The ancient world was a bloody, brutal place.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
With the kingdom still in turmoil after lurching from David to Absalom and back to David, a "scoundrel" named Sheba takes advantage of the situation to promote a rebellion among the tribes of Israel against Judah's leadership.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
In a book full of notable death scenes, Absalom's end is one of the more interesting. During the forest battle with David's forces in the land of Ephraim, Absalom (remember that amazing hair? II Samuel 14:26) gets his head caught in the branches of an oak tree, while the mule that he was riding kept going. As he struggled there, suspended from the tree, it might have been a comical scene, except that Joab comes along and plunges three spears into him. With such dispatch, the rebellion is put down and David's life (and kingdom) are saved.
"It's the good advice that you just didn't take." (Alanis Morissette, Ironic) Absalom himself could have written that line after he rejected the suggestions of Ahitophel, choosing instead to follow the secretly malicious plans of Hushai.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Psalm 92 makes a case that there are basically two kinds of people in the world: the righteous and the unrighteous. Both may seem to flourish (vs. 7 and 13). But this apparent equality in their condition is deceptive. The "wicked sprout like grass" but are actually doomed to destruction forever (vs. 7). Eventually the enemies of the Lord shall perish and be scattered (vs. 9). The righteous, on the other hand, "flourish like a palm tree" and "grow like a cedar" (vs. 12). They continue to produce good fruit even in old age. Psalm 92 counsels us to consider the difference between the short run (but temporary) success of the wicked and the long term fruitfulness of the righteous. After all, what would you rather your spirit be like: grass or trees?
Friday, October 23, 2015
I may have found a new favorite Old Testament verse! "We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished forever from his presence" (vs. 14). Doesn't that just have GOSPEL written all over it?
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Just as Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world through the Fall, so, too, has David introduced sin into his family through his actions against Uriah, and it begins tearing them apart. Chapter 13 skips ahead a few years, telling us that "some time passed" (vs. 1).
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
How would you like Nathan's job? Called to be a prophet of the Lord, his assignment is to go to King David and confront him about his sins of adultery and murder. There is no one more powerful than David, who has already killed men to keep his sins secret and cover his tracks. Yet Nathan went in obedience to the Lord (vs. 1).
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
II Samuel 11 may be my least favorite chapter of the Bible. It is certainly one of the saddest, describing the most vile and despicable things that David did in life. Our hero plays the part of a villain. Through these sinful events, David tragically sows the seeds of the destruction of his family.
Monday, October 19, 2015
The word comes down that the new king is looking to find any surviving heirs of the previous king. There can be only one conclusion as to reason for the search: the new king must want to execute any rivals in order to strengthen his grip on the throne!
Everything is going David's way. As this chapter testifies, "The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went" (vs. 14). Those pacified by David and his forces include the Philistines (vs. 1), the Moabites (vs. 2), the Zobahites (vs. 3-4), the Arameans (vs. 5-6), and the Edomites (vs. 13-14). It's a good day to be a Jew!
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Friday, October 16, 2015
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Monday, October 12, 2015
After the death of Saul, David did not become king over Israel immediately. The first thing that happened is that David felt led of the Lord to move his forces from the Philistine city of Ziklag to Hebron in Judah. While Judah quickly anointed David as their king, Saul's son Ishbaal reigned over the other tribes of Israel for another two years (vs. 10).
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Loyal to Saul to the end, David is grief-stricken when he hears of the death of the king and the prince. He composes a lamentation to be sung in their memory, and commands that it be taught to the people of Israel. It contains an expression which has since become famous: How the mighty have fallen! Here it refers to the champions of Israel, Saul and Jonathan, killed in battle upon Mount Gilboa. David is especially overwrought by the death of his intimate friend, Jonathan. When an Amalekite tries to take credit for killing Saul, perhaps expecting a reward from David for this service, the son of Jesse instead orders the man himself killed for daring to strike down the Lord's anointed. The death of Saul and his family is not a cause for celebration for David, but a reason to grieve deeply, in addition to mourning the overall loss of Israel's battle with the Philistines.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Monday, October 5, 2015
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015
As you read the Psalms, you will find many written by David when he was on the run from Saul (Psalm 54 may have been composed during the events of this chapter.) Saul's pursuit of David never resulted in the young man's capture, but it did unleash the heart of David in worship and prayer to God for deliverance, a treasure of writings that we can still enjoy millennia later.