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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2 Samuel 22 (Psalm 18) – “God is my life”

“GOD IS MY LIFE”

 

2 Samuel 22 (Psalm 18)

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

How would you describe your life?

Imagine you are at a party or travelling on a plane and a person you have just met says, “Tell me about yourself!”

Most of us would say what we do – teacher, nurse, student, businessperson, housewife ……

We would tell where we live – if we are married or single – and go on to tell about our families, where we come from, etc.

 

We tend to describe our lives in terms of what we do, where we come from, our educational / sporting / artistic achievements.

 

If nothing else, David, the King of Israel, has had an eventful life. He is coming to the end of his life and we are coming to the end of our studies about David. In many respects David’s life is no easier at the end than at the beginning. He started off fighting the Philistines and running from King Saul. In his latter years he has had to flee for a rebellion led by his son Absalom. Absalom is murdered and David is heartbroken. He returns to Jerusalem and then has to go out again to fight his old enemy, the Philistines.

However, David is not as young as he once was as we read in   2 Samuel 21:15

15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted.

 

Chapter 22 is probably David’s last psalm. It is repeated almost word for word as Psalm 18.

In many ways it is an expression of what God is to David – what God means to David – what he has done for him and trough him.

 

We could break this Psalm down into many section and I have done so into (No not 3) six.

 

In summary David is saying in this psalm, God is My Security, My Rescuer, My Righteousness, My Success/Light, My Resources, My Hope!

 

As he looks back over his life from his twilight years David gives testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of his God.

 

  1. 1.     My Security. (v.2-7)

 

David has known many uncertain times in his life, in the early years when he was on the run from the murderous King Saul and in later years fleeing from his ambitious son. He has known times of deep sorrow for his sin. He has known times of exuberant worship and personal and political success.

Through it all he has learned that he is not the one “who can look after himself” – He acknowledges that he has a deep need for God in every area of his life. In fact without God he is nothing.

Look at how he describes God in the first few verses ~ 2 Samuel 22:2-3 2 ..

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

3 …..   my shield and the horn of my salvation. (Strength)

He is my stronghold, my refuge and my saviour

David is saying “I don’t have the where-withal to protect and look after myself only in God am I safe and secure”.

 

Maybe we don’t feel this deep desire and need for God because we fail to realise just how pathetically weak and feeble we are. We feel invincible, we feel secure! After all, we have the NHS, the DSS, our insurance policies, we have our human rights to protect of freedom BUT we fail to grasp just how very vulnerable we are. Our lives hang by a very delicate thread.

 

As David looks back on his life he praises God who has keep him secure through all the changing scenes of life.

David has faced death many times ~ vv.5-6 ~ waves of morality, torrents of destruction, strangled by the grave, trapped by death.

To David God is no some distant deity – he is personal and intimate – “I run to him for refuge, I call to him, I sing to him, I cry to him ….I pray!!!

 

David was immersed in God.

Do you and I know God like that?

Psalm 18 has an extra verse at the beginning ~ Psalm 18:1

1  I love you, O Lord, my strength. (NIV)

Is that your testimony today? Can you say openly and honestly to God, “I love you Lord”?

 

2. My Rescue. (v. 8-21)

 

In these verse we have vivid and very descriptive picture language of the power and greatness of David’s God.

2 Samuel 22:8-16 ~ Earthquake ~ fire ~ lightening ~ Thunder ~

The might and power of the God who comes to David’s rescue. His troubles and his enemies who seemed so big and strong overwhelmed David. Then God rescues him and David realises that these troubles and enemies are insignificant compare to his God.

 

He describes God like a mighty earthquake. People who have experienced earthquakes say it is a terrifying thing. Buildings wobble as if they were like jelly. The ground moves like water. People scream and rush into the streets. Everything that seems so threatening and so powerful suddenly turns to instability and weakness when God appears on the scene.

2 Samuel 22:20

20 He brought me out into a spacious place;

he rescued me because he delighted in me. (NIV)

 

We have little difficulty believing difficulties that David faced because we face them. Not Philistines and murderous kings but the trials and tribulations of everyday life ~ the hurts and heartaches, the failures and disappointments and it is in those times that we find it so difficult to believe that God loves us. But he does. He delights in us David says. He cares for us. He feels our ache.

 

Sometimes like David we may feel exhausted from the battle. Maybe you are going through a rough time right now. You put on a brave front and possibly others think you have got it all together but you know in your heart that things are not right. You feel threatened, insecure, overwhelmed by life itself ~ cry out to God – he will come to your rescue. He may not remove the problem but he will rescue you. (We will see how in a moment).

 

Sadly, sometimes, instead of crying to God for help when we are in trouble we do pray. However, we think we can work it out and we pray simply to tell God what he should do.

God rescues me because he delights in me BUT he does so on his terms not mine!

 

  1. 2.     My Righteousness (v.22-28)

 

As we read these verses in which David says he has been blameless and pure and faithful we do a double take and ask, “Well what about his sin with Bathsheba? What about the murder of Urriah? What about David’s lying to the priests of Nob that resulted in their massacre?”

Wait a minute! David how can you claim to be so righteous and holy??

 

David’s words here are not a claim to personal purity of character. Remember that this is the same David who wrote ~

Psalm 51:1-5

1 …      blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity

and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is always before me.

4 …     5 Surely I was sinful at birth,

sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (NIV)

 

David has no illusions that he is a sinner. At this point he is not writing as a sinner standing before God but as God’s king facing the enemies of God who wish to destroy him. In as much as he is involved in God’s work his cause is a just and righteous one.

We can never appeal to our righteousness when we are asking God to bless us as though we were without sin. There are times when we are standing for God against all that will oppose him that we know our cause is a righteous one.

David knows that in spite of his sin and wrongdoing he has basically wanted to do God’s will.

David knows that although our position before god is one of receiving mercy and grace, it is also true that in those who have received God’s grace and mercy, God honours faithfulness and integrity.

 

We also need to remember that the OT looks forward to the coming Messiah. This Psalm is a case in point. It is quoted in Romans 15 and applied to Jesus. It points to a greater and truer David, the One who is a man after God’s own heart even more than David was.

 

It is ultimately in Christ that true righteousness is found. It is in him that we receive it by faith. It is in Him that David received it evenly though it was retrospectively.

 

David knows of God’s heart. “His life is characterised by God’s mercy, God’s grace, God’s love. There is no spiritual symmetry [equally] between David and God; it’s totally lopsided on the side of God. Unknown David is named and known. Unequipped David is triumphant. Undefended David finds refuge. Undeserving David is forgiven. Unworthy David recovers his kingship”. [Peterson]

 

David’s story is a gospel story. God doing for David what he could never do for himself. A sinner saved. It is that story that is completed in the Jesus story.

 

 

 

  1. 3.     My Success. (v.29-30)

 

2 Samuel 22:29-30           29 You are my lamp, O Lord;

the LORD turns my darkness into light.

30 With your help I can advance against a troop;

with my God I can scale a wall. (NIV)

 

David speaks in these verses of the great accomplishments he has been able to achieve, entirely by the protection and help of God.

It is God like a burning oil lamp that gives light, and warmth and understanding to David. God has inspired him and given him energy enough to leap over walls ~ maybe as he writes this, sitting in his palace in Jerusalem, he recalls how God enabled him to capture the fortress of Jerusalem in the first place. [2 Sam.5]

 

David has been king now for many years ~ he has had a few set back but he has survived. He could have patted himself on the back and said “I am the come-back-kid” He could have put it down to his own ingenuity and skill. BUT David has learned that without God there is no success.

 

It is a lesson we all must learn or we will fail. People may acclaim us and we may be proud of our accomplishments BUT God will not be and in the end that is all that matters.

David knew that God was his success.

 

  1. My Resources. (v.31-46)

 

It doesn’t matter how clever or gifted or talented we are ~ it is of little consequence which school / university we went to ~ it doesn’t matter how popular we may be or how much money we have IF our achievements are not God’s then they are failures.

 

In these verses we have David acknowledging that all that he is, all that he has achieved, all the skills and abilities he has are given to him by God.

God hasn’t removed all the obstacles and difficulties in his life but he has strengthened and equipped him to overcome them.

2 Samuel 22:34

34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;

he enables me to stand on the heights. (NIV)

 

God has trained and taught David to be the man God wants him to be. God has taken him along a certain road of life and David has learned the lessons of faith, in the fields with the sheep, in the battles with Saul ~ all those years as a fugitive God was training David for kingship.

God not only gives us our natural talents and abilities he also wants to train us to have a heart for him and if we think we can serve God without a heart for him we are fooling ourselves. So we need to develop the habits of prayer ~ the study of scripture ~ the disciplines of discipleship ~ ONLY with this kind of “God-training”, relying on His resources will we be useful in God’s kingdom.

 

David didn’t learn these things living in a monastery. He learned them in the rough and tumble of life. There were times when he was alone with God. His godliness was worked out in very difficult circumstances.

If we are waiting for a better time to serve God ~ when things are easier at the office ~ when the children are grown up ~ when we have paid off the mortgage ~ when … when …. when … THEN we will never have a Heart after God’s own Heart. There is no easier time coming in this life.

David’s life didn’t get easier ~ David became more and more dependent on God ~ “My Resources”

 

  1. My Hope / My Life. (v.47-51)

 

2 Samuel 22:47

47 “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!

Exalted be God, the Rock, my Saviour! (NIV)

 

The Lord lives therefore I have Hope. I have a future. I have a destiny.

The most significant thing about David’s life is that he is alive to God.

 

The Context and conditions out of which David lives his life are not conducive to godly living. His life was influenced by God BUT it was also influenced by the surrounding culture – Philistine Culture and Canaanite morality – that is violence and sex. Yet here is David born and living in the Iron Age of violence and sex – not exempt from their influence but not restricted by them either.

The conditions we live under are also not favourable to godly living. The climate of violence, sex, war and immorality seemed to have changed little since then. These are human conditions and therefore the only conditions in which we are called to live for God.

 

David lived a full life – a God life!

The kind of life that Jesus promised his disciples ~ John 10:10 …… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (NIV)

 

If we attempt to live life without God – it doesn’t just make us ungodly but small and puny.

It is easy to live our lives in a way that pays lip service to God. We come to Church, we doff our caps, we may even have a ministry in the Church BUT we can still live following our own agendas ~ doing our own thing ~ fitting God in were it is convenient to our prearranged lifestyles.

If that is the case we will miss the glorious way of life God has for Christians – the extravagance of what he wants to do in us.

 

“David with all his rough edges never got around to loving his enemies the way his descendant Jesus would do it; his morals left a lot to be desired. These are told to us not to legitimised bad behaviour but show us that we share the same conditions.

They are set before us to show us that we don’t first become good and then get God. First we get God – [rather God gets us] – and then over a patient lifetime we are trained in God’s way”. [Peterson]

 

If we want to be “Davids” – those who have a heart after God’s own heart – then God must not simply be part of My Life – He must be MY LIFE.

 

When the greater Son of David, Jesus, came he showed us in a way that David never could what a God-life really is  – he called us to be “in Him” ~ “in Christ” – to share his life – to give us his life –

Colossians 3:4 4 .. Christ, who is your life,  …(NIV)

 

What is my life?  >>>>>>>>>>>>  What I do? Where I come from? What I have achieved?

These are not unimportant BUT they remain of little consequence unless GOD IS MY LIFE.

 

 

WHAT IS MY LIFE?

 

2 Samuel 22:1-51.

 1.       God is My Security [1-7]

 2.       God is My Rescue [8-21]

 3.       God is My Righteousness [22-28]

 4.       God is My Success [29-30]

 5.       God is My Resource [31-46]

 6.       God is My Hope [47-51]

 

 

What  Who is My Life?

GOD IS MY LIFE!

2 Samuel 13 – 19 – Forgiven but ….

FORGIVEN but ….

 

2 Samuel 13 – 19. (selections)

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

We hear often in our society the claim that says “I can do as I please!” Some of the reasoning given to justify such a claim is “It is not hurting anyone!”

One of the claims of the sexual revolution is that two consenting adults can do what the like and it doesn’t affect anyone else and it is none of their business.

This individualistic attitude is very prevalent in our society and we would be foolish to think that we in the church are not influenced by such attitudes.

Individual actions do not only affect the persons involved.

The famous quote “No man is an island” is true.

 

ILLUS.: If a married man has an affair with another woman it affects his wife and children – as well as the husband and children of the woman, if she is married. It influences the extended families of both of them and of their spouses. It will also have an affect on their jobs – probably a detrimental affect – the ripples become ever wider ……..

 

How I live and what I do will to a greater or lesser degree impact other.

This was one of the hard lessons that King David was going to experience for the rest of his life.

 

Every family experience difficulty, hardship and trouble at some point. There are two kinds of hardships that families experience. That which is from without e.g. – things like the death of a loved one, theft of property, illness, injury through accident etc… – these, as hard and as painful as they are will often tend to pull families together rather than drive them apart.

Other forms of trouble come from within. e.g. unforgiveness, neglect, bitterness, and all the anger that come when parents live to satisfy their own fleshly passions and desires .… or when children are rebellious and reckless and disrespectful.

When there is friction between husband and wife or parent and child, that is a lot harder to

cope with than external struggles, especially when these internal difficulties are cause by someone’s sin in the family.

 

David sinned when he lusted after and then committed adultery with Bathsheba. Then he lied and schemed and eventually murdered Urriah, Bathsheba’s husband. He then tried to cover it up and live as if nothing had happened. David was to learn a principle of life that we are later warned about in the NT.

 

Galatians 6:7-8

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (NIV)

 

BUT didn’t God forgive David. Didn’t we see in Psalm 51 how David repented and God restore him. YES!

 

  1. 1.     God’s Grace is always available to Repentant Sinners.

 

It is quite true that God forgave David. However, it is a deception to believe that forgiveness removes consequences.

God warns us not to be deceived into thinking that we can sin with impunity.

A man reaps what he sows.

 

We can easily be conned into believing erroneous teaching about the grace of God – we can easily think that if we simply confess our sins and claim God’s forgiveness then all the consequences of our wrongdoing will simply be whisked away.

 

God is gracious and he does forgive sins. Grace means that God, in forgiving, doesn’t destroy us as we deserve. Grace means that God, in forgiving, gives us the strength to endure the consequences of our wrongdoing. Grace frees us so that we can obey our Lord and Saviour. It does not mean that sin’s consequences are automatically removed.

 

ILLUS.: If I steal a car and go joy riding and crash. I break my leg and cut my head and write-off the car. If I ask for forgiveness, God will forgive me but I will still have a broken leg and a cut head and probably face prosecution.

 

We accept without question that in the physical realm there are consequences of things like car crashes – a broken leg is a broken leg whether I am forgiven or not.

The same happens in the emotional and spiritual realms – e.g. when a parent wilfully and irresponsibly acts against God’s principles, not only does the parent suffer, but so too does the whole family.

 

This is what happened in David’s life.

Those who live to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences… Galatians 6:8 (NLT)

 

If we use the imagery of planting and sowing, we see life as a daily planting of one kind of seed or another. Sowing seeds of carnality as David had done with Bathsheba reaps a harvest of trouble.

“The pain of the harvest eclipses the pleasure of the planting” – Swindoll.

Let us never be deceived into thinking that sin is not pleasurable – it is exciting and adventurous and stimulating to satisfy the pleasures of the flesh. Even the Bible tells us that sin has its pleasures even if they are short-lived.

Of course we don’t think about, or don’t want to think about, the pain of the harvest while we are set on enjoying the pleasure of the sowing.

 

We focus very well on how we can have our sins forgiven and on how gracious and merciful and forgiving God is. We tend to focus less on how to prevent falling into sin in the first place.

 

ILLUS.: Next year I have the dubious pleasure of a son who will want to learn to drive. I could take a corrective approach to his driving “Andrew, before you get in the car I want you to know that I have taken out an insurance policy on the car. When you have a accident here is the number of the insurance agent!”

OR “Andrew, these are the rules of the road – if you learn them and obey them you could go a long time without even an dent. I can’t guarantee you won’t have a dent or two, and you do need insurance BUT it is better to prevent an accident than to try and sort it out afterwards.”

 

Most of us learn  1Jn.1:9 [Anyone quote?] before we learn Romans 6 …..1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)

This is wonderful to know that our sins can be forgiven! Does that mean we can sin willy-nilly knowing that God is gracious?

Romans 6v1. [Anyone quote?]  Should we go on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not!” (NLT)

 

BUT it is better if we don’t sin in the first place. Thus Paul continues in Romans 6v12-13. [Anyone quote?] “Do not let sin control the way you live, do not give in to its lustful desires. Do not let any part of your body become a tool for wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.” (NLT)

 

God is gracious but God’s grace doesn’t usually take away the consequences of sin.

 

 

  1. 2.     Grace doesn’t always remove the consequences of our sins.

 

We need to be clear at this point. David was forgiven …1 Sm.12v13 Nathan.. “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die ……”

 

David acknowledged his sin “I have sinned” – if he had done that the night after he slept with Bathsheba I am fairly sure the consequences would not have been so disastrous.

God declared through the prophet Nathan, “The sword will never depart from your house”

But I thought David was forgiven? He was “The lord has taken away your sin” – that’s forgiveness BUT the consequences are still there.

 

Not everyone who sins will have the same consequences! God in his sovereignty fits the consequences to each person. In David’s case the consequences were serious.

 

Twice in Ch.12 Nathan warns David that trouble will come from within his own household – His own family will rebel against him.

David wilfully and deliberately went against God’s instructions – not only did he suffer as a result – so too did many people who were close to him.

 

It is a lesson we need to learn and learn well – Few actions are private – what I do or neglect to do – whether good or bad will have a ripple effect and touch the lives of others – sometimes with devastating consequences as in the case of David.

 

  1. 3.     Sin always brings trouble.

(Not all trouble is a direct result of sin) – the consequences of sin are a tangled mass and those not directly responsible also suffer!

 

The next 4-5 Chapters of 2 Samuel catalogue the trouble that came to David.

 

(1)  Bathsheba’s child died.

Despite the fact that the child was the product of an adulterous relationship both David and Bathsheba no doubt loved it. The child’s death brought grief to David and Bathsheba – and the child suffered.

This was the first of many consequences that would result from David’s sin.

 

(2) One of David’s sons raped his half-sister.

In Chapter 13 we have the account of Amnon being attracted to his half-sister Tamar – who is the blood sister of Absalom.

2 Sm.13:1-2 “…Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom, son of David. Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was s virgin and it seemed imossible for him to do anything to her.”

 

As the story unfolds it becomes clear that this is not love at all but blind selfish lust. With the help of a scheming friend Amnon tricks Tamar by pretending to be ill. When she comes to bring food to her ill half-brother, he rapes her.

She is disgraced and humiliated and goes to live in virtual widowhood in the house of her brother Absalom.

Modern rape and sex-abuse victim can surely identify with her misery and pain. She was innocent and need to feel no reproach for her own actions. However such is the nature of injustice that it is the innocent that feel defiled and who go crying for the sins of another.

 

(3)  A brother hates a brother.

 

For two years Absalom was eaten up with bitterness and hatred towards Amnon for what he did to Tamar.

Where was David during all this time? You can’t tell me that David didn’t know what was happening. BUT he did nothing! A classic case of passivity – you see it is difficult to give moral guidance to your children when you have been a bad example.

David allowed himself to be manipulated by Absalom into permitting all the king’s son to go to the place where Absalom’s sheep were being sheared.

 

(4)  A brother murders a brother.

 

Lust. Rape. Hatred. What next? Absalom murders his brother Amnon for what he had done to Tamar.

“The sword will never depart from your household, David.” David’s heart must have ached as he saw what was going on around him.

 

(5) Absalom rebels against David.

 

After he has killed Amnon Absalom flees across the Jordan River. In time he returns to Jerusalem but David won’t even look at him for two years. Eventually they are reconciled but it doesn’t last long and Absalom leads a revolt against David. David, the king, has to flee Jerusalem for his life.

 

 

 

 

(6) Absalom humiliates David in public.

 

Remember God’s words through Nathan, the prophet to David. 2 Sm.12:11-12. “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you; Before your very eyes I am going to take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.”

 

In chapter 16 we read how Absalom pitches a tent on the roof of the palace for the whole city to see and there sleeps with his own father’s women. Where did David’s sin begin – on the roof of his palace – and here his own son’s srdid display rubs his nose in it.

 

(7) Absalom is murdered.

 

Later the final step in this devastating chain of consequences comes when Joab, David’s commander-in-chief, pursues and murders Absalom against the direct wishes of King David. And we have at the end ch.18 one of the most heart rending passage of scripture when David is told of the death of Absalom.

“The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – O Absalom my son, my son!”

 

Is David only mourning the death of his son?  Surely David regrets the day he even looked at Bathsheba and carried on a year of deception. The harvesting of his sins is almost more than he can bear.

 

Galatians 6:7  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

 

We must not be deceived into thinking that bad consequences only result from the wrong actions.  There are also bad consequences when we neglect to do the right things.

As Christians we are instructed NOT to sow seeds of corruption BUT to positively sow seeds of righteousness.

Neglecting to engage with God in prayer, in Bible study, in worship also has serious consequences. Failing to have fellowship with other Christians, to show care for others, to be a witness for Christ, …….   These omissions also have consequences. They stunt our spiritual growth and hinder our effectiveness in God’s kingdom. And in the long term we are not happy and fulfilled.

 

If your spiritual life is dull and boring and ineffective maybe some self-examination on these areas is necessary. What kinds of seeds am I sowing or neglecting to sow in life?

 

Back to David – Forgiven? Yes!

Hard Consequences? Yes!

Was all lost? Did God abandon David? Was David no longer of use to God? No!

 

Despite his sin David had a heart for God – he continued to trust God – God restored his kingdom and blessed him.

Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba – God named Solomon, Jedidhiah meaning “loved by the Lord”. How gracious is God to allow the next king to be born of the woman David had committed adultery with.

 

We do sin and there will be consequences but that does not mean all is lost.

 

ILLUS.: In the 1970’s Charles Colson was adviser to US President Richard Nixon – he was implicated in the Watergate scandal at the White House. About that time he became a Christian. BUT the consequence of his actions meant he had to go to prison -–becoming a Christian didn’t remove the prison sentence.

BUT through those consequences for his sin God lead him into a key ministry to prisoner in the USA after his release.

 

ILLUS.: Gordon MacDonald was a pastor and Bible teacher and fell into sin – he was publicly disgraced and humiliated – but through repentance and forgiveness God restored him – he suffered the consequences BUT allowed God to work through those. He has subsequently written a number of books relating to what he has learned – esp. “Rebuilding your broken World

 

Sometimes through acts of foolishness our world can be broken OR sometimes through neglect we can allow our world to simply become run down and ineffective.

Forgiveness is always available.

Consequences are not always removed – we can become paralysed and defeated …. “If only …  If only …”

OR Like David we can come humbly and repentant to God with the cry of Ps.51:12 … “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me”.

In spite of what David did and what he suffered he knew something of God’s heart – he knew that God’s Grace is greater than all our sins.

 

 

FORGIVEN but…..

 

2 Samuel 12-18.

 

Don’t be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.       Galatians 6:7-8

 

  God’s grace is always available to repentant sinners.

 

If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness 1 John 1:9

 

 

God’s grace doesn’t usually remove the consequences of our sins.

 

“The pain of the harvest eclipses the pleasure of the planting” Swindoll

 

 

 Sin always brings trouble.

(not all trouble is a direct result of sins)

 

 

The Consequences David faced:-

      – Bathsheba’s child died.

      – One son raped his half-sister.

      – A brother hates a brother.

      – A brother murders a brother.

      – Absalom rebels against David.

      – Absalom humiliates David in public.

      – Absalom is murdered.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Damaging consequences result

 from wrongdoing….

but remember ….

Neglecting right-doing is wrongdoing.

 

 

 

Consequences for sin? – Yes!

Forgiveness for sin? – Yes!

 

And God will restore to the repentant sinner the joy of His salvation. (Psalm 51:12)

 

2 Samuel 12:1-14 (Psalm 51) – “You are the one!”

“YOU ARE THE ONE!”

2 Samuel 12:1-14 (Psalm 51)

 

Introduction.

A brief  overview of last week’s sermon …….. [Last week’s OHP]

DAVID AND BATHSHEBA

(Fatal Attraction)

2 Samuel 11:1-27

 

  1. 1.           The lead up to David’s sin.

² Acts of sin are seldom isolated but usually have a history.

 

  1. 2.           The act of David’s sin.

² We are more vulnerable to acts of sin when we are idle, successful, unaccountable.

 

  1. 3.           The cover up of David’s sin.

² Not acknowledging our wrongdoing usually panics us into compounding our sins by trying to conceal them and lie about them.

 

  1. 4.           The consequences of David’s sin.

² Our sins ALWAYS have consequences – for us and for those around us.

 

We saw how David was idling away his time in his Jerusalem Palace when he should have been on the battle front. He sees from his balcony a beautiful woman bathing in her courtyard – he sends for her, sleeps with her – a month or so later Bathsheba sends word to David that she is pregnant.

David attempts to cover up his sin. He brings the lady’s husband, Uriah, back from the battle front in the hope that he will sleep with his wife so that everyone will think he is the father. Uriah, even drunk, is infuriatingly honourable and won’t go to his warm marital bed while his comrades are in the open country! David then sends orders to Joab, his commander-in-chief, to put Uriah in a place where he knows he will be killed. The deed is done!

After a suitable period of mourning David marries Bathsheba – the child is born – there are probably a few raised eyebrows but no one would say anything – after all there are a few skeletons in most royal cupboards!

 

It was over and done with!!

BUT “Sin can’t be confined to the past so easily. Even if the courts don’t penalize it; even if public scandals don’t expose it; even if we manage to carry on the hypocrisy as David probably did, doing our job, going to church, saying our prayers, reading our Bibles, just as if it had never happened at all, still the skeleton is there rotting away in the cupboard.” [Roy Clements]

 

We can’t cover over our guilt – its stain is always there – suffocating our spiritual life. There is only one person in the Universe who has the means to remove those stains.

Until, like David, we come to God to deal with our sin and guilt it will remain!

 

Eventually David learned this lesson because God send a preacher called Nathan to him to confront him with his sin!

In the aftermath of his confession and repentance David wrote Psalm 51 ..READ

 

1. SIN AND GUILT – What we must accept.

 

Sin is very subtle – it has seeped into every fibre of our being – it creeps up on us – it makes us think that we are in control – it is seen in the fact that we want to play god – David’s sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah occurred because he ceased to focus on God and tried to play god.

 

It is seen in the subtle use of the word ‘send’ in chapter 11.

He ‘sent’ Joab to the battle front – he ‘sent’ to inquire about Bathsheba – he ‘sent’ and got Bathsheba – then a cluster of ‘send’s 2 Samuel 11:6            6 So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. (NIV)

Later David ‘sent’ for Bathsheba and married her –

However there are two other ‘sends’ that show that David is not quite in control as he thought – 2 Samuel 11:5 5 Bathsheba sent word to David, … “I am pregnant.” (NIV)

AND Joab ‘sent’ and told Daivd the news of the fighting – other soldiers beside Uriah were killed.

The final ‘send’ comes in 2 Samuel 12:1

1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. ……….. (NIV)

The foundation of sin is that we humans try to play god! This was the very temptation that Adam and Eve fell into …. Genesis 3:4-5         4 “….. the serpent said to the woman. 5 “.. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NIV)

It is pushing God into the background and elevating ourselves. At this point in his life David had pushed God into the background – he wasn’t paying any attention to God – David has taken centre stage.

 

The subtlety of sin is that it doesn’t always feel like sin when we are doing it – it can feel fulfilling and satisfying – even religious sometimes – it makes us feel godlike as if we are in control –

“David didn’t feel like a sinner when he was with Bathsheba, he felt like a lover – and what can be better than that? He didn’t feel like a sinner when he sent for Uriah – he felt like a king – and what can feel better than that?” [Peterson]

 

Before we can deal with our sin we have to face that fact that we are guilty of sin. David hadn’t done that until Nathan stood before him and said “David, did you hear the one about the rich man who took the poor man’s lamb?” And David burned with anger at such behaviour – and Nathan pointed his prophetic finger at David “You are the man!”

 

What we must accept is that fact that we are guilty! No excuses, no cover up, no blaming others   Ps. 51:3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

 

David teaches us that the first thing we must do is look inside our hearts and face up to the truth of what we find. Self-examination is never easy – it is tough.

 

ILLUS.: Like the story of the old mountaineer who had never seen much of civilization – one day wandering on the mountain he found a mirror. He had never seen a mirror before. On seeing his reflection he said, “My word, if it isn’t a picture of m’ ol’ Pappy!” He took the mirror home, thoroughly pleased with himself and hid it in his private possessions. A while later his wife searching through his private possession found the mirror. Looking at it she exclaimed, “Huh, so that is the ugly old witch he has been going around with behind my back all these years!”

 

It is a great shock to us when we see ourselves for what we really are. And discover that we are really ugly old witches inside!

 

David uses the 4 known Hebrew words to describe his violation against God.

EVIL – TRANSGRESSION – INIQUITY – SIN

EVIL – What is it?  Only understand it in contrast to good – and only God is Good!>

ILLUS.: A scientist was waiting for a train when the Express went through. He saw a man walking along the corridor of the train. He starting thinking. How fast was the man travelling? He was walking at about 5mph but the train was travelling at 70 mph. But you can’t walk at 70mph. So was he travelling at 5mph? or 75mph? or 66.333mph?  That is how insight into the theory of relativity was born. Relative to a person sitting on the train the man was walking at 5mph BUT relative to the man standing on the platform he was travelling a 5 mph relative to the speed of the train. SO what he was doing depended on what he was related to ……. all very confusing!!

 

BUT we have pushed that kind of thinking into every area of our thinking including moral issues. “It might be wrong for you BUT it is right for me!”

 

BUT the Bible removes such relativity and relates us to God –

Psalm 51:4      4 ….. I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight,

 

David could have responded to Nathan – “Well All the kings in the area behave like this!”  BUT David recognised that what he had done was wrong before God – therefore evil!

 

TRANSGRESSION – lit. ‘rebellion’ or ‘revolt’. once I know what God says there is always the possibility that I will rebel. “I know what you said God, but I will do it my way!” – purposefully stepping across the line!

 

INIQUITY – Lit. ‘to twist it’ – I know what God says but I am going to alter the meaning and shape it to what I want it to be. I am going to twist and pervert God’s will to fit with what I have decided.

 

SIN – lit. ‘to miss the target’ – same idea Paul had in .. Romans 3:23 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NIV)

 

For months and months David had suppressed, excused and covered over his sin – now he says … Psalm 51:2-4

2 Wash away all my iniquity          and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,

It is not easy to face up to the reality of our sin and guilt – For many of us this first step is the most difficult.

 

2. CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE – What we must do.

This is the next step!

Psalm 51:4      4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. (NIV)

Against you, you only, have I sinned – What about Bathsheba? What about Uriah? Of course they were wronged BUT David is expressing what every person has to accept. In the final analysis our sin is against God and God only! We can never come to terms with our sin until we have personal dealings with God about it.

Sin and guilt is not just some psychological hang up as many psychiatrists would like us to believe. It is an objective reality that stands between me and my maker.

It is not enough that a psychotherapist can help me come to terms with my guilt. It is not even enough for a person I have wronged to forgive me – I have to stand before God and give account to Him as the Holy and Just Judge.

 

Confession and repentance is not simply admitting that I was wrong – that I let myself down – that I should have done better. We must not confuse confession and repentance with remorse – Remorse is sorry for myself and the consequences I suffer OR for being caught out. Repentance is an acknowledgement that my sin is against God and dealing with him about it personally.

 

3. FORGIVENESS AND RENEWAL – What we must desire.

It is all very well acknowledging our guilt. It is possible that we can wallow in our feelings of guilt and enjoy feeling sorry for ourselves. If we are going to get out of our guilt we must want things to be different – we must desire change!

David declares that he wants to be cleansed and renewed! … Psalm 51:7-10

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (NIV)

 

David knows that there is no sharp dividing line between the health of his body and the health of his soul. Guilt damages our wholeness. Guilt can produce physical symptoms. .. Psalm 32:1-4 1 [Of David. A maskil.]

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him

and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah (NIV)

David was in a mess spiritually, physically and psychologically because of his repressed, rationalized and hidden sins – these needed to be taken away and only God can do that.

{Not all physical and psychological illness is a direct result of sin – BUT it can be and much or it is!}

 

David recognises that what he needs is not a tablet to suppress the symptoms or a Band Aid to cover them BUT he needs radical therapy – in fact he needs a heart transplant Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (NIV)

He acknowledges that sin is in the very essence of his character.. Psalm 51:5

5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (NIV)

We are corrupt and sinful in our very nature – Our wills are corrupt – our minds are corrupt – our emotions are corrupt. The very core of our human personality is twisted by sin. It is in the nature of humanity to sin – it comes naturally to us –

 

ILLUS.: No parent ever sets out to teach their children to lie and cheat YET every child does it

 

We need to pray not just for forgiveness for the individual sins that we commit BUT for a new and pure heart!

God is not in the business of wallpapering over the cracks – he is in the business of re-creation …… 2 Corinthians 5:17 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (NIV)

 

This is why we so often shrink from this kind of thinking – Often we would rather stay as we are – we are like pigs rolling in the mud we don’t want to be clean, we don’t want to be pure – we like the way we are!! So may be that is why David prays …. Psalm 51:12 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (NIV)

 

4. GRACE AND MERCY – What we must believe.

– All the above steps will mean little to us in practice unless we believe that God is gracious and merciful and that He wants to forgive and restore us.

In spite of his sin David understands something of the character of God – he has an extraordinary confidence in God’s willingness to forgive.

This psalm is an affirmation of faith as much as it is a plea for mercy …………. Psalm 51:16-17 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart,

O God, you will not despise. (NIV)

 

David had in the past enjoyed a personal and intimate relationship with God – more than anything in the world David longs for the restoration of that relationship…. Psalm 51:11-12 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation……..

God whatever you do, don’t abandon me ….

David had witnessed how God had withdrawl from King Saul and David is terrified that such a thing could happen to him …. God would be perfectly just in treating him that way BUT David is confident that it will not be that way because he understands something of God’s heart  .. He knows that the basis of his plea is God’s mercy and love alone! …. Psalm 51:1  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;…….

Love and compassion – these are the feelings of a father for a child. David knows that this is what lies in the heart of God. He knows that God is just and has every right to forsake him and send him to hell BUT in the depths of his being David knows that God will accept a  … . broken and contrite heart,……

 

This is what we have to come to if we are to experience the forgiveness that David knew.

Maybe you are saying to yourself ….“Yes I do feel guilty – I know I have to deal personally with God about this. I want to change but how can I be sure that God will accept me? How can I know that if I come to God and confess all the awful things that I know are inside me that he will not reject me and tell me to get lost?”

 

David didn’t have the whole Bible – he just have a few books and he lived before Jesus died on the cross – we have the full picture of God’s unfailing love and compassion for sinners. The cross of Christ is the sure sign that God can and will forgive those who come to him in repentance — Do you believe that!!!

 

Forgiveness is something that God gives us as a free gift. Like David we have to seek it on our knees before God – We can’t claim it as a right – it is not automatic – we have to ask for it. YET we can have confidence that we will receive it NOT because we deserve it BUT because God is a God of unfailing love and compassion.

 

David’s sin was enormous – we cannot – we must not minimize it – but it is minute in comparison to the grace and mercy of God.

 

When Nathan confronted David with his sin he could have become angry and told David to get lost.

We can do the same – We can continue in our guilt – we can try to bury it – we can try to excuse it – we can pretend that nothing is wrong – — if that is the case we will be the losers!

David shows us a better way – accept your sin and guilt; repent and confess your sin before God; desire forgiveness and renewal; and believe with all your heart that God will accept you because of the kind of God that he is.

 

 

“YOU ARE THE ONE!”

 

2 Samuel 12:1-14 (Psalm 51)

 

1. SIN AND GUILT

                           What we must accept.

      EVIL – opposite to good (Only God is good)

      TRANSGRESSION – rebellion / revolt

      INIQUITY – to twist it

      SIN – to miss the target

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2. CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE

                           What we must do.

      not REMORSE – feeling sorry for myself and the consequences of my sin

      but REPENTANCE – acknowledging that my sin is against God

 

3. FORGIVENESS AND RENEWAL

                           What we must desire – 

not Band Aids over sores BUT a new heart

 

4. GRACE AND MERCY

                           What we must believe –

as great and terrible as our sin may be it in minute compared to the greatness of God’s grace

 

2 Samuel 11:1-27 – David and Bathsheba

DAVID AND BATHSHEBA

 

2 Samuel 11:1-27.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

ILLUS.: The world news has been awash this year with the sexual behaviour of US President Bill Clinton. When Janet and I were in the States and Mexico in January the story about Monica Lewinsky had just broken. It was non-stop reporting and comment. It is still not over yet.

The heir to the British throne is constantly under media scrutiny with regard to his relationship with Mrs. Camilla Parker-Bowles.

 

Adultery and extra-martial sexual liaisons are so accepted as part of everyday life that on both side of the Atlantic the popularity of these men has actually risen.

 

We live in a society were adulterous relationships occur in their 1000’s every day. Marriage is no longer considered by the majority to be the only place were sexual activity is permitted. Anyone who holds the view that sexual relations should only take place between one man and one woman who are married to each other in a life-long commitment are considered out-dated, impractical and narrow-minded.

 

So what is the big deal with David and Bathsheba? He is just acting like princes and presidents throughout history. This may have been relevant in the old days but in our sexually liberated society is it really that relevant?

 

The Story of David and Bathsheba is recorded in the Bible to show us a number of things – two major lessons 1) that sin always has consequences 2) that sin is an offence against a holy God – no matter what people may think.

 

The Bible never flatters its heroes! All the men and women of the Bible have feet of clay and the scriptures paint a realistic picture – it doesn’t ignore or deny the  unsavory bits.

 

David is a man who loved God – he is still a man after God’s heart BUT he is not perfect – he sinned. BUT before we get on our moral high-horses we need to remember that his sin was no greater than your sin or mine! Sure, his was intensified because of who he was and because he handled it badly – but it was just sin – an act of disobedience that he later came to regret with bitter tears!

 

I am not trying to justified what David did but to put it in its proper perspective. If we tut-tut and shake our self-righteous heads in shame over what David did then we have completely missed the point – the warning that this story brings to us. 1 Corinthians 10:12 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (NIV)

 

This is not a finger-pointing exercise – this is a sad story in the life of a great man of God.

Maybe you are sitting here today and you have failed God miserably – not necessarily adultery – something else! Welcome to the club! We have all, in some way, failed God miserably! The consequences of some sins are more obvious and more serious than others – but they are all sinful.

 

David’s story is here to teach us about the seriousness of sin and the wonder of God’s forgiveness – it is also here as a warning to turn us away from sin when we are tempted.

 

We have learned many things from David’s successes and godly life – let’s see what we can learn from his failures

 

1. THE LEAD UP TO DAVID’S SIN.

 

As we look at this segment of David’s life we need to remember that we are not dealing with a wild rebel or sexual pervert, but with a godly man who fell into sin. And that sin had devastating consequences for his family, his kingship and the nation. Sin always has consequences even if we are foolish enough to think we had gotten away with it. That is why we need to take to heart 1 Corinthians 10:12 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (NIV)

We are never too old or too young to fall!

 

David was about 50 years old and had been king for about 20 years.

The seeds of this sin had been sown long before David went for an afternoon stroll on his roof patio.

Way back in chapter 5 when David became King over Israel we read these words … 2 Samuel 5:12-13 12 And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. (NIV)

 

David increased the number of women in his life – he was only doing what was acceptable for kings in those days to do –

No doubt he would have thought – “What is wrong with it, everyone is doing it!”

– Sound familiar!? –

The problems was that this action of David’s was in direct contradiction to God’s instructions … Deuteronomy 17:14-17

14 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. (NIV)

 

He was not to accumulate large numbers of horses, many wives, or much silver/gold.

David was faithful on the first and third but he failed on the second. David was a man of passion. Even though he had a whole harem of wives and concubines his sensual passion was not abated.

King David took another man’s wife even though he had a whole Harem of women. The fact is that passion for sex is not satisfied by a whole Harem of women it is increased.

Having many women doesn’t reduce a man’s libido it excites it … stimulates it. David mistakenly thought as many do that to satisfy this passion I will have more women.

This is one of the lies of the secular society we live in “If you satisfy your drives then they will go away.!”

This doesn’t only apply to sex – if applies to money “Those who have, want more!” – the same is true of power, pleasure, pornography, food, alcohol, drugs, gossip, ….

We mistakenly think that we satisfy our desires and passions by indulging then when the reality is that we need to control them to satisfy them.

 

David allowed his sensual passions to get out of control.

BUT these also need opportunity. Things were well for David – he was at ease –

We are often most vulnerable when things are going our way – in hard times we tend to be more dependent on God, as David had been as a refugee and living in the desert – It is when life is easy and things are going well that we need to be extra vigilant.

 

2. THE ACT OF DAVID’S SIN.

2 Samuel 11:1    1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab ……………… But David remained in Jerusalem. (NIV)

 

David was in bed when he should have been in battle!

 

There is much truth in the proverb “The devil finds work for idle hands!”

If David had been were he was supposed to have been he would not have been wondering around on the roof after his siesta.

He looked down from his roof into a nearby courtyard and he saw a woman bathing – and was she a knockout, absolutely stunning! And David’s hormones go into overdrive!

 

WAS BATHSHEBA AT LEAST A LITTLE AT FAULT HERE for not being more discreet about where she bathed!

Feminists would chew me up and spit me out for even suggesting that Bathsheba should have been more careful as to where she bathed and how she dressed!

A woman should be entitled to dress and act as she pleases – and if a man is turned on by her behaviour and by what he sees, then that’s his problem.

BUT for Christians it is not enough to merely avoid sin ourselves – The NT insists that Christians must ensure that they do not become stumbling blocks to others.

 

I don’t want to cast blame on Bathsheba or try and minimize David guilt in this matter BUT it is very important in our society where ANYTHING goes to remember that if you are going to be part of the answer to the common battles with sensuality, rather than part of the problem, Then you need to give careful thought to your actions, your dress and your conduct!!

It is generally true that in the areas of sexual attraction – men are stimulated by what they see far more than women are. So men need to be careful what the look at and women need to be careful how the dress!

 

There is much in our society to tempt men sexually – whether the advert is for cars, computers or garden tools there is invariably a half naked / topless women draped over it! Why? – it is attention grabbing!

Men, we can’t stop seeing things – pornography is everywhere BUT we can stop gazing lingeringly at it.

 

ILLUS.: A goose and a vulture flying over the same areas – they both see a dead carcass BUT the vulture will descend to indulge!

 

David didn’t just see – he stared and lingered and lusted and sent for Bathsheba – not that Bathsheba resembled a dead carcass, anything but, she was a gorgeous knockout, stunningly beautiful.

 

Our desires and passions are incredibly powerful and at that moment David’s passions were out of control….

It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or power, or a desire for revenge, or love of fame, or greed for money …….. AT THAT MOMENT God becomes unreal to us and we lose all sense of reality, our only goal is to satisfy our desire!

 

When we are overwhelmed by desires of this intensity we are in no fit state to fight them ….. there is only one course of action, be like Joseph when faced with the over-sexed Mrs. Potiphar, and run for your life.

 

1 Corinthians 6:18          18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. (NIV)

1 Timothy 6:10-11 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (NIV)

 

David is told that Bathsheba is the wife of Uriah – usual as people where mostly identified by relation to their fathers or grandfathers – was this a warning from a concerned  servant to his master “The Lady is married!” BUT David was not listening – his hormones were ruling his head!

 

2 Samuel 11:4 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. (NIV)

 

Her menstrual cycle just finished – hence the purifying – the writer leaves no doubt that the baby later born in David’s – no excuses!

 

She came to David – he seduced her – the slept together – a typical one-night-stand. There is no indication that David forced himself upon her. But He was a powerful King and she a commoner!

 

Let’s be under no illusion – there was great enjoyment in this encounter – it was very pleasurable – Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that sin is not enjoyable.  Of course it is enjoyable, why else would we do it?

The David only shows us the beauty, the ecstasy, the fun, the excitement, the adventure of stolen desires.

He [the devil] never tells the heavy drinker “Tomorrow you will have a hangover, you will eventually become a alcoholic, it will ruin your family and your career!”

He never tell the person who is a work-aholic it could destroy your marriage and you will end up lonely and bitter!”

He never tells the adulterer of the physical consequences and emotional debris that will result!

 

ILLUS.: sexual revolution of 1960’s/70’s told us marriage was outdated – trial marriages and co-habitation were better BUT “ Data from the general household survey (1993) shows that a couple who cohabit before marriage are, on average, twice as likely to divorce as a couple who do not cohabit before marriage”

Those who cohabit are far more likely than married men/women or singles to experience depression, anxiety, insecurity, neurotic behaviour ……. Abortion is about 8x higher among cohabiting women than among married women …… [EN – Sept.’98 pp.12-13]

 

We could go on and on …. All the consequences we are not told!!!

When the penalties of sin are due the devil is no where to be found!!

 

 

3. THE COVER UP OF DAVID’S SIN.

 

“David I am pregnant!

At this point David had two courses of action – he could fall on his knees in repentance towards God or he could attempt to cover up – He chose the latter!

 

He went to elaborate plans to get Uriah back to Jerusalem to sleep with his wife but Uriah at this point was far more honourable than David – the plan didn’t work so the next thing was to remove Uriah altogether.

He implicates Joab, his commander in Chief in a devious murder plot and Uriah is eliminated – killed in the heat of battle!

 

David probably breathed a sigh of relief – it was done and he had gotten away with it!

He waits till Bathsheba’s period of mourning is over then he marries her and in due course the baby is born.

BUT even in David’s day people could count to nine!

 

So who is David hiding from? When you act in panic you don’t think logically. In fact you don’t think. You react! We cover up, deny, smear over, scheme until we have enmeshed ourselves in a maze of lies that we can’t untangle!

 

4. THE CONSEQUENCES OF DAVID’S SIN.

 

Even if no one knew what David had done which seems unlikely we read these words …

2 Samuel 11:27 27 ………….. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD. (NIV)

 

Be sure your sins will find you out!

What a man sows that also shall he reap!

 

For the rest of his life David would bear the consequences of the one night of sensual pleasure!

We will see next week David’s repentance and God’s amazing forgiveness and restoration of fellowship with David. However there were consequences – there always are!

Already we have seen how David’s uncontrolled passion entangled Bathsheba – It cost Uriah his life as well as some other warriors  .. 2 Samuel 11:24 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.” (NIV)

 

Joab, the Army Commander-in-Chief, was implicated – this would come back to bite David in the future!

 

ILLUS.: From the Daily Star – Teacher Peter Simpson jumped in front of a train because accused of indecently assaulting a pupil – a history – marriage breakup … READ…

Carl and Susan split up because Carl had a liaison with Sarah – see the hurt it is causing both of them and their Children Billy and Libby — {Neighbours}

 

Now only does it affect those around David – we know from Ps. 32 & 51 that David became trapped in a whirlpool of misery. Sleepless nights, Physical illness, Fever, loss of weight, haunted memories — and worst of all so terribly alone, a million miles from God. And he stayed that way in a tangled mess until a friend had the courage to say to him “David, you are the man!” “You are guilty!”

 

This story stands as a stark warning of the seriousness of sin and its consequences. Our nation is littered with broken hearts and broken lives as a result of sexual infidelity. I won’t bore you with statistics they are readily available [see the latest issue of Evangelicals Now – Lead article “Figures behind family policy”] – Not only is there a huge emotional cost but also a massive financial cost to the nation!

So it is a warning!

 

BUT if we are guilty – and to a greater or lesser degree we all are, maybe not sexual sin but then surely another areas – we need to know that God is gracious and forgiving if we repent – next week!

 

Maybe some have been the victims of others sins –

ILLUS.: Children, abused and abandoned; wives whose Husbands walk out; employees whose bosses mistreat them …………

The Bible is full of stories of how God cares for the victims – those who suffer as a result of others sins – God doesn’t always fix everything up, there are certain circumstances of life that just don’t get fixed – some things can’t be undone!

But that doesn’t mean God doesn’t care – he does! And he comforts!

 

God also forgives the sinner who repents even if he doesn’t remove the consequences.

Forgiveness is freely available to repentant sinners – it is free but it is not cheap, it is very costly – it cost Jesus Christ his life!

 

This story is not finished – the wonder of God’s grace is seen in his forgiveness of David – next week – don’t miss it!

 

 

DAVID AND BATHSHEBA

(Fatal Attraction)

 

2 Samuel 11:1-27

1.       The lead up to David’s sin.

Acts of sin are seldom isolated but usually have a history.

2.       The act of David’s sin.

 We are more vulnerable to acts of sin when we are idle, successful, unaccountable.

 3.       The cover up of David’s sin.

Not acknowledging our wrongdoing usually panics us into compounding our sins by trying to conceal them and lie about them.

 4.       The consequences of David’s sin.

– Our sins ALWAYS have consequences –  for us and for those around us.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Forgiveness is free to the repentant sinner

BUT it is not cheap – it cost Jesus his life!

2 Samuel 10:1-19 – Kindness rejected

KINDNESS REJECTED

 

2 Samuel 10:1-19.

 

Introduction.

 

We saw last week how David showed unconditional kindness to Mephibosheth – he was the son of Jonathan, David’s best friend who had died some 15-20 years earlier in battle against the Philistines. M’sheth was therefore the grandson of King Saul, David’s predecessor and jealous enemy.

 

M’sheth was disabled – crippled in both feet – and David brings him from isolation and hiding in a desolate place to the palace in Jerusalem and gives him all the lands that had belonged to his grandfather, King Saul, BUT more than that David brings him into his family and treats him as his own son with all the privileges that has.

 

David shows great love and kindness to M’stheth for the sake of his friend Jonathan.

 

The chapter before us today is a parallel account of David showing unsolicited kindness to Hanun, because he was the son of the late King Nahash, king of the Ammonites.

These are parallel accounts in that they show David’s expression of kindness BUT they are also contrasting accounts in that while M’sheth accepted David’s kindness with humble and joyful gratitude, Hanun rejected this offer and took offence.

 

These accounts are helpful to us because they graphically illustrate the way God deals with people (he shows kindness – he is slow to anger and rich in mercy) AND it also shows the differing ways people respond to God’s dealing (acceptance or rejection).

 

2. REACHING OUT IN KINDNESS. v1-2.

 

David is a good warrior and military leader and we could think that as a result he is hard and callous. But that is not so David has a kind and comapssionate heart – we have seen this in his treatment of King Saul, of Abner (Leader of the Northern tribes before the kingdom was united) and of M’sheth.

 

Once again we have David wanting to show kindness – he had shown kindness in Home Affairs, now in Foreign Affairs – this time to Hanun. Hanun’s father has died and David sends his condolences – At some time in the past the late King Nahash had shown some unspecified kindness to David – possibly when he was on the run from king Saul. David had been friendly to the father and he wants to reassure his son and sucessor that he intends to continue the kindness and good will.

Actually the Ammonites were not the best neighbours but they were related to the Israelites who were commanded to treat them kindly …. Deuteronomy 2:19 19 When you come to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them to war, for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot.” (NIV)

 

Lot was Abraham’s nephew – Abraham being the father of the Jews – The Ammonites were the descendents of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his younger daughter .. his two daughters got their father drunk and sleep with him…… Genesis 19:36-38

36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today. (NIV)

 

They were not friendly towards Israel – Saul had had his run-ins with them.

 

So why did David act kindly towards them?

There is not hint of insincerity or duplicity in David’s action. David is kind hearted – he wants to show kindness to everyone, even to the Ammonites.

There are times when David acts serverely but these are usually when he is implementing God’s justice as God’s king!

However in his personal attitude we observe how David has grown in his kindness and compassion towards others.

 

Most ancient kings wanted to be domineering and harsh with neighbouring nations, but not David.

In this David is becoming like God – he is growing in holiness – he is exhibiting compassion and mercy rather than deliberately fomenting discord and cememnting prejudices and animosities.

Later it was Jesus who told us to love our enemies!

 

This is the kind of goodwill that God has to everyone everywhere. True, the Bible teaches about the way God sovereignly choses, but that should never make us question God’s love for all men and women everywhere. …

1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (NIV)

He takes no pleasure in the death of a sinner … Ezekiel 18:23 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (NIV)

God does not want anyone to perish … 2 Peter 3:9 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV)

 

God loves you and me! Christ died for you and me! David shares this kind characteristic of God.

 

It is easy to show kindness and compassion to those we like – but God calls us to have hearts like David – or better still hearts like Christ to whom David pointed.

We tend to be harsher on people than God would be – we tend to write them off – and we would probably have defended David if he had left Hanun well alone BUT God reaches out even to the Hanuns of this world and makes some of them his disciples.

Is this not an indictation as to how God’s people – US! – should reach out to a sorrowing world?

 

2. REJECTING OFFERED KINDNESS WITH INSULT. v3-5.

 

Have you ever done something kind for someone and had bitten your head off for your trouble!

David’s kind act is received with suspicion. Hanun acts foolishly in having a suspicious attitude for no reason – His suspicions were not his own – at least not at first. They were fuelled by the suggestions of his noble advisers! It is a pity he did not think for himself.

 

Hanun had no reason to be suspicious of David – He would have done well to simply receive David’s ambassadors with politeness and thanks.

However, not only does he reject David’s kindness but he insults the messengers by sending them away half naked with their beards foolishly disfigured………….. 2 Samuel 10:4 4 So Hanun seized David’s men, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away. (NIV)

 

Everything Hanun does is ill-advised.

He recklessly rejects David’s kindness; even more foolishly he responds with calculated insult; he then assumes that David will attack him and he prepares for war persuading the Arameans to join him.

 

Initially David does not retaliate. He simply treats his own ambassodors with kindness and prevents them from being humiliated back in Jerusalem .         …… 2 Samuel 10:5

5 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.” (NIV)

Beards were grown long in those days among the Israelites and David’s concern for his men shows his sensitivity to their proper dignity and self-esteem.

 

We don’t know what David would have done – whether or not he would have declared war – but before David can react in any way Hanun prepares for war. David’s kind act is not only rejected but seems to lead to deeper feelings of hostility.

 

David was actually being treated the same way God is treated. If David’s kindness is God-like, the response he gets is also typical of the response God gets. God’s loving ways are not only ignored by the world, they are rejected with calculated insult.

 

We have here a parable of how the Lord’s disciples will sometimes be treated as they bring the message of the gospel to the world.

 

Many an ambassador for Christ has been humiliated, persecuted or even killed for bringing the message of salvation. So many have despised the true message of God. We only have to read the scriptures and read history to know how Christians have suffered for being Christ’s ambassadors – there is no reason to suppose that the 20th century is any different.

 

Christians are called to be witnesses of God’s grace and mercy and salvation to the people of the world – there is one gospel to tell – the good news of Jesus Christ. BUT there are two basis responses that result from this witness.

As with David – M’sheth responded positively and Hanun responded negatively.

Likewise some people accept the gospel with gladness and others reject it by willful hostility or passive indifference.

Thus Paul writes in the NT in …. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. ……. (NIV)

 

God has been kind and merciful and gracious to us and he requires that we act in such a way to others – even those hostle to us.

 

 

3. RESULTING CONSEQUENCES OF REJECTED KINDNESS. v6-19.

 

Many an international war has been started over what appears to be a trivial matter.

The rest of the Chapter details the battles that followed – the Ammonites and their allies, the Arameans,  were soundly defeated by David and his army. In the end David is rewarded for his act of kindness by his kingdom being extended – it ultimately works out to his advantage. At the end of the chapter the Ammonites are defeated, the Arameans are too afraid to help them, and David’s  rest from his enemies is even more secure.

David didn’t want the war on his own territory so he takes the initiative and sends Joab ahead. With careful planning and military skill and a dependence upon God they go into battle …. Joab says to his men   2 Samuel 10:12 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.” (NIV)

 

…. and God does give them the victory.

 

We can look at these events and others like them in the OT and think this is all very blood-thirsty and barbaric – all very sordid to our enlightened eyes. I think such a judgement would be rather hasty for us who have lived through a century of such dreadful atrocities.

 

So what are we to make of this battle of David against the Ammonites. The significance of this and other events like it need to be seen in the context of the flow of redemptive history. We often find it difficult to reconcile this violence and blood-and-guts with a picture of a God of love!

Maybe we have tried to sanitize God too much and squeeze him into a mould of our imaginations rather than allowing God to be God. We have to balance the view of God as a God of love – which he is – with the view that he is also a God of justice and judgement.

 

These events in history – esp. those in scripture relating to God’s people – are not simply random, arbitary events. History doesn’t just happen BUT God is working out his purpose as year suceeds to year. That doesn’t mean that God is responsible for all the wars and atrocities – he has given humans a certain amount of freedom and we continually misuse and abuse it.

 

BUT God has things to teach us through history -esp. the history of Israel, his chosen people. History illustrates theology.

 

Here the victories of Israel under David are vindications of the Lord’s cause and the Lord’s kingdom against the presumptions and rebellions of his enemies. Israel’s defaet of Ammon and the Arameans indicates God intention to preserve the honour of his name and the integrity of his people. God takes note when his disciples are abused and insulted as David’s kindness to Hanun was.

 

When God’s people are abused, mocked, persucuted, insulted or even just ignored and considered irrelevant – God notices … and these will work for the Christians eventual good  ……2 Corinthians 4:17 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (NIV)

BUT those who reject God’s kindness and mock God’s people are storing up for themselves the eternal judgement of God  — unless, of course, there is repentance and a turning to Christ in saving faith.

 

David’s kindness ans love towards Hanun was not only ignored but rejected with calculated insult.

Then love was replaced with wrath. David who had once offered friendship now takes action against him.

So too with God and his love. At present God’s Son, Jesus Christ is on offer as a channel of His love.

Soon the one who is the Saviour will return as the Judge! Those who rejected Christ’s love will face wrath! Those who rejected mercy will face justice!

 

There is so much in this world that is unfair – and we often feel frustrated and helpless in the face of injustice. BUT God keeps accurate records and he will render just judgement.

One day every person will stand before God and be held to account – Romans 14:10 10 ….. For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. (NIV)

– and there will be no partiality and no excuses. All the records will be squared up!

 

We are living in the time of God’s kindness when he is reaching out to the people of the world through his Son Jesus Christ and through his people – the Church. That should spur us Christians on to greater effort in the task of evagelism. It should also be a spur to holy living

 

For the person who has not come to God in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ this comes as a severe and frightening warning that God’s judgement is coming. We can’t reject or ignore God’s kindness to us with impunity!

Hell is just as real as heaven! And every person is headed for hell until they come to Christ!

We don’t like to talk about this much today – it offends our sensibilities – but I would be a failure as a preacher if I never preached about hell and the judgement of God. The  Bible clearly teaches it ….

John 3:36 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (NIV)

Romans 2:5    5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (NIV)

 

BUT there is a way out …

1 Thessalonians 1:10 10 …… Jesus, ….. rescues us from the coming wrath. (NIV)

God’s love longs that we accept his kindness — he went to extraordniary lengths to demonstrate his love by sending his Son to take our judgement upon himself.

But God’s justice demands that those who reject His kind salvation will be punished.

 

Peter in writing about Christ’s return as Judge – says that just because it is a long time since Christ promised to return we must not think that he has forgotten or is slow at fulfilling his promises  … there is a purpose for the delay ..

2 Peter 3:9 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV)

 

The Millenium is almost upon us – 2000 years since Christ came the first time – His return in immanent! His first coming was a Saviour – His second will be as Judge! To those who have rejected him it will be a terrifying experience! To those who have accepted hm it will be a joy and a delight!

 

May we each learn to live in the light of His coming!

 

 

REJECTED KINDNESS

 

2 Samuel 10:1-19

 

REACHING OUT IN KINDNESS.                                    v1-2

– David shows unconditional kindness …

      –to Mephibosheth (Home Affairs – ch.9)

      –to Hanun (Foreign Affairs – ch.10)

– Reflection of God’s dealing with humanity

– Indication of how God’s people should act

 

REJECTING OFFERED KINDNESS WITH INSULT.          v3-5

– Hanun shows unjustified hostility …

      –to David’s ambassadors

      –to David himself

– Example of human response to God’s

     kindness ..

      –hostility to God’s ambassadors (Christians)

      –hostility to God himself

 

RESULTING CONSEQUENCES OF REJECTED KINDNESS.

    v6-19

– Ammonites punished for their rejection /insults

– God will judge / punish all who reject his kindness exhibited to the world in Jesus, his Son.

– Only Repentance towards God and faith in Christ can rescue us from God’s wrath.

 

2 Samuel 9:1-13 – “Love in spite of ……”

“Love in spite of ……”

 

2 Samuel 9:1-13.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

David is a very successful military leader – he is a battle-hardened soldier. He has now become king over all Israel. He is not only a good military leader but he is politically astute and has united the nation of Israel around him. He is powerful and famous but he is also fair and just.

 

2 Samuel 8:13-15       13 And David became famous …………….

14 ……………. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.      15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.

 

At this point in his life David is in a position that would be the envy of any political leader. He is powerful militarily, politically, economically and he has the support and favour of the nation. Probably as powerful as any human leader could ever hope to be – as close to absolute power as is humanly possible.

BUT we know that power can corrupt and as the adage goes “Absolute power corrupts absolutely!” – was this to be true of David.

Chapter 8 gives us a summary of some of David’s military campaigns – decisive victories!

Chapter 9 gives us a picture of another side of David – his compassion and kindness. This is not the first time we have seen David act graciously and generously – it won’t be the last time either.

 

David is a man of amazing generosity. In all the struggle he had learned to forgive people and he had learned to show kindness and compassion, even to his enemies. This is one of the reasons why David is called “a man after God’s own heart” – he is acting in a God-like manner. This is what godliness is – it is being like God in kindness, in love toward enemies, in generosity without gullibility or weakness.

 

This story of how David acts towards Mephibosheth is a wonderful illustrative picture of how God acts towards the human race.

 

Before we make comparisons with God and Humanity let’s look at this story first.

 

1. MEPHIBOSHETH’S CURRENT POSITION.

 

Who is this Mephibosheth?

 

1.1. Descendant of Saul.

2 Samuel 9:6   6 … Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, …..

 

Saul was David’s predecessor as King of Israel and Jonathan was Saul’s son. Saul was not a good king and God determined that none of  Saul’s descendants would be king after him. Jonathan, Saul’s son knew and accepted that David, and not he, would be king after Saul. David and Jonathan became best friends. Neither allowed Saul’s jealousy and hatred of David to destroy their friendship. When Saul was killed in battle with the Philistines Jonathan fell with him. BUT Jonathan left a son named Mephibosheth.

 

1.2. Disabled in both feet.

 

Mephibosheth was disabled. How did this come about?

It was common practice in those days that when a king was defeated and a new king took his place that the new king would kill all members of the defeated kings family. Knowing this, when news of Saul’s and Jonathan’s death broke, the nurse looking after Jonathan’s son fled.

2 Samuel 4:4   4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.)

 

At least fifteen years or more must have past since this incident as we know from v12 that Mephibosheth now has a son of his own. All this time he has been keeping a low profile for fear of his life.

In order to keep out of the way he has been living in and out-of-the-way place.

 

1.3. Destitute and hiding in a desolate place.

 

v4-5 tell us that Mephibosheth is living in a place called Lo Debar [lit. ‘no pasture’]. Since it was customary to kill anyone from the previous dynasty, individuals like Mephibosheth were either exterminated or hid for the rest of their lives. He had hidden himself away on the east side of the Jordan River and the only one who knew his whereabouts was Ziba, an old servant of King Saul.

 

2. DAVID’S COVENANT PROMISE.

 

2 Samuel 9:1   1 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (NIV)

 

Why was David concerned about showing kindness to a descendant of his arch-enemy? Because David had made a promise! Infact he had made two promises.

 

2.1. Fulfilling a Promise.

… FOR THE SAKE OF JONATHAN.

in 1 Samuel 20 when Dvaid was on the run for his life – fleeing from the murderous King Saul, says  Jonathan…….. 1 Samuel 20:13-14 13 But if my father is inclined to harm you, may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing [loving]kindness [grace] like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, (NIV)

Jonathan knew that David would be king and was asking David to be gracious to him and his family. Without hestitation, David agrees …. 1 Samuel 20:17

17 … David reaffirm his oath out of love for him [Jonathan], because he loved him as he loved his own life. (NIV)

 

… FOR THE SAKE OF SAUL.

… we can understand David making such a promise to Jonathan, his best friend, but he makes the same promise to Saul, his worst enemy, also!

Recall how after David had spared Saul’s life in the cave, Saul said to David …

1 Samuel 24:20-22 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.” … 22 So David gave his oath to Saul. ……

 

David made this covenant promise to both Saul and Jonathan.

 

2.2. Finding a Person.

 

The word ‘kindness’ in v1 could equally be translated ‘grace’.

NB David says, “Is there anyone?”

He doesn’t ask “It the anyone qualified?” or “Is there anyone worthy?” BUT “Is there anyone?”

“Regardless of who they are, is there anyone still living who may be the recipient of my grace?”

 

Through Saul’s ex-servant Ziba it is discovered that a son of Jonathan is still alive – BUT he is disabled. It could be that Ziba is trying to warn David – “He is crippled in both feet – are you sure you want such a one around your palace – would it be good for the king’s image?”

David doesn’t hestitate “Where is he? Go and get him!”

We think in our modern society we are so magnanimous in our care of the disabled – David is way ahead of us!!

 

3. DAVID’S COMPASSIONATE PROVISION.

 

So Mephibosheth is fetched and brought to David’s court – Can you imagine how fearful he must have been?

 

3.1. Assurance.

 

2 Samuel 9:6-7           6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honour.         David said, “Mephibosheth!”

“Your servant,” he replied.

7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. …………..

 

Mephibosheth’s heart must have stopped when a royal messenger arrived with the message – King David wants to see you in Jerusalem!

He must have thought that this was the end of his life!

In fact it was, in many ways the beginning – he was going to live and have a plave of honour at a level he had never known before “Don’t be afraid”, says David, “because I loved your father so much I want to extend that kindness to you his son”.

 

3.2. Restoration.

 

Not just words! David returns to him all the lands that belonged to his Grandfather, Saul, and commands the servants to farm the land as Mephibosheth is unable to do so.

 

3.3. Adoption.

 

2 Samuel 9:7 & 13     7 ….. David said to him, “…….. . you will always eat at my table.”

…….. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled in both feet. (NIV)

 

David’s kindness is not remote – it is intensely personal – he does not simply give some material things in a detached way RATHER he adopts Mephibosheth into his family. “You will be like one of my own sons and will eat at my table!” It does not simply mean a free meal but a way of saying “You will be a member of the family with all the privileges that that entails

This was to be a permanent arrangement – Sonship in the Royal Family and Secure for the Future!

 

4. GOD’S COMPARATIVE PICTURE.

 

The way David acts towards Mephibosheth is the way God acts towards you and me.

If David is like God in wanting to show kindness to Mephibosheth then Mephibosheth is like the human race.

What are the comparisons?

 

4.1. A Favourable Past Position.

 

M’sheth had enjoyed a place in the royal palace when his grandfather was king – uninterrupted fellowship with the king. So with Adam and Eve who walked with God in the garden of Eden – their fellowship with their Creator-God was uninterrupted.

 

 

4.2. A Fall brought Disability.

 

Disaster came when the nurse fled in fear and M’sheth suffered a fall – he was crippled for the rest of his days and went into hiding. Likewise, when sin came, Adam and Eve hid from God in fear. As a result of the fall, not physical but spiritual – a fall from grace – humankind became a spiritual invalid and will remain so forever on earth!

 

4.3. Lovingkindness for Anyone.

 

David wanted to show kindness to anyone from the house of Saul. And when he hears that there is someone and that someone is crippled it does not deter him in from what he has set his heart to do.

That’s the way grace is. Grace doesn’t pick and choose. Grace doesn’t love for things that have been done that deserve love. Grace works apart from the response or the ability of the individual. Grace is one-sided. It is God giving himself to someone who doesn’t deserve it, can’t earn it and has no way of repaying him.

This is what makes the story of David and M’sheth so memorable – The strong, famous and powerful king reaching out in love to a person who is everthing that he is not!

God’s offer of love and grace is to everyone and anyone. [Jn.3:16 – whoever – anyone]

 

4.4. Showing love for the sake of another.

 

David acted this way towards M’sheth because of his promise to and love for Jonanthan. So God, out of his love for his son Jesus Christ, shows his grace to us. And through Christ God is still seeking people who are spiritually disabled / dead.

David’s kind feeling towards M’sheth might easily had faded away – M’sheth had nothing to attract David. BUT since it was ‘for the sake of Jonathan’ it was more likely to be permanent.  David’s love for Jonathan was not going to change – David had sworn an oath. SO God’s love for us is not going to change…..

Romans 8:32 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (NIV)

 

 

 

 

4.5. Assurance in the Face of Fear.

 

M’sheth was undoubyedly fearful when he came before David – probably thought he was to be killed. Most people react to God like that – we are afraid when he draws near. We have not lived as we ought – maybe God is against us. We have to learn to live on the grace of God. He is kind and gracious – we are not saved by giving him something – we are saved by receiving something.

Ephesians 2:8 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — (NIV)

God doesn’t want us to feel afraid of Him but rather safe and secure in hid presence!

 

4.6. Restitution of all things lost.

 

David restored M’sheth from a place of barrenness to a place of honour. He took this broken, disabled person froma hiding place where there was no pastureland and brought him to a place of plenty, right into the courtroom of the king.

What we as humans lost when Adam sinned in restored in greater measure in Christ…

Romans 5:19-21 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NIV)

 

4.7. Adopted into the Royal Family.

 

M’sheth ate at the king’s table – treated like a son! He remained in Jerusalem under David’s protection.

Application is clear – This is what God does for every believing sinner – adopts us into the family of the heavenly king. He has chosen us and brought us into his family and says, “You sit at my table, enjoy my food, I give you my life!”

 

 

 

ILLUS.: two brothers arrived at school on the first day – register was taken.

Robert and James – both 6 years old – Birthdays 14 March and 17 May.

“Not twins” said the teacher “One of you must have made a mistake!” a note to parents.

Next Day a reply from the Father to say that the information the boys had given was correct.

“How is that possible?” asked the teacher.

“One of us is adopted”, came the reply.

“Which one?”

“Dad says that he can’t remember!”

 

God has adopted us as his children and he treats us like his own Son. Ephesians 1:5 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — (NIV)

John 1:12 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — (NIV)

Romans 8:17 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, ………. (NIV)

 

Does it not astound you that God should treat us this way!

With the love of God in his heart David went to a lot of trouble to meet the needs of M’sheth. He found out where he was and took the trouble to send someone to find him and brought him into the palace as a son!

 

God went to extraordinary lengths to send someone to find us and to bring us into his kingdom and sons and daughters.

If you are a Christians that is the privelege you enjoy.

If you are not a believer then let me assure you that God loves you this way and longs for you to accept his offer of love and forgiveness – and to adopt you into his family.

We are loved by the Fathers’ love for his Son. We are forgiven and received in Christ …. we are called to enjoy of relationship with God and reflect to to others.

Ephesians 4:32 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)

 

 

“Love in spite of ……”

 

2 Samuel 9:1-13.

 

1. MEPHIBOSHETH’S CURRENT POSITION.

 

– Descendant of Saul.

 

– Disabled in both feet.

 

– Destitute and hiding in a desolate place.

 

2. DAVID’S COVENANT PROMISE.

 

– Fulfilling a Promise.

… for the sake of Jonathan.

… for the sake of Saul.

 

Finding a Person.

 

3. DAVID’S COMPASSIONATE PROVISION.

 

– Assurance.

 

– Restoration.

 

– Adoption.

 

4. GOD’S COMPARATIVE PICTURE.

 

– A Favourable Past Position.

 

– A Fall brought Disability.

 

– Lovingkindness for Anyone.

 

– Showing love for the sake of another.

 

– Assurance in the Face of Fear.

 

– Restitution of all things lost.

 

– Adopted into the Royal Family.

2 Samuel 7:1-29 – When God says no

WHEN GOD SAYS NO!

2 Samuel 7:1-29.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

ILLUS.: Martin Luther King Jr., the Black American Civil Rights leader, made many speeches at rallies but there is one that is most remember – or at least we remember one particular phrase: “I have a dream…”

 

Do you have a dream? Plans? Things you want to do?

Maybe you are still young and have your whole life before you – what are your hopes and dreams?

Or maybe you are sitting here and you used to have hopes and dreams but now things are dreary and life is routine and boring; the dreams you had never really materialised and now you are resigned to life as it is! Or maybe you are resentful that your dreams were shattered, or simply faded away!

 

Maybe your ideas and dreams were to serve God – you really wanted to serve God in some way – you were enthusiastic / you genuinely wanted to do something worthwhile for God / the Church.

Maybe even now you have good intentions and dreams about what you want to do for God.

 

1. DAVID’S GOOD PLANS. v1-3.

 

David has a dream – he has a desire to do something for God. After some 20 years of war and struggle he is now King David. God has blessed him and it is a time of peace. The Philistines are quiet – the nation is at peace – the Ark of the Covenant is now in Jerusalem and David is living happily in his newly-constructed palace.

 

We need quiet interludes in life. We need time to sit and gaze into the fire. To walk in the woods and kick the leaves. To lie on the banks of a river on a sunny day and watch the clouds float by. We need these times.

In our modern rushing lives we seldom have times to meditate and think without the hubbub of TV and Radio and Stereo and computer games and telephones …

It is often at times like this that we think and dream and hope….

Maybe at a Christian camp round the fire one evening you grasped a vision of what you could do for God – or after a Church service alone in your room you thought about how you could do something for God in response to all he had done for you.

That is where David was at – it began to bother David that the Ark of God was in  a tent while he was living in a beautiful house. From what we know of David there is no ulterior motive here, there is no selfish ambition. He has no desire to make a name for himself.

 

Sometimes our intentions can be good and noble – our motives are genuine; BUT our good intentions and genuine motives don’t of themselves add up to equal God’s plans.

It is often very difficult to distinguish between our ideas and God’s ideals.

We may even have friends, like David had in Nathan who will say,                    2 Samuel 7:3 3 ………., “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.” (NIV)

 

2. GOD’S BETTER PROMISES. v4-17.

 

A Word About Freedom And Guidance. David has a heart concern to provide better housing for the Ark of God. As it turned out God was about to veto these plans. BUT it was not wrong for David to have spiritual desires – millions of people have plans and ambitions for business, for careers, for children etc…. Why should God’s people not have hopes and dreams for the work of God’s kingdom?

 

Paul wrote of his own desires Romans 1:11   11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong — (NIV)

Paul wrote about Church leadership – 1 Timothy 3:1 …. If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.

 

God gives us a lot of freedom. Generally it is good to cautiously follow our spiritual longings. For much of the time God gives us freedom. We do not need to seek God’s will for every minute detail – not that we don’t live in dependence on God, we do – but God’s will is not a hidden agenda that we need to extract from him for every detail of life.

Godly men and women of the Bible did not live that way. Most of the time God gives us freedom and expects us to use good judgement FOLLOWING the principles of scriptural teaching and scriptural wisdom. {Importance of Biblical study so we begin to think like God}

YET we have to ask God what his desire is. David did this when he shared with Nathan what was on his heart. He is asking, “What is God’s will?” NOT in the sense of  “What is God’s hidden agenda?” BUT  “What is God’s wish about this particular matter that is on my mind?

Although God gives us a certain amount of freedom, we still consult him as we use our good judgement. We ask him for confirmation. Major [and minor] decision should be prayed over. God has the right to overrule our hopes and desires. Both Nathan and David were using their God-given freedom in seeking the best for God’s kingdom. BUT they both had to accept that God has opinions and desires of his own.

 

ILLUS.: We are God’s children – like with our own children – we teach them certain principles – as they follow those principles and get on with life we allow them that freedom. However there are times when as parents we step in and say “That is wrong – or that is not necessary at this moment – ….”

 

So God’s response to David is “NO! – I do not want you to build a temple for me”

1 Chronicles 17:3-4    3 That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: 4 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. (NIV)                  [ parallel passage to 2 Sam.7]

 

THIS ‘NO’ IS NOT DISPLEASURE OR DISCIPLINE.

There is no question here of sin. This is not God’s judgement coming on David because of some wrongdoing.

Was it wrong for David to think about building a temple? It is not a question of being wrong BUT a question of accepting God’s ‘NO’ and living with the mystery of God’s will.

 

As humans we tend to package things. And we expect God to package his plans for us just like we would. We want the logic that we use to be his logic. And when it isn’t we wonder what is wrong – because it is not working out as we would have worked it out.

 

ILLUS.: When I was 17 I went forward at a Missionary conference to offer myself to God for missionary work. Six years later I went to study at Theological College for 4 years. During that time I became interested in working as a missionary to the Muslim World. I met and married Janet during my college years. She had already worked as a missionary in Jordan and Lebanon – had spent 3 years at Bible College and was preparing to return to the Middle East. After finishing College we worked among the SA Muslim communities for 5 years. I studied Missions and Islamics through University.

For 10 years we prepared to go to the ME as missionaries. After a year in Portugal where I trained and practised teaching TEFL, we came to England en route to Turkey. For all kinds of reasons we could not continue on to Turkey – we were stranded in England – I worked as a carpenter and Janet went back nursing – for 3 years. Then God clearly led us to Binscombe – [I won’t go into those details] – We are in a place where there are no Muslims and everyone speaks English.

 

By human logic it doesn’t make sense! And there are times when I am completely baffled by God’s dealings with us. Was it wrong to desire to be a missionary in Turkey? No, I don’t think so!

 

Was it wrong for David to want to build God a Temple? …

When his son Solomon eventually did build the temple he said this                 … 2 Chronicles 6:7-9          7 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 8 But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart. 9 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, who is your own flesh and blood — he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’ (NIV)

 

you did well to have this in your heart.

God says in effect “David I commend you for the thought. I commend you for having a heart so sensitive to me that you want to build a temple for my glory. It is well that it was on your heart. It is not my plan for you to do that, but I commend you for such a thought!”

God doesn’t call everyone to build temples.

WHEN GOD SAYS ‘NO’ IT IS NOT NECESSARILY DISCIPLINE OR DISPLEASURE. IT MAY SIMPLY BE REDIRECTION.

 

God promises David many things – three stand out:-

  • A great name, amongst the greatest on Earth. 2 Samuel 7:9 9 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 of the earth. (NIV)
  • The desire for a Temple fulfilled through his son. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. (NIV)
  • A kingdom and a house that will last forever. 2 Samuel 7:16 16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.’ ” (NIV)

 

These promises, and many others, were fulfilled in the immediate future through Solomon, David’s son, who constructed the Temple and enjoyed a peaceful and successful reign.

 

But the promises go much further. David and Solomon were promised an eternal house and an eternal kingdom. The Kings of Israel that descended from David were to a greater or lesser degree all failures. It becomes clear that only a very unique Son of David could fulfil all these hopes.

The prophets began to expect a new David. The Psalmists looked forward to a king who would bring an everlasting kingdom. Isaiah speaks of a child born in the house of David whose name is “the mighty God”.

These promises can only be fulfilled in a much greater ‘David’ than David.

Like David: – he is a man of God’s choice.

– he did his work in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

– he rules over the entire people of God.

– he delivers the people from their enemies.

– he does his work on behalf of the Father.

Jesus allows people to call him the Son of David.

We know he was born in the House of David.

Mary prayed – he would be given the throne of David.

 

It is the work of Jesus to build a house – a spiritual Temple. Jesus temple is the church. He builds it. The Church is God’s dwelling place in the Spirit {Ephesians 2:20-22}. Jesus is David’s seed raised up [ in more than one sense] raised up to establish God’s kingdom / God’s house. His throne will last for ever and ever!

 

This is what God was promising David. “David, you want to build me a house, that is a good intention, but ‘NO’, I have a greater and better plan to build you into a house – not stones and wood but a spiritual house and kingdom that will not deteriorate but will last forever!

 

 

3. DAVID’S HUMBLE PRAYER. v18-29.

 

David is in his prime. He is fit in body and mind. He is tested and mature. He has the trust and admiration of the people. He is energetically ambition to do something for God. He is crowned and enthroned. KING DAVID.

How will he handle his position? Will he become like other kings – tyrannical and imposing? Assertive and demanding?

 

2 Samuel 7:18             18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD…….. (NIV)

This is incredible when we begin to consider the conditions under which David did it.

  • He could have got angry with Nathan – “I am the King. don’t tell me what to do!”  — shoot the messenger!
  • He could have got in a huff – “If you are going to be so ungrateful for my offer don’t ever ask me to do anything for you again!”
  • He could have felt hurt and sorry for himself – “No one appreciates me , I will just keep to myself from now on!”

 

Not David – he has a heart for God – he allows himself to be stopped by God. And he goes and sits before God and acknowledges his sovereignty.

2 Samuel 7:18-22       18 …. and he said:        “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?

20 “What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Sovereign LORD. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.

22 “How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no-one like you, and there is no God but you, ………

David is acknowledging that God is the beginning, centre and end of all of life.

It is so easy for us to be so full of our own abilities, our own, careers, our own busyness, even our own work for God that we can easily lose sight of the fact that it is God and not ME that is the centre of life!

Those times when we stop and sit before the Lord – we become aware of the real world – God’s world! We then realise how much greater it is!

 

There are a number of traps we can fall into:-

  • we can be so busy doing that we never have time / make time to sit before the Lord and listen!
  • we convince ourselves that we can do nothing for God – and in a sense there is some truth in that – but we can use that as an excuse for pious laziness!
  • we can have a stoic resignation that since “the will of God” is going to happen anyway we should just be resigned to the inevitable. That is a life of fatalism not faith!

 

David sat before the Lord. It was not passivity or resignation. It was prayer. It was being in God’s presence.

The prayer that David prays shows that he has listened to the Word of God through Nathan the prophet. Many of the things that David is praying – are God’s word that he is praying back to God. There is a great lesson here for us.

 

2 Samuel 7:25-27       25 “And now, LORD God, keep for ever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great for ever. Then men will say, ‘The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.

27 “O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer.

 

It takes immense courage to relinquish control of our lives to God – to give over our plans and to accept His!

 

David sat down – not stoic passivity but active participation  – the real action started. NOT David making God a house but God making David a house!

There is no danger that when we sit down before the lord that we will end up doing nothing. David did much before he sat down and he did much afterwards.

 

God commands and we obey; God sends and we go.

The Christian life is a gloriously active life as the Holy Spirit does the work of Christ in and through us. The danger is not that we do nothing when we sit before the Lord rather the danger is that we get so caught up in OUR God-plans that we forget about God!

When God says ‘NO’ it means he has a better way & he expects me to support it.

When God says ‘NO’ my very best reaction is cooperation and  humility.

 

David’s task was not to grumble and sulk about what he couldn’t do but to wholeheartedly get on with what he could do.

 

My task is not to sulk about that fact that God stopped us going to Turkey as missionaries but to get on with the task at hand. Easy? No!   Necessary? Yes!  With hindsight I see some reasons – only in heaven will I know fully why.

 

It is not always easy to know God’s mind – however we know enough of what God wants and we have difficulty doing what we DO know.

  • The daily task of Bible study and prayer so that I might better understand the principles of God’s Word and with his Holy Spirit’s indwelling help make wise decisions about life.
  • To be open to his promptings so that I don’t become deaf to his ‘NO’s’ and ‘YESes’.
  • To have regular fellowship and worship with other Christians so I can learn from God through them.

Without these regular disciplines of ‘sitting before the Lord’  we will not easily hear the Word of the Lord.

 

As with David God wants to build each of us into a house/temple in which he can dwell and be glorified. 1 Corinthians 6:19 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (NIV)

 

That is also true of us corporately as a church .. Ephesians 2:21 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. (NIV)

 

There are 1000’s of good things to do – I can’t do them all – As a Church we can’t do them all – God has his plans for us – But we need to be sensitive to his directions and redirections – His ‘NO’s and his ‘YESes’’.

 

WHEN GOD SAYS NO!

 

2 Samuel 7:1-29

 

1. David’s Good Plans. v1-3

˜Our good intentions + our genuine motives don’t necessarily = God’s Plans

 

2. God’s Better Promises. v4-17

˜God’s ‘NO’ is not always displeasure or discipline.

˜God’s ‘NO’ may simply be His re-direction.

˜David’s desire to build a house for God was superceded by God’s plan to build a house for David.

 

3. David’s Humble Prayers. v18-29

˜Acknowledges God’s sovereignty.

˜Demonstrates his courage by relinquishing his plans.

˜Accepts God’s plans.

 

 

 

2 Samuel 6:1-23 – Paraders of the lost Ark!

PARADERS OF THE LOST ARK!

 

2 Samuel 6:1-23

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

ILLUS.: A few weeks ago I was driving to Guildford on a Sunday morning to have breakfast with my friend Ian Buchannan. I was listening to Radio 4’s ‘Sunday’ programme. They were interviewing an Anglican clergyman and a Muslim Theologian (a lady). This came about because a leading Clergyman in the Dutch Reformed Church of Holland had suggested that it was about time Christians accepted Muhammad as a prophet of God. The Anglican was defending the Christian position of the uniqueness of Christ. The Muslim’s response was , “How can anyone be so arrogant as to suggest that there is only one way to God – surely there are many ways and we should accept them all!”

 

It is a familiar argument and on the surface it sounds reasonable – esp. to a Post-Modern Relativist like this lady obviously was!

“It is heresy, “ she said, “to say we can only worship God one way!”

Many would agree with her logic!!

 

{Let me point out that this is not orthodox Muslim theology and that she has been influenced by Western liberal philosophy. Also a Christian could challenge Muslims to accept Jesus not just as a prophet but as God’s divine Son who died on a cross as the Saviour of the world. While Christians don’t accept what Muslims believe about Muhammad – Muslim don’t accept what Christians believe about Jesus}

 

The point is – do we have the right to say that God should be worshipped in a particular way only!

 

I think this passage before us sheds some light on this. Some background is necessary to understand what is happening in this passage. [Some years ago there was a film which starred Harrison Ford called “Raiders of the Lost Ark” – the search was on to find the Jewish Ark of the Covenant]

So I have called my message today “Paraders of the Lost Ark”

 

Who are the paraders in this chapter – the main players are David – Uzzah – Michal (David’s wife).

 

 

 

1. THE ARK.

 

What is the ark – and its significance?

A rectangular box [approx. 4’ x 2’ x 2’] It was constructed of acacia wood and plated with gold – the lid was solid gold and on the lid at either end were two cherubim – angel like figures – they looked down on the centre of the lid which was known as the mercy seat! There were four rings placed on the sides of the Ark so that poles could be inserted to carry the Ark – this was the task of the Levites.

The word “ark” simply means chest or box.

 

The Ark is a symbol of the divine presence. Sometimes called the Ark of the Covenant indicating the agreement that God had made with Israel/ or sometimes the Ark of the Testimony because it contained tablets of stone on which the 10 Commandments were written – these were called, among other things, the Testimony.

 

After God had rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and brought them into the desert en route to the promised land, he made a promise to them – really a reaffirmation of a promise made to their forefather Abraham viz. that He would be their God and they would be his people! A covenant with them that he constantly reaffirmed.

 

God instructed Moses, who was the leader of Israel through the desert, to construct a Tabernacle – a tent – to be a focus of worship and a symbol of God’s presence with his people.

 

The Ark symbolised experiencing the presence of God and being able to approach him. The different stages in approaching God were outside the Tent [the open courtyard], in the Holy Place, and in the Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place.

The open courtyard spoke of being outside fellowship with God – he had to be approached via blood-atonement and cleansing (altar and basin/laver)

The First section of the Tent / Tabernacle had three things in it, all of which symbolized fellowship with God. The table with bread symbolizing a fellowship meal with God, the seven branched lampstand symbolizing the light of God, a small altar burning incense symbolizing prayers mixed with incense provided by God / the prayers rising as a sweet aroma to the Lord.

 

In the smaller compartment, behind a curtain, was the holy of holies – in it was the Ark symbolizing God’s presence. In front of the ark was a gold pot of manna/ bread [speaking of God’s provision] and Aaron’s rod/staff [all the high priests descended from Aaron – the rod symbolizes approaching God through a priest who has offered blood-sacrifices].

Inside the Ark was the Law of Moses / 10 Commandments – there but not visible – symbolically showing that enjoyment of God’s presence was not hindered by the threatening law, BECAUSE the law was covered by the mercy-seat where the blood of sacrifice was sprinkled.

The Ark itself was the centre of this entire representation of God’s presence.

It showed God’s holiness because of the Law inside – perfect.

It showed God’s mercy because of the mercy-seat between the cherubim where the blood of sacrifice was sprinkled.

It showed God’s kingship because he was invisibly enthroned between the cherubim.

It was a place of worship – the cherubim standing in a posture of worship and readiness to do God’s will.

 

The only person ever to enter the Holy of Holies was the High Priest – once a year on Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement. Having carefully cleansed himself and offered blood sacrifice for his own sin, he then offered sacrifice for the sins of the people to ask God’s forgiveness and atonement.

 

When we come to the NT all these symbols have profound significance for the Christians – all are signs pointing to Christ – the great high priest and the sacrifice / lamb of God slain … he is the mercy seat/ the place of atonement.

 

The Ark was the central symbol of God with his people – a God who commanded them [tablets w. 10 commandments] provided for them [the manna] saved them [the rod – Aaron had used it to strike the waters of the Red Sea and part them, provide water in the desert, ……..]

 

The Ark was not a piece of memorabilia but a symbol of God’s continuing presence with his people.

 

This is the Ark that David went to collect from the house of an old priest, Abinadad. It was captured by the Philistines 30 years before when Saul was king. Now David wants it to be the centre of Israel’s life again – to remind the people that God is there KING and David is only really king under God!

 

They put the Ark on an ox-cart and the two sons of Abinadab, Uzzah and Ahio, walk in front and behind. Everyone is singing and dancing and having a good time – the oxen stumble and Uzzah puts out his hand to steady the Ark and God strikes him dead!

1. UZZAH’S UNDOING.

 

2 Samuel 6:6-7           6 When they came to the threshing-floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 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. (NIV)

 

Why did Uzzah die?  Why was he, as the text so bluntly says, struck down? We have difficulty with this – as with the death of Ananias and Sapphira in the NT – it doesn’t fit with our picture of God as loving and life-giver. The story doesn’t give details so we must fill in with what we know from the rest of scripture – that’s why I took time to explain about the Ark and the Tabernacle.

 

Uzzah was used to the Ark – it was in his father’s house for 30 years – he had probably helped care for it – it had become commonplace.

Uzzah is a person who imagines he can take charge of God – God in a box. It was not a reflexive act of steadying the ark as the oxen stumble that was the problem. It was a attitude build up over many years of thinking that he could manage God.

 

You see God’s instruction were very clear about how the Ark was to be moved. It was not to be touched by human hands but carried by Levites only, using poles placed through the rings attached to the Ark.

Uzzah ignored / defied these God-given directions. He substituted the latest Philistine technology – an ox-cart! Now clearly a well designed ox cart is more effiecient for moving an Ark than plodding Levites. BUT it is impersonal! Not God’s way!

Uzzah thought he was in charge of God – but God will not be managed. The eventual consequences of this attitude to God is death.

God will not be put or kept in a box – whether the box is constructed of wood / clever ideas / warm feelings.

 

As humans was are very good at developing an idea of what God is like and then worshipping our own creation.

ILLUS.: Years ago – when I was a teenager there was a record album called “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull – On the back cover was an alternative version of Genesis 1 – “In the beginning man created God and in the image of man created he God …….”

 

Heresy we say!

BUT consider this senario – we become Christians, we learn from God, we are obedient, we pray, we enjoy the freedom of forgiveness, our new found faith gives us meaning and hope to our lives. We take on responsibilities in the wonderful new world. Soon we are helping others and telling others — All this is good and right!!

Then we cross the line – we get bossy and cranky on behalf of God! We think we can do God’s work for him. We take charge of God!

We believe me I know – I have done it!

We don’t take care of God; he takes care of us! When we try to take charge of God – trim him down to a manageable size we lose a sense of reverence and awe, we lose the spirit of love and faith, we shrivel spiritually and we are in danger of dying to God!

Uzzah’s death was not sudden – it was years in the making – it was an accumulating of dead works, suffocating the spirit of praise and faith and worship!

 

3. DAVID’S DANCING.

 

PETERSON – “Why did David dance?  He knew something about God that Uzzah was deaf and blind to. David had lived dangerously all his life – with lions and bear, taunting giants and a murderous king, marauding Philistines and cunning Amalekites, in the wilderness and in caves.”

He was with God – God was with him – running, hiding, praying, leading. God was his saviour, his shepherd, his refuge, his commander. God wasn’t tame – David had learned to live trustingly, daringly, openly before God.

 

God is not manageable – he is awesome —

ILLUS.: from “The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe” – C S Lewis // the children in the house of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver speaking of Aslan [a picture of Christ] coming to Narnia.

“Is he a man? Asked Lucy.

“Aslan a man!” said Mr Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know you is King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, Dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs Beaver; if there is anyone who can appear before Aslan without knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.”

 

God is not tame – but he is good!

 

David is honest with God. When Uzzah in struck down David is angry! He goes away and sulks for three months!

Why didn’t God strike David for his anger – because David was alive to God – he didn’t like what happened but at least he was treating God as God.

Uzzah never got angry with God he was far too well mannered and proper – besides it is difficult to get angry with a box!

 

David went home to Jerusalem and three months later having cooled down he reassembled the people and brought the Ark to Jerusalem in grand style.

David celebrated – he was not simply carrying out a religious duty or a political ceremony. He was worshipping – responding to the living God!

He was alive and open to God – he worshipped!

 

Of course all of life should be and offering of worship to God BUT there should be a time and a place when we set aside time to met together and focus wholly on God. Because God is confined to a specific time and place? NO! BUT because we are all to prone to self-centredness and we need to make a deliberate effort to focus on HIM.

 

I don’t want to get hung up on whether Dance is appropriate in worship or not – that is not the issue – it probably has more to do with culture than theology. Dance is never mentioned in the NT as a way to worship BUT that too, doesn’t mean it is wrong. Clearly it isn’t when we read the OT!! The way we express our worship is usually cultural / national or church culture!

 

You see it is not the outward expression of worship that is at issue – In the beginning of the chapter the people were having a great celebration and enjoying themselves immensely when the Ark was on the ox-cart BUT clearly God was very angry with them.

Our outward expression of worship – be it exuberant or sedate – is only acceptable to God if it comes from hearts that are alive to God – Clean hands and a pure.

 

The question this prompts – which we must all ask is this – How is my heart? Am I alive to God?

 

 

 

 

4. MICHAL’S MOCKING.

 

Michal saw David celebrate and enjoying worship with God’s people and she mocked him.

“The king ought to be acting like a king. He ought to do what other kings do; have the gods serve him, surround himself with pomp and ceremony, organise religion to make himself look important and kingly”

 

She was firstly embarrassed by David’s behaviour and then becaome comtemptuous of his exuberate celebrations.

 

2 Samuel 6:20

20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would.” (NIV)

… dripping with contempt.

 

She is cynical and embarrassed by her husband.

 

It is all very well being a Christian and going to Church but don’t become fanatical – after all, everything in moderation.

There have always been cynics in the Church – cynical about theology,  preaching the Word, Church organisation, leaders and people alike – but worst of all they eventually become cynical about God himself.

 

NB – Michal had no children to the day of her death! 2 Samuel 6:23

23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. (NIV)

She was barren!

When it comes to spiritual fruit in our lives, healthy productivity will never spring from a heart that is cynical and embarrassed toward God and his people.

 

We come to God now not through human priests and the blood of animal sacrifices sprinkled on a gold box inside a tent made of skins.

We have a Great high Priest who is Jesus Christ and we come to him through his cross – a place where he sacrificed himself / sprinkled his blood / in him we find mercy and grace and forgiveness.

We no longer see an Ark BUT rather a living Lord Jesus Christ – we don’t look at an Ark and see the Law of God written on Stone Tablets – Instead the Law of God has been written on our hearts … 2 Corinthians 3:3 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (NIV)

 

A heart for God is one that is given over to the fullness of the Holy Spirit as he makes the Word of God alive and real to us. We need to be Davids who haven’t lost a sense of the divine in ecclesiastical trappings!

 

When David brought the Ark back to Jerusalem and paraded it before the people he did more for the nation than he could ever have imagined – God was back at the centre.

 

Is God at the centre of our lives?

Are we like Uzzah? Do you have God in a box? nice and manageable! – it leads to death! We can’t dictate to God how we will worship him – we must come to him on his terms.

Are we like Michal? Religious – maybe, but don’t get too excite of God – it leads to spiritual barrenness! We can’t use God – he wants to bless us and use us!

OR are we going to be “Davids” – alive to God – not perfect, sometimes getting it wrong / sometimes being angry with God — BUT alive – with a heart for God!!

 

 

PARADERS OF THE LOST ARK

 

 

2 Samuel 6:1-23

 

 1.       The Ark

 

 2.       Uzzah’s Undoing

 

 3.       David’s Dancing

 

 4.       Michal’s Mocking

2 Samuel 5:1-16 – David becomes king over all Israel

DAVID BECOMES KING OVER ALL ISRAEL!

 

2 Samuel 5:1-16

 

Introduction.

 

ILLUS.: Both my grandmothers lived into their nineties – one of them was a bit miserable and humanly speaking not without cause as she had a very tough life. The other one was delightful and everything one could want in a grandmother – we called her Pidge. I used to love listening to her talk about her life – she was born in 1896 – she remember the South African Anglo-Boer War, her husband fought in France during the First World War and her son in the desert and Italy in the second World War. She used to talk about the time the first car came to Johannesburg – the first aeroplane, the cat’s whisker wireless, as a young lady she had worked as a photographer and would show her big box camera with the black cloth she would put over her head ……… and on and on.

 

What would strike me as she talk – as I am sure it has many of you in your lives – the massive changes that have taken place this century. I think of the massive changes that have taken place in my lifetime and I was born in the second half of the century.

The question is, however, has all this change caused us as human beings to grow?  Are we better people? Do we care more? Love more?

 

David’s life had changed enormously. He had move from being an obscure shepherd in the hills of Bethlehem to being on the threshold of becoming King over all Israel. How has David changed? What has he learned? How has he grown?

 

  1. 1.     CROWN – KING AT LAST! [v1-5]

 

David is now 37 years old. God has so worked the circumstances around David that the people want him to be their king. All the posturing and intrigue amongst the men [Abner and the sons of Zeruiah that we talked about last time]   surrounding David God has work to David advantage and to his [God’s] plan to make David his king.

For 7½ years David had been king of the single tribe of Judah, in the town of Hebron. Two years before that he was the leader of a guerrilla band at Ziklag. For 8-10 years before that he had been a fugitive in the desert, hiding from the jealous king Saul. Prior to that he was a musician in Saul’s court and a local hero as a killer of Philistines. He had made the headlines when he killed Goliath. We first met him as the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons when he was pulled out of the sheepfolds of Bethlehem and anointed future king of Israel.

 

Now some 20 years later he is the king – anointed by God and proclaimed king by popular consensus. 2 Samuel 5:3

3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel. (NIV)

 

David has been patient – he has waited for God and now he has seen God fulfil his promises. Things hadn’t simply changed for David but he had learned to wait on God.

 

2. CONQUEST – ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE. [v6-8]

 

David now king over all Israel. His next task is to establish a capital city. If he stayed in Hebron he would be seen to be favouring Judah – if in a town of any other tribe he would be accused of the same thing. The was an ideal place Jebus, occupied by the Jebusites, a natural stronghold that seemed impossible to conquer. [MAP]

 

2.1. God has a habit of overthrowing strongholds.

 

It was thought to be impossible to overthrow – it had deep valleys on two sides [Hinnom to the south and Kidron to the east] the city walls and these deep valleys made it difficult to attack. It had once been occupied by the tribe of Benjamin but they had lost it to the pagan Jebusites. The Jebusites were confident that their city would never be taken by any invader … 2 Samuel 5:6

6 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.” (NIV)

 

So often human thinking in its pride imagines that it is secure. Often the world has felt confident that it can resist and even overthrow Jesus Christ. Many have attacked the gospel of Jesus Christ and his church, they have ridiculed the Bible as superstition.

 

This was not the first time David had faced ridicule – as a boy he had stood before a giant who ridiculed and mocked and despised him and we know what happen to that giant. David had learned that those who despise God are near to falling. He does not react to their sneers and insulting language, nor has he any personal animosity towards them. But he is determined to stand with God against those who oppose God.

 

For the modern Christian it is the same – we do not wage war as the world does – 2 Corinthians 10:3 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. (NIV)

We are involved in a war – a spiritual battle – yet the insults that come to God and his people only serve to strengthen our resolve to stand for God. These strongholds that Christians are up against can be anti-God political empires [Communism with its atheistic teaching seemed so strong yet within 70 years this stronghold crumbled] It could me modern godless philosophies and there are plenty of those. It could be worldly wisdom or demonic opposition. These may cause Christians difficulties, even suffering but they can’t destroy. On the contrary …… 2 Corinthians 10:4 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (NIV)

 

2.2 God can bring unexpected victories.

 

David wasn’t intimidated by the Jebusites confidence. David was given a surprising idea from God to go through the water tunnel and so capture the city from within. This water tunnel is still there today – it was rediscovered in 1867 – it is vertical at one point were buckets were lower to get water.

 

David had said on that day .. 2 Samuel 5:8

8 … “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.” (NIV)

 

They were so confident that even Lame and blind could defend the city but David under God had other ideas.

If we are in touch with God there are times when God leads us in surprising ways. Things that we may have thought impossible that we have struggle over for years can suddenly be overcome.

May be a friend or family member who you have prayed for years can sudden and often unexpectedly come to faith in Christ.

ILLUS. My Dad – for whom we prayed for many years – my mom for 25 years – sudden and dramatically came to faith for a life of alcoholism.

 

Never give up wait on God and trusting him. David had learned that… 2 Samuel 5:9       9 David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the supporting terraces inward. (NIV)

 

3. CAPITAL – JERUSALEM, CITY OF PEACE. [v9]

 

3.1. God wanted David to have a Headquarters.

 

Jebus = Jerusalem. Jerusalem has since that time been highly symbolic and had great spiritual significance but we must be careful not to get over excited about the physical city of Jerusalem today. For centuries it was the centre of God’s work – the temple was there. BUT the spiritual symbolism is far more important than the physical city.

Jerusalem is a picture of heaven and of the people of heaven.

The king in his city with his people is a picture of the KING in his heavenly city amongst his redeemed people.

The earthly Jerusalem was David’s capital – the Heavenly Jerusalem is God’s capital from where the Greater son of David – the Lord Jesus Christ reigns.

[We must resist the temptation to find application to Christ in every detail. These are pointers to the coming Christ. Also, we must not think that David at the time was aware of any symbolism or messianic significance in his actions or the sequence of events surrounding him. All we can say is that David became king of Israel AND we with NT hindsight and the teachings of the prophets long after David can see the ultimate goal of history and redemption in Jesus Christ!!!]

 

In the story of the church different cities have been centres of influence – at the beginning for a while it was Jerusalem [destroyed on AD.70] Later it was Antioch, Rome, London, Geneva, Canterbury and more recently Manila, Nairobi, Bangkok and Sao Paulo. NONE of these is our capital city.

Heaven is our HQ. Heaven is where our instructions come from. Heaven is where our resources come from. Paul in .. Galatians 4:26 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. (NIV)

Our reward is the heavenly city. By faith we enter it now and find it to be a city of peace.

 

3.2. God wanted David to have a place beyond the reach of enemies.

 

Jerusalem was almost invulnerable. The heavenly Jerusalem is the home of God’s people and is beyond defeat.

The earthly Jerusalem was so secure it was famous for its peace – name means “City of  Peace”. [Although because it is earthly it did fall – more than once] BUT our heavenly Jerusalem is a place of safety and peace, a truly impregnable city.

The world we live in is a turbulent, ever-changing place, full of uncertainty and instability. Consider how fragile the world economy is at the moment!

It is comforting and reassuring to know that as Christians we belong to a place / or rather a person who will keep us safe – forever! God is our security – not the DSS / NHS / our PPP’s / our life or endowment insurance policies!

 

4. CHANGE – “AND DAVID … GREW GREAT” [v10-16]

 

This time is David’s life is a watershed. So far in the story we have been looking at the Rise Of David. From now on he is not the future king – he is the king! From now on it is the Reign Of David.

 

Some things to learn from this phase of David’s life:……

 

4.1. David reaped the blessings of many years of preparation.

 

2 Samuel 5:10 10 And he became more and more powerful, [And David went on, and grew great, -kjv] because the LORD God Almighty was with him. (NIV)

 

David had been in preparation for years. He had learned many lessons of faith and of forgiveness. He had persisted in days of great opposition, fro the Philistines, from Saul, from Saul’s family. By years and tears of persistent constant faith had brought him to a time of reaping and fulfilment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.2. David received unexpected practical blessings.

 

2 Samuel 5:11

11 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. (NIV)

 

David had been consolidating the capital for God’s kingdom. Now someone else builds him a house while he is working for God.

He seeks God’s kingdom and finds other things being added to him.

Matthew 6:33 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV)

 

4.3. David recognises that his ministry was not for his own sake.

 

God’s choice of any of us is never merely for our own sake. God chooses us to use us. He appoints us for the service of others. So David was made to know that he was being blessed for the sake of Israel.

2 Samuel 5:12 12 And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. (NIV)

 

4.4. David continued in his polygamy.

 

v13-16

In this he was following the practice of ancient kings. The story of Genesis 2 must have been available to David in one form or another. It could have taught him another approach to marriage which would have brought him greater happiness had he been able to follow it.

The royal wives were a source of trouble for David – some were pagan. Four of David’s sons gave him great trouble and heartache as none of them came from a stable home background.

BUT remember the situation he lived in — and that God did not condemn him.

 

4.5. David continued to live in dependence on God.

 

Now that he was in a position of power we could understand if David had gone ahead and done things off his own bat – BUT NO! He consults God! Should he take the city? Should he fight the Philistines? Should he build a temple? ……

 

 

APPLICATION:….

David’s life has changed dramatically. Would he change and become a Middle Eastern tyrant? v.10 tell us that David “became more and more powerful” – only militarily and politically? I believe it was more than that! KJV says “he grew great..” –

This is not just a story of change BUT also of growth – this doesn’t always happen – for David or us – it can diminish us, it can stunt our growth and panic us into withdrawl, it can make us selfish and self-protective!

BUT change can be a catalyst for growth – it can stimulate and deepen and develop and enlarge our lives – it can make us bigger, not smaller, if we allow God to teach / mould us through all the changing scenes of life.

 

David could have lived on his passed victories against the Philistines and Goliath – on the past experiences of the wilderness and his youthful achievements – David was not content to live lazily on the past experiences – he wanted a vital life with God – so he allows God to make him into a man of prayer and obedience – a man with a heart for God. A man led deeper and deeper into life with God.

 

Peterson – “When we grow in contrast to merely change, we venture into new territory and include more and more people in our lives – serve more and love more. Our culture is filled with change; it is poor in growth. New things, models, opportunities are announced, breathlessly, every hour.  But instead of becoming ingredients in a long and wise growth, they simply replace. The previous is discarded and the immediate stuck in – until, bored by the novelty we run after the next fad. Men and women drawn always to the new never grow up.”

 

Don’t get me wrong. Change is inevitable – if we are not changing we are not growing. But change doesn’t automatically make us grow. On the other hand we can’t grow if we are never willing to change. If David had resisted change he would have remained a shepherd in the Bethlehem fields and missed all that God planned for him.

 

God wants us to grow – not merely change – and he wants us to grow in him. The Christian life is not something that we learn about and then put together with instructions from the manufacturer; it is something we become as God works his salvation in us and as we accustom ourselves to a life of belief and obedience and prayer.

 

Peterson – “The mistake we make in our technologically conditioned world is to look for what is wrong in our lives so WE can fix it, or what need doing so we can have something worthwhile to do. There are things wrong that need fixing and there are jobs that need doing. BUT the Christian life starts at the other end – not with us but with God. What is God doing that I can respond to? How is God expressing his love and grace so that I can live appreciatively and in obedience?”

 

God wants to change us – individually and as a congregation – not for the sake of change BUT to make us grow – “…to grow great..”

 

David was learning to have a heart like God. David didn’t change into a power-hungry, ego-centric despot when he became king, like other pagan kings.

He came to the people like a shepherd – David had grown to have a shepherd heart like God. 2 Samuel 5:2 2 …. the LORD said …., ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel, and you shall become their ruler.’ ” (NIV)

David would be king – not by lording over Israel but by being their shepherd!

 

Remember what was said of Jesus when he was born – Matthew 2:6

6 ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;   for out of you will come a ruler

who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'”

 

Everything that David knows about God he experiences – enters into, embraces, takes into himself.  It is not academic – God is not a doctrine he talks about – God is person who he knows , who leads him, who cares for him. God is not remote / abstract / distant – God is there with him in his day to day living. This is the stuff of salvation. What he experiences in God doesn’t just change his circumstances it changes David for the better – it makes him grow great / mature.

The Shepherd boy of Bethlehem becomes the shepherd king of Israel!

 

You may have been a Christian for many years – Are you willing to change and grow?

Maybe you are a young Christian – you look at the church and you would like much to change – and there are always things that need to change – BUT change for its own sake accomplishes little. Are you willing to allow God to mature you like he did David?

Apart from God we achieve nothing –  Following God / learning his lessons / obeying his words / …….. makes us more, not less. It makes us grow great!

 

DAVID BECOMES KING OVER ALL ISRAEL

 

2 Samuel 5:1-16

 

1. CROWN – KING AT LAST!                           [v1-5]

 

2. CONQUEST – ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE.

[v6-8]

       – God has a habit of overthrowing strongholds.

       – God can bring unexpected victories.

 

3. CAPITAL – JERUSALEM, CITY OF PEACE. [v9]

       – God wanted David to have a Headquarters.

       – God wanted David to have a place beyond the reach

              of enemies.

 

4. CHANGE – “AND DAVID … GREW GREAT”

[v10-16]

       – David reaped the blessings of many years of

              preparation.

      – David received unexpected practical blessings.

       – David recognises that his ministry was not for his

              own sake.

      –² David continued in his polygamy.

       – David continued to live in dependence on God.