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We continue today’s story of David by understanding his desire to be loyal. As is written: 2 And David said, “I will deal loyally[a] with Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with me.” His motive appears to be right with the culture of their time and continues to show he is serving God loyally, allowing God to guide his actions. Just as Jillian showed us on Monday in her post: “David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.” 2 Samuel 8:15. We also saw in yesterday’s story, David showed compassion to Jonathan’s family. He showed grace to Mephibosheth by welcoming him into his home. He is performing God’s will. However, in today’s story, the word on the street within the Ammonite community showed a high level of mistrust of David’s actions. The people did not believe that David was being loyal when he sent his servants. They distrusted his actions based on all the prior deaths and takeovers. Hanun listened to and believed in his people and made David’s servants feel as if they were traitors: “ So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away.”, all because he listened to the word of his people and thought David’s were sent to spy. How embarrassing (and odd!). The servants weren’t even allowed back into their country or city. This one act by Ammon of distrust then leads to more war, to more people dying and to David gaining more land and reigning over more people. He did not send his servants to force this type of outcome. He was trying to be a good neighbor. What would have happened if Hanun would have accepted this act of kindness? In the end, was it worth it?
It is interesting to think about this story in today’s world. Someone from another town, or company, or neighborhood, or church or even country tries to extend a helping hand or offer a comforting word, and there is a slight bit of doubt in the true intent of the action. A leader or a popular person might listen to their “people”. Then what happens? Do you then catch yourself wondering if you listen to your friends or do you genuinely believe in someone being loyal or above board off the bat? Are you trusting them or not? If you have even the slightest bit of mistrust, it could lead to negative action. You don’t sincerely accept their actions. You might tell someone what you heard and thus spread a rumor or gossip. What transpires from there could have a snowball effect, especially with social media. Is it worth it?
My takeaway from today’s story is to try to accept people’s actions as being sincere and genuine unless proven otherwise. If someone extends a helping hand, take it. If someone extends words of support or empathy, take their actions for what they are. Don’t overanalyze or second guess that individual. Above all else, don’t retaliate but harming the person who has extended a helping hand or kind word! It truly is not worth it!
Spoiler alert: David is about to change…..and it won’t be worth it!
To understand this chapter of 2 Samuel, we have to go back about twenty years earlier, when David made a covenant with Jonathan (1 Samuel 20). Jonathan, who was heir to Saul’s throne, was not going to be King because of his father’s disobedience to the Lord. Samuel had told Saul that his kingdom would be taken away and given to a better man. Despite that, David and Jonathan had a very close friendship. Jonathan, instead of siding with his Saul to secure his position to the throne, accepted that David would be king and made a covenant with him. He had David promise him to show him and his family after him the unfailing kindness of the Lord, as long as they lived.
We don’t know what precipitated David’s question – “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” But all these years later he was prompted to remember his promise to Jonathan. David seeks out what remains of Jonathan’s family and pours love and kindness out to Mephibosheth by giving him all of the property that had been Saul’s, then giving him a place equal to that of David’s own sons.
David didn’t just give money and land and material things – he welcomed the son of Jonathan into his home and gave him a place of honor.
David showed Grace to Mephibosheth. He didn’t question him about his worthiness, didn’t put stipulations on his gifts, and didn’t just give him monetary gifts to satisfy a promise or sense of guilt – he loved him! He treated him like one of his own sons.
Grace is difficult for me. It is difficult for me to accept God’s grace, his promise of forgiveness and his love for me despite the sins that bring me guilt and shame.
Grace is also difficult for me to give. It is sometimes easier to write a check and drop it in the plate at church than to stop and take time to show love to others. David’s behavior is such an amazing example of how grace should be shown. Wholly, unconditionally and without limit.
Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
2 the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land…Psalm 41:1-2
Hello Monday! Are you looking for signs of spring? Each morning I look for fresh green buds in our front yard or any other sign of new life. This time of year leading up to Easter is always sort of dreary. Christ’s death is eminent and there is a heaviness that comes with recounting the days before his burial and resurrection. Of course our reading today pre-dates the birth and death of Christ by about one thousand years. David’s rise to power began around the year 1003 BC. Today we hear about the fulfillment of God’s promise to defeat all of the enemies of the Israelites. David defeats the Philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites and entire armies of 22,000 men. He takes their chariot horses, weapons and money and then makes them his servants. So basically everything is going right for ol’ David. All the Israelites loved him:
“All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.” 2 Samuel 3:36
Kind of a hard thing to hear on a Monday morning right? I have to be honest, when I first read this chapter I thought, “must be nice to conquer and plunder every enemy you face!” We all have that person (or two) in our life that seem to win every battle no matter how big or small. They effortlessly rise to power in their workplace and are successful in their personal life. All the people take note and are pleased! And you are left feeling a little jelly and maybe even a smidge resentful. Now, if I’m just talking about myself here, I hope you’ll take my confession and pray for me to mature in my faith! If on the other hand, you’ve ever struggled with the patience required to God to fulfill a promise then stay with me! Verse 15 says this:
“David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.” 2 Samuel 8:15
This is an important clue about the character of King David. Yes, he pleased his people but not because he tried to satisfy them. Instead, he showed them in all of his actions that he was trying to please God. Often, those that try their hardest to become popular never make it. Spending our time and money on devising ways to gain acceptance with our peers is fruitless. God wants us to spend our time striving to do what is right and just. King David’s reign was characterized by doing what was just for his people. Justice means interpreting the law and administering consequences with mercy and respect. David became a trusted leader among his followers because they respected his convictions. After some dedicated study of today’s word I came around to truly appreciating King David for his integrity and commitment to fulfilling his covenant promise with God. Through more reflection and prayer I understood that justice is not always the same as fairness. God doesn’t deal in fairness. Some will have riches, some will be poor. Some will have love and companionship, others will be alone. God fulfills His promises and reveals them in His time. We are not kings and queens and we won’t win every battle. We can trust God to give us the authority we need, in his time, to do the work that he wants us to do.
I encourage you to read Psalm 40 today in its entirety. It’s a perfect companion to His message in 2 Samuel 8. It begins like this:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand…” Psalm 40
With a gapped tooth grin from ear to ear, I handed my mom an egg carton jewelry box on Mother’s Day, over thirty years ago. It was a soft yellow styrofoam carton, that was covered with paint, paper shapes and flower pipe cleaners. It was BEAUTIFUL! I had worked so diligently on her special gift, and she proudly displayed it on her dresser and put all of her treasures in it… I was so proud to give her something so beautiful that she could see and use every day.
David, he sure loved His God. In a similar way, we read in 2 Samuel 7, how he wanted to build something special for the Lord to dwell. It sure made sense to me – David’s living in a beautiful cedar home, and he wanted something even better for God. We know God cares about details, order, reverence, and respect, and this seemed right in line. But God’s ways are always above our ways, and while I believe David’s heart was in the right place, the Lord used it as an opportunity to reveal his future plans and make a covenant with him. Instead of David building a house for the Lord, the Lord outlines the eternal house (kingdom) that He will build through David and his heirs.
God later refers to this in Psalms 89:3 as:
“I have made a covenant
with my chosen one.”
God promises to raise up David’s offspring, establish their kingdom forever, and they will build a house for the Lord’s name. This promise, the foretelling of Jesus, is an early picture of God’s future plans for the Messiah.
God makes this covenant, with full knowledge of the future. He knows what David’s choices will be in the years to come. From times of obedience, to times of sin, God’s perfect ability to bring discipline and steadfast love is unmatched on this earth.
The second half of this chapter is David’s bewildered response to God’s promise to Him. He has been forgiven, protected, guided, changed, and God just told him He will do even MORE than that for David and his offspring! The soft heart of David, full of humility and love for the Lord, is one I want to emulate more consistently.
Thinking back to times when my heart was softest and focused on closeness with God, several instances come to mind:
- the ‘first love” feelings of Jesus overwhelmed me when I first became a Christian
- seasons of deep repentance, forgiveness, and gratitude
- God answered prayers with my newborn daughter’s spina bifida and surgeries
- discovering a new truth or lesson in the Word
I can go back to those moments and feelings that nothing else in the world mattered – God was with me and would be with me in the future, and I was firmly standing on that promise.
When I stumble across an old journal entry or something written down during those time, it is so faith affirming to see God’s work in my life. The book of Psalms often reads like David’s own journal entries of God’s promises, God’s deliverances, God’s protection. David loved proclaiming what God has done and will do in his life. He believed it, and he stood firm on those truths.
Are you standing firm in the promise God has given you? A promise of a life with him forever, filled with love and joy, where there will be no more tears and death. He is the perfect promise keeper. When the world around you fails, His promises never fail.
Two recent Bible Journal posts have mentioned verses or themes from Matthew 5-7 (also known as the Sermon on the Mount). Stephanie’s post on 3/10 and Lyndon’s post on 3/12 mentioned loving our enemies.
2 Samuel 6 also reminds me of the Sermon on the Mount. I wonder if Jesus had these stories of David on his mind as he gave this sermon. Jesus would have heard these stories and understood the text from being a young boy, so it seems quite possible.
David had been celebrating and worshipping God, he “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14a). We witness David not holding back whatsoever, giving his all solely for the glory of God.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b]they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
As David returns to bless his household, he is greeted rudely and angrily by his wife Michal. Why did Michal respond the way she did? 2 Samuel 6:16 says she “despised him in her heart”. Ouch, his own wife!
This chapter doesn’t tell us her reasoning for being upset. I’ve got some thoughts on this, and all relate to what I believe is the root for most of our sin: Selfishness.
- Was Michal jealous that David put God first in his life?
- Was Michal full of pride and embarrassed that David lowered himself before the people, dancing like a maniac? As though the king should behave more “kingly”.
- Was Michal bitter that David held greater esteem than her father (Saul)? Did she think the throne should be in her own family?
Whatever the reasoning, I see this as persecution directly related to David’s love for God and his desire to serve him first. This brings me again to the Sermon on the Mount.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)
David’s response to Michal was more than fair, and he chose to keep it above board without snarling back insults at her. I loved this statement “It was before the Lord” because it reflects his priorities and that he really didn’t care what anyone thought about what he was doing – he cared about being right with God.
39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:39)
All of this once again leads me to the cross. I don’t know exactly what it feels like to be despised but Jesus does. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life yet he was despised, betrayed, beaten, spit upon and unjustly killed. He didn’t have to do any of this, but he did it anyway in direct obedience to The Father’s plan, for our sins. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice. I choose you today. Amen.
Extra credit reading: The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)
Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 5, Psalm 37
How good are you at waiting? Honestly, for me it depends on the situation. At 7:29 on Thursday morning last week I wasn’t very good at it. I was trying to drop my kids at school so I could get to an 8am meeting, thus I was only willing to wait about 10 seconds for the Jeep in front of me to pass the semi pulled over on the side of University Street. After a VERY LONG 10 seconds, I looked behind me, poked my nose around the Jeep to make sure no one was coming, then stepped on the gas. Ten seconds later, I had passed both the Jeep and the semi, and went on my way without incident. No harm, no foul, except perhaps that I called the Jeep driver a moron as I sped around her. Probably not a the best example of patience, safe driving, or using kind words for my 11 and 13 year old children that were sitting in the backseat.
Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off (Psalm 37:34).
David was not a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of guy. He was exceptionally good at waiting on God. Consider this – back in 1 Samuel 16:13, Samuel went to the house of Jesse to find David and anoint him King. From there, it was about fifteen years before David actually became King over Judah in 2 Samuel 2. It was then another seven years before David became King over the entire nation of Israel in 2 Samuel 5, our text for today. This is twenty-two years of waiting. Yikes, I couldn’t wait even ten seconds last week before I took matters into my own hands!
So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years (2 Samuel 5:3-5).
If you had to wait more than 20 years for something that was promised to you, what would you do? I think we can learn a lot from what David did and didn’t do during his time of waiting.
David’s increased his reliance on, and intimacy with, God – David was the author of approximately half of the Psalms (76 of 150). As we’ve been reading through these, have you noticed how many of them are about David waiting and relying God for deliverance? His words are incredibly personal. They show us that waiting helps develop our patience. It helps us put our faith in the word of God, rather than what we see or experience.
- But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3).
- In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8).
- O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me (Psalm 7:1).
- I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you” (Psalm16:2).
- I love you, O Lord, my strength (Psalm18:1).
- The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).
- Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long (Psalm 25:5).
David did not check out and passively wait for God – David defeated Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, he fled from Saul who was trying to kill him in 1 Samuel 19-22, delivered the people of Keilah in 1 Samuel 23, and destroyed the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 30:26-31. In these stories, we see a consistent pattern. When presented with a situation, David inquired of the Lord before he acted, he obeyed the Lord’s direction, and he gave Glory to God for the victory. After becoming King, David followed this same pattern. (See the story of David defeating the Philistines in today’s reading – 2 Samuel 5:19).
What are you waiting for today? Will you follow David’s example and use this time to draw near to God? Do not be discouraged. God makes all things beautiful in his time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). His promises are always worth waiting for!
Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off (Psalm 37:34).
2 Samuel 4, Psalms 36
I know that I can take for granted the amount and timeliness of information we have available to us today…as compared to back when King David lived. In 2 Samuel 4, two guys thought they were doing this great thing by taking King David the head of Saul’s son. When, in fact, they were doing the opposite of what King David wanted. I’m sure these two guys would have loved to have that information. Instead of an incredible reward that I’m sure they were expecting, King David has their hands and feet cut off and then hung beside the pool of Hebron.
The main thing that I take away from this is: “You better be sure, before taking permanent action.” These two guys “thought” they were doing the right thing, in taking the “permanent action” of taking another’s life. Because they didn’t make certain, it ultimately cost them severe pain and death…and the death of an innocent person.
Even if it was something that King David would have been OK with, was it the right or duty of these two guys to kill Saul’s son. In this modern day, while we won’t literally take the life of others, we can “kill” others with words. While they may not physically die, it can cause a lot of pain and misery. Is it your right or duty to spread information that may or may not be true. What could be the end result of your actions? Do others and yourself a favor, only spread the “good news” of and to others. I know that I am much better off when I take that smarter path. May God bless you and yours today!
Happy Tuesday Bible Journaling Family,
Today’s Readings includes; 2 Samuel 3 and Psalm 35
Last week, I found myself in a middle of a conversation where false accusations where being said about a colleague and myself. It hurt. After trying to figure out where the misconceptions occurred or what else I could say or do,( even though we hadn’t done anything wrong) I was at a loss. In my flesh at times, there are moments a quick witted comment or a snarky attitude can come out. My revenge…. Not in this case though. This situation made me reflect on the reading in 2 Samuel 3.
In the middle of 2 Samuel 3:26-29 you read the revenge that Joab took on Abner. This revenge was displayed by Joab murdering him because of the loss of his brother. How serious and sad. I reflected and thought even though our situations are never this extreme, what does my revenge look like? When wronged in any way what is our response? Do I wait and trust in God to have his justice or take it into my own hands. What are my actions, words, or thoughts? Do they represent God? Prayerfully I try to think of verses like, Romans 12:19. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written….
When we seek revenge in any fashion, doesn’t it impact your heart? Mind? In a quick witted comment I can leave myself remorseful and questioning my flesh like actions. I model my lack of trust. God, I need you in these moments of weakness. When discussing this scenario with a close friend, he reminded me of the book of Ephesians 4. Ephesians 4:1-32 reminds of points like; To walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love… to speak the truth in love… A new life where we let no corrupting words come out of our mouth, but only words that build others up. Revenge is not mine, it is His.
Psalm 35:1 Contend O Lord with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.
Thank you for your scripture. That in all parts of our words, there are Your words that remind us of how we should respond, and Who’s we are. God we pray for wisdom, guidance, and a focus on you and your love in the moments we are week. It’s not about us, it’s about you. That in this vapor of a life there are many moments that can leave us focusing on our own pride and not on You. God, I pray that we turn our focus on You! Trust you take all situations and make them yours. We love you!
Leviticus 19:20 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
During our journey through the books of Samuel, we have encounter many versions of Saul and David, and this is the time that we are able to see David become king of Judah and soon Israel. The one amazing trait that I see constantly throughout the text is David’s passion and undying reverence and relationship with God and David’s heart.
2 Samuel 2: 1-7
After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” 2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3 And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. 4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.
When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” 5 David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. 6 Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing. 7 Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”
In these verses, David is inquiring and listening to the direction of God. He active listens to God and then clarifies the orders to make sure that he is doing the exact mission and directions that are presented to him. There have been many times that I have wondered what way to travel or which road to take. Because I relied on my own understandings I have experienced some very interesting adventures and been saved from myself through grace. How different would my adventures have been if I was aligned properly with God and had the discernment to ask these easy questions? David has lived and understood the richness and fullness of what God has in store for him.
Also in this passage, we see that David is genuinely compassionate for Saul, God’s anointed one. He has had several opportunities to take the throne and have his revenge on Saul, but he always refers to “What is God’s plan for His Anointed?” David has been given Saul’s life so many times in 1 Samuel, it is hard to keep a tally. But he always inquires God about how to deal with Saul. He revenges the lies that were spoken about Saul’s death and blesses those that buried Saul: his king, mentor, and father-in-law. This is a testament of his internal character, David loved God and loved his neighbor and his enemy. This is the Ahava, an unconditional love that cannot be explained. It is the love that God has for us. Once we have tasted the goodness of God, it is impossible to not want to give it to others. May we be blessed to seek God as David has and listen to his direction.
Today we are looking at Chapter 1 of 2 Samuel. This book begins where 1 Samuel left off. Simply, turn the page and keep reading.
In verses 1-16, we read that David returns to the town of Ziklag and learns from an Amalekite that both king Saul and Jonathan are dead. The man shows up to tell David what he thinks will be good news. The man probably thinks that David will be somewhat happy after all that David had to endure from King Saul. David had more reasons to kill Saul than anyone, yet he passed up the opportunity to do so two times. We would think that Saul’s deaths would be a huge relief to David, but this would underestimate his character. He lived out what the Lord Jesus taught His disciples, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45).
David ends the chapter, verses 17-27 with a Lament. A lament is an expression of sorrow and mourning. A “lamentation” is a sad song. David wrote deep, emotional, painful, hard words from his heart for Saul and Jonathan.
We have read about the unique strong friendship of David and Jonathan, so it is not surprising that David mourns his friend. However, you wouldn’t think this was a song written about a man who was trying to kill David.
We can learn from David’s example. We should look for the best in people, hoping to God that they will repent from sin and turn to him. We must love our enemies (Saul) and our friends (Jonathan) until the day they die, trusting God for the best in their lives.
In this first chapter we see David lament his losses and seek the Lord during yet another time of trial in his life. This is a great example for us today. We should turn to Christ despite terrible situations where our emotions may run rampant and try to control us. David knew what sorrow was. In Isaiah 53:3, Christ is called “a man of sorrows”. Because of this, we can turn to Jesus no matter the situation because He will know perfectly well what we are going through.
Also for todays reading…Psalm 33…