2 Samuel

2 Samuel 23-24 (1 Chronicles 28-29) – The End of an era

THE END OF AN ERA

 

2 Samuel 23-24 (1 Chronicles 28-29)

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

We come to the end of our studies in the life of David. I have enjoyed journeying with David through his life – I hope you have too.

We met him in the fields of Bethlehem looking after sheep. Here as a young man, Samuel the prophet, anointed him to be the future king of Israel.

He rose to national prominence when he killed the Philistine giant, Goliath.

He then served in the courts of King Saul and became a successful military leader. So successful, in fact, that Saul became insanely jealous and tried on more than one occasion to kill David.

Eventually David had to flee for his life and became a fugitive for about 10 years. These were hard years for David and the band of followers that joined him. It was during these years that God was training him and moulding him for kingship – many of his wonderful psalms came out of this difficult time in David’s life. A life of comfort and ease is seldom a sign of God’s blessing – remember that Jesus promised > John 16:33

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)

We are not called by God to be comfortable. We are called to be disciples and while there are many blessings it is a life of discipline and hard work. Jesus never promised his disciples that following him would be easy and when we make it out so we are doing a disservice to the gospel of God.

 

When David did eventually become king he was successful, but life still was not always easy. Sometimes this was due to external troubles and sometimes because of his own sin and their consequences. What makes David stand out in the pages of history is not the fact that he was good military and political leader, which he was, but that he “had a heart after God’s own heart”.

David made some big blunders and committed some terrible sins. Even at the end of his life he was still having to deal with his pride in ordering a census of the people [2 Samuel 24] Through it all his faith and hope in God remained and grew and when he did sin he repented and returned to God.

 

Now he is at the end of his life. He has been king for 40 years. He had united the nation of Israel, expanded her borders and increased the wealth of the nation. He is ready to pass the kingship over to his son Solomon.

This is “The End of an Era”

 

David knows his time on earth is near the end. Before he dies he has something to say.

If you knew your time in this life was at an end what would you say to those you are about to leave?

Let’s listen to David’s last words.

 

  1. 1.     THE CHARGE TO HIS PEOPLE.

 

Before David gives a direct charge to the assembly before him he reminds the people of what God has done for him. It had been David’s desire to build a temple for God – for the Ark of the Covenant – but God had denied David this desire because he was a man of war.

David could have become impatient and irritated with God – he could have tried to manipulate and scheme to follow his own agenda but David is a man with a heart for God and is willing to accept God’s plans for him and to shelve his own.

Solomon would be the one to build the temple.

It was hard for David to accept God’s “no” and have his dreams and desires for a Temple unfulfilled.  But he accepts it without resentment and instead of whinging about what he hasn’t been able to do, he praises God for what he has been able to do! What a man!

 

1 Chronicles 28:4

4 “Yet the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from my whole family to be king over Israel for ever. He chose Judah as leader, and from the house of Judah he chose my family, and from my father’s sons he was pleased to make me king over all Israel. (NIV)

 

It is too easy for us to be disappointed and get distraught and frustrated about the things we can’t do and to forget about the good things that God has / and can accomplish in and through us.

 

In the closing years of his life instead of pining away over his unfulfilled desires David focused on the good things God had given him.

 

Now he calls together the nation’s leaders to address them for the last time. What will David say to these people? No doubt many things he could advise – military tactics – national policy –

BUT David tells them only one thing …

1 Chronicles 28:8   8 “So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants for ever. (NIV)

 

David knows that the only way his people will find peace and contentment is to live life God’s way. Any other way, no matter how attractive and appealing it may seem on the surface will always lead to disillusionment and failure in the long term. Even if that is not so in this life, then most definitely in the after life.

 

Nothing has changed. As David’s son Solomon would later write “There is nothing new under the sun”.

In the Bible, in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ to the world, in the sending of the Holy Spirit, God has given us all that is necessary for life and for how to conduct our lives. If we follow God’s way, we may not be rich, or famous, or successful in this world BUT we will have a peace and a joy and a contentment like nothing in this world can give.

So David’s advice to his people is simple – “Follow God”.

 

  1. 2.     THE COUNSEL TO HIS SON.

 

David now turns and addresses his son Solomon. Here before him is evidence of God’s grace and forgiveness. Solomon is the son of Bathsheba with whom David had an adulterous relationship. David’s repentance for his sin is deep and honest and God allows a son from Bathsheba to be David’s successor.

David is at the end of his kingship and Solomon is on the threshold of his. Solomon is a young man with tremendous potential. What counsel can he give him?

These will be his final words during his last days on earth and so he chooses his words very carefully, words based on his own experience as king for 40 years.

1 Chronicles 28:9

9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge [know] the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you for ever. (NIV)

 

1)    KNOW GOD.

The first thing David says is “Above all other things I want to pass on to you, I want you to know God!”

It seems almost too obvious to mention, doesn’t it.  BUT David is aware of the tyranny of the urgent. He has been king for a long time and he knows that there are many things to keep a king busy – so busy that he doesn’t take time to know God.

 

If you could pull your child aside and pass on advice for life, what would you say? Or may be more importantly as parents [and grandparents and aunts and uncles] what are we passing on to the next generation, now? What character and lifestyle are we investing in them?

There is so much to do – so much to keep us busy – so many good things that we can do BUT are we sometimes guilty of being so busy with things that we neglect to know God.

It is always possible to be doing good things and be missing the best thing.

Sometimes the greatest enemy of the best is not the worst but the good!

Solomon, my son, know God. Above all else get to know God deeply … intimately!”

 

2)    SERVE GOD.

…serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts…

 

Solomon, my son, serve God completely – don’t hold anything back – don’t make him force you to serve him.”

Solomon must have seen David at worship – singing his psalms – a passion for God. David was not perfect but he was passionate for God.

 

He reminds Solomon that serving God is not outward formalism ritual – going through the motions. For our service of God to be genuine it must involved our whole being – our emotions, our intellect, our all.

God looks into our hearts and minds and he knows whether our service is genuinely for him or if there are ulterior motives.

 

3)    SEEK HIM.

1 Chronicles 28:9-10

9 “…. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you for ever. 10 Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” (NIV)

 

This is not just a casual looking. This is someone who is passionately searching for something that is precious and valuable.

Jesus told stories about a treasure in a field and a pearl of great price for which a person will give up and forsake everything else in order to have that treasure.

Jeremiah 29:13-14 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD……

 

We seek God not because God is hiding away and doesn’t want to be found. On the contrary, God longs for us to come to him he wants us to know him and serve him and seek him.

 

ILLUS. George Goldsmith tells a story about when his children were little and one of them was lost on Weymouth beach front – Catherine, I think. And for two hours he searched for her – then he spotted her and he turn away and let her come up behind him and take his hand – she had found her Dad. Had she really? No, he had allowed her to find him and in fact he had been looking for her.

 

God wants us to know him and to find him – he is the Father of the prodigal watching and waiting to welcome us home. God is never far away. It is not God who is lost and gone away – it is us.  God longs for us to come to him – to know him and to serve him.

 

David could have advise Solomon on foreign policy, military strategy, structure of government and on and on … BUT He tells him the one most important thing – Know, Serve, Seek GOD!!

 

  1. 3.     THE PERSPECTIVE FROM HISTORY.

 

Acts 13:36    36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. (NIV)

 

This is what the apostle Paul said about David as he looked back many centuries later. David’s life was tremendously significant. He was the greatest king Israel had. Although Solomon was wealthier and his kingdom bigger than David’s he never equalled the reign of his father.

The main reason was the David serve God wholeheartedly and Solomon only half-heartedly. They both had similar weaknesses – a roving eye. However, whereas Solomon allowed his wives to lead him away from God, David nevr did.

David had a passion for God and he served the purpose of God.

What is God purpose? From the time Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden until the end of time it is God’s purpose to redeem a people for himself. To rescue sinner and bring them to know him. To establish his kingdom.

David significantly served that purpose in that he was a the model and ancestor of a greater king – Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews – the King of kings.

 

Will it be said of you and me when we are gone that we served the purpose of God in our generation?

Every individual has a purpose for living. Not many have the high profile purpose like David. However, everyone who God brings to life on this earth is significant.

The tragedy of all tragedies is that we should live and die and not discover the purpose of God for our lives.

You have, like no other person on this planet, a particular contribution to make to this generation. It may not be as great as your dreams. On the other hand it may far exceed your expectations.

Whoever you are you can serve the purpose of God in your generation.

 

Each one us have special gifts and abilities and opportunities that are unique to “ME”. Like David, we will not be perfect but if we know and serve and seek God we can come to the end of our lives and look back with satisfaction and thankfulness that we have served God in our own generation.

 

  1. 4.     THE PROMISE OF HIS GOD.

 

God’s Promise to David was this > 1 Chronicles 28:7 7 I will establish his kingdom for ever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time.’ (NIV)

This is repeating a promise he made to David back in 2 Samuel 7:16 16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.’ ” (NIV)

What a promise!

You know that we are the beneficiaries of that promise.

David was a great king but not perfect. Solomon was successful but half-hearted. Those that followed were mostly failures, UNTIL a baby was born in the Town of David in the days of King Herod. He grew up and began to preach that “The good news of the kingdom of God”

He was David’s greater son – Jesus. KING JESUS. He died and rose from the dead and is thus King forever. God’s promise to David that his kingdom will be established forever has been fulfilled. As we come to Christ and serve the purpose of God in our generation, we like David, participate in Kingdom business. He calls us to be committed to spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God to all the world. That is what the Church is about. That is what being a Christian is about. Serving the purpose of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. THE PRAISE OF HIS GOD.

 

I can do no better than to summarise David’s praise and worship of God in his own words >

1 Chronicles 29:10-13

10 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,

“Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.

11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.

Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

12 Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things.

In your hands are strength and power           to exalt and give strength to all.

13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

 

What are some of the lesson we learn from this great man of God, David?

  • We learn hope in spite of his humanity.
  • We learn courage even in the midst of his own fear.
  • We learn encouragement and praise that grew out of his hours of despair.
  • We learn forgiveness in his dark moments of sin.
  • We learn the value of serving the purpose of god even though our won dreams may not be fulfilled.

[Swindoll]

 

Thank you our Father and God, for being our Master; for using us though we are weak, forgiving us when we fail and loving us through all the Sauls and Goliaths and Jonathans and Abigails and Bathshebas and Absaloms and Joabs and Solomons of our lives. Thank you for showing us that we can be people like David … people who “have a heart after God’s own heart.”

 

 

 

THE END OF AN ERA

 

1 Chronicles 28-29  (2 Samuel 23-24)

 1.   The charge to his people.

“Be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God”

 2.   The counsel to his son.

Know God – Serve God – Seek God

 3.   The perspective from history.

“David served God’s purpose in his own generation”

 4.   The promise of his God.

“ … your kingdom shall endue forever …”

 5.   The praise for his God.

“Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel,

  from everlasting to everlasting.

11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.

Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

12 Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things.

In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

 

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