. “‘Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne.
2 Samuel 7:1-13

Dear God, there are times when our hearts are in the right places and what we are wanting to do seems wise, but we are still wrong and not within your plan. This story is a good example. David wanted to worship you through building a temple for the Ark. To some extent, he felt like he was putting himself before you by living in his own palace while the Ark lived in a tent. He ran it by Nathan who thought David’s idea for building a temple was on the right track. And then you let them know that you were looking bigger picture than they were. You seemed to appreciate their hearts and the way they were thinking, but you simply stopped them and told them it wasn’t time yet.

I wonder what unforeseen complications building the temple would have had on David and his kingdom. Would it have distracted him from something important that you knew he would need to focus on? Who knows, but you?

I read someone one say one time that there was a time in their life where they were 100% certain they had heard your call and followed you. They felt completely within your will. At that point, feeling that way, they were afraid “to cross the street” if it meant being outside of your will.

I have felt that way before. I suppose I feel that way now. I have a board committee meeting later today and we will be making plans for 2020 and even 2021. How do we stay within your will? How do I stay within your will as I parent my adult children and love my wife?

Father, protect my path and make it straight. Guide me. Guide me with your Spirit. Guide me with the wise counsel of others. Help me to recognize your voice through them when I hear it. Make my life exactly what you need it to be for your glory’s sake and not my own.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2019 in 2 Samuel

 

Solomon – 1 Kings 1:1-14

King David was now very old, and no matter how many blankets covered him, he could not keep warm. So his advisers told him, “Let us find a young virgin to wait on you and look after you, my lord. She will lie in your arms and keep you warm.” So they searched throughout the land of Israel for a beautiful girl, and they found Abishag from Shunem and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful, and she looked after the king and took care of him. But the king had no sexual relations with her. About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome. Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah. Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon. Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it? If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, “Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said.”
1 Kings 1:1-14

Dear God, I think it is important to note that the story of Solomon cannot be told without including Nathan. Nathan is woven throughout Solomon’s (and Bathsheba’s) story. He is the prophet whom David consults about building the temple (2 Samuel 7). He is the prophet who rebukes David about what he did with Bathsheba and Uriah, and through you gave Solomon a new name–Jedidiah (2 Samuel 12). And now he is the prophet who orchestrates Solomon’s rise to the throne (1 Kings 1). Interestingly, these are the only three stories we get about Nathan.

I normally do these journals to you first thing in the morning, but as I opened the scriptures today I found myself with a lot of questions and researching a lot of things. First, I went to 1 Chronicles to see how it recorded the transition from David’s rule to Solomon’s. I was surprised to see a completely different portrait painted. The accounting of it in Chronicles was much tidier and more honorable. It really focused on David’s passing the torch to Solomon to build the temple. But I’ll talk about the temple another time. Today, I want to talk about Nathan.

I had a new thought today that I don’t think I’ve had before. Nathan apparently had a soft spot in his heart for Bathsheba and Solomon. I won’t say that he knew about David’s sin with Bathsheba before anyone else did. I’ll bet is was actually a pretty poorly kept secret. But he was the one willing to confront David. He was the one who spoke out on your behalf and on behalf of the woman. He watched her go through the loss of her child. He watched her give birth to Solomon. He got the word from you that Solomon was special and to be renamed Jedidiah (I wonder why that name didn’t stick–I searched the entire Bible, and 2 Samuel 12:25 is the only time it is ever mentioned).

Fast forward many years. David is at the end of his life and his fourth-born son, Adonijah (the first three are seemingly dead) starts to position himself for the throne. 1 Kings 1:6 seems to go out of its way to tell us that he wasn’t a good guy, but was spoiled and undisciplined. This apparently got Nathan’s attention and he decided it was time to act on behalf of the boy whom you had told him to rename and his mother.

Nathan probably doesn’t get enough love from history. Yes, the writer of Samuel and Kings gives us what we need to know about his role in things, but it’s almost too brief. I almost missed it. He was apparently a man who cared about your righteousness enough to speak truth to power and then risk his life to do what he perceived to be your will.

Father, make me a man of this kind of courage. Help me to know when to speak and when not to speak. Help me to know when to act and when not to act. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. But do it in reverse order of that prayer. Give me the wisdom to know when you are calling me to act, when you are calling me to not act but pray, and when you are calling me to accept a situation. Give me the courage to follow your call. And when it is time to accept your judgment and a situation about which I am to do nothing, fill me with your peace.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2019 in 1 Kings, 2 Samuel, Solomon

 

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2 Samuel 17:1-4

Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight. I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only one man’s life that you seek. Then you will be at peace with all the people.” This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.

2 Samuel 17:1-4

Dear God, the judge period wasn’t perfect, but look what has happened within two generation of the “king” period—and this is under Israel’s BEST king! One of David’s best advisers is plotting to kill him.

I wonder what it was about what David had become that had the people so ready to turn on him. Was Ahithophel angry and disenchanted with David, or was he just trying to promote himself? I think an overlooked part of this story is that David had allowed his power to change him, and the people were longing for the old David—the David that Absalom was pretending to be.

Father, there’s a lesson in here for all of us. A past of pursuing you can always lead to a future of not pursuing you. There is nothing in the last six chapters that gives us a positive picture about David’s actions EXCEPT that he is able to receive rebuke when it comes his way. But there were many things to rebuke. So help me to be vigilant in my pursuit of you. “Make my life a prayer to you. I want to do what you want me to. No empty words and no white lies. No token prayers. No compromise.” (Melody Green)

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in 2 Samuel

 

2 Samuel 16:5-13

As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family.He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!”

“Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!”

10 “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?”

11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saulb]”>[b] have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. 12 And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wrongedc]”>[c] and will bless me because of these curses today.” 13 So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David.
2 Samuel 16:5-13

Dear God, maybe sometimes we need to be broken down a bit. When I read this whole section of 2 Samuel, starting with chapter 11 and Bathsheba, I see a pattern of David just not doing it right. Was he corrupted? Yeah, probably. Was he maybe a little depressed after Nathan rebuked him in chapter 12 and he lost the baby? Maybe. Either way, the people were obviously not impressed with him, and his son was angry to the point of executing a coup d’etat and trying to humiliate, kill and overthrow him.

But 2 Samuel 16:10-12 is what makes David different–the ability to receive rebuke. The willingness to examine himself and submit to judgment. He also had a certain level of empathy for the descendants of Saul. There was probably always a part of him that felt awkward about having ascended to the throne, even though it was your will.

Father, help me to embrace the part of David I find here in verses 10-12. Help me to welcome correction and respond to it humbly and constructively. Help me to also be willing to humbly approach others with empathy. Love through me and help me to not return evil for evil.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2018 in 2 Samuel