Many times at weddings or funerals there are slideshows of people’s lives. Picture collages capture the memories for a person in their home, parents, childhood rearing, siblings love & rivalry, heartaches of what has been lost, and joys of all that was shared and celebrated. Viewing the dozens and hundreds pictures tells the story of a person’s life.
Psalm 78 is a picture collage of Israel’s history.
78:4-7 growing godly generations
78:8 “Then they would not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not loyal, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.”
78:9-9 Covers 400 years of Israel history
78:70-72 reflections of David’s monarchy
“He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing eyes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.”
These concluding verses of Psalm 78 capture 70 years of David’s life. The Psalm first presents David as a teenager watching sheep and later on the rise to the throne at age 30, and continues his reign as one of Israel’s greatest kings. Israel’s kingdom had its significance with the start of David’s shepherding and skillful leadership.
Today we begin a new/continuation series from “1Samuel Searching For A King” to “2Samuel Searching For A Kingdom”. Reflecting on the themes of 1Samuel one may see our heart’s pursuit for a leader/king that is not God. Likewise, in 2Samuel is the revelation that every human leader will fail and how our heart longs to belong to a home – a people and kingdom.
EXAMINE 2Samuel 1-5 Kingdom is for Unity
David established unity through fighting the right battles (2Sam 1–5)
The highest feature of David’s leadership was his integrity. He waited over a decade to become king. His honor of the Lord’s anointed to not kill Saul was in contrast to worldly values. David often – though not always – left revenge to the Lord, rather than execute justice in his own hands.
David learned of Saul’s death and wept (2Sam 1:11-12). The books of Samuel open with weeping leaders – Hannah and David. Weeping can reflect brokenness over self and dependence upon the Lord. Perhaps a reason why there is not more national renewal and spiritual revival is a lack of worshiping God through weeping.
Psalm 126:6 “He who goes out weeping bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Side note: The previous book noted Saul’s death by committing suicide and falling on his own sword due to his fear of the Philistine army overtaking Israel (1Sam 31:5-6). Yet, the opening chapter of 2Samuel relays that Saul was killed by an Amalekite (2Sam 1:9-10). The difference is the fact that the Amalekite is lying for his own gain of favor in David’s eyes. It is more likely Saul’s death occurred as stated originally and the second perspective was a statement of lie. Readers must interpret Scripture wisely and in each case will find evidence that there are not contradictions but simple understandings of each circumstance.
David executed justice on the Amalekite who killed Saul without reverence for the Lord’s anointed (2Sam 1:14-16). He does the same to those who murder Saul’s son Ish-bosheth (2Sam 4:11-12).
David lamented for Saul and Jonathan with poetic and personal expression (2Sam 1:19-27).
– How the mighty have fallen (2Sam 1:19, 25, 27)
– David had compassion for Saul & Jonathan (2Sam 1:23, 26)
– David blessed those who buried Saul (2Sam 2:5-6)
David enters Hebron and is anointed king of Judah (2Sam 2:1-4). David’s kingship starts small and grows. The servants of Saul (Abner and Ish-bosheth) still reject David as king. Civil war continues for over seven years as many people in Israel still reject God’s choice for king (2Sam 2:10-11). Yet, Saul’s army grew weaker while David’s house grew stronger (2Sam 3:1).
Later, Abner and Ish-bosheth will have a conflict over Abner sleeping with Saul’s concubine. Abner feels Ish is doubting his allegiance to Saul and takes offense. Abner chooses to rebuff Ish and align military forces with David (2Sam 4:6-13). David’s soldier Joab is suspicious over Abner and chooses to murder him, but David will refrain from executing justice on Joab perhaps for political reasons (2Sam 4:26-39). Even more nefarious is other servants of Saul who will murder Ish-bosheth to obtain David’s favor, but it doesn’t work as mentioned previously (2Sam 4:1-12).
Since the leaders of Saul’s army are dead, the people of Israel seek to align with David. David extends his throne beyond Judah to Israel for thirty-three years (2Sam 5:1-4). David establishes the capital city not in the south where he’s been in Hebron, and not in the north likely Shechem, but in the center of the twelve tribes of Israel in Jerusalem. The catch was that Jerusalem was inhabited by Jebusites. Expectedly, David fights and wins Jerusalem, “for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him” (2Sam 5:10).
For the most part, David fights and exercises power when he needs to and other times he offers restraint and trust in the Lord’s will.
è How often do we seek to advance our demands over God’s desires for our life?
o When an issue we disagree with someone goes unchanged, do we grow bitter and hold grudge?
o When circumstances out of our control change and contrast our hopes, do we withdraw and quit?
o When faced with adversity, do we doubt God’s care and dismiss others from our life because we think the world is against us?
- Recently our family has had a few maintenance items for our cars & house come up that have been quite expensive. There’s a mild and fleeting temptation to lose temper and be self-absorbed thinking this only happens to us. “Oh, woe is the persecuted pastor!” But then reality snaps back and says, “Wake up and realize how much God has blessed you.”
- Or my children complain about having to eat certain cereal brands or not being able to eat multiple desserts, or not being able to enjoy certain types of entertainment. Contentment is hard for children… ahem, and adults.
- – Jesus was a great example of surrendering his demands to the Father’s desires for His life.
- Praying the Lord’s will to be done (Matthew 6:10)
- Patient with impulsive and self-serving disciples
- Prayerful sacrifice in spite of arrogant religious zealots (Mark 10:45)
- Prayerful surrender in spite of personal comfort and rights (Luke 22:42)
– Our ability to discern to fight the right battles is often measured with our words. A challenge application is to use Psalm 19:13-14 as a guiding prayer. “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me… Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
David encumbers unity through self-serving politics and pleasures (2Sam 3:1-5)
Throughout David’s life there is the heart of passion for God but also the heart of pride. Many people endure adversity and follow God, but there are few examples of those who experience prosperity and follow God. David appears to dangerously walk the line of following God in spite of his adversity or prosperity.
David self-serving pride is acquiring multiple wives: Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, and Bathsheba, along with many others (2Sam 3:2-5, 3:14, 5:13-16; 1Chron 3:1-9). Undoubtedly his weakness was women, yet more it was power. It is said “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. David’s influence became an idol where his desires became evil demands.
What we see in the books of Samuel, and really all Scripture, is a litany of sin: greed, pride, lust, sex, rape, violence, murder, power plays, war politics. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). When we read the narrative of Samuel – or listen to the narrative of today’s culture – we ask, “Where is God?”
But, the narrative of God’s redemption is not filled with fairy tales of knights in shining armor in enchanted woods coming to rescue us from evil villains. Instead, God’s redemption is in the failure and catastrophe of our humanity. Jesus comes to us in the midst of our mess and transforms our brokenness into beauty; He exchanges our sin for His righteousness. God is patient and steadfast in fulfilling His promise, even using evil for good, to save a people for Himself.
è The best prescription for pride is not to live a private life, but to enter into community. Who holds you accountable to transfer from selfishness & sin to service to God and others?
o Name 3 people who you will ask: “Where may I be hindering God’s grace from transforming my life?” Allow them to constructively speak into your life.
- Spouse or Close Friend
- Person in Bible Group (if not in a Bible Group then consider this your challenge J)
- Another Church Member or Christian Friend
David inspires unity through cultivating a city – a people and culture of God’s kingdom.
Cities often have the power to unite or divide a nation and even the world.
– When cities are attacked there is viral movements that outpour emotion: love or hate.
– Cities can be intimidating with evil deeds or they can inspire positive influence.
—Jerusalem has survived being a city of global politics, religious conflict (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), and cruelty of war.
—Jerusalem is the prototype city of Heaven (Revelation 21:2).
The Christian’s role on earth is to cultivate a city that reflects the kingdom of God. As Christians, we are “strangers and exiles on earth… seeking a homeland… desiring a better country, that is, a heavenly one, [which] God is preparing for [us] a city” (Hebrews 11:14-16)
1Peter 2:9-12 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
LOVE GOD through Christ – LOVE OTHERS with compassion – LEAD GENERATIONS with urgency