Wednesday, October 28, 2015

II Samuel 20: Putting Down A Rebellion

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.

II Samuel 19: The Return Of The King

After the death of Absalom, the kingdom reverts to David.  II Samuel 19 describes the return of the king to power.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

II Samuel 18: Absalom's Hang Up

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.

II Samuel 17: Lion On The Lam

"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

II Samuel 16: Placing Their Bets

With the kingdom in upheaval and the future of the monarchy uncertain, those around David and Absalom make their calculations and place their bets on who to support: the deposed king or the crafty usurper.

II Samuel 15: Absalom: An Ingratiating Ingrate

David's reign takes another tragic turn in II Samuel 15 when a coup is plotted against him by none other than his son, the attractive and popular Absalom.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Psalm 92: The Short Run Vs. The Long Term

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

II Samuel 14: Bring Him Home

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

II Samuel 13: Rape And Murder

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

II Samuel 12: Speaking Truth To Power

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: Covering His Tracks

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.

II Samuel 10: It Doesn't Pay To Go Against Israel

The Ammonites make a major miscalculation in how they treat King David, and end up dragging another nation (the Arameans) down with them.

Monday, October 19, 2015

II Samuel 9: Mephibosheth

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!

II Samuel 8: Winning A Name For Himself

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

Psalm 91: Protection Or Presumption?

Psalm 91 contains some of the most beautiful images and comforting promises to be found in the entire Bible.  Is it any surprise, then, that Satan would twist something so glorious for his own ends?

Friday, October 16, 2015

II Samuel 7: Who's Building Who A House?

An inspiration strikes David one day that leads to God establishing an everlasting covenant with him.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

II Samuel 6: Going To Extremes

II Samuel 6 is all about the Ark of the Covenant, and the effect that it has on David and his people.

II Samuel 5: Glory Days

The victories are coming fast and furious for David in II Samuel 5.  Three big events happened during this season of his life that could be called his "glory days."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

II Samuel 4: Killing The Messenger

Even in the ancient world, news traveled fast.  When it did, messengers hoped to be rewarded for good news, and to be able to escape with their lives if the report was bad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

II Samuel 3: Palace Intrigue

A shifting of Abner's loyalties from Ishbaal to David helps put into motion the machinery by which David will become king over all Israel, yet also ends up costing Abner his life at the hands of Joab.

Monday, October 12, 2015

II Samuel 2: The Interlude Of Ishbaal

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

II Samuel 1: How The Mighty Have Fallen!

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.

Psalm 90: God Is Timeless; We Are Temporary

Psalm 90 is ascribed to Moses, who knew a thing or two about the Lord.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Samuel 28: Small Medium At Large

Do you believe in psychics and seances?  The Bible contains fairly clear(*) teaching on this subject: there is indeed a reality to such things, but God's people are not permitted to avail themselves of them.

I Samuel 27: The Enemy Of My Enemy

It is ironic that David feels the safest place for him to go is Gath - the hometown of the Philistine champion Goliath that David killed back in chapter 17!

Monday, October 5, 2015

I Samuel 26: Spearing Saul - Or Sparing Him?

I Samuel 26 may sound awfully familiar if you've been reading this book from start to finish.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I Samuel 25: Leave It To The Lord

David learned an important spiritual lesson in I Samuel 25.  Rather than taking vengeance ourselves for injuries and insults we suffer, we should leave it to the Lord.

Psalm 89: Making Sense Of God's Silence

The Psalms frequently question, "How long, O Lord?" (vs. 46)  It is a plea that rises up from a discouraged and beaten-down heart, lifted up to a God that is not understood, Whose silence and inaction are inexplicable.

Friday, October 2, 2015

I Samuel 24: Saul In David's Hands

What would you do if God put your worst enemy into your hands?

I Samuel 23: Saul The Pursuer

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.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I Samuel 22: You Dirty Doeg!

One of the villains in the Old Testament is Doeg the Edomite who ratted out David to Saul and then killed the priests of the Lord at Saul's bidding.

I Samuel 21: On The Run!

In chapter 21, David is scrambling to figure out how to live a life on the lam.