Thursday, June 26, 2014

1 Samuel Wrap Up

Text: 2 Samuel 2:1-9

Review- Israel entered into the Promised Land and desired a king like the nations around them. They asked God for such a king and they got what they wanted in King Saul. This brings to mind the proverb, Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.
         God had intended to provide a king for Israel. He served as their king and wanted them to have a king who was interested in God’s kingdom. Their sin was not so much that they wanted a king but that they wanted a king like the nations around them. They were pre-mature and immature in their request. They were not willing to wait on God.
         In the subsequent history of Saul and Israel, we see this immaturity over and over. They do not wait on God. They run ahead and get themselves in trouble.
         Saul becomes the paradigmatic king to represent Israel. He, too, runs ahead of the Spirit. God is gracious to Saul but Saul does not wait for Samuel to offer sacrifices. Saul does not follow the command of the Lord. He is hasty and he is disobedient.
         David, on the other hand, waits on God. Even when circumstances avail themselves, he will not act rashly. He does not presume to know God’s mind when Saul is within his grasp. He refuses to listen to the voices that want him to raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed. David is content to let God do the work to bring him into his kingdom.
         We need to learn the lesson of David. Patience really is a virtue. It has become a proverb for me that time and patience takes care of most things. We are often clamoring for something to happen. We want someone to fix a situation, whether it is a person in authority, a parent, a teacher, a coach, a pastor. But time and patience are the need of the day. We often need to be content to let God sort things out.
         This is true both for good things and for bad things. David was willing to wait for God to sort out the consequences for both he and Saul. What should be done about Saul? Nothing. Let us wait and see what God will do? What should be done about your anointing from the prophet Samuel? Nothing. Let us wait and see what God will do. In both situations, God sorts it out. Saul is judged and David comes into His Kingdom.
         Of course, it sometimes takes great wisdom to know when and how to act. Men should be men of action and initiative. But we should also be men who are willing to wait and see what God will do. We need to be cautious about making hasty judgments and actions. Waiting a little longer never hurt when dealing with sinners. Waiting a little longer never hurt when waiting for promised blessings. Be patient. Settle down. God has it under control.
The Promise- God is not slow about fulfilling His promises. Some count Him slow but we cannot count high enough to know what slow is.
         The Davidic Kingdom was not without opposition and enemies. After many years of rebellion, God’s promises finally come together. Saul is dead and David is king. Since this is the case, we might assume that the Davidic Kingdom would be one of an instant reign of peace. But that is not what happens. David becomes king but there is still opposition. Saul’s family lays claim to the kingdom. Abner is in opposition to David. The Northern tribes are unsure of whom they will serve.
         David sets up his kingdom at Hebron and waits seven more years before consolidating his power in Jerusalem. His full kingdom does not suddenly appear. Even after arriving in Jerusalem, David is still surrounded with enemies within and enemies without.     

Some of this trouble was of his own doing. I am thinking of the trouble with many children from different wives. This did not have to be so. But a great deal of his trouble was from internal agitators and external enemies. David had to continue to fight for the peace of His kingdom.
2 Sam. 2:1   And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up.
Even after the judgment has fallen on Saul and his sons, David is not hasty. It seems really clear that God has now given him the kingdom. It seems especially clear that David’s tribe would receive him as king. But David does not presume upon God. He asks God for an answer.
Often pastors are sought for advice. But the seeking is often two fold. One man comes and asks advice for a decision he has already made. He really does not want advice. He wants the pastor to agree with his decision. But that is not really seeking advice. In such situations I try to figure out if the man has already decided. If so, he does not need my advice and he does not want my opinion. He wants me to agree with him and a failure on my part is seen as opposition to him.
Another man comes in the throws of a decision. He wonders what the Bible says about it, if anything. He wonders what the elders might think? He wonders if the pastor has experience or wisdom to relate to the decision. He weighs this multitude of counselors in order to make a wise decision.
The first man deserves no answer. The second is a wise son and will hear from God.
David was like the second man. He was ready and willing to make a move but he really wanted to do so with the blessing of God. He wanted to know what God wanted him to do. He was willing to not go up depending upon the Word of the Lord. Thus, when he does go up, he goes with the confidence that God is with him. He has not simply spoken his own mind and gathered yes men to exhort him on.

And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. 
David not only asked ‘if’ he should go up but also ‘where’ he should go. He did not have pre-conceived ideas about when and where his kingdom would be established. He was willing to follow the Lord wherever the Lord sent him.

2 So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal’s wife the Carmelite.  3 And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.
The answer from God is to go up to Hebron and there be made king. David had a ready army and kingdom. Many men come to join kingdom and establish his kingdom in power and glory.

4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.
David is of the tribe of Judah and the men of the tribe of Judah anoint David their king. Keep in mind that David has not become the undisputed King of Israel. In some ways, he is less of a king at this point than Saul was. He is the rightful King of Israel but there will be a struggle to attain his full kingdom.
Heb. 2:5  For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.  6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?  7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:  8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.  9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Heb. 2:10   For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 

And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul. 
This is a bit of a test for David and for his men. Why did they report this? Was it that David would lash out at the men of Jabeshgilead? Or, so that he would know who those are that are loyal to Saul? David is now in the world of kings, the world of intrigue and court politics. But David is not a king like the nations around him. David rules in the wisdom of God. He is not afraid of man because God is on his side.

5 And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him.  6 And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing. 
David blesses the men of Jabeshgilead. In this, David shows great wisdom. He honors Saul and Jonathan, in life as well as death. He reaches out an olive branch of peace to those who were loyal to Saul. He blesses them for being loyal and honorable to their king.
This is wisdom. David is now the king and he desires the same kind of loyalty that he showed King Saul and that these men of Jabeshgilead showed Saul. Far from punishing these men, David esteems them high honor.

7 Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.
David commends them and exhorts them to strong and valiant. He exhorts them to transfer their allegiance from Saul to David. They loved Saul and David loved Saul. Judah is now serving David and David invites the men of Jabeshgilead to that same service.
The city of Jabeshgilead was in the tribe of Gad.

2 Sam. 2:8   But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;  9 And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
From Day One, David has trouble in his kingdom. But that does not alter the fact that David is the rightful king and that his kingdom will be firmly established. But it takes time and patience and work and rest in God.
This is not unlike Christ’s kingdom.
Psalm 2-1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,  3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.  4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.  5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.  6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
Psalm 8-1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
Psa. 8:3   When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;  4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.  6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:  7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;  8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.  9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
Psa. 110:1   The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.  2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.  3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.  4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Psa. 110:5   The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.  6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.  7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
David’s kingdom like Christ’s kingdom, what prideful schemes are they in vain devising? Why do the enemies plot a vain thing?
God looks at this and hold them in derision and laughs. This present suffering is part of the glory of our inheritance in the saints. This is true when enemies plot against the Lord’s anointed and it is true when suffering enters the lives of the saints. God is working something great out of all of this.

         We are overwhelming conquerors, in this life and in the one to come. We enter into the sufferings of Christ but nothing can separate us from Christ. We cannot understand this or put proper words to it but the Spirit can. It makes sense to Him and He goes to the Father with it because we are in the Son. So, the chief thing is to be in the Son.
         Rom. 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom. 8:29   For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
         Rom. 8:31   What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.  34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rest in God's Work

This story of David’s Kingdom Come reminds us that the Kingdom does not arrive without hard work and perseverance. But the Bible promises that those who persevere to the end shall be saved.
God did not promise us that being a Christian would be easy. He did not promise us freedom from trouble. But He has promised us peace that passes understanding. He has promised us joy in the Holy Spirit. So, how do we learn how to strive against the world, the flesh and the devil and to be at peace in the joy of the Holy Spirit?

Well, we must learn that these things are not mutually exclusive. We can work and rest at the same time. This cannot be done in the flesh but it can be done in the spirit, by the Holy Spirit. 

This Table is the place of rest. In it, we see that the Lord Jesus has overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. And we come to understand that in Jesus, we too, have overcome. We are victors in Jesus. So, we are aware of the work, the battle, but we know that are overwhelming victors in Jesus and this produces an abundance of peace and an overflowing joy.

Confession is Good

James 5:16 says Confess your faults one to another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 

We use that Scripture to encourage us to pray but for what? This context means to pray for one another for restoration of fellowship with God and with one another. It means that when we confess our sins to God and to one another that we should expect the Lord’s healing of our spirits, of our minds and of our bodies.

God is gracious to forgive us and therefore we should be gracious to forgive one another and this forgiveness comes with promise. God restores us to Himself and to one another. 

Confession and repentance is always good because confessors and repentors know what it means to be restored and healed.