Unworthy of His Greatness

2 Samuel 7 & 1 Chronicles 17

2 Samuel 7 21 NASB

Sometimes I feel like I keep beating the same drum but when we talk about David and the Psalms I have such a difficult time getting away from his heart. The heart of this man is extraordinary and I think because of this God made him into someone extraordinary. God molded him into someone that we are still talking about to this day. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, here we go.

When we talked about David’s ability on Sunday, we talked about how he looked after God’s people and put their desires above his own. Today we will look at how David continued to be an impressive man after God’s own heart.

I want to look at the entire incident in 2 Samuel 7. In the opening paragraph David recognizes what he sees as injustice. The injustice being that though he lives in a house made of cedar, the ark of God dwells in a tent. David’s heart here is pure. He sees that what represents the presence of God for the nation of Israel is dwelling in a measly little tent while he is living in a full-blown swanky house made of cedar. He recognizes that this just doesn’t seem right. It seems very wrong that the maker of heaven and earth, the God of this nation, the reason for this nation’s success, the reason they even existed, the God who had blessed them and literally done everything for them didn’t have a proper dwelling place. He did everything from singling out Abraham and blessing him and all his descendants after him, saved them from oppression in Egypt by sending the plagues, delivered them out with Egypt’s spoils, parted the Red Sea as they walked between walls of water on either side, saved them from their enemies by collapsing that sea on the army seeking to kill them or enslave them. I could go on and on and on about all that God did for the nation of Israel. David didn’t forget any of this. He looked back in gratitude and decided that his God should at least dwell in a place as nice as the one he had. That gratitude sparked a desire in David to take the action of wanting to build a house for the ark.

God’s reaction to David wanting to build a house for him is quite interesting. He says, “Did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” God had never before asked someone to build him a house. Have you ever wondered why God never asked anyone to build him a house? Maybe he didn’t want one. Gods of other nations had physical temples. So why wouldn’t the one true God? When you look back in the history recorded in scripture it seems like God was hesitant to have a physical representation on earth that could be misconstrued. This was not without cause since in the time of the temple when God’s people had drifted away from him, they claimed that they couldn’t be taken over because of the temple. It seems like God’s focus is on his people believing in him and not becoming preoccupied with something that simply represents him. This is continued in the New Testament with what is defined as the church. God defines the church as his people and tells us that we are all the building blocks of his temple as the body of Christ. That is so awesome and mind blowing to me! The thought that I would be a building block of his temple is an overwhelmingly beautiful thought.

Let’s keep going with this passage, though. God continues to speak to David and tells him He would make a great name for him, plant his people and help to leave them undisturbed, give him rest from his enemies, make him a house, allow his children to build him a house, establish his child on the throne, love that child and discipline him as a father, establish his throne, house and kingdom forever. Dang, that is a list, right? Those are some amazing promises! For you girls, if a guy promises you the world – don’t believe him. But if God promises you all that, I would believe him. Utterly blown away is how I think I would feel if I were David.

David responds in the best way ever. He responds in the only way someone who was qualified to receive these promises should. Who am I and what is my house that you have brought me thus far? David didn’t let being king get to his head rather David knew that he was nothing without God. David knew without God he would still be that shepherd in that field. He felt unworthy of all that God had already done for him. Here is the thing, he totally was unworthy. David recognized he deserved none of these things. He recognized that there were better and smarter. David recognized how undeserving he was of the grace and love that God extended to him.

David’s response continues as I think he is lacking the words to even handle this and he says as much in verse 20. He continues to acknowledge and praise God throughout this response where he speaks about God’s knowledge of his heart, his greatness, how none is like him, praising him for raising up the nation of Israel, and stating that because God spoke those promises they would surely come true.

I think it would be too easy to disassociate from this passage and say “God never promised me any of those things” and in doing so we would miss the very heart that David had.

God sent his son to bear your sins. God has made the whole earth and it is all his. I didn’t make anything and yet I still have everything I need. My actions and my sin without the cross mean I don’t deserve a relationship with God, life or breath. My first sin should have been the end of my life and yet the Lord still gives me life and breath. He still wants me and a relationship with me. He is continually extending his grace to us EVERY SINGLE DAY. I don’t even want to think about what my life would look like without God’s grace.

In this way all of us should be responding every single day “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far?” (2 Samuel 7:18)

 

Daniel Wall

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+7%2C+1+Chronicles+17&version=NASB

Tomorrow’s reading will be Psalm 25, 29, 33, 36 & 39 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Not the Human Nature Way

2nd Samuel 1-4

2 Samuel 2 1 NIV

Today our Bible reading begins the book of 2nd Samuel.  It is somewhat an odd name for the book, since Samuel died in 1st Samuel 25 and he will not appear as a character at all in this second book named after him.  Rather, this book is all about David, as king: his rise to power, the growth of his kingdom, his personal weaknesses and sins, as well as the sins and trials of his sons.  But we can remember David’s beginnings – the young shepherd boy God chose to be the one anointed by Samuel to one day replace Saul as king and rule over Israel.  So, while Samuel will not play a part in this book personally, he was the one who acted on God’s behalf to set the stage for David’s performance.

In the same way, your story today was shaped by many who went before you.  Perhaps they spoke God’s words over you, as Samuel did over David, to shape you into who you are and what you do today.  Their names are written all over your book, even if they aren’t with you today.

Don’t miss the opportunity you have to be a Samuel for a young David.  Pour God’s spirit on the young minds and hearts of those who will be the Christian fathers and mothers and pastors and Sunday School teachers and youth leaders of the next generation.  Encourage them.  Mentor them.  Let them know that even when they feel they will always be the least in their family and community that God can raise them up for works for Him.  And in this way your story will last into the future.

Your sphere of influence is much wider – and longer – than you realize.

As David was poised here on the edge of a new chapter in his life, I am certain he remembered where it all started.  He remembered Samuel and the day that changed the trajectory of his life.  He remembered playing his harp for King Saul.  He remembered the day he slew the giant with a stone.  He remembered how his popularity grew as God gave great success in his exploits against the enemy Philistines.  He remembered Saul’s jealousy and rage.  He remembered the ten long years of fleeing from the king who wanted to kill him, even though David remained loyal to him.

And, now King Saul is dead.  What will David do?  He has a golden opportunity to seize the day and the power and make himself king by force.  No longer needing to fear Saul he can safely trash talk the dead king and let bitterness over ten lost years control his emotions and decisions.  He could.  But he doesn’t.

Instead, he truly mourns the loss of the king and his 3 sons.  He writes a beautiful song of lament, speaking of Saul and Jonathan’s might and splendor and the great loss faced now with their death.  Others expect him to celebrate Saul’s death (and reward the messenger who claimed to have a part in it).  It would be natural to, since Saul had treated David so poorly time and time again.  It would be normal to, since Saul’s death now paved the way for him to set up his own rule as king.  But, David rose above what was natural and normal.  Rather than letting human nature rule, he acted in a way deserving of the title “Man after God’s Own Heart”.  He rose above revenge, and in so doing became a man that others wanted to follow.

Rather than making rash, though natural and normal, human decisions, “David inquired of the Lord.” (2 Samuel 2:1).  Should he return to his homeland, Judah?  If so, where?  God answered, “Yes, Hebron.”  So, David went.  In his last ten years he seems to have learned a thing or two about relying on God’s timing and answers rather than striking out on his own human reasoning and inclinations.

How are you doing at inquiring of the Lord?  Not reverting to natural, normal human behavior and bitterness? Rising above revenge?  Honoring those God put in authority, even when we don’t agree with them?  Having a heart of mourning for what God mourns?  Being a person of God that others want to follow?  Being a Samuel for a young generation of Davids?   Today is a great day to strive to be a man or woman after God’s Own Heart?

 

Marcia Railton

 

Today’s reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+1-4&version=NIV

Tomorrow we will be reading more of the Psalms – 6, 8-10,14, 16,19 & 21 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Becoming a People after God’s Own Heart

1 Samuel 18-20; Psalm 11 & 59

Psalm 11 1 7 NIV

Today’s reading, found in 1 Samuel chapters 18 through 20, highlights how far Saul has fallen from his successes of chapter 14.  (Remember from chapter 15, that Saul had deliberately disobeyed a direct command from God, and things have been going from bad to worse for him since.

In 18:10-11, we read, “The very next day a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman.  David was playing the harp, as he did each day. But Saul had a spear in his hand, and he suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall.  But David escaped him twice.”

Once Saul decided to abandon God, God not only abandoned Saul, God tormented Saul.  This should be a lesson to us – never disobey God – there are always negative consequences.

Saul became jealous of David, after David had killed Goliath, because the women of Israel sang this song, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”  As a result of his jealousy, Saul tried to kill David with his spear in 18:11 and again in 19:10. Saul also tried to kill David by having the Philistines kill him in 18:17, 21, 25.   In 19:1, Saul urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. In 19:15, Saul ordered his men to bring David (and his bed) to Saul to be killed, when Saul thought David was sick in bed.  In 19:20, 21 and 22 Saul unsuccessfully sent troops to get David three times.

In 20:30, Saul boiled with rage at his own son, Jonathan, who was friends with David, and in 20:33, Saul hurled his spear at Jonathan, intending to kill him.

So much for Saul, what about David?

If you were David, how would you react?  What would you do?

Remember that Samuel had anointed David in chapter 16, and declared that David would be the next king over Israel.  So what did David do? He wrote some songs about this. Let’s see what he said in those songs…

David wrote Psalm 59 when Saul sent his soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him.  This psalm starts out, “Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me.  Rescue me from these criminals; save me from these murderers. They have set an ambush for me…”. This makes sense.  David was in trouble, so he cried out to God for help. David continues in verse 9, “You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress.”

Then an astounding thing happens.  David starts praising God – in advance of God’s rescuing him.  Psalm 59 ends with, “But as for me, I will sing about your power.  Each morning, I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.  O my strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.”

David, the man after God’s own heart was actually praising God when he was literally afraid for his life.  This shows his great faith that God will indeed rescue him. Maybe this is one of the reasons he was called a “man after God’s own heart.”

Psalm 11, the other chapter from today’s reading also shows David’s faith through difficulty.  It starts out, “I trust in the Lord for protection…”, and ends with “For the righteous Lord loves justice.  The virtuous will see his face.”

I believe David’s response is a good example for us.  When times are tough, it’s natural to cry out to God for help.  We need to move on from just asking for help, and follow David’s example to also have faith and praise God, even before the answer comes.  And in the process, we, too, may become people after God’s own heart.

–Steve Mattison
And, of course – it’s a great day to celebrate a risen Savior (as is everyday) so enjoy some time reading from the gospels as well.  Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and/or John 20-21 provide some exciting reading for the day.  He is Risen!
Tomorrow’s reading will be 1st Samuel 21-24 as we continue our journey into God’s Word on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

How Do WE Become Men/Women after Gods Heart? (2 Samuel 19-20)

Monday, October 24

By Sherry Alcumbrack

King David has a distinction that no one else in the Bible has. Act 13:22 “ After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” God calls David a man after his own heart. When we read about King David, we read how he committed adultery with Bathsheba, had her husband killed, etc. But when God forgives us after we repent, he forgives and it is like it never happened.

What made David a man after God’s heart? One of his characteristics that stand out in these chapters is his kindness. He was kind to several people, and he wasn’t kind to these people because he thought they could repay him.

golden-rule-pic

The first instance is with Shimei, now you may not remember that name but in Chapter 16 he was the man, from the family of Saul, who came out cursing King David and throwing stones at him and his servants when Absalom was pursuing him. After Absalom is killed and David is coming back to Jerusalem, Shimei meets King David at the Jordan River, he bowed before him and asked for his forgiveness. Abishai advised the king to put him to death because he had cursed the Lord’s anointed. King David said in 22b and23 “Should any man be put to death in Israel today? For do I not know that I am king over Israel today?” The king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” Thus the king swore to him.

We heard about the kindness of King David to Mephibosheth earlier but he wasn’t finished. Mephibosheth did not leave with King David, and his servant Ziba lied to David about Mephibosheth. King David asked him “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” It had hurt King David because he thought another friend had deserted him. By this time King David had given Ziba the land that belonged to Mephibosheth but he restored it to him and said that he and Ziba would divide the land. But Mephibosheth was such a loyal friend that he said, “Let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house.

The third story involves Barzillai, an old man who had taken care of the king when he was in Mahanaim. Barzillai was also someone that showed kindness to others and thought nothing of taking in the King even when he might have brought death to his own family if Absalom came after him. King David wanted to show his appreciation by taking him back to Jerusalem. Barzillai went with him as far as Jordan. He told King David, I am an old man, hard of hearing, I can’t taste what I eat or drink and I do not want to be a burden to you. Let me go back to my city to die near the grave of my father and mother. But he offered someone in his place, Chimham, (probably his son.) King David said “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what is good in your sight; and whatever you require of me, I will do for you.” Later it is noted in 1 Kings 2:7 David tells his son Solomon to “show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table.”

Showing love and kindness to others who cannot repay us is a hallmark of Christians. It is what we are called to do in Matthew 7:12

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