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 11 Part 2–How Low Will You Go?

David Got complacent. He felt entitled as the king to take whatever he wanted. He wanted Uriah’s wife. He took her. She became pregnant.  So David sent Uriah home to sleep with his wife in order to hide his sin.  That did not work. So then he had Uriah sacrificed in battle–murdered. David the man after God’s heart was immediately enveloped in a set of horrible sins that literally changed the course of his kingdom.  
 
Sin is an all-encompassing thing.  it creeps in but then when it takes root, it begins to overtake everything in one’s life.  When dealing with sin, one has to immediately repent and turn away. Otherwise, the sin will overtake and destroy what God has built.  Make no mistake, God will forgive sin, but we must evade and avoid sin at all cost–otherwise, it will devastate all we have seen God build in our lives.  In 1 John 1:9, God says, if we confess our Sin, God is faithful and just to forgive the sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Do not let sin overtake you, repent, confess and move away from sin. Otherwise, it will become your master.
 
God Bless You
 

 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth[b]? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’”

22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”

25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.

2 Samuel 11–Part 1–When Kings Usually Go to Battle…

David finally had the Kingdom established, He had quelled all his enemies and had developed his army to the point that for the first time–He did not have to Go out and lead the battles. God had led him and gave him victory in all that he approached.  It was a great story–but then David became complacent. In his complacency, David got up from his bed one afternoon and looked out and saw a beautiful woman bathing…Bathsheba.  He decided to take her and sleep with her–even though he had several other wives.  He decided he was king and he could have anything he wanted–no matter what the cost.
 
One of the challenges of life, when it is going well, is that people become complacent and self-sufficient. When we are in the midst of trials, we have to rely upon God for our protection, provision, and preparation. When things are going well, we often begin to think we no longer need God’s help and start doing things on our own.  Inevitably, if we continue down that path–it ends in disaster.  Such was the case with David, and such is the case in our lives.  In the times when God does bless us, that is when we need to humble ourselves, seek the Lord more intently and follow Him closely.  
 
God wants for us, His chosen, to have full, meaningful and purposeful lives.  It is our responsibility to keep focused upon God in both the blessed and the difficult times. If we will, it will be an amazing journey. If we do not, it will be an inevitable train wreck! Help me, Lord, to stay focused upon you and allow you to lead!
 
God Bless You!

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David.When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?”

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 3 Part 2–Sad End to A Sad War

 David came to terms with Abner, general from the house of Saul. He made peace and looked to end the conflict.   Sadly, as he sent Abner on his way, Joab, David’s general, found out that the guy that killed his brother was just set free.  So Joab chased Abner down and killed him.  It was such a sad day for David and for Israel.  Joab and his family would be cursed. David and his army would not be done and Abner, the one to bring peace, was murdered. David commanded all mourn for Abner’s death.  He mourned and fasted the entire day.  They honored the general, even though Abner was in Saul’s house.
 
In truth, war just stinks.  The costs are high, the unintended damages are often great and senseless.  That is why we do not go to war thoughtlessly or at a whim.  It is critical that while we ready ourselves for battle, that we become men of peace and reason.  David was clearly a great warrior.  But, he knew the value of peace.  His deal with Abner was a deal for the peace of Israel, not simply for himself. We have to live our lives the same.  We must always be ready for the spiritual battles we face, but, we need to be peaceful people.  Joab was cursed because he could not do that. David was great because he could. Let’s choose to be peaceful people ready for battle.
 
God Bless You

Just then David’s men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace.

24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! 25 You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.”

26 Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern at Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.

28 Later, when David heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy[a] or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.”

30 (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)

31 Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner.” King David himself walked behind the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept also

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.

2 Samuel 1 Part 1–David Learns of Saul’s Demise

Truly, the death of Saul was a counter-intuitive event for David and for the Amalekite that brought news of Saul’s death.  There is little doubt that the messenger thought he would be the bearer of great news.  David’s nemesis and chief adversary was now gone and David could gain his throne…Isn’t that good news?  Well for David, his heart was for Israel. As God’s anointed king, David was deeply saddened by the death of another anointed king.  He was also saddened by the death of his friend Jonathan.  Mostly, however, he was saddened that the Amalekite servant was glad to see Israel’s king killed.

It is sad to see things go bad.  Even when we may benefit from another’s loss, our hearts, when focused on the Lord, can never rejoice when others pay a great price for it.  David was not selfish or narcissistic. He truly mourned the death of Saul.  David would now complete the mission, but, truth be told, David would have rather approached the throne as a welcome king, not a conquering one.

We need David’s heart.  We should seek God. He should be our primary concern.  As we do, the Lord deals with the circumstances that intervene. The way he protects and provides may be baffling to us, but as we trust him, the Lord makes clear that He is working His plan in our lives.  We will have to trust God to keep His word.  We can never underestimate God’s power, planning, or timing to address our needs and our lives.  We must seek the Lord with our hearts and trust Him with our lives. If we will do that, God promises to make our paths straight, to restore and heal us, and to add all these other things to our lives–that seems like a fair trade to me!!! (Matt 6:33, Proverbs 3:5-6, 2 Chronicles 7:14)

God Bless You

After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. On the third day, a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.

“Where have you come from?” David asked him.

He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.”

“What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.”

“The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

“I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’

“He asked me, ‘Who are you?’

“‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.

“Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’

10 “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”

11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

13 David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?”

“I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.

14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?”

15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’”