Posts Tagged ‘Book of Samuel’

Then Nathan departed to his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!” When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. 2 Samuel 12:15-20

Today’s blog is not about abortion, but I need to say up front that abortion is wrong. I need to say that because today’s blog is on the matter of letting your perversion die, and considering the text, somebody’s liable to come away with the erroneous conclusion that abortion is okay when it is not. As a matter of fact ~and~ as it pertains to the baby in this story, we must take note that God took him and that he was not brutally murdered by the hands of men.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13

The deeds of our body refers of course to our sinful nature and the byproducts of our aberrant existence. Our Father has taken this historical event and used it to effectively illustrate that these things must be put away, as if dead and this dying child is a picture of David’s perverted lifestyle. The text is not suggesting that children born out of wedlock are evil things that must be destroyed, but rather that this baby is a type representing the evil deeds we do. I hope this is clear.

And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. 2 Samuel 12:20

Prior to the baby’s death, David was emotionally distressed and his heartache is a picture of our grief when we struggled to give up our favorite sin(s). Now that the child has died, many are perplexed to see this turn around in David’s life, but hopefully not those who have reckoned their own flesh dead. Formerly, David was pleading to hold onto his sinful past, but now he’s worshipping. How come? Because when sin dies there is freedom! Perhaps you remember when this happened to you; when you finally realized that perverted thing in your life was dead. Remember the cleansing, the anointing, and the changed life? Remember how you went into the house of the Lord and worshiped?

Letting Go

That’s the message of the text. With David as our example we can see how difficult and painful a process it can be, but more importantly we can see that it doesn’t have to be that way. Example is the best teacher, but God has not mandated that it be our example; we can learn from others and in so doing bring honor, and glory, and blessing to Jesus Christ.

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So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” 2 Samuel 12:5-6

One Angry Man

As led by the Lord, Nathan shares a story with his close friend David and the appalling account left him (David) radically incensed. As a result, David imposes an exceedingly harsh sentence—the death penalty. According to the law of the day, David was justified in imposing restoration, but a death sentence (ironically) was set aside for those who commit murder or adultery. David knew the law, so why was he being so cruel?

If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep. Exodus 22:1

Here’s the reason: David overreacted to somebody else’s perverse behavior because he was guilty of it himself. We can be sure if we witness a person reacting excessively to someone else’s transgression that they are likely struggling with, have struggled with, or are currently caught up into the same exact sin. We need not go any further than our newspapers or television sets to see this played our daily.

And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-4

A Good Thing

This is good for two reasons: because it helps us to identify those around us and the sin(s) they likely battle or embrace. Is there somebody you know who is especially harsh or unsympathetic towards a particular kind of sin? You can practically guarantee that the complainant struggles with the very same thing in one way, shape, or form. The other reason is of course that we might discover we are that person.

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” 2 Samuel 12:7

I betcha that David knew ‘he was the man’ before Nathan told him; I suspect the Lord convicted him the moment he (David) declared that the sheep bandit should be put to death. David was in fact condemned by his merciless overreaction. The question that remains is, “Am I?” Are you?

Our Father did not merely give us these accounts as historical records, but so that we might grow spiritually; that we might willingly subject ourselves to His sanctification and refining process. If we cannot see ourselves in these accounts then we are missing the critical point: we are sinners saved by grace, but sinners still and God does not desire to leave us this way.

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Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” 2 Samuel 5:23-24

David is poised to battle his adversaries again. The Philistines had attacked once previously, but David was victorious because he dropped to his knees to pray before he stood up to fight. Wisely, David returns to his knees before taking further action. David could have marched into battle without making inquiry of the Lord, but fortunately he perceived that yesterday’s divine strategy was for yesterday. The lesson of course is for us to bring every matter before the Lord never assuming that divine tactics are etched in tablets of stone. The bonus, as it were, is that persistent prayer improves perception.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

Both non-believers and biblical scholars have scrutinized the passage, “When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees,’ and have theorized that the breeze-in-the-trees was merely some kind of natural phenomenon. Some have even speculated that the marching column of Philistine soldiers was enough to rattle the branches of the delicate Mulberry. Perhaps. They can choose to look at the incident like that if they want, but oh boy, are they missing out on something truly spectacular. Personally, I prefer to see the rushing wind as the Holy Spirit for which it is.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:20-21

The fact of the matter is that the disconnected aren’t able to see God’s hand in these things because they aren’t willing to. Self-disabled, they regard things as naturally occurring rather for the supernatural occurrences they are. In contrast, and as the detractors shake their collective heads in astonished disbelief, the purposed Christian can look at any component of God’s good creation and rightfully proclaim, “I see God’s handiwork.”

“Oh well,” we rejoin, “their loss!”

The reality is that bringing this to their attention will probably not influence them to abandon their skepticism, but I’m not writing this them…I’m writing this for me (and maybe you). The truth is that I occasionally forget that ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above;’ I am the one who needs the reminder. When I step outside the refuge of Christ Jesus and neglect the components of my faith, I run the risk of seeing things as the world sees them—pleasing, but nevertheless catastrophes of nature; accidental pleasantries if you will. Oh how sad it is to miss the gargantuan quantity of blessings God has bestowed upon us. The resolute know that standing close to Jesus improves our vision.

“God will not be behind-hand in love to us: for our drop, we shall receive an ocean. Thomas Watson

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Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:12-14

In the last chapter of 1 Samuel 31, King Saul is struck with an arrow by the Philistines and is severely wounded. Not wanting to be taken captive and abused by the enemy, Saul commits suicide by falling on his own sword. However, as we open Second Samuel we discover in chapter one there is more to the story. A man comes into David’s camp with extraordinary news…

As I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, there was Saul, leaning on his spear; and indeed the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. Now when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ So I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ He said to me again, ‘Please stand over me and kill me, for anguish has come upon me, but my life still remains in me.’ 2 Samuel 1:6b-9

Did This Really Happen?

Did the Amalekite finish off Saul? Some say this event truly occurred and others theorize the man just stumbled upon an already dead Saul, stole his stuff, and brought it to David seeking a compensation of some sort. We cannot be dogmatic about either position, but we can be certain of two thing: the Amalekite man was there ~and~ that he should not have been.

We know he was there because he had details of the scene and he had the damming evidence in his possession; King Saul’s royal crown and bracelet. We know he didn’t belong there because of what transpired twenty five years earlier.

Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey…Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?” And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek…” 1 Samuel 15:3, 18-20a

Saul failed. He did not completely annihilate the Amalekites and therefore, the one who finished him off should not have even existed. In typology, the Amalekites are a picture of our flesh; or more accurately the sin that continues to plague us from generation to generation. The account in Second Samuel demonstrates effectively how if the flesh is not dealt with, it will come back to destroy us. The Apostle Paul picks up the theme when he writes [that] if we choose to live by the flesh (sin) we will die by the flesh.

When Saul took Agag captive, he thought he had the situation under control. Is that not always the way with the sin we commit; don’t we also believe we have it under control? Saul’s action further demonstrates that the ill effects of sin might not be experienced for years—in his case twenty five years. Far too often we come to believe that because the consequences are not forthright, God must approve of our sin or worse yet, that our sin is not a sin at all. Beware.

The very truth of the matter is that our flesh; our sin; our Amalekites need to be dealt with—they need to be annihilated and utterly destroyed. How do we do that? The first thing we need to do is to recognize our sin as sin; calling it anything else but sin only serves to deny ourselves the remedy found in Christ’s blood. It’s kind of like going to the doctor and denying that you’re sick—if we cannot admit we are sick, the doctor likely won’t see us.

The second thing we need to do it repent of our sin; turn away from it and turns toward God. Thirdly, we must take responsibility for the sin we commit; sure we are forgiven and our salvation is secure, but there are earthly consequences that need to be dealt with. Finally, we need to accept the unmerited favor that our Father desires to bestow upon all who believe in His Son.

Saul failed, but he could have recovered. He didn’t recover because he thought he had his flesh under control.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

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So David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal‘s widow. And it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath; so he sought him no more. 1 Samuel 27:3-4

David had no business being in Gath; Saul wasn’t pursuing him any longer and Gath was a stronghold of Israel’s enemy the Philistines. In a very real sense Gath is a type (or picture) of the world. David ends up in Gath because he mistakenly paid heed to what his heart was telling him. By now David should have known better, but thankfully we have his error for our example.

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:9-10

David relies on his emotion to guide him, ends up back in the world, and puts together a series of blunders that will ultimately catch up with him. David may have been considered the apple of God’s eye, but nevertheless, God is not mocked and sinners always reap what they sow. However I don’t want to focus on David’s errors right now; I want to focus on one of his accomplishments. It’s found in Psalm 8, 81, and 84.

To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen– Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1-9

Did You Catch it?

David writes this Psalm and he plays it on the instrument of Gath—a pagan instrument! The worshippers when they heard it must have been shocked; much the same way many of us were shocked when electric guitars were brought into out sanctuaries. Looking back, I suppose there was a likely uproar when the first pipe organ was introduced too. And believe it or not, some folks are still being shocked. Check out this little snippet I pulled from a recent internet blog:

Obviously, God does not want us listening to flute music. Flutes and other woodwinds are horrible instruments. They entice us to sin with their wistful tunes…Clearly, Satan operates through the flute….keep woodwind instruments out of our public high schools. Warning labels should also be attached to music containing saxophones, flutes, or other instruments that require the touching of the lips.

In light of David’s accomplishment on the Gathinite instrument, this quote is laughable. Our Father has filled the Bible with one account after another of His taking that which was meant for evil and using it for good. God through David makes that point melodiously clear in his Psalms. There is no such thing as a bad instrument, just bad musicians. When glorifying and worshipping the Lord, we can feel free to use whatever instrument we desire as long as we do so in an orderly fashion. (Now where can I find me on of those Gath-a-phones?)

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Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 24:4-6

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Let’s recap what has been going on. David is in flight-mode and King Saul is in hot pursuit. Saul ducks into a nearby cavern to use the ‘facilities’ unaware that David and his band of merry men are hiding out in the recesses. David’s men alert him to this information and in essence advise him, “What a blessing David! God has delivered Saul into your hands!”

David’s men were wrong. Oh, their hearts may have been in the right place, but their discernment was way off. Given the opportunity to look back upon this incident we should see that this was not a blessing from the Lord, but rather a testing by the Lord.

David’s Test Grade

So how did David fair on this test? The primary purpose of any test is to evaluate progress and most [of us] would probably agree that David faired well since he did not kill Saul. From that we can rightly suppose that David saw this experience not as a blessing, but as a test. However, I submit to you that if David did pass the test, it was not by very much. We can deduce such a thing because in the very next chapter, David heads out to kill a man (Nabal) for merely refusing to give him food. It would seem that the test revealed David had not progressed very much at all.

The good news is that David is teachable and in time he will progress wonderfully. Given that reality the good news for us is that God’s testings have the capacity to transform into blessings. It’s true, everything from the Lord is either a bless’n or a lesson. And when we endeavor to walk in His way, those lessons will always turn into blessings.

Take a look at those blessings in your life–are they blessings or are they tests? The Lord has provided us [in His Word] these examples so we might better know the difference.

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Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him… 1 Samuel 18:6-8a

Let’s Play ‘Find the Sinner’

If you are just a little familiar with the story you will recall that David, empowered by the Lord for service, had just single-handedly defeated the enormous Philistine Goliath and much of their army. The achievement essentially saved the entire nation of Israel from becoming enslaved by the enemy. It’s only natural that everyone would be elated by the hearing of this wonderful news…right? Nevertheless, the sight of thousands of women dancing joyously in the streets celebrating the triumph only served to anger Saul.

Aside from Saul’s obvious blunder, what’s wrong with this picture? The rejoicing women were in sin also. How so you ask? These women were giving their glory to David rather than to God and in so doing they played a part in causing Saul to transgress.

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence…to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 and Romans 16:27

Now before we go any further we need to recognize that no one (not even satan) can cause a person to sin therefore no sinner can use that as his or her excuse. It might be more prudent to say that these woman in their sin enabled Saul in his. Be that as it may, Jesus had some good advice on the topic.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

The reality is that sinners sin and Saul did not need any assistance in this arena, but the fact he would have likely committed it anyway is irrelevant. We need to know that there are things we do (and sometimes neglect to do) that make easy the sinners path. As I said earlier, these women in their sin (and even David in his sin) fashioned a vehicle by which Saul could easily facilitate his sin. What sin did David commit? It can be inferred that David likely heard the praise and did nothing to redirect it towards the Lord.

Again, the purpose of today’s application is not to make excuses for Saul, but to be cognizant of the fact that we are sometimes quick to point out the wickedness of others when in fact we may have played a role in their offense by transgressing ourselves.

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When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel’s sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son? 1 Samuel 10:2 KJV

What’s the thing on your mind today with which you are most concerned? A job? Your health? The bills? A wayward child? The Lord would say to you and I, “Give your concerns to me.”

What we must commit to memory is that God has allowed the problem, the situation, the concern to invade our space in order that we might bring ourselves to His space. It was never about the problem; it was always about Jesus! The Lord may have put that thing there personally or He may have allowed it to be put there by the adversary, but regardless, He wants it to be a summit point. Why? Think of it in these terms — if we have any grasp of Who God is, how can we be focused on a problem when in His presence?

Does this mean God will remove or remedy the situation? Not necessarily. There are countless episodes in the Bible where people met God in a problem and He brought them through and not out of it. What our Father really wants us to know is that in His eye, the problem is over ~and~ that He has much greater things lined up for us down the road. In a nutshell, this was His message to Saul and He used his predicament to commune with him and to effectively convey, “I’ve got this one under control Saul; do you trust Me?”

Do We Trust in God?

Our Father would never tell His children to ignore their problems. He simply invites us to bring them to Him and that He will meet us there. Does anybody want to talk about a silver lining, because in essence we’re being told our problems are invitations to sit before our King. It’s kind of like getting a parking summons and then being told by the issuing officer, “By the way, show that ticket to the Whitehouse guard and he’ll let you in to see the President of the United States.”

The Choice is Ours

I have got to tell you that I’m not particularly fond of the policies of our current President, but given the opportunity, “I’m goin to the Whitehouse to meet him!” How much more so would I be willing to bring whatever concerns me today before the Throne of God!

The fact of the matter is that Saul started strong, but finished weak. Why? Because he forgot about God. He forgot that he could bring every matter to Him. He forgot that all things are from God and belong to Him. As a result, Saul dies a man outside of God’s will—outside of the Meeting Place. How sad. Let us not make the same mistake as we remember to habitually bring everything to Him—our concerns, our praise, and our eternal gratitude—it’s the right of every born again believer.


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