Vs. 3, “What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Not only did the Jews look to Abraham, but God chose Abraham to be the trailblazer as an example for all of us. Before David and Moses, Abraham’s justification was not by his work, but his faith. While Abraham was obedient to the Lord, it was his faith that would justify him. And most importantly, it was his faith first that brought salvation and works followed. Paul ensures that David is also mentioned by quoting Psalm 32 in light of David’s transgressions (6-8). Even though David had sinned with Bathsheba, he understood that it was his faith in the LORD that brought true salvation. Paul clears up the circumcision issue (vs. 9-12) that many of the Jews held onto. We are all reminded that Abraham came centuries (430 years) before Moses and the Law (vs. 13-17). Though the odds were against the promise of God coming through for Abraham, his faith would endure (vs. 18-25).
Regarding application…Are You Convinced? Vs. 21, “being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Question: Are there times in which we doubt? God gave Abraham a promise; but it didn’t happen overnight. For many, the law and the implications of it cause people to feel they must somehow achieve things on their own. Sometimes we live by the adage, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” The Jews assumed obedience to the Law would bring the justification they would need. This is why Paul wrote to passionately to clear up these false assumptions. We can’t bring salvation on our own; whether it is our own lives or the lives of others. Faith in Jesus brings salvation (vs. 23-25). When our hearts are right with God, we will produce good fruit. The challenge for us is to remember what comes first! Faith in the Lord will produce good fruit and live by the promises of God.
Vs. 1, “Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.” Question: Why is God angry? Why is census a bad thing? There is a parallel passage in I Chronicles 21:1, “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.” It was God’s permissive will that allowed the enemy to incite David to follow through with a census (vs. 1-9). It’s interesting to note that Joab understood that such a census was not something David should do. Taking a census was what pagan kings did to show off their power and might. David was to be a different king. Question: What would make David the anointed one different from the rest? David on his own realizes the prideful sin and confesses it unto the Lord (vs. 10). Gad the prophet comes bearing an ominous message for the consequences that would come from the sinful census (vs. 11-14). Gad presents David with the three choices of consequences. In an interesting choice, David chooses plagues from God for he realizes that the wise choice was to put the consequence directly under the providence of God. The plague would destroy seventy thousand people; what a catastrophic event (vs. 15-17)! David’s heart is broken and he asks that the consequences fall directly to him. David building an alter (vs. 18-25) and paying the price reveals to the reader that David is the ideal king, though not perfect. The kings that would follow David would not be able to live up to his example, until the true King Jesus comes to fulfill the Davidic covenant.
Regarding application…Cost of Sacrifice. Vs. 24, “But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” Araunah wanted to please David by offering his threshing floor so that David could build an alter to the LORD. However, David would not hear of it. He understood something that cuts to our hearts today; there is a cost to sacrifice. I think of Cain’s sacrifice not costing him enough (Genesis 4). I think of the Pharisee’s prayer vs. the tax collector (Luke 18). Certainly, God’s sacrifice of His son and Jesus’ obedience was a cost that can never be rivaled. We cannot pay the debt. But, we can choose to make sacrifice real by giving devoting things in our lives (finances, time, prayer, relationships, etc.). Let’s be people who are doers of the faith we profess!
Vs. 1, “These are the last words of David: “The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel’s singer of songs:” Though this was not literally the last words David spoke (vs. 1-7), this would represent His legacy and the future fulfillment of the covenant God made to David and his offspring. We are living out such benefits because Jesus was a part of that Davidic covenant fulfilled. The last section of our chapter focuses on something that piques my interest: David’s soldiers’ exploits (vs. 8-39). This is an account of David’s mighty men who helped David take and keep the throne. This is in essence a soldier’s Hall of Fame. Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah were David’s top three warriors (vs. 8-12). Abishai and chief warriors, and the first verses tell of their exploits (vv. 8–12). The water story (vs. 13-17), gives us insight why David had such powerful warriors so devoted to him! The last section highlights Abishai and Benaiah and then lists the rest of the warriors (vs. 18-39). How interesting that Joab is not mentioned in this list.
Regarding application…Honoring Others. Vs. 17, “Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it.” David’s elite three warriors had just endangered their lives to bring the fresh water that David had longed for. David could have selfishly drunk the water. But something clicked in his head; these men are a huge part of why I am here. Certainly, it was the LORD who was sovereign over all the victories (vs. 12). However, David was able to see through his own power and give props to those who helped along the way. This list of honored soldier’s was sort of like our Veteran’s Day (US) we just celebrated this past Monday. There are many others who have paved the way for us to be where we are today. Not just our literal soldiers, but also our fellow brothers and sisters (Christian soldiers) who have helped fight the good fight. Take time to thank the Lord for them and honor them in your life.
Vs. 51, “He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.” The books of Samuel began with a song (I Samuel 2) from Hannah, and now ends with a song from David. David probably composed this song earlier in his reign and it is nearly the same as Psalm 18. King David was an emotional man and has much to teach us about the healthiness of expressing ourselves. David experienced rejection and near death, but he also experienced adulation and joy. This song of David gives us fascinating insight to the understanding of how God works through His covenant promises. David reminds us that God is the rock (common word used for God, which connotes stability and foundation) that provides salvation. There is no ambiguity; the God of David is the most powerful God and true God. You might be curious as to David’s statements (vs. 21-24) concerning his perfection. This is not a declaration of living a sinless life, rather the integrity of David’s heart.
Regarding application…Seeking Support. Vs. 19, “They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.” Question: When times get tough, whom do you turn to? While God does provide people in our life we can count on for support, it is the Lord whom we should first seek out. It is an obvious answer and one that any good Christian would agree with. But the challenge for David as well as us was to ensure that we are living out the truth. The church is a wonderful gift from God. Our family is a wonderful gift from God. Our friends are a wonderful gift from God. They are all sources that we turn to when we need support. But the one constant in our lives that will never forsake us or leave us is the Lord our God. I thank God for people who have my back, but I must never replace them with God. That is why this blog site exists to remind all of us our dependence upon the Lord! Question: What aspect of your life do you need to lean on for support from the Lord?
Vs. 1, “During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.” At some point in David’s reign, there was a long-lasting three-year famine. This was not ordinary; so David would inquire of the LORD. The LORD’s answer takes us all the way back to Joshua’s account (Joshua 9:3-27) where he made a treaty of peace to shrewd Gibeonites. Saul had not held up his end of the bargain that was made with the Gibeonites. In this particular circumstance, this sin was the direct cause for the famine. The results of sin would now cause David to make the tough decisions (vs. 1-14). The Gibeonites sought justice by death of Saul’s offpring; David would comply, except for his promise with Mephibosheth (vs. 7). It is certainly tragic, but God would relent from His famine. Rizpah who had lost her two sons, honors the dead bodies by protecting them after being slain (vs. 10). This would cause David to bring honor to Saul and Jonathan by giving them the proper permanent burial site (vs. 11-14). The latter section of our chapter (vs. 15-22) chronicles four episodes of David’s encounters against the Philistines. This was not in chronological order and they were victories that had been recorded in the past.
Regarding application…Breaking Promises. Israel had a made a treaty with the Gibeonites; but they broke it. I wonder the circumstances with our own country as we made many treaties with the Native Indians, yet broke them. If anything, this is a poignant reminder that God values the promises we make. Certainly, we are alive and well because of God’s covenant (promises) to us (Genesis 12, Exodus 2, II Samuel 7, Hebrews 9). The challenge for us in this life is to be people of our word. It’s important to remember that God is the captain of the ship. If we obey Him, He may take us to places we never planned on going. However, the promises we make with people should still account for something. Be careful the type of promises you make, but make every effort to remain faithful in those. For example, I cannot promise my current church I will stay with them until I die. I don’t know where God is going to take me. But, I can make other promises of friendship, devotion, love etc. Let us be promise keepers!
Vs. 1, “Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bicri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, “We have no share in David, no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, O Israel!” Though David was returning to the throne, there was political unrest as the tension between Israel and Judah was palpable. A man named Sheba would capitalize on this and stir trouble among those present (vs. 1-2). Sadly, we see the result of David’s concubines as they would never again be in favor with the King (vs. 3). Amasa would meet an ugly end as he was incapable to round the troops and subsequently was murdered by Joab (vs. 4-13). Joab had already murdered Abner, Absalom, and now Amasa. And if you recall, it was Joab who followed the direct orders from David to have Uriah killed in battle. Joab would successfully pursue Sheba to Abel Beth Maacah (vs. 14-15). It looks like Sheba had been unable to rally enough Israelites to go against David. In an interesting turn of events, it would be another wise woman who would use her persuasion to minimize the destruction of her city (vs. 16-22) and deliver the rebel. The last section of our chapter lists David’s cabinet leaders (vs. 23-26) as we see Joab returned to his position.
Regarding application…Courageous Wisdom. Vs. 19, “We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?” This unnamed wise woman had the courage to stand up for her people. Joab was certainly someone to be feared, for he was quite a powerful and ruthless man. Yet, her courageous wisdom would prevent her city from being destroyed. If Joab had destroyed the city to kill Sheba, this might have enraged much of Israel. This woman might have prevented much more than just her own city from being destroyed. There are times in our lives when we must be a voice willing to speak out. Being a peaceful person sometimes requires us to react when we see injustices in this world.
Vs. 1, “Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” David’s anguish over his son Absalom seems like more than he can bear (vs. 1-4). There must have been quite a feeling of guilt that overwhelmed David as he considered the sins of his past. But life must go on; it was Joab who would talk some sense into David (vs. 5-8). There is a time for everything, but David’s grieving needed to stop for the sake of his people. Though David found victory, there was much work needed to restore him back to the throne. The tribe of Judah was reluctant to embrace David, so he garnered favor by promoting Amasa to have Joab’s position as commander of his army (vs. 9-15). As David is crossing the Jordan, Shimei who had cursed David previously, now attempts to make amends (vs. 16-23). David graciously forgives him. We also see the likely truth behind the lies of Mephibosheth’s servant Ziba (vs. 24-30). Additionally, David rewards loyalty from Barzillai the Gileadite (vs. 31-39) for assisting him while he was in the Transjordan. The end of our chapter reveals the continued unrest between Judah and the rest of the tribes (vs. 40-43). You may recall, it was Judah who embraced David in his early rise to be King. Unfortunately, the prophet Nathan had prophesied this future unrest (II Samuel 12:10).
Regarding application…Recognizing Help. Vs. 32, “Now Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man.” Barzillai was one of the three mentioned (II Samuel 17:27-29) who had assisted David in his time of need. I really appreciate how David took the time to recognize the help that others extended to him. He could have easily taken for granted those who helped him along the way. Certainly, God has brought people into our own lives that have given us so much. This is a convicting reminder to all of us to ensure we are showing thanks to those who take the time to care for us. Give a shout out to someone this weekend to who you are thankful for!
Vs. 7, “There the army of Israel was defeated by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great—twenty thousand men.” Though David’s armies are outnumbered, Hushai’s counsel to Absalom gave David and his men the opportunity to move east into the Transjordan (east side of Jordan river). This gave David’s armies the location and time to be victorious over Absalom’s army (vs. 1-8). It would seem this would be wonderful news for David to take back the throne. However, this good news of victory would have a bitter taste for Absalom was slain (vs. 9-18). Absalom’s great hair (II Samuel 14:26) must have gotten tangled has he road his mule under the branches of the oak tree. There is much symbolism going on; losing his mule was like losing his kingdom and being suspended in the air was moment between life and death. David had given explicit instructions not to harm Absalom (vs. 5), but upon hearing Absalom’s demise, Joab himself thrust three spears into David’s son. Joab secured David’s kingdom and did what David could not do. Joab sends a messenger to inform David, but Ahimaaz son of Zadok would outrun him to get the message first to David (vs. 19-33). David is shaken by Absalom’s death and our hearts go out to him as we remember a father has just lost his son. David still had hoped that there would be reconciliation with Absalom. But, Joab knew that as long as Absalom was alive, there would be a continuing threat.
Regarding application…Loyalty. Vs. 12, “But the man replied, “Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lift my hand against the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.” This unnamed soldier’s respect and obedience to David’s command has much to teach us today. While we may speculate that Joab was the more loyal servant of David; because he did what David could not do. We also need people who are trustworthy in our lives. Question: Do you have loyal friends? I loved the movie “Good Will Hunting” where Matt Damon’s character has incredibly loyal friends. I thank God for loyal friends and members of God’s church. Take time to consider your loyalty to God and to others. Like Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi, may we do likewise.
Vs. 7, “Hushai replied to Absalom, “The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time.” It’s quite a suspenseful scene as we start our chapter today! As the reader, we are privy that David is quite vulnerable right now. Ahithophel’s advice had literally just handed Absalom the key to finding victory against his father David (vs. 1-4). But, Hushai was also summoned to give his advice regarding what Absalom should do (vs. 5-14). As I was reading Hushai’s response, I started thinking of the song “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. Hushai’s advice was so masterful; he would have been quite the poker player! The next section of our chapter is full of intrigue and suspense as the young priests Jonathan and Ahimaaz narrowly escape capture (vs. 15-22). The unnamed couple in Bahurim hid them in their well and lied to Absalom’s men. This would enable them to carry the secret message to David about how Absalom was going to respond. Question: Is it okay to lie? God’s will is going to be done regardless, but I personally would have lied to Absalom’s men. I’m reminded of Corrie Ten Boom’s sister who could not lie to the Nazi’s and thus her whole family was thrown into the concentration camps. However, Corrie in her book “The Hiding Place” is quick to mention that it was only a matter of time before they were caught. In this instance, the lie to Absalom’s men was crucial to ensure David’s protection. Like Judas Iscariot, Ahithophel hung himself after realizing that David would succeed and he would be found a traitor (vs. 23). The ending of our chapter begins to set the scene for the location of the decisive battle between David and Absalom’s forces (vs. 24-29).
Regarding application…God’s Hand. Vs. 14, “Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.” While Hushai must have had amazing oratory skills with quite the poker face, we must give credit to where credit is due. It was God’s determining and hand that would take the right advice of Ahithophel and bring disaster. Let us not forget that it was David’s prayer just a couple chapters ago, “…O LORD, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.” (II Samuel 15:31) that God would answer! Question: How is God answering your prayers? Like David, we have made some big mistakes in our lives. Yet, God would be with David because was truly a man after God’s own heart. When he sinned, he confessed and was contrite (Psalm 51). God grace and providence is all over the Scriptures. And God’s hand of providence is also all over our lives. Let us be trusting in our prayers and desire to do the will of the Father.
Vs. 16, “Then Hushai the Arkite, David’s confidant, went to Absalom and said to him, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” The tension is building as we see the events of David on the run unfold. David mistakenly believes the lies of Ziba (II Samuel 19:24-28) who had informed him Mephibosheth had turned on him (vs. 1-4). In addition, a distant relative of Saul (Shimei) would publicly curse David and his men as they approached Bahurim (vs. 5-14). While Abishai wanted to kill Shimei, David’s response surprises us by his acceptance that if his own son (Absalom) sought to kill him, he shouldn’t blame Shimei’s response. The next scene (vs. 15-19) involves Hushai’s response to Absalom’s question of loyalty. It is certainly a dramatic scene as we wonder if Hushai’s response is going to be believed. Sadly, the end of our chapter (vs. 20-23), we are privy of the detestable advice of Ahithophel to have Absalom lie with David’s concubines. The prophet Nathan had predicted that such events would transpire for David (II Samuel 12:11).
Regarding application…Finding Rest. Vs. 14, “The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.” Perhaps the silver lining in this sordid chapter is how God was faithful to David. David was a man on the run with more questions than answers. Yet, God would ensure he would find rest in the midst of all tension. David was a man who had realized the consequences of his actions, but also knew the promises of the LORD; that’s what kept David moving forward. No matter how weary or burdened you feel, take solace in remembering that God always offers us rest. Jesus reminds us that He is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). We come to Him when we are weary and burdened.