June 5, 2017
The Scripture does not say why the Lord’s anger was “aroused against Israel.” But pride was the likely culprit. For the Word of the Lord rightly says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Prov. 3:34, James 4:6). And in this one verse the word “against” is mentioned twice to describe the Lord’s position towards Israel.
Pride is the root of spiritual rebellion and God hates it. And David was “moved” to an act of pride by calling for a national census. Satan was no doubt involved in this temptation of David (1 Chron. 21:1), yet it was the Lord who allowed David to be the instrument of both His wrath and of His mercy.
The Lord sought to cure Israel and Israel’s king of their national pride, that they might humble themselves and instead take pride in the Lord Himself.
Be careful about taking pride in a people, place or nation for you will find yourself an opponent of the Lord. Instead, be humble and join the Lord’s side that His grace might be poured out upon you.
June 1, 2017
David’s grief at news of his son’s death is perhaps the most vivid expression of mourning in the Bible. He was “deeply moved” when he heard the news. The Hebrew word here refers to a “violent trembling” of the body. David was wracked with grief. His weeping could be heard by all those returning from successfully defending the king. Yet, their sense of victory was dulled by the king’s wailing.
Surely David’s grief was magnified by his own sense of regret as a father, knowing that it was his own sin that sowed the seeds to Absalom’s rebellion. However, David the father had forgotten his role as David the king, and this negligence could’ve led to his demise had not Joab intervened.
Yet, even in this sad picture we catch a glimpse of our Savior’s love for us. For He loved and wept over us while we were still sinners in rebellion against Him.
Remember His lament over Jerusalem the week of His passion? “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matt. 23:37).
Like David, Christ declared His desire to “die in our place,” and more than that, He actually came down and took our death, that we might receive His life.
May 29, 2017
Who was Absalom?
Absalom was the third born son of David. His mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (2 Sam. 3:3). He was the son and the grandson of kings. He was praised above all others in Israel for his good looks. And he knew how to use them, charming all Israel not only with his looks, but with his endearing words. Yet, Absalom, whose name means “My father is peace” (Ab “father” + Shalom “peace”), brought rebellion to his father’s house.
Ironically, it wasn’t his father’s peace, but his passivity that opened the door to Absalom’s treason. After David had passively stayed home from war with Ammon, he fell into sin with a married woman, committing adultery and having her husband murdered to cover it up. The prophet Nathan delivered God’s judgment that even though the Lord had forgiven him, the “sword would never depart” from his house (2 Sam.12:10). The sins of the father would become the sins of the sons.
David’s firstborn, Amnon, committed adultery with his half-sister, Tamar, the full-sister of Absalom. Although David was angry, he passively did nothing. So, Absalom took matters into his own hands and conspired to have Amnon killed. After he fled to his mother’s family for a while, David later invited him back home, yet passively did not meet with him to address what had happened. Over time, Absalom took advantage of David’s passivity and began to woo the people to see him as their new king.
Surely David heard about Absalom’s behavior, riding about in a horse drawn chariot with 50 men running before him, sitting as a judge in the city gates, offering to be a better king to anyone who would listen. But David took no action.
So, Absalom “stole the hearts” of Israel and went to Hebron to declare himself king. And David fled from Jerusalem to hide from his own son.
Absalom was named to be the son of his father’s peace. Yet in reality, he was the son of his father’s passivity. And passive fathers often produce rebellious sons.
May 28, 2017
Who was Jonadab?
Jonadab was the son of Jesse’s third son, David’s brother, Shimeah. He was David’s nephew and a supposed “friend” to David’s firstborn son, Amnon. Yet, on this occasion his true identity was revealed, for as the serpent in the garden of Eden was described as “crafty” (Gen. 3:1), so was he. And as the serpent tempted Adam, he tempted Amnon, advising him of a way to obtain the forbidden fruit of his sister, Tamar. His subtle strategy even involved David, so that his involvement would produce the desired result.
So, Amnon followed Jonadab’s advice and raped his his half-sister, Tamar, the full-sister of Absalom, who hated his brother from that day. And two years later, Absalom conspired to have Ammon killed.
Now adultery and murder, which had been David’s sins, had been found in David’s sons. And where was Jonadab when the news of Absalom’s revenge was heard in the royal court? He was at the king’s side, advising him not to worry that all his sons were dead at the hands of Absalom, but only Ammon. How did Jonadab know this? He must have been in on Absalom’s secret. Perhaps he had been Absalom’s advisor too.
Who was Jonadab? He was the serpent in David’s family. The crafty advisor that led them to follow their fleshly desires.
The peace in David’s life was ended. From that day forward, his life was followed with one trouble after another. Surely he could trace his children’s sins to his own, which must have made the pain of it all the more. His sin had left open the door of his house, allowing a serpent to crawl inside and find a mouthpiece in David’s nephew, Jonadab.
May 27, 2017
God sent the prophet Nathan to rebuke King David for his sin with Bathsheba. Certainly, the focus of the story is on David’s sin and repentance, and God’s faithfulness and forgiveness. Yet, the prophet Nathan’s role in this story is worthy of consideration too.
What manner of man was Nathan? First, he didn’t hesitate to carry the Lord’s rebuke to David, declaring him “the man” who in his parable had taken the poor man’s lamb, which in reality was Uriah the Hittite’s wife. Nathan’s parable was so well conceived that David didn’t suspect that he was its subject until he had unknowingly pronounced a death sentence upon himself. Yet, Nathan didn’t hesitate. The moment David reached his judgment, Nathan declared him “the man” deserving such judgment. Nathan boldly fulfilled his prophetic office, risking his own life to declare such a thing to the king. Remember what happened to the prophet John the Baptist when he rebuked King Herod’s sin? He ended up with his head on a platter (Mark 6:27-28)!
Nathan didn’t hesitate to rebuke sin, even if a king was the focus. But he also was quick to declare the Lord’s forgiveness when David confessed his sin without excuse. A good prophet will not hesitate to rebuke sin, nor is he slow to offer the message of forgiveness to those who are willing to repent.
Praying for preachers today to have the boldness of Nathan, unafraid to rebuke sin no matter where it occurs. And also praying that they would have the gentleness of Nathan, quick to offer the message of forgiveness to those who repent.
May 26, 2017
Who is Mephibosheth?
Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan, the son of King Saul, who was five years old when the news came about their deaths in battle. His nurse was fleeing with him to hide when “he fell and became disabled” (2 Sam. 4:4). Now, perhaps 16 years later, King David called for him.
Surely he was terrified as he limped into the king’s throne room and fell prostrate on his face before the king. Middle Eastern custom would have suggested that David would slay all remaining descendants of Saul in order to secure his own throne. Yet, while the crippled Mephibosheth lay face down, trembling with anxiety, he heard King David say, “Fear not. For I will surely show you kindness for your father’s sake, and you shall eat bread at my table continually” (2 Sam. 9:7).
Who is Mephibosheth? First, we must understand David’s identity. For David was a type of Christ, and his behavior towards Mephibosheth foreshadowed the kindness of Christ towards us. Mephibosheth had fallen and was crippled all his days. He was from the House of Saul, who had made David his enemy, trying to kill him. It was a scandalous thing that King David would seek to find Mephibosheth and then invite this crippled, former enemy to eat at the same table as one of his own sons. Yet, this is exactly what David did.
Who is Mephibosheth? We are. We are fallen and crippled by sin. We have been enemies of God. Yet Jesus Christ, the Son of David, has sought us out and found us. He has invited us to eat continually at the King’s table as one of the Father’s own sons.
May 23, 2017
After Abner was murdered by Joab, King David made it clear to all Israel and Judah that he had nothing to do with his death. The way David honored Abner, the deceased general of Israel’s army, persuaded the people of David’s integrity. And even though it was David’s general Joab who killed Abner, the people did not hold it against David.
David was not only anointed of God to be king, the Lord had also given him favor with all the people. For of what other political leader could it be said, whatever he did “pleased all the people”? After years of persecution by King Saul, David finally enjoyed the favor of God and of God’s people.
Yet, it can’t be said that David was a people-pleaser. No. He sought to please God, and the Lord gave him favor with the people of God. David led with integrity and the Lord honored him with favor.
Oh, to have a king like David today! Yet, there will soon be One even greater than he. His name is King Jesus, Son of David. He is the true “Anointed One,” and He will soon return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
May 22, 2017
“David inquired of the Lord.” This was a mark of David’s reign. But he not only “inquired,” he also obeyed, as the next verse reads, “So David went.” He asked the Lord for direction and then he followed the Lord’s direction.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet, most people fail at either the first or the second action. Either they fail to seek the Lord’s wisdom before making a decision, and just act in ignorance. Or they have received knowledge of the Lord’s wisdom, but choose to follow their own way instead.
Hearing and obeying God’s Word are inseparably important. Choosing to ignore either, will ultimately result in disappointment. Yet, living a life both hearing and obeying God’s Word leads to divine blessing.
June 4, 2016
This psalm, which is not included in the Book of Psalms, but only found in 2 Samuel, begins with the prescript, “the last words of David.” In verse two, he states his awareness that the Holy Spirit “speaks” through him. David, at the end of his life, looked back on all that God had done for him, and gave God praise that He had chosen him as a Divine mouthpiece. David praised God that his psalms were inspired by God’s Spirit. David listed many things that he was thankful for as he reflected back on his life, yet chief among them was that God had “raised him up” and “anointed” him as “the sweet psalmist of Israel.” Oh, to have a life known for speaking God’s Word and for one’s final words to be Spirit inspired.
May 30, 2016
When David was betrayed, he fled from Jerusalem going East towards the Mount of Olives. As he climbed the Mount he wept and prayed that God would have mercy on him. God heard David’s prayer and restored him to the throne. Centuries later, Jesus, Son of David, left Jerusalem to pray on that same Mount. Weeping he prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). God prevented David’s betrayer from succeeding, but Jesus’ betrayer found him there on the Mount of Olives and turned him over to the authorities to be crucified. God showed David mercy, but poured out the judgment that belonged to us all upon His Son, Jesus. Jesus took the wages of our sin, so that God could show not only David, but all of us His mercy.