Monday, 28 May 2018

Road to Revelation: 2 Samuel

2 Samuel begins with the sad downfall of Saul's house until finally in chapter 5 David is crowned his successor.  David brought the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem and in chapter 7 expressed his desire to build a great temple for the Lord.  The Lord was pleased with his request and promised David that his kingdom would endure forever and that his son would build the temple.  Key Verse 7:16 David's throne to endure forever.

Chapters 8-10 detail David's victories over Israel's enemies.  Remember how Joshua and the people did not complete driving out the people in the promised land?  Well David completed this work and for the first time the people of Israel are fully occupying all the land promised to Abraham. Aaaaand this is the end of the good stuff...  Even though David is held up as the greatest king Israel had, it is not because he was a great guy, or even a good politician, but because he was faithful to the Lord; he never turned to other gods.  And this is the standard by which the writers of the Old Testament judge the greatness of Israel's kings.

Chapter 11-12 tells the story of David's affair with Bathsheba, the attempted coverup of his dirty deed and the murder of her husband.  David was not immune to one of the sins of royalty to which Samuel warned the people; the taking of other's women for himself.  But unlike other Saul and subsequent kings, when David was confronted by the Lord, through Nathan the prophet, he repents and accepts the Lord's discipline. 

The practice of keeping of multiple wives appears to be tolerated by the Lord in ancient Israel but it came with devastating natural consequences; one of David's sons violated his half sister causing the sister's full brother, Absalom, to plot his revenge... for two years!!  Chapters 13-19 tell how Absalom was furious at David's lack of discipline toward his half brother and this ultimately led to Absalom leading a rebellion against David and attempting to seize the throne.  It is not until Absalom is killed that David could return to Jerusalem and his kingship but he did it with a heavy heart after the loss of his son.

But he couldn't mourn for long as a Benjaminite named Sheba led a rebellion which took all but Judah's loyalty from David.  A Benjaminite!  Like Saul!  So David's main man Joab went after Sheba and killed him (Chapter 20).  More killing in chapter 21 where we read of the Gibeonites getting their revenge on Saul's family for his genocide of their people.  This is the end of Saul's house as prophesied by Samuel.  Only Mephiboseth is spared.

Chapter 22 is also Psalm 18!  David's song of praise to the Lord for delivering him from Saul and all his enemies.  Then there is the roll call in chapter 23 of the mighty men in David's army.  Some random cool facts in there!

2 Samuel doesn't end on a high note however...  David took a census of his armies instead of trusting in the Lord to fight his battles and the people suffered as a result. 

So things are a bit of a downer at the end of David's life but we the reader learn a valuable lesson: Do not put your trust in men for they will disappoint you and sin against you.  Instead put your trust in the Lord!!  We need to look to the true king of Israel who will remain true to his promises as David says "The Lord is my Rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.  He is my stronghold, my refuge and my saviour..." 2 Samuel 22:2-3

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