2 Samuel 12–You are That Man

David thought he away with his adultery and murder.  I am sure he felt bad about it, but, he had to keep up his image–right? God saw it all and exposed it immediately. He confronted David with a parable. The parable tracked David’s behavior and David was furious that someone would do such an evil thing–then, like a lightning bolt Nathan pronounced, “You are that man!” David was stricken immediately with the gravity of his sin.  Unlike Saul, however, David repented of his sin. He took responsibility and stood ready to accept whatever punishment that God wanted to assess.  God Forgave David. God pronounced judgment and as David would face in his reign that judgment was awful.  But, in the end, God forgave His King and still blessed Israel–all because of David’s heart.
 
We all sin. We become selfish and say and do things not honoring to God. In 1st John 1:9, God promises us that if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.  That is what David did.  That is what God calls us to do as well.  Help me Lord to be clear and repentant with you!
 
God Bless You

 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives,the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?

2 Samuel 10–Practicing Diplomacy

As any good king would, David sent emissaries to the new Ammonite king to express his condolences for the loss of the king’s father.  The youthful king listened to his military chiefs that convinced the new king that David was spying and that the emissaries were coming for preparation to attack.  The king humiliated David’s emissaries and sent them back in complete shame.  That was a big mistake.  

After the humiliation, rather than admit he was wrong, the new king hired mercenaries to take on Israel.  So David sent his entire army and with God’s leading destroyed the armies and ended any thought of coming against Israel again. three more nations were now subject to Israel.  What an odd way for diplomacy to impact the kingdom.

Once again, God did amazing things with unfortunate circumstances.  David had a great heart. He sent his men in good faith. But, when the enemy turned a kind gesture into a war, God responded in the way a Father cares for his children. David’s men recovered and David’s kingdom was avenged and strengthened.  

In our lives, like David’s, we must live in a way that reveals God in our lives. Kindness, generosity, and empathy should be part of our humble focus on God. When, however, the world responds selfishly, we must not be surprised nor unprepared.  We live lives seeking God and allow him to lead us through the series of unfortunate circumstances. knowing that the Lord is still large and in charge. We can never give up, lose hope or become like the world. Instead, we live focused upon God and his leadership and trust God will make things right.  It worked for David and it will work for us!

God Bless You

In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.

When David’s men came to the land of the Ammonites, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Hasn’t David sent them to you only to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?” So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.

When David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.”

When the Ammonites realized that they had become obnoxious to David, they hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maakah with a thousand men, and also twelve thousand men from Tob.

On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men. The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance of their city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maakah were by themselves in the open country.

Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. 10 He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites.11 Joab said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. 12 Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.”

2 Samuel 7 Part 1–No Palace Necessary

David was not the typical king.  As he settled into the life of a king, he was displeased with the idea that he lived in a palace while God lived in a tent.  He wanted to build a temple for God–but God had a different plan.  First, God wanted David to not be concerned about his dwelling. God created the entire universe and frankly could not be contained in a palace! The tent of meeting was simply that–it was not where God lived.  God loved David and now wanted to give him peace, give him a name and give him a legacy.  As David continued to follow God, God would do amazing and mighty things for David.  God did not want David the warrior to be David the architect.
 
We often try to do things for God.  We think that if we do amazing things for God, we will somehow curry favor in His eyes and become one of His special ones. The truth is that God loves us UNCONDITIONALLY! He loves us at our best and at our worst. He does not need us to do tasks to earn that love.  He simply needs us to follow Him and allow Him to bring peace and provision to our lives. It is not that the Lord does not recognize our desire simply to please Him–it is that our trust in God and desire to follow God’s lead is the greatest “gift” we can give the Lord.  God loved to bless David. He also wants nothing more than to bless us. We must simply trust and follow Him–no palace building is necessary.
 
God Bless You

After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling.Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders[a] over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

2 Samuel 6 Part 1–Reverence

David was bringing the kingdom back in line with God’s plan.  He had already reestablished Israel as a nation under God’s lead. Now the King set out to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. Sadly, on the journey, one of the men caring for the ark reached out and grabbed it to hold it steady–when he did, he died.  David was furious and scared all at once.  He decided to park the Ark at a place right there.  The Ark was sacred. God was clear, no one was to touch it. So when the Uzzah did, no matter his intention, the response from God was also clear–he died.  
 
It is critical to understand that God is and does command reverence.  We tend to want to claim God’s gifts and favor–but, we refuse to honor His deity.  God is God he is powerful beyond measure. He deserves reverence.  We, as His children need to show that reverence in our lives. It is not that God will strike us down if we do not, but, we lose so much in our relationship with God if we fail to honor the Lord for who He is.  Reverence is critical! 
 
God Bless You

 David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah[a] in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name,[b] the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it,[c] and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets,[d] harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.

When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.

Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.[e]

2 Samuel 5–David Becomes King of a United Israel

7and 1/2 Years David lived in a divided kingdom. He reigned in Hebron but Israel was held at bay. Then the Elders finally submitted to God and at 37 years old, David became God’s king.  Immediately upon becoming king, David began the work of regaining the territory lost in the time of disarray.  He took Jerusalem–the Jebusites had fancied themselves unbeatable…They were–until they weren’t.  David recaptured his city and expanded his territory.  It was a time of restoration for David and for Israel.
 
If we follow God closely and trust him completely, We will see our share of hills and valleys. Life will throw curves and we will make dumb mistakes. God will make a huge difference in our lives, however, that will last an eternity. We must never give up.  We must never give in.  We must always seek God and trust him to do as he promised in our lives.  If we will, then that trust will carry us through the tough times and encourage us in the times of joy. We will always point to God and his blessing and never need to point at our accomplishments or treasures.  It had to be a time of pure peace for David–even as he battled Israel’s enemies. God had restored him to be king–just as he promised David when he was a teenager!
 
God Bless You

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood.In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.

David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron, he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem, he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

David Conquers Jerusalem

The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.

On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.[a]” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.”

David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces[b] inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful because the Lord God Almighty was with him.

2 Samuel 2 Part 2–Civil War Stinks!

Now that Saul and Jonathan were gone, there still remained a sharp division between Saul’s people and David’s people.  What started out to be a discussion of an amicable solution, ended in a bloody civil war that cost the lives of over 400 soldiers. While the great majority were of Saul’s house, it was still a sad state of affairs.  Finally, when Joab’s brother was killed, both sides said enough.
 
The anger, the resentment, and the division had not ended–but the futility of killing each other became apparent. Both sides turned and went their separate ways. 
 
In our lives, we are put in positions that cause hurt and bitterness.  In that, if not dealt with reasonably, things can escalate to civil war in families.  Lives are damaged, relationships ended and families destroyed. Sadly, by the time all realize the devastation, it is often too late.  As a church, we have to exercise grace. None of us are perfect and all of us can forgive as we have been forgiven.  If we will, we can avoid life-changing civil wars and relationship killing altercations.  As God showed David, vengeance is God’s, and the Lord will repay evil against His chosen–so let Him!
 
God Bless You 

Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.”

“All right, let them do it,” Joab said.

15 So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. 16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.[a]

17 The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men.

18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. 19 He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. 20 Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?”

“It is,” he answered.

21 Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him.

22 Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?”

23 But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.

24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. 25 Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.

26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”

27 Joab answered, “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued pursuing them until morning.”

28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.

2 Samuel 1 Part 2–Is It Worth the Price

In the Bible stories we read as children, we hear of David and Goliath, but, we do not hear much about the long, hard ascension David made to the throne of Israel. From the time he was anointed by Samuel, he endured several attempts on his life, running as a fugitive for years, living with the enemy and in caves. Then when Saul, his enemy finally dies, David pays a nice tribute to the dead king and  Jonathan. In response, he then is thrown into years of civil war with the house of Saul and Saul’s army.  He was made king of Judah, but the rest of Israel still followed the house of Saul.
 
David was clearly following God’s lead. He had done nothing to cause the trial and tribulation he faced–still, he faced years of pain and persecution before finally taking the throne for which God anointed him. 
 
There are sometimes just no good answers to why we encounter trials and tribulation. We know we are in a spiritual battle, but even when we do what is right, sometimes things are tough. In those times it is easy to become discouraged and to wonder why we bother to remain faithful. The truth is that we are called to be God’s chosen, His adopted kids. In that place, we are hated by the world, and the enemy; and will always be a target to minimize or neutralize our impact on others. We must endure the struggles and embrace our calling. If we will, we will have a purposeful and amazing life here and an eternity with God in Heaven.  No matter how difficult the struggle–it is worth it.  Paul said it best in Romans, “ I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.
 
God Bless You

In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.

The Lord said, “Go up.”

David asked, “Where shall I go?”

“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.

So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.

When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.”

War Between the Houses of David and Saul

Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.

10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. 11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.