2 Samuel 24–David’s Senseless Census

Truly one of the strangest stories of David’s reign. God incites David to Take a census of Israel’s troops and then punishes him for doing it! Over the objections of His trusted advisors, he had the census taken. When completed, David was struck with the gravity of the sin–He was putting his trust in the numbers, not in the Lord.  The backlash was great, 70K people died from the plague, but, God in His mercy relented after only 1 day of a 3-day plague.
 
David knew what he had done was wrong.  He would never again put his trust in what he had before him, instead, he would put his trust in God! That was why David had the most amazing reign of all of the kings of Israel and Judah.  It was never about the numbers or the weapons, instead, it was about leadership and lordship!  David learned from the time of Goliath that God wins the victories, not skill, might, or volume of troops.  That is what made this story so memorable. David, of all kinds, learned early that it was God that provides. So when David acted like every other king, it was both senseless and out of character.
 
In our lives, no matter how well we know the Lord, or how many times he has shown himself amazing in our lives; we are often faced with the opportunity and sadly choose to trust our own power rather than fully relying upon God. When that happens, it can be catastrophic for us and others.  In those times, often we must own our sin and repent. then trust in His mercy and restoration. God simply loves us and wants for us a full and meaningful life.  When he leads, we see amazing things and often find he has accomplished exceedingly and abundantly more than we could hope or dream. 
 
In short, we must rely upon God no matter how easy it is to count our own tools and troops. There is no army so large or nation so great, that God, that uses the earth as a footstool, could not wipe it out in an instant!
 
God Bless You

Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

So the king said to Joab and the army commanders[a] with him, “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.”

But Joab replied to the king, “May the Lord your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?”

The king’s word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel…

Before David got up the next morning, the word of the Lord had come to Gad the prophet, David’s seer: 12 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”

13 So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come on you three[b] years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

14 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

15 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died…

Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

“To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped.”

22 Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood.23 Your Majesty, Araunah[d] gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels[e] of silver for them.25 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

2 Samuel 23 Part 2–David’s Mighty Men

In a word, David was an amazing king. But, he would not have been as amazing, had it not been for the mighty men God gave him for support. This passage in Samuel lays out the exploits of the loyal guards of David. Of the hundreds of thousands of troops that served the king, these men rose to the top. Among the group were three that were so amazing, they were called, “The Three”. And beyond them were an additional 34 men that served David without question and risked their lives without any thought to their own safety or honor.  These men were all placed in God’s “Hall of Fame” because of their devotion to God and their king. One name that appears–Uriah the Hittite, was the man David had killed to take Bathsheba. Uriah was a man of honor!
 
None of us can do life alone.  We seek the Lord, but, he kindly puts folks in our lives to support us and carry us through the peaks and valleys we face. As we look back at the people God has given to us as our “Mighty Men”, none enter our lives to build a name for themselves. They all walk alongside and do what is necessary to be a friend simply out of love and devotion. We can never be grateful enough for the mighty men in our lives. we simply need to remember them, honor them and know that it was God that gave them to us. We remain thankful to Him for such an amazing gift. I am so grateful for the mighty men God has placed in my life. Many of you read this and know who you are. So please accept this note as a note of thanks and know I am forever grateful for you being a part of my amazing journey.
 
God Bless You

Josheb-Basshebeth,[a] a Tahkemonite,[b] was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed[c] in one encounter.

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim[d] for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, 10 but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.

11 Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. 12 But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory…

Abishai the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah was chief of the Three.[e] He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three.19 Was he not held in greater honor than the Three? He became their commander, even though he was not included among them.

20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21 And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 22 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. 23 He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24 Among the Thirty were:

Asahel the brother of Joab,

Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,

25 Shammah the Harodite,

Elika the Harodite,

26 Helez the Paltite,

Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,

27 Abiezer from Anathoth,

Sibbekai[f] the Hushathite,

28 Zalmon the Ahohite,

Maharai the Netophathite,

29 Heled[g] son of Baanah the Netophathite,

Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,

30 Benaiah the Pirathonite,

Hiddai[h] from the ravines of Gaash,

31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite,

Azmaveth the Barhumite,

32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite,

the sons of Jashen,

Jonathan 33 son of[i] Shammah the Hararite,

Ahiam son of Sharar[j] the Hararite,

34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maakathite,

Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

35 Hezro the Carmelite,

Paarai the Arbite,

36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah,

the son of Hagri,[k]

37 Zelek the Ammonite,

Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,

38 Ira the Ithrite,

Gareb the Ithrite

39 and Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all

2 Samuel 23 Part 1–David’s Last Words

It is all about the legacy we leave. As David’s days were coming to an end, he told his son that it is, in fact, one’s legacy that defines his life. David’s time as king was defined by the uniting of the nation, and the establishment of Israel as a power in the world.  By the end of David’s reign, Israel was the leader. They collected tribute from most of the surrounding nations and had outposts at every vulnerable place that surrounded them.  They had a well-established army and were known among the other nations as a kingdom whose God was powerful and in charge.  David sought to bring glory to God and in doing so, he was to become known as one of the greatest leaders of all time.
 
It is always true; if one places God first, He will establish everything else. The Lord never promised to make life easy, He simply promised to lead, guide and direct us through.  One needs to trust God through the greatest and worst of times in order to see his amazing hand of mercy and to experience His provision, protection, and preparation. There will be trials, temptations, and disappointments throughout, but, there will also be amazing adventures and lasting legacies to carry the day. Like David, we need to trust God, follow His lead and give the Lord the glory for the things God accomplishes in our lives. David did that and was established as a man after God’s own heart.
 
God Bless You

These are the last words of David:

“The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse,
the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High,
the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
the hero of Israel’s songs:

“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings grass from the earth.’

“If my house were not right with God,
surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant,
arranged and secured in every part;
surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
and grant me my every desire.
But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
which are not gathered with the hand.
Whoever touches thorns
uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
they are burned up where they lie.”

2 Samuel 22–David’s Heart of Praise

The Book of Psalms best articulates the heart of King David.  David was a mighty warrior, a stealthy strategist, and a seasoned leader.  He trusted God and with God’s lead, he led Israel to be the nation God called them to be. But, within his heart was a man that simply loved God! He could not help but write and sing songs of adoration to the God whom he loved.  His faith and devotion to God had to have been contagious. Unlike Saul, David was never concerned with making a name for himself, instead, his desire was simply to honor and follow God.  That is apparent in the psalms and songs from David’s heart. 2 Samuel 22 is one of the collections of David’s Greatest Hits album. 

 

In the midst of life, we too must adore our God and Savior. Everything we are and have is a result of God’s kindness and mercy. It is easy to forget that our very lives and eternal future are a result of Christ’s death and resurrection. While we face a difficult world, we cling to the hope of eternity with God and in His presence. That is a reason to praise God and to cling to the hope of our salvation. Like David, we must never stop recognizing God’s hand in our daily deliverance; because we know that all that we are and all that we have come from Him.

God Bless You

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield[a] and the horn[b] of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent people you save me.

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears…

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

2 Samuel 20–Will the Unrest Ever End?

David had been through unbelievable pain. He knew that his acts destroyed many lives. Now, the land had seemed to settle down and people were once again accepting David as king–But, then Sheba appeared.  Sheba was from Benjamin’s tribe, the tribe of Saul.  He declared to the people of Israel that He wanted nothing to do with David–and several followed him.  Ultimately, David’s Army sought him out and the people of the city where he was hiding killed, Sheba.  The unrest was over.  David’s troops returned and no further rebellion happened during David’s reign. 
 
Life is a series of battles and trials.  We face them as they come.  Some come as a result of our sin and mistakes, others happen because that is a part of life.  As one looks at David’s life, it becomes apparent that while God truly loved and blessed David, there was plenty that happened that was not a fairy tale. David had to endure the trials and remain committed to the Lord in good and bad times.  Through that, he was able to leave a legacy that truly changed the world. I am sure if you asked David on a day to day basis, many of his days were not the best. We must cling to the hope of our eternal perspective and know that no matter how difficult life can become, God is with us, loves us and has an amazing plan for us!
 
God Bless You

Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted,

“We have no share in David,
no part in Jesse’s son!
Every man to his tent, Israel!”

So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but had no sexual relations with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.

Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.” But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him.

David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bikri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master’s men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us.”[a] So Joab’s men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.

Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bikri.

11 One of Joab’s men stood beside Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12 Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that all the troops came to a halt there. When he realized that everyone who came up to Amasa stopped, he dragged him from the road into a field and threw a garment over him. 13 After Amasa had been removed from the road, everyone went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

2 Samuel 19–The Return of David’s Kingdom

The war was over and God gave David back his kingdom. There was great confusion and unrest among the people, but after a time, the different tribes and leaders fell back in line.  The kingdom would never be quite the same, but David would be king and rule with the same heart he had before. His people would regain their stability over time and his trusted advisors would move toward him as they had been before.  The important relationship between David and the Lord was still intact and that was the relationship that would carry the day.
 
In life, we all face a host of events in our lives that turn life upside down.  trials, temptations, sickness, and other battles leave us disheartened, displaced and confused.  But, as long as we continue to focus on the Lord and His promises, we will overcome the things that sidetrack and disrupt us.  Relationships can be restored and possessions replaced–but, our faith in our Lord cannot be set aside; if we want to make it through. Sadly, the enemy does all he can to persuade us to quit trusting God and do things on our own. When that happens, the rest becomes chaotic.  As Jesus said in His sermon on the mount, ” Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you!” Matthew 6:33
 
God Bless You

 Throughout the tribes of Israel, all the people were arguing among themselves, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who rescued us from the hand of the Philistines. But now he has fled the country to escape from Absalom; 10 and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”

11 King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: “Ask the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace since what is being said throughout Israel has reached the king at his quarters? 12 You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely if you are not the commander of my army for life in place of Joab.’”

14 He won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind. They sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your men.” 15 Then the king returned and went as far as the Jordan.

Now the men of Judah had come to Gilgal to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan. 16 Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul’s household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was. 18 They crossed at the ford to take the king’s household over and to do whatever he wished.

2 Samuel 19 Part 1–Get Up And Be The King!

It would be so difficult to lose a son.  It would be even more difficult to lose him knowing it was your sin that caused the problem.  David was devastated that Absalom was dead.  But, His army was pleased they won and the King was back in power and the remainder of his family safe. So David’s grief was not only misplaced, but it was a terrible message for the men that risked their lives to restore him to his throne.  So, Joab, his commander had to step up and tell him–Get up and show your men that they did not risk their lives in vain.  It was a hard message–but the right one.
 
We have to also focus on what is the right thing to do. We cannot let our feelings control our actions in life.  There are times we are hit with a difficult set of circumstances and we lose sight of what we must do to honor God and live our lives.  In those times, we need a Joab to simply say, Get up and show people you are God’s chosen. Live accordingly! Then, that is when we must stand up and face life with the strength that only God can provide.  Help me, Lord to rise up and be the one you have called me to be, no matter how I feel!
 
God Bless You

Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, “The king is grieving for his son.” The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.”

So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,” they all came before him.

Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.