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1st- 2nd Samuel

1ST-  2nd  SAMUEL

 

(882)1ST SAMUEL; INTRO, CHAPTER 1- Originally the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel were one volume. When the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament was made [the Septuagint] they were added with 1st and 2nd Kings and were called ‘The books of the kingdoms’. In order to keep this volume from becoming too big, they were divided into the present divisions. In chapter one we see the family of Elkanah and Hannah [and wife #2 Pininnah!]. They go up to the Tabernacle of the Lord in Shiloh to worship the true God. Hannah has no children while wife # 2 does. This becomes a point of contention and jealousy between the two wives. Hannah pours her heart out to the Lord and makes a vow. She tells the Lord if he gives her a son that she will dedicate him to the Lord. Eli the priest sees Hannah praying silently [her lips moving but hearing no voice] and he assumes she’s drunk! Why? Was she stumbling and acting drunk? No. It was because he thought she was mumbling [speech] like a drunk. In Acts chapter 2 the same thing is assumed. Those who received the outpouring of the Spirit were thought to be drunk. Why? Were they stumbling and falling? No, once again it was a speech thing. They were speaking all types of unknown languages [known to the various groups there that day] and people thought they were acting like drunks when they can’t talk clearly. I emphasized this because it’s common today for renewal movements to associate the Spirit with people actually stumbling and driving in a drunken type state. While I don’t want to be dogmatic and say this can never be of God, yet many of these believers will use the Acts chapter 2 example to justify their belief. Act’s 2 does not teach ‘being drunk in the Spirit’ in this manner. Now the Lord hears Hannah’s request and she gives birth to Samuel. She keeps him until he is weaned [2 or 3 years old] and then she honors her vow and dedicates him to the Lord. She actually gave him up to become a full servant of God at Shiloh. It was not an easy vow to keep. As we go thru this book we will cover lots of interesting history. Samuel will become a mighty prophetic leader in Israel. He will be the one to introduce king Saul as Israel’s first king. The last verse in Judges says ‘there was no king in the land in those days, every man did what he thought was right in his own eyes’. It’s common to think this means God punished Israel for not having a human king. In actuality God will tell Israel that they were rejecting his kingship over them by wanting a ‘king like the other nations’. We will learn that God did not originally intend for Israel to have a singular human king. The description from judges simply shows us that sinful people, who reject God’s law, will go astray. In these instances a king can bring some sort of stability and government. The kings of Israel will serve in this capacity.

 

(884)SAMUEL 2- Hannah gives great praise to God for Samuel. This prophetic utterance is a lot like Mary’s ‘Magnificat’ in Luke chapter one. She says ‘God brings low the rich and helps the poor’. This week we had one of the worst financial disasters in U.S. history [9-2008]. It could have been worse, the government took over some major financial [and insurance] institutions. One of them was A.I.G., a major insurer. A day or so before they were taken over I asked my wife ‘did you take out the girls trust money’. We had a lot of money for our girls in the company [lets say between 50 and 100 thousand dollars]. My wife says ‘no, not yet’. I was a little perturbed to say the least. My wife is the trustee for the girl’s accounts, and I have been telling her for about a year to take the money out. So the day she makes the request all the talk on the financial shows is ‘will A.I.G. declare bankruptcy today’? I was upset. Another day went by and they said ‘overnight they will declare’. And we still didn’t get the money. Well the government stepped and basically took the company over and we got our checks. I was talking to my homeless buddies and they were somewhat aware of the crisis, but they could care less. Their lives were not tied up in these systems. They were still going to live the way they were living for most of their lives. Trusting God daily to meet their needs. It made me think of Hannah’s prayer. Also we see the first use of the word ‘Messiah’ [anointed] in the bible. ‘God will strengthen his king and exalt the horn of his anointed’. I read this yesterday and was quoting it all day. It’s appropriate that Mary uses this prophetic utterance while speaking of Jesus, the Messiah. The sons of Eli the priest are wicked. They are robbing the people and sleeping with the women at the tabernacle gate. Scripture says ‘the people abhorred the offering of the Lord’ because of their abuse. For many years I heard ‘if people are offended because the church emphasizes money so much, well let them be offended’. I never really questioned this reasoning. Then I began to see how the majority offence to unbelieving friends and family was the money issue. While most of the pastors were well meaning, they seemed to not realize that we do have a responsibility to not offend in the area of offerings. The apostle Paul adjusted his ministry in such a way that he would not allow the churches to support him while he was with them. [Not just Corinth either, but Thessalonica and Ephesus! Read Thessalonians and the chapter in Acts that deals with the Ephesian elders- 22?] The point being the church bears much responsibility to how the world views us in the area of offerings to God. Eli’s sons abused the system to their own benefit and the people began to despise the whole concept of ‘church and money’. A prophet will pronounce judgment on Eli’s household and Samuel will ‘grow in favor with God and men’. Just like Jesus. Samuel is a type of Christ who knew his prophetic/priestly destiny from a young age. Jesus was in the Temple questioning the leaders at the age of 12, Samuel was serving the Lord at an even younger age.

 

(885)SAMUEL 3- Samuel is laying down at night and hears someone call him ‘Samuel’. He thinks it’s the voice of a man [Eli] and he goes to him and says ‘what’s up, why did you call me’? Eli tells him he didn’t call him. This happens 3 times and finally Eli realizes that the Lord is speaking to Samuel [though Samuel doesn’t realize it!]. Eli tells Samuel to simply reply ‘speak Lord, for thy servant heareth’. Sure enough the Lord returns and reveals to Samuel that he is going to judge Eli’s house and dynasty. Eli asks ‘what did the Lord tell you’? And Samuel tells it all. A few things. First, it’s possible for gifted young prophetic people to mistake men’s leadership for God. In Samuels’s case the Lord purposely bypassed human leadership. Even leadership that was God ordained to a degree! When we become over dependant on human leadership God will shake up the apple cart. Also Eli was still mature enough to direct Samuel towards the Lord. He knew it was not his job to mediate this gift. He could have been jealous and said ‘well, I guess you need to ignore the voice. After all who do you think you are trying to hear God while bypassing the official channels’. But Eli directed Samuel to the Lord. Also this chapter says ‘God let none of Samuels words fall to the ground’ all the people from Dan to Beer-Sheba knew that Samuel was a prophet. I have said in the past that true ministry does not seek fame and recognition. This does not mean that these things won’t happen! Often times God will elevate a prophetic gift while the person themselves are not seeking it. Jesus was a great example of this. He said in John’s gospel ‘I don’t seek the recognition from men, I know what’s in man’. What was in man? The same people who were extolling him would be part of the crowd who would yell ‘crucify him’ later on. The vanity of men’s glory is a shameful thing. Yet Jesus became the ‘most famous’ prophet in the history of the world. Samuel had a divine mission to accomplish, he was well recognized as a prophet sent from God for a particular season. Even Eli [the recognized official leadership] saw something special with Samuel, he was humble enough not to stand in the way.

 

(886)SAMUEL 4- DOES TRUE SCIENCE BACK UP BIBLICAL CREATIONISM? The reason I stuck this in here is because this chapter deals with the Ark of the Covenant [the box that ‘contained God’ or his ten commandments!]. I want to deal with the biblical revelation of Gods character  and how it relates to creation. Do you remember the Indiana Jones movies? The Raiders of the Lost Ark. They showed a view of the Ark of the covenant as God being this super energy/light force that if ‘unleashed’ would completely decimate everything around it. Sort of like an Atomic bomb. The biblical account of creation is that in the beginning [of time and all matter and everything else, except God] that all you had was this self existent all powerful being who is Spirit [not matter]. And that by a singular act of speaking he created all matter and everything else in our universe. This concept was rejected by philosophers and scientists for over 2 thousand years. Even Saint Thomas Aquinas, the premiere apologist of the Catholic Church, believed that the universe always existed. He chose to defend God from the idea of ‘prime mover’. That is God is the initiator of all motion. He accepted the basic belief that the universe always existed. So you had the biblical world view, as seen in those who said ‘all matter and existence came into being at a point in history where God [this being of infinite energy and light] spoke and unleashed his creative power’. The majority scientific view was ‘this is impossible’. The 20th century will go down in history as the century that made the most breakthroughs in scientific thought up until the present time. Michael Faraday [the 19th century] would unlock certain keys that would become the groundwork for Einstein’s breakthrough in Physics. Up until that time all science treated energy and matter as separate fields. Faraday discovered that light itself was a beam of energy. He discovered Electro Magnetism. Einstein had an obsession with light as a little boy. He wanted to know what it was, how it functioned. Einstein’s famous theory E= MC 2 combined energy and matter in a way that was revolutionary to the scientific world. For the first time science would view energy and matter as co related fields. What worked in one field was true for the other. His theory stands for ‘Energy = Matter times the square of the speed of light’ C represents the speed of light- 670 million miles per hour! Einstein unlocked a tremendous secret that was hidden to the world of science up until his day. He showed that time itself is relative. Until that time Newton’s view was if you could actually travel at the speed of light and ‘catch up’ to the end of a beam of light, that it would still be moving away from you at the speed of light. Einstein believed this didn’t make sense. But the laws of physics up until his time did not leave room for a reasonable explanation. His breakthrough idea was that if you could actually catch up to the speed of light, you would theoretically be at a point where time stood still. These concepts seemed ridiculous before. The only place where you would find such silly ideas as ‘time being no more’ or as ‘all matter came into existence by this supreme light force’ were in the ancient biblical texts. So true science was getting closer to biblical revelation, not the other way around. Now Einstein’s theory meant that if you not only caught up to the speed of light, but actually surpassed it, what would happen? The energy used to surpass the speed of light would turn into density, matter. So you would actually be able to get matter [Hebrews 11] from ‘things that are not seen’ [immaterial]. This theory also meant that if you could unleash the potential energy from matter, you would be unleashing one of the greatest forces known to man. The Atom Bomb. Einstein’s theory has been measured and been proven to be true. As hard as it is to wrap your mind around, studies have shown that things do not age as fast when traveling at high rates of speed for extended periods of time. Einstein’s theory has made possible the belief that all things came into existence at a specific point in time. This supreme being of light and energy had the potential to create all the matter in the universe in a matter of seconds. This ‘super fast light being’ also transcends time, a thing thought to have been impossible in the past. Einstein enabled man to come closer to the ‘stuff of God’ more than at any other time in history. One other thing, Einstein’s theories break down right at the point of ‘singularity’. The exact moment of creation. Hey, God isn’t going to let you see it all without having some faith! NOTE- I am not advocating Pantheism here [the belief that the universe and the creation itself are actually God]. Light and energy [power] and ‘Logos’ [The Greek word for ‘Word’] are all descriptions of God, that he himself uses to reveal himself to finite man. But because he is the creator of light and energy and all things, he is revealed to man by his creation. But God himself is a personal self existent being. In his revelation of himself thru Jesus Christ he also exists in a bodily resurrected state at the right hand of the majesty on high.

 

(887)SAMUEL 4 CONTINUED- Okay, let’s finish it up. In this chapter we see an important historical event, the capture of the Ark of the Covenant [the box that held the 10 commandments, not Noah’s Ark!] The children of Israel fight with the Philistines and take a loss of 4 thousand men. They go back to camp and regroup. They decide to take the Ark of God and involve it with human warfare. A big mistake! This speaks of the sad history of the crusades and other mistaken ideas of ‘holy war’. God does not involve himself in mans efforts of domination thru power. So the Philistines hear that the Ark is in the battle and they fear. ‘Oh my God, this is the God of Israel who defeated the Egyptians’. They knew the history of Israel and how the God of Israel was great. The battle rages and Israel takes a greater loss of 30 thousand men. Plus the Ark is captured and the two sons of Eli are killed. The runner runs back to Shiloh [the headquarters of the Ark, where the tabernacle of Moses still stood] and brings the terrible news to Eli [the high priest]. Eli hears about the Arks capture and falls back and breaks his neck and dies. One of the daughters in law to Eli goes into labor and delivers a boy. She names him Ichabod, which means God’s glory has departed. She did this because the Ark was taken. The Ark represented Gods glory and presence among the people. It seems as if Israel began to treat it in an idolatrous way. Sort of like what happened with the brass serpent that Moses made in the wilderness. God has to step in and rebuke his people when they mistake the true worship of God with religious objects. The history of the Christian church has been divided over this for centuries. You can have religious art, it should not become a thing of worship. The iconoclast controversy of the Catholic and Orthodox churches have gone to extremes on both sides. At times believers would go into the ‘churches’ and destroy all the religious art they found. Others would hold to a view of icons [religious paintings] and statues that would seem to cross the line in areas of worship. I remember hearing a story about a prophet who stood up in a church meeting and said ‘thus saith the Lord, I have judged this church and people. My glory is no longer here. I have written ‘Michelob’ on your door posts’. Well, after he sat down he realized he mistook the word ‘Michelob [beer]’ for ‘Ichabod’. He then stood up again and said ‘Thus saith the Lord, I meant to say Ichabod’.

 

(888)SAMUEL 5- The Philistines take the Ark back to their cities and every city the Ark is taken to experiences judgment. They get ‘tumors’ [hemorrhoids!] and rats. At one point they put the Ark in the ‘house of Dagon’ [a false idol. A fish head type thing with a human body] and the next morning their idol is found lying at the feet of the Ark. They set him up again and low and behold, the next morning the fish god is found at the foot of the Ark with his head and hands chopped off! Hey, if your god started as a fish and turned into a stump, then it’s time for a new god! Eventually they decide to send the Ark back to Israel. Let’s do a little history at this point. The Ark of God is the box that contained the 10 commandments. God had Moses make a box to put the tablets in [the 2 tablets that the commandments were written on]. The reason destruction will happen to those who ‘peak in the Ark’ is because the cover of the Ark was called ‘the Mercy seat’. This was the place where the high priest would make a yearly atonement [the Day of Atonement] for the sins of the people. The sacrificial blood was placed on the cover to be for a covering of sin. The Ten Commandments represented Gods Holy character, and the only way he could dwell with the people was on the basis of this atoning blood [a type of Christ]. When you remove the cover [the mercy seat] in essence you are causing the absolute righteousness of God to come into contact with the absolute sinfulness of man. That’s why those who peak in it are destroyed. Now the Ark was originally carried around with the tabernacle system in the wilderness. A sort of movable tent that was set up and taken down as God willed. A mobile piece of furniture. When the children of Israel came into the Promised Land it was placed in Shiloh. After it’s capture and return [which we will read about in the coming chapters] it will eventually be placed in the city of Jerusalem under King David’s rule. This tent that David puts it in is referred to as ‘David’s tabernacle/tent’. It will be a type of the new covenant ministry of Jesus. The tent of David will have no tabernacle structure like Moses tabernacle in Shiloh. There will be no veil or holy of holies or any other impediment to God’s presence. All you have is the Ark and the mercy seat. This showing us that in Jesus priesthood [typified by David’s kingly/priestly ministry] all you need is Jesus atonement and Gods glory. All have equal access to God, not just the priestly class [or another way to put it is all are priests!]. So as we progress thru these books keep your eyes open to the prophetic pictures that are being painted by the Spirit. All scripture testifies of Christ. He is the underlying figure that the Spirit is continually pointing to.

 

(889)SAMUEL 6- The Philistines are reeling under the judgment of God. They call a meeting of their priests and diviners, and they ask what they should do. Their ‘religious’ leaders advise them to send the Ark back to Israel and make an offering. They were to make gold images of their judgments, rats and tumors, and place them in a box with the Ark and send it on a cart being pulled by two cows. They would take the cows calves and bring them home, but place the cows and cart on a road to Beth Shemesh. If the cows go down the road, they took it as a sign from God. Sure enough the cows take the Ark to Beth Shemesh and dump the cart in a field belonging to Joshua. Israel rejoices that the Ark is back and sacrifices the cattle with the wood from the cart. Their joy is short lived. They peek in the Ark and are destroyed. They removed the ‘Mercy seat’ [see last chapter-#888]. Over fifty thousand men from Beth Shemesh are killed. They decide to send it to the men of Kirjath Jearim. Over the years I have seen this story used in various ways to justify different ‘ways of doing church’. Some taught how God judged Israel because they didn’t follow the prescribed methods of Ark handling. We will see this happen with David and his men later on. Then the teacher would relate how important it is for us to follow Gods prescribed method, but then teach ‘Gods method’ is their various slant on how ‘we should do church’. I see some good stuff from this story, but I don’t see it in that light. The Philistines were advised by their own pagan priests ‘don’t harden your hearts like Pharaoh’. The story of Gods miraculous intervention in Egypt became lore of the day. All the surrounding nations knew that you don’t mess with the God of Israel. God didn’t destroy the men of Beth Shemesh because they didn’t fully follow prescribed law [though later on this will be part of the problem with David’s men] but they died because they took themselves out from under the covering of Gods mercy as represented in the Mercy seat [the lid on the Ark]. A few years back a famous believer, Reggie White [former football pro.] was known for his Christian faith. He was later influenced by Muslim teaching and made the statement ‘I am going directly to God, without a ‘go between’ [meaning Christ]’. He obviously was influenced by Muslim teaching and was coming out from the ‘covering of Christ’ [mercy seat]. Sadly, Reggie tragically died not too long after this from a sickness. He died in the prime of his life. I do not want to judge Reggie. I simply want to show you the danger of sinful men [all of us!] trying to approach a Holy God without the ‘mercy seat’ [Cross]. The men of Beth Shemesh removed the covering, and they suffered for it.

 

(890)SAMUEL 7- The Ark arrives at Abinadab’s house in Kirjath Jearim, it will remain there until David retrieves it [it was there for around 100 years in total-1100 BC- 1004 BC]. Samuel calls the people to repentance and makes intercession for them at the same time. This leads to great victory over the enemy. Jesus ‘lives forever to make continual intercession for us’. We need to combine repentance and dependence upon Christ’s mediation in order to gain victory. This chapter also has the famous name ‘Ebenezer’ that makes it into the history of the church. Both songs and churches will use it in their names. Martin Luther King preached at Ebenezer Baptist church. This stone was simply a rock of remembrance for the victory of God. It spoke of Gods help for man. Jesus is the ultimate ‘stone/rock of defense’ for man. Scripture says ‘there is no rock like the Lord’ ‘Jesus is the precious stone, all who believe will be delivered’. The imagery of Jesus/God as a rock of defense is all throughout scripture. We see Samuel as the key leader of Israel and scripture says he judged them at this time. He lived in Ramah and ‘rode a circuit’ between the various cities on a rotating basis. He was the first ‘circuit rider’! The circuit riders were the famous American evangelists during the 19th century. As the Puritan east coast churches were becoming well established in the original colonies, there was a need to reach out to the West [and south] with the gospel. The circuit riders were the evangelists who traveled to various areas preaching the gospel and establishing churches [The great Methodist Frances Asbury became famous for his circuit riding and church planting]. During this time you had the famous ‘camp meetings’ where many believers from all over would gather at these outdoor ‘brush arbors’ and hear the gospel preached and commit their lives to the Lord. Over time the more staid Reformed churches of the east coast would view the ‘camp meeting’ brothers as a little ‘un hinged’. You would also have some of the ‘Spirit led’ groups condemn the old time reformed brothers as ‘unconverted’. There was a tendency to lean towards one side or the other. The various Quaker [shaker] type groups would emphasize the Spirit being premiere in all Christian understanding. While this is of course true, this in no way means believers do not learn thru the normal means of study and reading. Some of the more ‘Spirit minded’ believers would come to view the more ‘head knowledge’ brothers as ‘unconverted’. One of the worst cases was the Ann Hutchison controversy. She was a believer who began teaching under the ‘Spirits guidance’ and would give the impression that the more refined ministers were not of God. She would ultimately pay with her life for her beliefs.  NOTE- The terminology of ‘New lights’ versus ‘Old lights’ was often used to describe the different emphasis between these 2 camps. There was a brother by the name of Davenport who would travel around and accuse all of the old time preachers as being unconverted. While it is possible for a minister to have never truly made a strong commitment to Christ, to paint them all with this broad brush was very unbalanced.

 

(891)SAMUEL 8- Samuel’s sons are appointed as judges over Israel [leaders]. They are wicked, just like the sons of Eli. I find this interesting, Samuel was a product to some degree of his ‘spiritual elder’. Even though Samuel himself was a righteous man, yet he passed on to his kids the same leadership style that he tutored under. The children of Israel come to him and request a king ‘like the other nations’. It is important to see that God states clearly that this is not part of ‘the original plan’. God will tell Samuel that this desire for human leadership, along the lines of other ‘gentile nations’ is rebellion. Jesus will tell the disciples ‘the gentiles exercise lordship over one another, it shall not be like this with you’. Israel wanted to be dominated by a king! God tells Samuel to show them what they are asking for. And then goes thru a long list of things ‘he will take the best of your people and use them for self advancement. He will require a tenth of all you have. He will build a legacy for himself and his name by using you as resources to attain a personal goal of achievement’. In essence the lord is warning them that when you raise up human leadership in a singular way [one king] that violates the plural mindset of scripture, then you inevitably will become a servant to human institutions and purposes. I find it interesting that the Lord mentions the tithe and how this will arise as a result of wrong ideas on what leadership should be. Historically the early church did not practice tithing. As the centuries rolled along tithing was originally instituted as a ‘tax’ from the church/state on the people to support the institutional purposes of the church/state. In essence the tithe/tenth did become a means whereby human government would obtain power and prestige among the gentile nations. The word of the Lord was true! [It’s okay for believers to give 10 % to the church on Sunday, the curse of the law on those who do not do this should not be invoked from Malachi. The appeal should be based on grace giving]. Israel will get her king, God will eventually use the Kings of Israel for his prophetic purposes. David and Solomon will be pictures of Jesus and his future rule. Just like the temple, God will initially tell David ‘who do you think you are trying to build a house for me’? [Thru the prophet Nathan] but will still use the temple as a prophetic type of the people of God being a ‘holy temple’. So the Lord will allow sinful man to obtain things contrary to his original purpose, and yet still be glorified thru these requests. Also the sons of Samuel went astray ‘after lucre’ [verse 3]. Just like Paul and Peters warnings in the New Testament ‘taking the oversight, not for filthy lucre’ ‘some have strayed from the faith while coveting money’ so Samuels boys fell to this temptation. I know it’s popular in today’s circles to simply overlook all these verses from scripture. Many sincere men do not see them because their ‘grid’ of interpretation won’t allow it. I just wanted to note how this theme of covetousness is a scarlet thread that runs thru out the entire body of scripture.

 

(892)SAMUEL 9- This is a prophetic chapter that parallels the book of Acts to a degree. Remember when we did Acts I showed you how it seemed that Paul [Saul] from Benjamin might have seen some prophetic significance to the fact that he too shared the same name and heritage [Benjamite] as Israel’s first king? Here we see Samuel play a roll similar to Ananias [Acts 9] in hearing the lord give instructions concerning Saul. Both Paul and Saul were told to go into a city and receive instructions. The lord confirms his word to Samuel that ‘this is the man I told you about’. Both Ananias and Samuel have prophetic signs that confirm the sovereign choice of God. Saul in this chapter is seeking for his fathers lost donkeys. They are about to give up and Saul’s servant says ‘there is a man in the city who hears from God’. Samuel had a reputation of being a prophet [seer]. Seers [another word for prophet. There is some distinction between a ‘prophet seer’ and ‘prophet’. But they are basically the same thing in my mind] were able ‘to see’ into the future about things. Samuel is said to be able to ‘tell Saul the secrets of his heart’. His words ‘come to pass’. He has God communicating to him in a direct way. Samuel is like Agabus in the book of Acts. A prophet who experienced God in supernatural ways. Samuel confirms Gods call on Saul’s life and tells him ‘I have some instructions to give you’ [next chapter!] What role did Samuel play in Israel? He obviously functioned in a prophetic gift that not only predicted what would come to pass, but also gave direction and spiritual oversight to Gods people. The New Testament teaching on prophets clearly teaches that they are part of the functioning ministry of the church. There have been many heresies and mistakes and even cultic ‘prophets’. But the basic teaching in scripture is they are a God ordained ministry that never passed away. We should approach prophets as we do pastors or teachers or any other gift. Are they stable in the faith? Do they have a good grasp of scripture? Good character? All the same principles that apply for Elders. The idea that after the canon of scripture was complete there were no more apostles or prophets has no scriptural support [read my section on apostolic, covering, shepherding]. Both church history and scripture support the ongoing role of prophets in the church. Now, I really doubt that all the fine brothers who declare themselves as prophets are. Some are learning about the gift. Some are functioning at various prophetic levels. But the office carries a lot of weight with it. I see Martin Luther King as a prophetic voice to our nation. He actually spoke of his death in a prophetic way the night before he was assassinated. There are also prophetic voices in history who spoke to their nation and people at crucial times. Alexander Solzenitzen [Russia] would speak out against repressive regimes. But we need to understand that the basic revelatory element of the prophetic [to be able to see and know things supernaturally] was included in the biblical gift of the prophet.

 

(893)SAMUEL 10- Samuel anoints Saul with oil. He gives him very specific prophetic direction ‘you will meet 2 men, then 3. They will be carrying 3 loaves of bread and give you 2’. Very particular information. Saul will meet a company of prophets and prophesy with them. The scripture says the Lord changed Saul into another man thru this prophetic experience. Once again we see not only the significance of Israel being under the divine direction of the prophetic [thru Samuel]. But his prophetic office also opened the door for a ‘whole company of prophets’ having freedom to function in their gifts. Over the years I have found it interesting to see how easy it is to live your entire Christian experience in different camps. Some of the more refined brothers [Reformed, Orthodox] have a great advantage in the field of intellectual pursuit [which is a good thing!] but might not be aware of the sector in the church that deals with the prophetic. The prophetic ministry has grown and even produced some fine intellectual material [some bad stuff too!] The point is we need to try and be aware [at least have a working knowledge] of the many streams that operate in the Body of Christ. You might not agree with a lot of the doctrinal positions that these various groups hold to, but as members of Christ’s church they do represent a certain sector of the church. Saul will follow thru and see all the prophetic signs come to pass in one day. Samuel instructs him to wait for him to come and publicly recognize him as king. After 7 days Samuel comes to town and Saul is hiding. He feared all the things that were coming upon him. Samuel finds him and publicly recognizes him. Also Samuel told the people that their choice of a human king was rejection of God. Some of the people are glad about Saul, others despise him from the start. There is a strange dynamic that I have seen at work over the years. When individual personalities and goals pit themselves against other people’s visions, there seems to be a division that is not healthy. I have had good friends who wanted to publicly join and be identified with ‘my ministry’. I would simply tell them ‘there really is nothing to join, we are simply believers trying to live out the Kingdom of God’. Then other pastors would see that some of the homeless people that they are working with have become ‘joined’ to us in a strong relational way. Then I would sense a kind of mindset that would say to the homeless person ‘well, if brother John has such good influence with you, maybe you should be with him instead of us’. They would not say this in a bad way, just in a way that is prevalent in the present mindset of ‘doing church’. I see all these divisions as silly, they come from an idea of local church that has many various ‘local churches’ [Christian ministries] as seeing themselves as independent entities who are trying to instill loyalty in people. ‘Are you with us or against us’ type attitudes. In Saul’s case he had friends and enemies right from the start. When individual personalities and agendas [which God warned them about!] become preeminent in the minds of the people [contrary to the corporate comminutes as seen in the local churches in scripture] then there is a natural tendency to take sides.

 

(894)SAMUEL 11- Saul will face his first major test. Nahash the ammonite comes up against Jabesh Gilead, a fellow tribe in Israel. He encamps against them and the men of Jabesh say ‘make a deal with us and we will be your servants’. Nahash says ‘under one condition, all your men need to have their right eyes poked out’. ‘Oh, is that all’. Sure enough Jabesh says ‘well, let us think about it. Give us seven days respite that we can send messengers to all the coasts of Israel. Maybe they will come and help. If not, then sure, we are willing to lose the eyes’! Now the messengers go to all Israel, and Saul hears the story. The scripture says he got angry and Gods Spirit came upon him. Saul will eventually become known for his temper. He will make rash decisions out of anger and jealousy. I want you to see that part of his anger was actually God ordained. Sort of like a Jehu [king of Israel] who rode furiously. Or a John the Baptist who took the Kingdom by force and violence. Saul was initially scared to become the king, God gave him a degree of righteous fury to be able to enter the fray without fear. Now Saul sends word back to Jabesh ‘by the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will have help’. He takes these oxen and cuts them in pieces and sends the parts to the rest of the nation ‘whoever doesn’t come and help. God so help me, I will do this to your oxen too’! [ It would have sounded better if he said ‘so will I do to you’. But Saul is still kinda new at the prophetic stuff]. So Israel rallies, Saul splits the men into 3 groups [did he get this idea from Gideon’s army?] and they storm Nahash and save Jabesh. A few things. Saul is better at this king thing then originally thought. The men are so overjoyed that they say ‘hey, who were those guys that rejected Saul the other day? Lets go and slay them’. Saul steps in and acts righteously and says ‘no, today is a day of great victory, we will not kill our own men’. Saul had the potential to be a good king, he will succumb to pride and jealousy down the road. Also the men of Jabesh were in trouble. They were running out of options. They were contemplating losing their eyes for heavens sake! ‘Just give up part of your vision’ was the threat. The enemy often intimidates us because of the vision/purpose that God places on our lives. If he can just get us to ‘lose the vision’ and live in bondage [servitude] he will be happy. What did the men of Jabesh do? They simply bought some time ‘give us 7 days respite and we will see what we can come up with’. There are times in the journey where we simply need ‘7 days of rest and rethinking’. When you are right up against a seemingly impossible struggle, it’s hard to see any light. You simply need to be able to sit back and tell the Lord ‘give me a little season of rest, help me refocus on some things’. Do a little regrouping and reconnecting to the original purpose. Don’t think you need to come up with an answer on day One! Often times the stress and pressure of the initial attack is too much for you to think clearly on day one. Don’t make major life changing decisions while under stress. After the 7 days pass, you will be able to review the counsel from the Lord and see if the situation has improved. Make your decision then.

 

(895)SAMUEL 12- Samuel is getting old. He calls the people together and reviews his life before them. His defense sounds a lot like Paul’s defense to the Ephesian elders in the book of Acts [chapter 20]. Samuel tells the people ‘all the time I have been with you, did I ever take your goods to enrich myself? Did I use my authority in a way to advance myself?’ he basically witnesses before the people that he was not in this for self gain. He also reviews the history of Israel. He reminds them of their past and how the Lord delivered them from Egypt. It is important to see that although Samuel was a great prophet who operated in tremendous gifts, yet he saw the need to also ground the people in history and doctrine. He knew the importance of remembering past events. Both the Passover and the Lords Table are Divine instances of ‘remembrance’ that God has ordained for his people. Samuel will once again rebuke them for rejecting God by choosing a king. He will call down thunder and rain during their wheat harvest as a sign of Gods anger. The people see this and fear greatly ‘pray to the Lord for us Samuel, we have sinned’. He encourages them and tells them ‘even though you have done lots of wrong stuff, yet it’s not too late to turn to the Lord from this day forward and make a course correction’. In all reproving and correcting we need to always leave room for repentance. Some will never change the way ‘they think and act’ [message bibles version of repentance] but we need to understand that this is the goal of all correction and judgment. Samuel tells the people he will ‘not cease praying for them’ and continue to teach them well. Jesus told Peter ‘if you love me, feed my sheep’. John says ‘this is how we can tell we love God, when we love his kids and obey his commands’. What is Jesus command? ‘Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and might. And thy neighbor as thyself’. Samuel realizes that his faithfulness to God is directly related to his treatment of Gods people. Though he is a gifted prophet, yet he prays and teaches and remains consistent in the more mundane areas of ‘the ministry’. I have found that God looks for faithfulness in the mundane things before he honors the more flagrant gifts. It’s good to have the ability to speak or prophesy or sing for the Lord, but the need to be a consistent intercessor for God’s people takes priority. Samuel taught them history. He oversaw the problems and situations they went thru. He did not become wealthy from the people. He served the lord faithfully from his youth. Hannah gave him to the Lord at a very young age, God took what was given and made the most out of it.

 

(896)SAMUEL 13- DON’T RETREAT TOO MUCH! In this chapter we see the famous story of Saul offering a burnt offering at Gilgal. He was supposed to wait for Samuel and he got impatient and offered it himself. Samuel tells him that the Lord will judge him severely for this and raise up a man after his own heart [David]. In the beginning of the chapter we see Saul and Jonathan separate into 2 camps, Saul keeps 2 thousand men and Jonathan a thousand. Jonathan is a capable warrior and has some good victories. The Philistines say ‘enough is enough!’ and mount a counter attack. They muster so many resources that Israel fears. They retreat into the rocks and hills, some go back over the Jordan! I read a recent Christianity today article that had one of the leaders of the Emergent Movement speaking with one of the more Reformed defenders of the faith. It was a sincere meeting between two seemingly opposing camps. The Emergent brother questioned the Reformed guy ‘what did you tell the people about what was taught in the first thousand years of Christianity before Anselm’? Anselm is the great Christian theologian who is often credited for ‘coming up’ with the ‘theory of Penal substitution’. Now, I love church history and do understand that this is an idea that many good men have espoused, that Anselm came up with the doctrine of Penal substitution. The point I want to make is this fundamental doctrine was taught by the first century Apostles. Our scripture is filled with the doctrine of Penal substitution! So in these cases I think the Emergent brothers have ‘retreated too much’. In their honest and good efforts of changing the way the church interacts with society, they have damaged their movement by doing stuff like this. Challenging too many core beliefs of the faith. In essence they went ‘all the way back over the Jordan’. The Philistines learn a trick from Israel and divide up into three groups and send out ‘raiders’ my King James says ‘spoilers’. They begin chipping away at the confidence of Israel. Saul has 600 men left with him and they are all trembling. Saul himself must be in tremendous doubt about his own life. He just received a strong rebuke from Samuel. He might have been preparing for the worst. But we will find out that there are still more battles to be won, Jonathan will make his dad proud of him.

 

(897)SAMUEL 14- Saul and the people are hiding in fear, Jonathan tells his armor bearer ‘Lets go up to the enemy and show ourselves. If they tell us ‘come here’ we will take it as a sign from the Lord and fight. God can save by many or by few’. They go up and defeat around 20 men in half an acre of land. The scripture says the enemy trembled and the earth as well! It seems like the Lord shook things up, literally! [Another reminder of the book of Acts]. Saul and his people see the enemy fleeing and can’t figure out what’s happened. He takes a quick roll call and realizes Jonathan is gone. They figure out what has happened and enter the fray. The people pursue the enemy and have great victory. Saul says ‘let no man eat today until the sun goes down’. He begins making community wide decisions that are harmful to the people. Jonathan doesn’t hear this rash decision and eats some honey. The people are shocked. They know the curse of Saul. They finally win the battle and they seek the Lord for further instructions. God is silent. Saul figures it’s because there is sin in the camp and they find out that Jonathan was the one who ate the honey. Jonathan says ‘yea, I did eat it, and now I must die’? Sort of like ‘what a stupid and rash thing for you to have said! The people were all tired and drained because of following your singular ideas that were pronounced to the whole community. They would have gained strength if they simply did what was natural and ate when they were hungry’. Saul honors his stupid agenda over his own son and says ‘that’s right, you must die’. He was more willing to kill his son then to admit he was wrong.  The people stand up with one voice and say ‘no way Saul, Jonathan has won a great victory. You will not get away with this’! What happened here? Was Saul so inherently evil that he couldn’t help himself? I think what we see here is the result of the mistake for Israel to have wanted a king like the other nations. When the church historically began to be centered around singular authority figures [monarchial episcopacy] you began to loose the freedom and health of the people of God to ‘feed themselves when hungry’. They began to become dependant upon the institutional church to tell them about God and his truth. Eventually you would have the modern expression of highly entrepreneurial ministries that would find well meaning Pastors trying to make corporate wide decisions in ways that were absent from the local churches in scripture. When the people of God lean too heavily on the gifts and leadings of one man, there is a tendency for the leader to come up with goals and decrees that are contrary to the full purpose of God. It is inherent in man to set goals and make broad decisions. That’s not wrong in itself. But the people of God in scripture are formed along the lines of a community of people, not a 501c3 corporation. So the well meaning Pastors have a natural tendency to say ‘what decisions should I make for the church this year? What goals and dreams should we put before the people’ and this inevitably leads to entire communities of believers being too focused on the singular directions of well meaning men. I think Saul simply came up with things to say because he felt he needed to exert leadership. God’s people really didn’t need Saul from the start! As far as I can see from reading the New Testament, the only corporate ‘goal’ or project that Paul would put before the people was his collecting of money for the poor. Now of course there were many spiritual goals of growth and becoming mature believers who praise and glorify God. But I don’t see any other ‘project’ that Paul was regularly laying before the people to join. No structure in the churches of scripture where Paul would say ‘Now Corinth, when I come back next year lets see 50 house churches, reaching 48 % of this region. And oh yes, lets raise this much money for this project’. Much of the modern church is too centered around these types of pleas. The many well meaning men who are operating out of good intentions for the most part are ‘just doing what kings [leaders- C.E.O.’s] are supposed to do’. The fundamental flaw is God never originally intended for his people to be structured along these lines. Many up and coming believers are seeing this and coming out of these limited structures. They are telling Saul with one corporate voice ‘you wont get away with this anymore’. [‘Saul’ in this scenario is not your individual Pastor, who for the most part is probably a good man who loves God. But ‘Saul’ is speaking to the whole concept of modern pastoral ministry that is absent from the churches in scripture].

 

(898)SAMUEL 15- Samuel instructs Saul to go and wipe out the Amalekites. He goes and conquers the city but saves the sheep and oxen and other valuables. Samuel confronts Saul and says ‘you disobeyed the Lord by not totally destroying everything’. Saul says ‘Well, we saved the good stuff so we could sacrifice it to the lord’. Samuel tells him ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’. God wanted obedience more than religious worship. The writer of Hebrews quotes David in the Psalms ‘sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a Body hast thou prepared me’. Jesus obedience to the father by dying on a Cross trumped the sacrificial system of the law. Saul messed up the picture! Samuel calls for king Agag, the Amalekite king who Saul captured. Agag thinks ‘great, they aren’t going to harm me now. After all the Pastor wants me’! Well surprise, Samuel takes out his sword and hacks old Agag in pieces! Saul must of thought ‘Gee, I really messed up this time. I never even knew the Pastor carried a blade’. A few things. Over the next century or so [if the Lord tarries] I believe the church is going to go thru a type of modern reformation. Today we see many well meaning believers ‘sacrificing’ their time and money and lives into a system of church that is fundamentally disconnected from the picture and nature of church as described in the New Testament. Now, I am not calling for an iconoclastic tearing down of all church buildings! But if the American church stopped all new building programs [finish the ones that are in transit, but no more!] and if we all began actually, daily giving of our time and resources to helping the poor and reaching out to the lost. We would need a hundred years at least in order to bring the balance back to the New Testament [where over 90 % of all giving was charitable]. Jesus and the disciples practiced a lifestyle where all were responsible to lay their lives down for the gospel. There are actual commands in scripture that say ‘you who are not working, get a job so you can have something to give away to those who are in need’. These are real commands that should be ‘obeyed’. But what we have taught Gods people is if they work real hard and sacrifice [as compared to obeying !] then they can put lots of money in towards the next project or building or whatever. Now some of the resources being gathered in this way are used for good things, but the underlying problem is we have given the average saint the impression that this way of sacrificing is more important than actually obeying. I cant tell you the number of believers who simply do not see it as their personal responsibility to ‘give to him that asks of you’ ‘how does Gods love dwell in you if you see a brother in need and don’t help’ ‘if you do it to the least of these my brethren you do it to me’. But there is not a single command in all of the New Testament to bring a tithe for the purpose of building a church facility. Now, it’s okay to build them to a degree, but are we teaching people that this type of sacrificial giving [towards the machinery of modern ministry] releases them from the primary command to obey? The church will go thru a rethinking of what church means, as we travel along this road we need to obey more than to sacrifice.

 

(899)SAMUEL 16- Samuel is coming from the recent ‘hacking incident’ of king Agag, and the Lord tells him to go to Bethlehem and anoint a new king. Samuel is afraid ‘what if Saul hears about it? He will kill me’. Notice, Samuel feels intimidated and fearful. When he gets to Bethlehem the scripture says the Elders were all in a panic, they said ‘are you come in peace’? Hey, they just heard about the hacking incident, word spreads fast when a prophet straps it on with some pagan! They must have been thinking Samuel was on a warpath. He tells them he is come in peace and wants to sacrifice with them and worship. As a little aside, when you have prophetic ministers in a city, it’s only natural that Elders [pastors] are going to feel intimidated. Why? Are prophets better men? No, but the prophetic operates under a different type of anointing. Don’t forget you already saw Samuel gain a reputation among the people because of his strong prophetic gift. Sometimes pastors can feel intimidated ‘geez, that guy hit the nail on the head. I hope he doesn’t call me out by name too!’ Samuel doesn’t ‘call them out’ but says ‘hey Elders, where all in this together. Let’s worship God’. Samuel finds David and anoints him. Saul is battling with all sorts of personal issues [evil spirit]. Even his close associates can pick up on it. The servants recommend for Saul to get a worshipper who can play music and minister to Saul. They tell him ‘yeah, there is this guy named David. He’s real good at playing music. Plus he is a valiant and mighty warrior’. We often see David as a ‘mamby pamby mamma’s boy’ at this stage of his life. But scripture says he already built up a reputation as a fighter. David takes the job and becomes a musician for Saul. A few thoughts. In this chapter we see Gods Spirit [anointing] leaving Saul and going with David. David himself in Psalms pleas with the Lord ‘take not thy Holy Spirit from me’ after his sin with Bathsheba. Let me encourage some of my Pastor friends. It’s easy to read stuff like this, or for some ‘prophet’ to pronounce stuff like this to a pastor. I really don’t see applying this scenario to modern day ministers. God’s Spirit in the Old Testament was operating differently than today. Only one king at a time could have the ‘kingly anointing’. When the Spirit left Saul for David it was because God was only anointing one person for the job. Today, while it’s possible for a pastor/minister to mess up and ruin his ministry, I still wouldn’t apply stuff like this in too much of a personal way. Sort of like ‘The Lord must have left me and now he’s chosen so and so on the other side of town’. The Lord ‘doesn’t leave you’ in this way under the New Covenant. Paul said the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, in context he is speaking of natural Israel, but you can also apply it to believer’s gifts today. How much God uses you does depend on your willingness and obedience to his call, but don’t think he left ‘your church’ and went to the other one down the street! [he hasn’t written ‘Michelob’ on your door! See entry 887]

 

(900)SAMUEL 17- David goes down to the battle front and hears Goliath mocking God. The Philistines are confronting Israel and they have their champion giant [almost 10 feet tall! Like the Roman emperor Maximus, he was huge] Goliath. David hears the enemy challenge Israel day after day and he decides to take him on. Saul tells him ‘you can’t do this, you are too young and inexperienced, he is a man of war from his youth’! David insists that he is able, he killed a lion and bear while defending his fathers sheep, why not ‘this uncircumcised rascal’! Saul says ‘fine, hears my armor’. David tries it on and realizes it’s not his style of armor. He goes back to the simplicity of a sling and stone. He goes out to the battle, Goliath can’t believe his eyes ‘did you send me some mammas boy with a stick? I am not some dog that you can tame with a stick’! Oh really? David says ‘sir, not only will I win this thing, but I will remove your stinking pagan head from off that 10 foot frame and feed you and your buddy’s carcasses to the animals’! Old Saul must of been thinking ‘what in the world did we get ourselves into’? Sure enough the battle begins and David runs up to the giant and sinks a stone into his head. He stands over him and severs his head with his own sword. Now the poor Philistines heard the whole conversation and didn’t want to hang around for the rest of David’s mission statement to be fulfilled. They fled! Israel pursues and has a great victory. A few things; David show us the necessity and simplicity of warfare. Jesus taught the disciples that they had what it took to carry out the mission. He warned them not to fall for the wrong headed idea of ‘God has called us to start an organization, and the organization will accomplish this noble task’. After all the years of befriending and working with the homeless and down and out. I realize that many well meaning believers will see the needs of people, but then want to ‘put on Saul’s armor’ to effect change. Try and start another mission ministry, or make others aware of the problem. I have found the biggest need to be that people are simply not willing to actually give their time and substance and get involved. Jesus told the disciples ‘don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this, you are the equipment. No special appeals for funds!’ [Message bible]. We get lost in trying to put on Saul’s armor [lot’s of complicated ministry ideas] when Jesus says ‘just use the stone and sling that I have given you’. The church of Jesus needs to realize that the power to effect society is in the hands of simple followers, truly the meek will inherit the earth.

 

(901)SAMUEL 18- David is accepted by Saul and seen as a hero. Upon his victory over the giant all the women begin praising and worshipping in the streets with tambourines and musical instruments. Why this exuberant awakening of the women of Israel? It seems to me that David’s skill as a warrior/worshiper brought a degree of respect to the ministry of praise and music that might have been lacking up until this time. Even though the Lord instilled worship as an intricate part of warfare [Judah=praise], yet it seems likely that being a musician during a time in Israel’s history where violence and war were respected might have been seen as a less than noble pursuit. So David restored a sort of freedom and respectability to praise. Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, becomes ‘linked’ to David in a strong way. Some advocates of the gay lifestyle have actually tried to use this scripture to defend the gay lifestyle, but it seems to simply be saying that Jonathan and David became best of friends. What might have caused this initial bonding? Don’t forget Jonathan himself was a warrior who was willing to lay it all on the line against great odds. He already confronted the enemy single-handedly and won! It’s possible that during Goliaths 40 days of mocking and tempting Israel that Jonathan said ‘I’ll do it dad’ and Saul would have never allowed his own son to face the giant. If so then the victory of David was even sweeter to Jonathan than the others. David begins receiving praise from the people because of his wisdom and skill on the battlefield. Jealousy arises in Saul and he tries to kill David with a spear. This begins the history of Saul trying to kill David on various occasions and David’s noble responses. Never trying to hurt Saul himself. Let’s end this chapter with a re-cap of the open type worship that is happening with the women under David’s ministry. It is much like the taboo that Jesus broke in the gospels. Jesus ministry was revolutionary in the way he welcomed and allowed women to be an open part of his ministry. The other written works of the day did not see women from this open standpoint. This is one of the proofs used to defend the canonicity of the scripture. If the stories were all being made up, then you would never include women in this way. Because it would tend to discourage others from believing the story! Jesus broke barriers, David’s ministry and rule will be a picture of the restoration of the dignity and usefulness of women in society. David’s Psalms were actually the song book of the nation. These songs were written during the time of David’s ministry in Jerusalem when the tent of David was the only thing containing the retrieved Ark of the Covenant. A type of the open access that would come to all people under the future ministry of Jesus. David was not only a great warrior, he was a passionate worshipper of his God.

 

(902)SAMUEL 19- Saul puts out the word to his men ‘if you see David kill him’! Jonathan tells David ‘go hide in the field and I will go out where you are and speak on your behalf to my father. Then I will come and tell you all the words he has spoken’. Jonathan speaks well to Saul on David’s behalf and David is restored back into the presence of the king. I see Jesus intercession ministry here. Jesus goes to the father on our behalf, we ‘rest in a hiding place’ [in Christ] while he speaks well of us to the father. He ‘gives us the words that the father has given him’ [Johns gospel] and we are restored back into the ‘presence of the king’. But in David’s case the restoration doesn’t last long. David will flee to Samuel in Ramah, Saul sends his men to get David. Each time they show up they are confronted with this prophetic weapon of intercession in the hand of the lead prophet, Samuel. Samuel is prophesying over a company of prophets and Saul’s men ‘fall under the Spirit of prophecy’ and prophesy too! This happens with 3 different groups of men until Saul himself comes. The same thing happens with him. The ministry of prophecy testifies of Christ. The gift itself is a Divine mechanism in the community of God that protects/defends Gods anointed king [David/Jesus]. Samuels’s gift was meant for more than just personal fulfillment, a ‘my ministry’ mentality. He was overseeing a company of prophets and instilling this dynamic into the broader community of Israel. In the church today prophets should function along the lines of building into the broader community for the overall benefit of the church. There have been good men who have operated in the prophetic gift for many years. They have raised up younger prophetic ministries under them and have lived very effective prophetic lives for many years. It is sad that many in the Body of Christ have no idea of this entire section of the church. Because of abuses and flagrant bad doctrine, many simply live their entire lives without ever experiencing the prophetic aspect of Christ’s church. In this story we see the prophetic ministry, under Samuel, playing a key role in the life of Gods people. NOTE- One example of a modern day prophetic ministry that has been stable and has launched many young prophets would be Bishop Bill Hammon out of Florida. He has been around for years and has had a very influential ministry over the lives of many good young men.

 

(904)SAMUEL 20- David is on the run, he tells Jonathan ‘why is your dad trying to kill me? I have done nothing wrong!’ Jonathan tells David that he knows nothing about it, it must be a rumor. David says ‘no, your dad knows you like me, he isn’t telling you because he thinks you will reveal it to me’. Jonathan says ‘my dad does nothing unless he reveals it to me’. A type of Jesus in John’s gospel. David says ‘I’ll prove it. Tomorrow is a feast day, I am supposed to sit at the kings table. Instead I will hide in the field for 3 days [a type of Jesus in the grave] and when you are eating with Saul, if he says ‘where’s David’ and gets irate, then the cat is out of the bag’. So the plan is launched and Saul holds the dinner. On day two he asks Jonathan ‘where’s old David today, I noticed he has been missing’. Jonathan says ‘Oh, I let him go to his home town for a special family thing’. Saul says ‘thou son of that rebellious women’! You think he went for the bait? Sure enough Jonathan confirms to David that he was right and they make a covenant to always respect and protect each other and their future kids. This will come back to David down the road when he spares a relative of Jonathan. Saul confronted Jonathan and said ‘why are you protecting David? As long as he lives you will never be established’. Saul knew that Jonathan’s success was dependent on David’s downfall. Jonathan was very noble, he didn’t see the success of another Israelite as something to compete with. Leaders often fall into this trap of comparing their ‘ministries’ with so and so. I feel the wrong idea’s of local church breed this attitude. When we see ‘local church’ as the various independent Christian businesses that are all trying to accomplish tasks, then this breeds this competitive spirit. When we see ‘local church’ as the entire family of believers in our city [Jonathans family mindset] then we will overcome the spirit of competition.

 

(905)SAMUEL 21- David is fleeing from Saul and he goes to the priest at Nob. The priest wonders what’s up. David tells him he is on a special assignment from the king and he and his men need food. The priest tells him the only food available is the consecrated bread that is only for God and the priesthood. David convinces the priest to let them eat and David asks ‘do you have any weapons here’. The priest says ‘I have the sword you used to kill the giant’ David says ‘great, that will work just fine’. Jesus used this story to describe himself and the disciples [Mark 2]. One day Jesus and the disciples were going thru the grain fields and the disciples picked the grain and ate it on the Sabbath. The Pharisees said ‘your disciples are breaking Gods law by picking it on the Sabbath’. Now, to be honest they were breaking the over extended ideas that the religious Pharisees came up with thru their legalism. But Jesus still used this example as a defense. He says ‘have you not read what David and his men did? They ate the ceremonial showbread that was not lawful, only the priests could eat it’. David and his men are a symbol of Jesus and his men. While it is true that the bread was only lawful for the priests, David is a king/priest who gets away with doing ‘priestly things’ because of his picture of Christ. Scripture says he put on an ephod [priestly garment] which only priests could do. David functioned before the open Ark in Jerusalem. He did things that other kings were punished for [Saul, Uzziah]. Jesus in essence was saying to the Pharisees ‘I am the new priest/king from which all future law and worship will be measured by. Me and my followers are not under the law, the law serves us’! In Christ we are free from the guilt of the law, we live above legalism and follow the master. David and his men were acting like priests and kings contrary to the economy of their day. David was a type of Jesus whose future priestly ministry would ‘out trump’ the law.

 

(906)SAMUEL 22- David escapes to the cave at Adullam. As he is in hiding the scripture says ‘when his family and friends heard where he was, they gathered to him’. Notice, David is beginning to enter into a time of rule and authority. He was already anointed by Samuel, but this is where the rubber meets the road. He already won some battles, but that was still under Saul’s reign. Now he’s on his own. It’s not that easy! Sort of like when the sparring partners turn pro and think ‘I can whip the champ, I’ve done it already in the ring’. But then when they get in for real, it’s another story. The prophet Gad tells David ‘don’t stay in the place of hiding, get out and go to Judah’. Judah is a place of praise. When we are on the run and are not sure what’s going to happen next, we have a tendency to ‘go into hiding’. Now, sometimes it’s good to find a place of rest and hiding, but these are not permanent positions! We eventually need to escape to a place of praise. At this point David’s men are at around 400 strong, just the right number to start a movement! I believe we all have the potential to be ‘church planters’. If you have the tools to effectively speak into at least 400 people on a consistent prophetic basis, then you can do it! Hey, start a blog, it’s free! Now Saul finds out where David’s at and goes after him. He tells his men ‘why did none of you take my side, or feel sorry for me? Can David give you stuff like I can?’ The brother was making campaign promises for heavens sake! Notice how fear and paranoia were affecting Saul’s mind. He was having a pity party. He is told by one of his men how the priests at Nob helped David, and Saul calls for them and kills the entire company of priests. One son escapes, Abiathar, and tells David what happened. David takes him under his wing. A few things, when we are in the battle and are not sure what’s happening, we have a tendency to draw back. Now, it’s fine to have a period of rest and renewal, it’s just not supposed to be a permanent place! You also have to fight some battles first. We live in a day where people want to ‘be retired’ at the age of 21! I like the commercial I saw a few years back, the parents are at their son’s college graduation and they ask him ‘so son, what’s next’. The boy compliments his dad on his sweater vest and says ‘I think I am just going to retire and move back home’. Let me challenge you, get out of the place of fear and anxiety and by Gods grace start a revolution. You leaders who are reeling because of the battle, enter into Judah. Begin praising God again like in the early days. I just finished a prayer time, I incorporate lots of thanksgiving when praying for stuff. Do you have a regular time of thanking the Lord on a consistent basis? When leaders feel overwhelmed and ‘in the cave’ it’s easy to forget praise. I adjure you ‘get out of the cave and flee to Judah’!

 

(907)SAMUEL 23- David hears that the Philistines are fighting against another town, he asks the Lord ‘Lord, should I go and fight against them’? This is the beginning of David’s secret campaign against the enemy. As he flees from Saul he also fights the enemy secretly. Now the Lord says ‘go, fight them. I have given them to you’. Now his men are scared, they tell David ‘geez, we are in distress now, in our so called ‘home land’ and you want us to go and fight on foreign ground’! One of the characteristics of Gods heroes of the faith was a willingness to uproot and travel ‘to a place that God will reveal to you’ often times you have no idea where you are heading! You just start the journey in faith [Abraham- Hebrews 11] and learn as you go. Now David’s men caused David to ask the lord again ‘Lord, are you sure you want us to do this’? The Lord reaffirms the plan. Sometimes we need confirmation for the mission. It’s alright to have second thoughts, as long as you obey at the end! Remember Jesus teaching on the 2 sons? One said ‘yes father, I will obey’ [Jews] and didn’t. The other said ‘no, I wont obey’ [gentiles] and later obeyed. David stumbled a little here in doubting the first word, but the lord said ‘that’s alright son, I will give you some reassurance.’ David goes and Saul finds out and traps him in some town. David seeks the Lord and the Lord says ‘yes, Saul is coming and these people will turn you in’. David flees and Saul surrounds him. Then Saul hears word that the philistines have invaded their land and Saul leaves the area. Sometimes we get into situations where we truly don’t have what it takes to win. Even though David is God’s anointed man, yet he would not have been able to withstand Saul at this early stage of his ‘ministry’. God realizes what we can handle, sometimes we survive because the Lord divinely manipulates the circumstances to our advantage! In this case David would have been thinking too highly of himself if he thought ‘well, I am up here with the big boys now, I can take him’. God might be using you in a special way, this doesn’t mean you are advanced enough in everything to ‘go it with the big boys’. Wisdom allows us to recognize whether or not we should take on all the tasks that we think are needed. I enjoy studying from many other web sites and reading books and hearing good teaching. But there are obvious times where I realize ‘geez, was this brother really called to speak to such a large sector of the church at this time in his growth’? It’s not demeaning, we just need to recognize that all battles are not our battles. Sometimes the Lord says ‘David, you really can’t handle this fight right now’ and he diverts a possible tragedy.

 

(908)SAMUEL 24- Saul heard that David is at Engedi, he pursues him. When they get in the area Saul goes into a random cave to ‘use the restroom’. Lo and behold, this just happens to be the one cave that David and his men are hiding in! David’s men tell him ‘see, the lord has delivered your enemy into your hand’. David secretly cuts a piece of Saul’s robe off. As Saul leaves the cave David reveals himself and bows to the ground and tells Saul ‘see my father, today I had the chance to kill you, but instead I spared your life. Why are you listening to all the rumors that people are saying about me?’ Notice, Saul was being fed gossip about David, and this was affecting David! We need to overcome the reality that part of the cost of ministry is people are going to lie about you and other people will believe it. Yes, Jesus did say this was part of the cost ‘if they spoke falsely about me, then they will about you. But when this happens rejoice! For this is also what happened to the prophets’. Hey, if you want to run with the big boys, then this is part of the price. Now David’s men also were affecting his thinking ‘Look, now’s the chance to get your enemy. After all if God didn’t want you to get even he would have never brought Saul into the cave’. Leaders have to be worried about their own men’s advice as well! It’s hard to walk this fine line at times, but true leadership listens to council and should err on the side of mercy. This is a good rule of thumb. Saul tells David ‘forgive me son, this day you have proven me wrong. Surely you will eventually become the king’. Saul goes home and David goes back to the stronghold in the wilderness. David realized that no matter how many times the lord would defend him against Saul, that Saul would be a permanent obstacle. Why? It’s in mans nature to want to retaliate against change. Especially change that involves a removal of authority that was at one time used by God! Saul was not the original intent of God [or David!] but once God’s people traveled down the road of kingship, God did use this mode of authority. Now Saul did become addicted to power. Even though leaders have good hearts and mean well, when there comes a change of authority [like the movement of communal church where there no longer is the role of ‘the pastor’] this challenges leadership at its core. Even if leaders become convinced that a change is coming [like Saul recognizing David’s destiny] still the sinful nature of man will come back and rears it ugly head. David knew that Saul would be back on his trail soon.

 

(909)SAMUEL 25- THERE ARE MANY SERVANTS THESE DAYS WHO BREAK AWAY FROM THEIR MASTER! We see the death of Samuel and the story of David and Nabal. When David was on the run with his small army, he had provided shelter for Nabal’s men while in the fields. So David figures it’s time to cash in on the goodwill that he showed to Nabal’s men. He sends some servants to Nabal’s house to remind him of the favor that was done, and to humbly ask ‘can you in return show us some favor and provide us with some supply’? Nabal is considered a fool and replies ‘Who is this David, another one of the many rebels of this day?’ and Nabal refuses to help. Now David hears of the response and decides ‘I have had it! Let’s strap it on’. On the way to wipe out Nabal the servants of Nabal tell his wife Abigail what happened. They speak well of David and Abigail quickly puts together a supply and sends it to David. She averts the disaster that was imminent. The next day Nabal hears what happened and falls into a stroke type condition and dies within a few days. David takes Abigail to be his wife. I sort of see in Nabal a type of response to the new authority structures that God is raising up in the kingdom. David of course is a type of Jesus, but we also see all leadership types in David. In the present system of ‘local church’ there is a legitimate challenge to the ‘old type pastoral model’. Now, some in the past have challenged leadership out of rebellion. But there are very scriptural questions to the development of the one man leadership model that prevails in today’s idea of church. It is easy to mistake these challenges as ‘another rebellious movement like the others of days gone by’. During the reformation of the 16th century you also had this response. But there actually are real times of change and upheaval that come from God. Nabal stuck David in a category of ‘another one of those rebellious types’ but his judgment was way off. Nabal did not act righteously in this challenge to Godly authority. He used ‘rebellion’ as a false defense of his unwillingness to give David and his men their due. There are good men who are seeing the legitimacy of the present challenges to the old authority structures. But then there are others who are not even willing to give a fair hearing to the ‘David’s’ and just assume all new ideas are acts of rebellion. This can breed dangerous responses from both sides. Out of frustration David, who was right in this case, almost committed an act of retaliation that would have forever scarred his ministry. Nabal realized what a foolish judgment he had made and lost his life over it. It would have been better if the old guard recognized the legitimacy of the new guard and tried to hammer out an amicable solution.

 

(910)SAMUEL 26- Saul pursues David in the wilderness of Ziph. David hears that Saul is still on his trail, and he tells his men ‘who wants to go down with me and see if we can spy on Saul’? Abishai goes. They sneak into Saul’s camp and find the men sleeping, they steel Saul’s spear and water supply. They go to the other side and yell ‘what’s up, why couldn’t a man like Abner protect Saul’? David reveals the stolen stuff and Saul realizes that once again David had the chance to kill him but let him go instead. Saul goes thru the whole ‘you are a better man than me’ thing. But the problem is no matter how many times God vindicates David, Saul still goes after him! I think David would have preferred for Saul to really learn the lesson instead of just making these worthless treaties. It’s like signing these treaties with North Korea on nuclear stuff. Then a few years go by and they say ‘well, you caught us, we were cheating’ and then we go and sign another one! David wasn’t putting much stock into Saul’s words. David also says ‘if God has told you to get me, than explain the reason, I will try and make any fault right. But if it’s these gossiping people that have turned you into my enemy, then let them be cursed’! Notice, it wasn’t just the fact that Saul was pursuing David, it was the reality that David’s secret enemies were the deceivers behind the whole thing. It’s like David has more respect for Saul, because he at least is open and willing to confront him publicly. But the troublemakers spend all their time poisoning the minds of others against you. They are too scared to confront you themselves. Bunch of wimps! Once again Saul recognizes Gods calling on David ‘you will do great things and prevail’. David is Gods new order of leadership, Saul is stuck in the old school. It was obvious that Saul was never going to transition and live peaceably with David as the king. Saul had his ways and he basically was going to live out his days functioning in the comfortable patterns of kingship that he was familiar with. He also could see the writing on the wall. He saw that David had the lord helping him, he was still humble enough to have glimpses of clarity. Being able to see the future and what God was going to do. Saul just couldn’t get to a point where he would peacefully accept the new king.

 

(911)SAMUEL 27- David realizes that as long as he stays in the area, Saul will never change. He goes to Achish, king of Gath, and asks if he could stay there. David is given Ziklag and it becomes a permanent possession for Israel. David recognized that no matter how many efforts he made to show Saul that the rumors about him were false, that this was going down a dead end trail. Sometimes we need to simply ‘walk away’ from some stuff. It’s not like David was hating Saul, he just recognized that all his efforts to try and get Saul to approve of him were vain. Jesus told the Pharisees that they were seeking glory and acceptance from men. He said those who seek to please men in this way could not please God. He challenged their core reason for being ‘in the ministry’. They wanted to be accepted and successful in the eyes of others. They did not realize that their ideas of ministry strayed so far from the intent of God. Jesus showed them that if their motivation was how others viewed them [they loved to make long public prayers and show themselves to be spiritual] then God was no longer in it. David quit trying to spend so much time and effort in getting Saul to like him, he fled to Gath. Now the king of Gath is overjoyed to get such a talented member ‘on staff’. He believes David is now with him as opposed to Israel. We will see later that this trust he places in David blinds him from David’s real motives. The king’s men will advise against using David in a key battle against Israel. Leaders need to be careful in seeing the talents and gifts of people as simple additions to their ministries. Because we live in a day where church and ministry are so intertwined with corporate ideas, this leads to a dynamic of pastors looking for ‘the best men I can find’. In actuality Jesus was seeking the worst! Now, I realize Paul wanted good men to work with him and he rejected those who would quit half way thru the task. But don’t view ministry thru the lens of ‘great, David is now with me instead of Saul’! In Gods kingdom we are all equal as brothers and sisters, we should not allow the talents and gifts of others to cause us to favor them more than others. David stayed in the philistine’s area for around a year and a half, sort of like Paul’s time at Corinth. The whole time he is secretly fighting the enemies of Israel while Achish thinks he is fighting against Israel. Notice also that Ziklag became a permanent inheritance in Israel. A city that David didn’t even fight for! Sometimes when we simply recognize the transitions that God is leading us into, we yield and at the same time take ground. I used to make decisions quickly, recently I had to make some ministry decisions. Changes that I would have preferred not to have made. In the old days I would have jumped thru these changes without really waiting on the Lord. Or I would have persisted to not change and struggle along the sure path. But now I try and wait and decide as a few days go by. If things look like the new direction is the way to go, then I go with it. David left the territories of his homeland for a while, he hooked up with Achish and during this seeming distraction he possessed some territory peacefully. Sometimes we need to relax during the distraction, and allow the lord to give us some easy land.

 

(912)SAMUEL 28- Saul prepares for battle against Achish. The philistine king thinks David is with him. Saul seeks God and doesn’t receive an answer by ‘dreams or prophets’. Saul expected to get some kind of supernatural sign. Samuel is dead, but he released a prophetic mantle/anointing into the community that showed the people that God can reveal himself in these ways. Saul goes to a witch who works with familiar spirits, a thing forbidden for Gods people! I have had friends ask me about reading the horoscope and going to palm readers. God forbids his people to dabble in sorcery and witchcraft, don’t do it! Saul manages to bring back Samuels spirit from the grave and Samuel rebukes Saul and tells him he and his sons will ‘be with me tomorrow’ [dead!]. Saul is reproved for two things. He didn’t fully obey God, and he refused to carry out judgment/justice [when he was supposed to wipe out Amalek]. I have seen many well meaning men in ministry. Good people who mean well. Ministry can be a tough thing. When people feel intimidated they have a tendency to not want to ‘execute judgment’. To only teach and preach good things, never dealing with error or blatant heresy. God wanted Saul to obey AND do judgment. Not judgment in a wrong way, but a willingness to see things that are out of alignment and to deal with them. God wants truth, truth in love, but truth. When Gods leaders get to a point of both obedience and justice, then we will experience his presence in a strong way.

 

(913)SAMUEL 29- The philistines go up against Israel. David is with his men and Achish, king of Gath, wants him to join the battle. The other kings say ‘what in the heck were you thinking? You can’t bring David to fight against Saul. What better opportunity than this will he ever have to reconcile with Saul? Surely he will kill us and reconcile!’ Now, Achish disagrees and says ‘David’s been with me for a while and he has been perfect’ actually not. David was secretly fighting the enemies of Israel all along. We have already seen David’s penchant for trying to vindicate himself. How many times has he taken opportunity to say ‘see Saul, I had the chance to get you but I didn’t’. Achish tells David ‘sorry David, I trust you but the other kings don’t’ David makes this defense and says ‘why, what have I done’ [he knows what he’s done! Achish doesn’t]. So David goes back and the philistines proceed without him. I really think David was going to do what the kings thought. He probably was going to try and reconcile with Saul one more time. In this case the other kings had it right. Scripture says in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Achish was so enamored with David’s skill that he wasn’t thinking clearly. The council of others was right. Also David would have interfered with this battle, this is the battle where Saul will lose his life and David will take over as king. In essence David’s idea was to eventually reconcile with Saul and Israel and have a wonderful time of transition. God had other plans. The time for David to step up to the plate and rule was now. Not a few more years of trying to ‘make things right’. Samuel and David mourned for Saul and over did their loyalty to him. God told Samuel at one point ‘quit crying about it son, I have rejected the man. Get over it for heavens sake!’ David’s good intentions were well meaning, but God had another plan. It wasn’t going to work as smoothly as David wished.

 

(914)SAMUEL 30- David returns from the battle lines and finds out his town was sacked by the Amalekites. They took everything and spared the lives of the women and children. David’s men see the disaster and cry bitterly. They have a deacon board meeting and contemplate stoning him to death. Things were bad, David encourages himself in the Lord. He asks the Lord ‘should I go after them and try and recover our families’? The Lord says ‘go, you will recover all’. David pursues and gets his people back and kills the enemy. Four hundred young men escape. The same amount of men that went with David, 200 stayed behind out of weakness. Why did the 400 Amalekites flee? It’s possible that the Lord used these 400 survivors to spread the word about David’s fierceness. This battle was pumped up, David showed no mercy! After they return, the 400 man army of David despises the 200 who stayed behind and say ‘we will give you your families, but no goods!’ They treated them as lesser men. David would have none of it and says ‘we can’t withhold the things the Lord has freely given us [freely you have received, freely give- Jesus] but we will treat everyone alike’. I see the New Testament ministry of giving and sharing as a community here. What happened in this chapter? David experienced a tremendous possible loss this day. His men were at the lowest point of ‘the ministry’. All seemed lost, they even feared the loss of their families. The Lord does restore to David that which seemed gone for good, and David’s men regroup. All this happens at the next to the last chapter of Samuel. In the next chapter Saul dies and David becomes king. Everything seemed hopeless right before the greatest victory of all! David was soon to enter into his prophetic destiny in God. There is a theme in scripture that goes like this ‘right before, and right after great victories there are great trials’ geez, that means there are always trials! Yes, to a degree this is true. I also want you to have a biblical perspective on what it means to ‘recover all’. The church went thru a stage where we learned all the verses on ‘the enemy must repay 7 fold’ and other themes on ‘all the years the locust hath eaten will be restored’. I like and have used these themes in my own life over the years to claim victory. But I want you to see from an eternal perspective. The theme of the New Testament is one of eternal rewards. Not so much focused on ‘what we get here and now’ but on us having a ‘better reward in heaven’ [Hebrews]. Those of you who have lost loved ones, finances [we just had a tremendous stock market crash 10-08]. What if I were to tell you ‘you are not really much worse off than those who haven’t lost all’. In a few short years all our loved ones will be gone. We will have lost control over all of our wealth and riches. We will all be gone [in the natural!]. But yet there awaits a real future resurrection where we will all get our loved ones back. Where we will reap eternal rewards for a life well lived. In the eternal perspective we do ‘recover all’, all isn’t lost! I want to encourage you today to believe God to restore some things in the here and now. Yes, God can bless you and restore to you wealth and health and family and many good things. And for those who have lost some of these things permanently, God will restore to you real soon.

 

(915)SAMUEL 31- The Philistines pursue Israel and Saul and his sons are killed. Saul tells his armor bearer to kill him, the armor bearer is afraid to do it. So Saul falls on his own sword. The enemy takes Saul’s body and cuts off his head and they pin him and his sons up on a wall for public humiliation. The inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead hear of it and they get his body and give him a proper burial. David will soon become the king. It’s kind of a sad way to end 1st Samuel. Saul and his sons really die, Jonathan was killed. A true warrior with a pure heart. I think we need to recognize the danger involved with the kingdom. There are times where men and woman of God have come under attack and have fallen. A few years back there were a few public scandals of believers who fell. Some just go away, others try and get back into the ministry. Often times there is no real facing up to the issues and an honest appraisal of what happened. I think many of these believers would be helpful if they wrote a book or shared openly about their struggles and difficulties. But the church has a tendency to cover up the real dangers involved in the ministry. Also Saul commits suicide. There are few suicides in scripture. We know Judas killed himself as well. If I remember right there is a Psalm that speaks of the sword of your enemies entering into them! A basic reality of a curse that comes upon those who fight believers [Gods anointed ones] that they will die at their own hands [or you don’t have to ‘get them’ yourself!]. Jesus taught us to not resist and take out vengeance on our enemies. It seems as if in both of these cases [Saul and Judas] that they fell victim to this judgment from God. How should we view this? Jesus and David were Gods ‘anointed ones’. Can we say that those who challenge present authority structures are rebelling against ‘Gods anointed’? This challenge has been made many times over the years. The two great divisions of western Christianity, the ‘Great Schism’ of 1054 [where the Eastern church- Orthodox, split from the Western branch] and the 16th century Reformation. Both had to do with believers resisting what they felt to be unscriptural authority as seen in the doctrine of apostolic succession thru Peter to the Popes. In both of these cases the ‘rebels’ were considered to be resisting ‘Gods authority’. I see it a little different. In Saul’s case he actually was the old order authority who was resisting change to the ‘old way’. God was bringing in a new anointed one thru David, and Saul was fighting the change. And of course Judas was coming against Jesus, who would institute the most radical change to mans approach to God that would ever come on the scene [in essence Jesus was eliminating the old order priesthood and making all believers priests!] I feel that these truths can apply to the current of change in our day. As the people of God transition from an ‘old order’ idea of leadership, to a more communal concept, both sides need to have respect and appreciation for each other. The new order [organic ecclesia] needs to appreciate all that the old order accomplished, and the old authority structures need to see the writing on the wall.

 

2ND SAMUEL

 

 

(916)2ND SAMUEL 1- David returns to Ziklag after recovering everything and a messenger from the battle with Saul comes thru. David asks ‘what happened at the battle’? David hears for the first time that Saul and Jonathan died. He asks for details and the Amalekite tells the story of Saul’s death. This story is a little different from the one previously recorded. In the previous chapters Saul is said to have fallen on his sword. Here the Amalekite says ‘I saw Saul wounded and he asked me to slay him. He was at the point of death so I killed him to take him out of his misery’. Some feel this is a lie, that the brother was trying to make himself look good by fudging. I think he might be telling the truth. After all if he were trying to make himself look good, you probably wouldn’t say ‘I killed a wounded guy’. Either way he tells the story. David responds in anger ‘why do you think your bragging about this is noble! You killed a leader who God used mightily’ and David instructs his men to kill him. David finishes the chapter with a song of praise and remembrance for Saul and Jonathan. He extols their virtues in battle ‘swift like eagles, strong like lions’ and he invokes Israel to mourn for the great loss. I see a noble thing here. Even though Saul was rejected and his leadership style was being removed, yet the ‘new order’ [David] refused to despise the reality of the good times that were initiated under Saul. He still showed respect for ‘the old order’. Many times in studying church history you read of ‘the dark ages’. The centuries that are between the institutional period of Christendom and the renaissance/reformation era. Often times this period is looked at as a period of ‘no value’. But in reality there were some spiritual things that came forth from the ‘old order’ that were of great value. The desert fathers and other great Christian mystics. The reality that the church became the sole arbiter in many international disputes of the times. Yes there were some bad things, but good stuff too! David was smart enough to begin his dynastic rule with crediting his former enemy with the respect and honor he deserved.

 

(917)2nd SAMUEL 2- David inquires of the Lord if he should go up into the cities of Judah. The Lord tells him to go to Hebron. David becomes the king of Judah and rules from Hebron for 7.5 years. From this point on the southern portion of Israel will be referred to as ‘Judah’ and the northern tribes are called ‘Israel’. Abner, king Saul’s commander, anoints another son of Saul as the king of the other tribes. So you have Joab, David’s commander and Abner, the military leader of the opposing king. Joab and Abner meet up on the field. Abner suggests a sort of competition between the men. A fight ensues and good men die needlessly. Joab pursues Abner and his men and Abner winds up killing a brother of Joab. He did not want things to escalate to this degree! He tried to spare the brother, but in self defense he killed him. Abner tells Joab ‘stop chasing us, why should there be more bloodshed between us, we are all brothers’? I see here the  ‘innocent’ spirit of competition that got out of hand. When God’s leaders begin comparing the skills of their people against the skills of others, then people become pawns on a ministry chess board. Competition is a deadly thing that exists in the church, the lines between successful corporate ideas and Gods communal church have been blurred for a long time, this causes us to be vulnerable to this type of thing. Joab and Abner retreat and go home. David becomes king of Judah in Hebron. He will eventually consolidate the kingdom under his rule [he will reign for 33 years out of Jerusalem. A type of Jesus, who walked the holy land for 33 years until the Cross] and the kingdom will split again under Solomon’s sons rule. The divided history of the northern [Israel] and southern [Judah] tribes are seen as a judgment from God for various reasons thru out Israel’s history. For the most part the kings of Judah are better than the kings of Israel, but they will both have good and bad kings over time. I see a picture of the historic divisions of Christianity thru this history. Eventually you will have some who feel they have a ‘more pure religion and priesthood’ under the Orthodox and Protestant expressions of Christianity [I too hold to this to some degree] but yet God will eventually rebuke Judah as being worse than her northern ‘sister’! As we teach the Old Testament in the years to come I will try and trace these developments as we get to them.

 

(918)2ND SAMUEL 3- Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, king of Israel. He accuses Abner of sleeping with one of his fathers concubines [second wife type thing]. And Abner, the military leader who for the most part propped up Ishbosheth as a puppet king for his own sake, gets irate and says ‘who do you think I am that you accuse me like this? I am not some dog that you can mistreat! I will now turn over the kingdom to David. If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t even be a king!’ and Ishbosheth remains stunned and silent. What happened here? When men join a ‘team’ [church-organization] out of jealousy and competition, they see themselves as helping the leader as a by-product of there own selfish motivations. We often see churches/organizations compete with one another like professional ball teams ‘how many games did your team win this season/ what was your average attendance this year?’ and stuff like that. When ministry leaders/staff see their ‘church’ from this type of perspective, then as soon as the leader offends you, you respond like Abner ‘how dare this guy speak to me like that! Doesn’t he know if it weren’t for my support he wouldn’t even be here!’ Now, I am not defending either side in this scenario, I feel for the most part that both of these responses/attitudes are not found in the churches of the New Testament. Because the churches in scripture were communities of believers who lived in your city. They weren’t established along these corporate ideas at all. Now Abner goes to David and tells him ‘I am now with you [people can be fickle!] and will do my best to bring all Israel to you’ David makes the deal and Joab, David’s military man says ‘what did you do? Abner was here simply to spy on you, his motives are wrong!’ Joabs brother was killed earlier by Abner himself, Joab was not willing to make peace with Abner. After all there is only room for one military commander, and Joab is not about to accept a demotion for this late comer to the party. Joab calls Abner back and kills him. David hears what happened and washes his hands from the whole matter. In this chapter we see how the motivations and selfish intentions of people cause strife. I feel the whole scenario of ‘whose side are you on, which ‘local team’ [church] is your team?’ leads us into these types of positioning and intrigue. In the New Testament you did not see Paul interacting this way between the local churches [communities of believers] he was establishing. For the most part he was teaching them to be faithful to the gospel and would only exercise apostolic authority when things got out of hand. He would appeal to his proof of who he was by saying ‘I am the one who brought you the gospel in the first place, don’t listen to these false teachers who are drawing you away from the truth’. But you did not see a dynamic of ‘are you supporting my apostolic ministry or not? If you are not faithful to my ministry then I no longer have time for you’. These limited ideas cause us to compete with one another. Abner and Joab were men who wanted self advancement and recognition, they aligned themselves with various leaders for their own purposes, this is not the family mindset that Jesus will instill in his future leaders.

 

(920)2ND SAMUEL 4- Ishbosheth hears of Abners death and falls into a state of fear and depression. Even though Ishbosheth was the king, Abner was the power behind the scenes. He is lying on his bed at noonday [a bad thing to do! Start your day early and don’t sleep until the evening, this would eliminate most of the sleeping and anti anxiety pills that are prescribed today]. Two of Ishbosheths men come in and kill him while lying down on the job. They cut off his head and bring it to David. They assumed David would rejoice over this act of vengeance. After all don’t you feel good when God avenges you? Jesus taught us not to rejoice over our enemy’s downfall. Scripture says God sees it and it displeases him. David was not happy about the news and killed the two guilty messengers. In this chapter we also see Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan who is lame. The story goes that when he was 5 years old and the news of Saul and Jonathans death came back, that the nurse fled and dropped him and he has been crippled ever since. Some of us have had ‘crippling’ experiences that have permanently sidetracked us. Now Jesus is the master at healing people who can’t walk. In John’s gospel he asks the lame man ‘do you really want to be healed’ and Jesus heals him. Sometimes we allow past experiences to permanently affect our future. Have you ‘been dropped’ by somebody who was supposed to take care of you? Have any of your inner circle betrayed you while ‘lying on your bed at noonday’ [in a position of intimidation and weakness]? I want to exhort you to let Jesus heal you. Jesus told the blind guy to go ‘wash in the pool of Siloam’. Siloam means ‘sent’, you have been destined to be sent on a mission from God. ‘Get out of the city and dwell in the fields, there I will deliver you from the enemy’ [bible!] I think some of us have been waiting for perfect conditions before we act, God says get out of the bed while there’s still time. If not you are in danger of ‘losing your head’ [losing the authority of a leader].

 

(921)2ND SAMUEL 5- David consolidates the northern and southern tribes and they find unity thru his reign [in Christ 2 are made one- Ephesians]. Israel says ‘we are part of your bone and flesh’. Wow, what a picture of the New Testament church. Jesus actually uses these exact words when speaking of himself after his resurrection ‘bone and flesh’. David takes the capital city of Jerusalem. He defeats the Jebusites who are mocking his ability. Scripture says ‘David dwelt in the fort and called it the city of David. And he built round about from the surrounding areas and inward’. I have been quoting this for 15 years now. I saw it as a personal word to me when moving to Corpus Christi. The principle is God will give you a home base of operation, and from that base you establish and branch out to the surrounding areas. Sort of an apostolic calling, Paul did this in the book of Acts. David ‘perceived that the Lord had established him for the sake of his people Israel’. David understood that the Lord gave him special favor, not for his own benefit but for Gods people. Other scriptures speak of God telling his people ‘remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you. The Lord hath given you rest and this land. Your wives and little ones and cattle shall remain in the land that the Lord gave you, but you shall go before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valor, and help then until the Lord establishes them like he did for you’ [The word to the children of Israel who received the territories before crossing the Jordan]. God establishes leaders [and saints!] so they can branch out and have the security to move forward. All of us live in areas of the world where a mission field is right outside our door. If people simply reorganized their lives around the priorities of Jesus as seen in the gospels, we would have a great impact in society. But instead we are inundated with this political class warfare message that estranges us from the ones Jesus died for. God blessed David with wealth and affluence. He was to use this great influence for ‘the least of these my brethren’.

 

(922)2ND SAMUEL 6- David attempts to retrieve the Ark and bring it to the new capital city of Jerusalem. On the way back one of the brothers tries to steady the ark as it was about to fall. They were carrying it on a ‘new cart’ with oxen pulling it. This was not the way the law prescribed carrying it! This was the formula that the Philistines used earlier. So David’s man touches the Ark and is killed. They leave it at another brother’s house for three months and the brother is blessed, David goes and retrieves it. This chapter doesn’t say what changed, but obviously David went back to the law and used the prescribed manner this time around. As he enters Jerusalem with it there is this joyous picture of everyone leaping and dancing and praising the Lord. Sort of like the triumphal entry of Jesus [Gods ‘fleshly’ ark, who had all the fullness of God dwelling in his physical body!] to Jerusalem when the people shouted ‘Hosanna’. David places the ark in a tent/tabernacle that he personally made for it. I wrote earlier how this was an open tent that had no barriers between the ark and Gods people, a contrast between Moses tabernacle where God and the people were separated [law versus grace type thing]. David’s wife mocks him because he took off his royal robes and wore an ephod [priestly garment] and danced and humbled himself before the Lord. David says ‘I will even be more lowly than this’. His wife is barren for the rest of her life as a judgment for mocking David. What ever happened to the ark? Well let me give you some history. The ‘story’ [tradition] says that when the queen of Ethiopia visits Solomon to see his wealth, that eventually he ‘marries’ her and they have kids. The queen goes back to Ethiopia and supposedly takes the ark from Solomon as a gift. The Ethiopian orthodox church claims to have it in the main ‘church’ in Ethiopia. Because of this history all the Ethiopian churches have replicas of the ark in their buildings as well. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of rich tradition. They are technically not considered ‘Catholic’ [western] or ‘Orthodox’ [eastern]. They are part of the church who are sometimes referred to as Oriental. This referring to the historic churches [not necessarily Oriental in geography] who never accepted the traditional churches belief in certain expressions of the Trinity and the relationship between Jesus and God. They stuck with the Arian view of Jesus deity and are not considered ‘orthodox’ in this area. As the centuries developed and various barbarians who were raiding the empire were converted, they also believed in a Christianity that would be more aligned with this type of belief. Now, I know Christians do not consider this to be correct doctrine, but I am simply sharing the history with you. I am not siding with their belief! We really have no idea where the ark is today, to be honest it doesn’t matter. We ‘see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the purpose of dying, and he was raised again for us’! [Hebrews]. We have the real McCoy!

 

(923)2ND SAMUEL 7- As David’s house is becoming established, he says to himself ‘I live in this great cedar house, and God is dwelling openly in this tent. I know what I will do; I will build a house/building for God also’. Good intent, bad imagery! David tells the plan to Nathan the prophet and Nathan says ‘go, do all that is in your heart’ and everything seems fine. That very night the Lord appears to Nathan in a vision and rebukes the whole scheme ‘Have I ever asked for someone to build me a house? All the years of journeying with my people, don’t you think if I wanted to dwell in some temple that I would have already done it!’. Basically Nathan and David get reproved big time. Why? Up until now God ‘dwelt’ in 2 separate tabernacle/systems. The Mosaic one was a type of law and separation between God and men. You had the classic veil separating God from the people. The ‘holy of holies’ [back room] was a type of mans separation from God because of mans sin. Now, after David retrieved the ark and brought it to Jerusalem. He set it up under an open tent called ‘the tent/tabernacle of David’. From this vantage point you had a beautiful picture of the future Messianic reign under Christ [of whom David is a symbol] where the people would all have open access to God. In essence ‘no more veil’. So even though David’s intentions are good, he is messing up the image. God still confirms his calling on David and his family/dynasty and we see one of those dual messianic prophecies that speak of Solomon and Jesus at the same time. God says he will raise up a permanent throne thru the loins of David and David will have a never ending rule. For this to happen someone obviously needs to be born from the lineage of David who will ‘have the power of an endless life’ [Hebrews]. Gee, I wonder who that could be? God’s intricate plan of salvation that is contained in these Old Testament books, written many years before Christ, couldn’t have been some made up 1st century story. It would have been impossible to have coordinated all the prophetic  portions of scripture that tie together in Christ. Even the original writers and readers of Israel’s history could not have seen the unfolding of prophetic events that were to be fulfilled in Christ. We finish the chapter with David praising God and recognizing in humility that God has spoken about his family and purpose for ages to come. David sees that God is calling him to something greater than just being a human king, having a brief political history. God has plans for David even after David’s death! God spoke of David’s ongoing effect thru his seed [kids] that would continue for many generations to come.  God wants all of us to live with a kingdom [not human!] legacy in mind. Paul the apostle built a gentile church that has lasted for 2 thousand years, he was a man of humble means. He left behind no edifice or bulky institution. But his ‘seed’ [spiritual kids] have outlasted him for many generations to come. [see 1st Kings study, chapter 3- entry 1050]

 

(924)2ND SAMUEL 8- As David extends his rule he allows the defeated territories to maintain a level of self governing. The military principle is defeat [demoralize] your enemy, but don’t totally wipe him out. Either put a puppet king over them [Israel’s enemies will do this to her down the road!] or allow the ruling leaders to stay under tribute. Why do this? Some feel our country violated this principle in the present war with Iraq [2008]. The pundits say ‘why did Bush dismantle the Iraqi army, they should have simply allowed them to remain under U.S. rule’. First, the talking heads would have never been satisfied. I could hear Chris Matthews now ‘why in the world did Bush leave the army in place! Doesn’t he know that they were infiltrated with terrorists?’ But David allowed the defeated areas to exist under his rule. He wiped out some of their men, but not all. I think the modern concept of ‘extending Christ’s rule’ thru church planting can learn some lessons here. In the first century ‘church planting’ was the simple process of preaching the gospel to regions of people. Those who believed were baptized and continued in the apostle’s doctrine and the ways of Jesus. The first century ‘church planters’ were not trying to provide buildings and weekly ‘preaching services’ and long term dependence upon the Pastoral ministry. For the most part these new converts were to ‘self maintain’ under the direction of more grounded brothers in the Lord [elders]. This allowed for the ‘conquered territories’ [conquered by the sword of the Spirit, not the sword of man!] to function relatively easily on their own with out a lot of heavy financing and building programs and all sorts of stuff that the modern concept of ‘church planting’ has brought along for the ride. David simply put troops in these conquered cities [Jesus sent them out 2 by 2] and these areas of people understood that they were servants to the king! They paid tribute [I would associate this with the New Testament doctrine of giving as a community, not the Levitical tithe] and the Davidic kingdom [gospel] could spread rapidly in a short period of time. David had men working along side him; priests and scribes and stuff. He did ‘justly’ and ruled with integrity. He exemplified the character of a true leader, but did not back down from his God given authority. God established him as a leader in Israel. The boy did his job!

 

(925)2ND SAMUEL 9- David inquires if there are any sons of Jonathan still alive, he wants to keep his oath to Jonathan that he would treat his offspring well when he became the king. Sure enough they find out that Mephibosheth, the crippled son, is still alive. David tells Ziba, former servant in Saul’s house, to become the servant of Mephibosheth. Later on we see Ziba speak badly about Mephibosheth; he will tell David that he was unfaithful to his rule. It’s possible that Ziba resented this new position of servitude that David put on him and his house. We read stories in the New Testament how the mercy Jesus shows to certain groups of people [lame and crippled and poor] will create a dissension among the others. David’s treatment of Mephibosheth is much like Jesus treatment of the down and out. David honors this lame boy, he allows him to sit at the kings table [Jesus in the parables calls people to ‘his dinner banquet’] and he outwardly, publicly associated himself with the sick and disabled. Truly David is fulfilling his role as a type of Christ. The jealousy of Ziba [down the road] reminds me of the story of Haman in the book of Esther. Haman was this wicked brother who hated the Jews. He particularly loathed this brother named Mordecai. This Jew refused to bow down as Haman rode by. Haman was close to the king [non Jew]. So Haman devises this plot to kill all the Jews and ultimately Esther saves the day [thus the name of the book]. But at one point the king asks Haman’s advice ‘what should I do for the man I respect and like so much’? Haman thinks the king is talking about him, so of course he says ‘Well, have him exalted to the highest position next to the king, let all the kings servants bow down and respect him…and on and on’. Haman thinks ‘Now I’ll get that rat Mordecai to bow!’ And the king says ‘sounds like a great idea, now go and make all this happen for Mordecai’. This was not Haman’s day. Jesus challenges our hidden agendas. How do we respond when other ministries excel? Do we secretly feel good when we hear about the failure of a ministry that never honored us? Do we root for the church we attend and kind of have an attitude of ‘we are doing better than the other guys’. All these attitudes violate the family mindset of the Body of Christ. When David, or Jesus or any other king show special favor to another subject, our ‘eye shouldn’t be evil because the king did what was his right to do with what was his’. David honored his former vow to his best friend Jonathan, he kept his word.

 

(926)2ND SAMUEL 10- The king of Ammon dies and David sends messengers to show due respect. The son, who is now the new king, receives David’s men. But the princes of the land say ‘what in the heck were you thinking? Surely David has sent these men to spy on us’. Why would the princes say this? Possibly because the king treated David well when he was alive. He sent David materials and workers to help. Sometimes people resent it when they feel others are getting the favor that they really deserve. They poisoned the mind of the new king. Now he takes David’s men and shaves half of their beards off and cuts their robes in half. An act of public humiliation. David hears about it and the fight is on. Ammon requests help from Syria and Syria says ‘sure, why not?’. I’ll tell you why not, because the scripture says don’t get involved with fights and issues that don’t concern you, that’s why! Well David confronts the armies and wins. Syria winds up surrendering and making a treaty with Israel. What happened here? Once again we see the poor decision making of a younger king. He took the advice of the other princes who were speaking out of wrong motives and intentions. Solomon’s future son will do the same and it will lead to another division in Israel. Paul instructs Timothy [or Titus?] to not allow a novice to be an elder. Does this mean young men can’t be spiritual leaders? Not necessarily. Timothy was fairly young at the time of getting this instruction. But new believers [leaders] have a tendency to grasp doctrine and ideas that might not be totally wrong, but they have a tendency to emphasize them in a distorted way. How many times have I heard teaching on the ‘importance of money’, or some other single issue. The preacher will often defend his distortion by saying ‘look how many times this subject is mentioned in scripture’ not realizing that this in itself does not justify the wrong emphasis. For instance many of the times this subject is mentioned it is in the context of warning  believers to not become side tracked with seeking wealth! I could start a doctrine on the importance of ‘water’ or ‘bread’. Look how often water is mentioned! We have it in Genesis and Revelation. Jesus speaks of the waters of life. And I could go on and on. But the fact that this subject is found in so many various ways, doesn’t mean we should exalt it into an idol. So young [new] believers do have a tendency to lift things out of proportion at times. The new king acted foolishly and the Syrians came along for the ride. Wisdom would have said ‘let the king of Ammon do what he thinks he should, we will sit this one out’.

 

(927)2ND SAMUEL 11- David sends Joab and his men out to war. He stays home and takes a walk on his roof and spots Bathsheba. He sends a servant to contact her and he sleeps with her. He finds out she’s pregnant and the gears in his mind start moving. He calls her noble husband, Uriah, from the front lines of battle and pretends he just called him to inquire about the battle. He sends him home, hoping he will sleep with his wife, and then David will be off the hook. Sure enough Uriah is so noble that he refuses to sleep in his house when his men are in the battle. So David gives it a second shot and gets the brother drunk. He sends him home again and Uriah refuses to sleep with Bathsheba. So David calls for Joab, the lead commander of his army, and says ‘put Uriah in the front lines and draw back and let him die’. Something interesting happens. Joab carries out the plan but also allows some of David’s other men to die. Then he sends a messenger to tell David ‘we were at the front lines, close to a wall, and some of our guys were killed’. Joab tells the messenger ‘if David gets mad and says “what were you thinking by getting close to the wall? This is a basic mistake that should have never been made!”’ Joab says if David asks this, then say ‘Uriah is dead too’. It’s possible that Joab stuck it to David here for making him partake in his personal problems. Military men do not like carrying out personal political vendettas. Either way the messenger goes and tells David and David feels he covered up his sin. Of course we will soon find out the cover up didn’t work. Bathsheba does move in with David and they make plans for the coming baby. A few things; David was a great man, he followed God as a man ‘after Gods own heart’. David was also human. Hebrews says ‘every high priest taken from among men must make sacrifice for his own sin as well as the peoples’. I don’t want to excuse sin, but I want you to see that all of us have ‘feet of clay’. Modern ministry has a system where we present the best image of leadership to people. We feel this is part of the role of leaders. The scriptures show you ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’. We just saw the ugly.

 

(928)2ND SAMUEL 12- Nathan confronts David over his sin. He gives a parable about 2 men in a town, one owned lots of flocks and sheep, the other owned one precious lamb. The man with all the sheep had a visitor come to him in need. So instead of sacrificing his own sheep, he went and took the precious ‘only lamb’ from his neighbor. David is incensed over this injustice, he declares ‘This man will pay back what he did and also die for this sin’! Nathan says ‘you are the man’. David realizes he did this very thing with Bathsheba and Uriah. Notice how we have a tendency to be enraged over the sin and faults of others, but we make room for ourselves when we are guilty of the same things. Jesus confronted the religious hypocrisy of his day when he showed the Pharisees that they were guilty of lust and anger and jealousy, the same root causes of murder and adultery. They wanted strict judgment on others who were guilty of the same sins that they were guilty of. Also the fact that the man with one little lamb lost his favorite, this speaks of the great sacrifice of giving up the ‘only begotten Son of God’. Jesus sacrifice was great because the father gave his only Son. Now David receives the reproof from the prophet and Gods judgment is pronounced ‘the sword will never leave your house. From within your own family treachery shall arise. Your wives will be taken from you and publicly disgraced. The son from Bathsheba will die’. Very strict judgment indeed, yet the Lord says ‘nevertheless, I will spare your life’. This was something David did not leave room for in his earlier judgment on the sheep stealer! David mourns and fasts for the child’s life, but the child dies. David has another son with Bathsheba and his name is Solomon. One of the greatest/wisest kings Israel will ever have. A few things; in David’s earlier scenario he said the ‘sheep stealer’ should pay restitution. He wanted the man to right the wrong. In David’s case he killed the very man whom restitution should have been made to! In essence his sin was so severe that it actually cut off part of his future reconciliation. Unforgiveness towards others falls into this same category. God requires us to forgive those who have wronged us. We often do every thing else under the sun to get back on track, but we ‘eliminate’ the very person that stands in the way of total reconciliation! That person is often times the offender. Also at the end of the chapter David is told by Joab that he is on the verge of taking a city and David should come and finish the job so Joab won’t get the credit. David musters his forces and finishes the job. One of the hardest things to do in ministry/service is to regroup and move forward again. David had some very serious issues he had to deal with. The situation with Bathsheba was not going away. He couldn’t completely resolve this issue. But he still needed to function and carry out his responsibilities. Faithfulness means sticking it out even thru your own personal failures. Completing the task to the best of your ability. At one point they asked David ‘why were you grieving and fasting while the boy was still alive, and after he died you ate and functioned again’? David said ‘who knows, when the boy was alive there was a possibility that God would change his mind and let the boy live. After he died there was nothing else I could do’. Most of us would have been angry at God. David didn’t have all the answers, he knew Nathan was an accurate prophet. The things Nathan said were from the Lord. But David also was ‘from the Lord’. He too had a relationship with God. He depended on this relationship to guide him thru stuff. Maybe God would do something? David did not have all the answers. And when God didn’t do what he wanted, he didn’t take it personal. He moved forward the best he could. God showed tremendous mercy in allowing this sinful situation to produce a future king. Solomon was born from this turmoil and he was a great man of God. Look to the lord to bring forth wisdom from the failures in your life. The ‘first son’ might not have survived, but the second son just might be a prodigy.

 

(929)2ND SAMUEL 13- In this chapter David begins reaping the judgment on his household. Amnon, David’s son, falls for Tamar. Tamar is the sister of Absalom, another son of David. David had kids from various wives, so you had sons and sisters who were not from the same mother. Amnon devises a scheme and sleeps with Tamar. Then he rejects her. Absalom is incensed over this. David hears about it but doesn’t deal with the problem. Two years go by and Absalom gets even. He tricks Amnon and his other brothers to come to his territory. Then he kills Amnon. Word gets back to David ‘all your sons have been slain by Amnon’. David thinks ‘surely, this is my punishment’. He mourns and is shaken to the core. Now, the report was false. It really wasn’t as bad as David thought. Leaders, don’t always believe the initial report. The first intuition might be wrong. It’s difficult for leaders to recognize that something needs to happen, and then to wait on the Lord for clear directives. Leaders often want action, so they will respond and act based on the initial report. It’s better to sleep on it for a few days. David finds out that all the sons are not dead, just Amnon. Absalom flees to another king and is gone for a few years. David is distraught over the loss of one son and the reality that the other son is estranged from him. Could David have prevented this whole scenario? Maybe not, we do know the Lord said a sword would be in his family. A division and fighting would arise from within. But David also failed in that when he heard of the situation he never dealt with it. Sort of like Samuel and Eli. Eli let his boys run wild and they ruined Gods house. Though the Lord ‘promised’ David would reap what he sowed earlier on, yet the reaping was not as severe as he initially thought. Absalom could have very well killed all the brothers, but the Lord only allowed a limited judgment. Sometimes we mess up and make wrong choices, remember; God is for us. He is on our side. All chastening and discipline are for our ultimate benefit. What good what it have done for David to have been totally wiped out? God was disciplining David and his family, but God was still on David’s side.

 

(930)2nd SAMUEL 14- David is broken over the estrangement of his son. Joab realizes that the kingdom can’t function to its full potential under this strain. But he knows he can’t confront David himself. Why? Maybe it’s because of the nature of leaders. It’s a very rare thing for one leader to confront another leader over an issue. The natural response is to look for ways to justify ourselves. So instead Joab finds a ‘wise woman’ and gets her to put on this act for the king. She tells him this sob story about one of her sons killing the other one. She is a widow and is left with only one son, but all the other relatives want justice! They can’t forgive the only heir. Well David falls for this scenario again! He did this with Nathan and Bathsheba. So he tells the woman ‘God forbid that someone takes vengeance on the only son. Over my dead body…. on and on’. Now the woman says ‘can I say one last thing’? Knowing David’s history of getting trumped at the end of these things, I would have said ‘no maam, you’ve said enough already’. But David says ‘go ahead’. She tells him ‘you’re the man!’ [Ouch! I wonder if this woman was the wife of Nathan?:-)] So David realizes he’s been duped again. The woman says ‘O, you are so wise and smart and….’ Gee, for someone who is so swift, he sure falls for these stories a lot. David sends Joab to get Absalom and Absalom returns to Jerusalem but the king avoids him for 2 years. Finally he sees his son. All is not well, Absalom resents the fact that his father called him home but never really made things right. Joab is glad that David gave it a shot. And the nameless wise woman gives us a quote worth remembering ‘For we must needs die, and are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means [the Cross], that his banished [humanity] be not expelled from him [reconciliation]’. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

(931)2ND SAMUEL 15- Absalom sits daily at the city gate and when the people come to the king, Absalom ‘steels their hearts’. He says ‘o, if I were the king I could do such a good job. I am better than the one God appointed’. Avoid trying to gain peoples acceptance by comparing yourself with others. God might use you to be an example in some way, but this is a matter of grace. Paul said he excelled more than the other apostles who were ‘in Christ’ before him, but nevertheless it was Gods grace that caused this to happen. Absalom slowly wins the hearts of the people and stages a takeover. Some men go willingly, others followed ‘out of simplicity’. They were led astray like sheep. Remember, when dealing with followers of groups who have ‘rebelled’ [classic cults] some have been raised innocently with their beliefs. Try and honestly talk to them and treat them courteously. God can give you an open door with them if you see them as people who have value and worth. We see David as a type of Christ in this chapter. He is forsaken by the city of Jerusalem and loses his following. He even ascends the Mount of Olives while weeping! He says ‘If God chooses to forsake me, so be it. But if he brings me back again [resurrection!] and allows me to see the Ark in Jerusalem, then let his will be done’. Jesus said ‘not my will, but thine be done’. The Father, who forsook his Son, did delight in him and ‘brought him back again’ to see ‘the Ark in the city of Jerusalem’. Jesus saw the tabernacle of God [Gods people, the dwelling of God] in ‘the city of God’ [the church is called the city of God that comes down from God out of heaven] and he was restored to his former place of exaltation at the fathers right-hand. David is reaping some stuff here. He makes some plans for a future return to leadership, but recognizes when it’s time to retreat. Now, I realize that God wants us to move forward and ‘take the kingdom by force’. But Jesus also gave us a principle; he said ‘when one king is facing another king. He sends out messengers to check out the opponent. If word comes back that you are really out of your league in this battle, then try and come to terms of peace if possible’. In essence there are times where taking a step back and re-evaluating is a wise thing. David plants a few spies in Jerusalem who will report back to him every now and then. David also finds out who his true friends are. Some follow him instead of Absalom, even though Absalom is the ‘hot ticket item’ at the time. These brothers who stick with you till the end are true friends, but they aren’t always the most encouraging. Thomas [one of Jesus disciples] says at one point ‘Lets go, we might as well follow him all the way to our deaths’. Thanks for the willingness to follow Thomas, but you think you could change the attitude a little! So David is doing the best with what he has, Gods people are surviving, but they are being used as pawns on Absalom’s chess board. Absalom looked good at the start, but he will not finish well.

 

(932)2ND SAMUEL 16- As David flees Jerusalem, Ziba, the servant that was under Mephibosheth joins with him. David asks ‘what are you doing here? You should be home with your master’. Ziba says ‘as soon as Mephibosheth heard about the take over, he said “I will stay in Israel and become the new king, God will restore to me Saul’s throne”’. Now David believes it and says ‘I now put you in charge of all the household of your former master, it belongs to you’. Later on Mephibosheth will deny all of this. Its possible Ziba made this up for his own benefit. Leaders, be careful of advice from people with a personal agenda. They often make themselves look better than others. Now as David flees another enemy comes out and curses and throws stones at him along the way. This guy says ‘look at you now, you rebelled against the old king [Saul] and now you are receiving the just reward’. Now David responds with a Christ like attitude and says ‘let the guy curse me, I will not retaliate. Maybe God will look on this persecution and reward me’. One of David’s men wanted to ‘take his head off’. Gee, David has all types in his leadership circle! Did this guy who was cursing David misread the whole situation? Yes, but don’t forget we are reading this story from the real perspective, some people living at the time of David and Saul saw this new king [David] as a threat to the old ways. It’s only a few days after the 2008 presidential election. Barack Obama won. Though there were many reasons for and against him, now that he won we ALL need to pray for him. But some of the supporters of McCain sincerely saw this ‘new kind of person’ as a rebellious threat to the ‘old order’. Sincere people who saw things from a different angle. So David’s accuser sees the story from a wrong lens. David was being judged by God, but not because he toppled the old order of King Saul. Back at Jerusalem Absalom listens to the advice of Ahithophel and sleeps with his fathers concubines. The advice was that when all Israel heard about it, they would realize that this rebellion was a real rebellion and the people would unite under his illegal rule. Scripture says Ahithophels counsel was like ‘hearing from God’ in those days. Leaders, be open to the counsel that is coming forth from particular streams at certain times. It is not only important for believers to ‘learn the bible’, but also to be able to discern the signs of the times. Specific things God is saying and doing in our day. If you were living in the 16th century the issue of the reformation was vital for every one who was a believer. Whether you were Catholic or Protestant, you needed to be up on the issues. Erasmus, the great Catholic scholar and humanist [not ‘secular humanist’] wrote insightful criticisms against his own church, yet remained within her fold. So matter what Christian tradition you align yourself with, you need to be aware of the seasons and purposes of God for your generation. In Absalom’s day, Ahithophel was the go to man.

 

(934)2ND SAMUEL 17- Absalom is strengthening his position as the new king. Ahithophel, his chief counselor, advises to strike while the irons hot. He tells Absalom ‘let me gather a 12 thousand man army and quickly pursue David. I will come upon him and his men while they are tired and fearful, then I will kill David only and bring the people back to you’. Now, this advice was the best, but Absalom asks for the advice of Hushai also. He was the secret spy that was really on David’s side. He advises Absalom to wait and gather all the people and mount a broad attack. God put it in the heart of Absalom to believe the bad advice [bad for Absalom, good for David!]. So Ahithophel sees that his counsel is rejected, he goes and hangs himself! Once again we see the ‘sword of David’s enemies enter into their own heart’. Remember what we said earlier about this? So Hushai sends word to David about the plan and David responds accordingly. Leaders, understand the strategy of our mortal enemy [satan]. He wants to target you when you and your people are weary and tired. He wants to take you down more than any other thing. The bible teaches ‘smite the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered’. Now this is a Messianic prophecy with a lot of meaning, but one of the points is the lead ‘point man’ is usually the main target of the opposing side. How can we mitigate this factor? Practice plural leadership as much as possible. The new testament churches were not ‘run by a Pastor’ in the way we do it today. So adjust your leadership paradigm and bring it more into alignment with scripture. Also, spread ‘the wealth around’ [a recent key issue with the newly elected president, Barack Obama]. If you can get the wisdom and truth that God has communicated to you into the hands of many others, then you have accomplished a lot. Paul told Timothy ‘the things that you have learned and been assured of, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also’. This is true apostolic ministry. David will survive this rebellion against his kingdom, but if Absalom listened to the best counsel David would have been finished for sure.

 

(935)2ND SAMUEL 18- David and his men regroup and mount a counter attack against Absalom. They divide into 3 groups and go for it. David tells his men ‘take it easy on Absalom’. Why? Understand that David is seeing the prophetic judgment upon his family that was a result of his own sin. I wonder how many times David saw the fulfillment of this former word [the sword will never depart from your house] thru the seeming insignificant acts of Absalom along the way. David felt guilt over this whole rebellion mounted by his son. Now the battle rages and David and his men kill around 20 thousand troops of Absalom. Word gets back to Joab that Absalom got his hair caught in some tree and is hanging in the tree. Joab says ‘why didn’t you kill him!’ the messenger says ‘God forbid that I should kill the king’s son! I heard the strict orders from the king for no one to take his life’. My King James Version says Joab responded with ‘I may not tarry thus with thee’ in today’s terms ‘I can’t waste time listening to your reasoning’. Joab goes and kills the king’s son. When I read thru this chapter earlier this morning I saw 2 possible things here. First, Joab and his history with David are one of Joab being a ‘bloody man’. He killed Abner against the king’s wishes, and now Absalom. Why in the world did David not remove Joab from this position earlier? One reason, Joab knew how to war. The boy was capable; he knew how to get the job done. In ministry [or business] loyalty is important; people need to be able to carry out the decisions of leadership. But loyalty in and of itself doesn’t cut it, you need skills and abilities as well. You say ‘that’s not fair’ well if you don’t have the skills go get them for heavens sake! Proverbs says knowledge is in the street corners calling out to the simple and saying ‘come, receive of my learning’. The resources are there, laziness prevents people from accessing them effectively. Now Joab also acted responsibly to some degree. He realized that Absalom would be a permanent threat to David’s rule, he killed him and saved many. Right after his death Joab blows the trumpet and the battle is called off. 2 Messengers run to bring the word to David. Ephesians says ‘blessed are the feet of those who bring the gospel’ Gospel simply means ‘good news’. In the New Testament this good news was the reality of Jesus death, burial and resurrection [1st Corinthians 15] but in the Old Testament it was simply the news from ‘the runner’. You could tell from the way the runner was running whether the news was good or bad. How? Say if your wife took a lotto ticket that said ‘you one a million dollars’ and said ‘I am going to ask the store clerk if it’s real’. As you are waiting in the parking lot you see her coming out of the store. Do you think you would be able to tell if the news was good or bad by watching the way she approaches the car? So this was what the king looked for as the messengers came running. If they bore good news their feet had this special pep to them. News gets back to David and he is broken over the death of his son ‘O Absalom, my son Absalom. Would God I had died in your place’ I always stop and meditate this verse every time I read it thru my yearly reading thru the bible. This contains the heart of the Father in redemption. A few more things; in this chapter it said that Absalom raised up a monument/pillar after ‘his own name’. Because he didn’t have any sons to carry on his legacy, he left ‘a thing’ that would honor his name after he died. Absalom didn’t simply have a rebellion issue against his father, he really wanted to build for himself a legacy. His motivations were self serving. Jesus warns the leaders of his movement not to approach ‘church and ministry’ with the same ‘gentile’ [worldly] concepts of leadership. The world often succeeds thru the motivation of greed and lust and power. It’s very easy to fall into the Absalom mindset and take it out on Gods people when the ‘pillar’ [the thing of ministry] doesn’t ‘go up right’. Many well meaning sincere men have been side tracked into seeking fame and acceptance by seeing ministry thru the lens of ‘I want to leave some institution that will bear witness to my name after I am gone’. Ministry, according to Jesus, does not operate along these lines. In Absalom’s obsession to become famous in the eyes of men, he went down a path that did leave a memorial to his name for generations to come. We just read it.

 

(936)2ND SAMUEL 19- David sends word to the elders of Judah ‘why are you guys so late in receiving me back to Jerusalem as your king? I am your own kin for heavens sake!’ After the death of the rogue king Absalom, Israel came to her senses and began saying ‘you know, when David was our king things weren’t all that bad, now that Absalom is dead, what are we waiting for, lets call David back’. So David sends word back that he is reuniting with the people again. He also makes some strategic moves; he tells Amasa ‘when I get back, you get Joab’s job’ Ouch! David finally dealt with the talented, yet self willed commander of his men. On the way back one of the first guys that greets him is the same brother that cursed him and threw stones at him earlier. David lived to see the day of Gods vindication. The brother repents and David forgives him. Also the son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, greets David with great joy. The first thing David says is ‘why didn’t you leave with me at the beginning?’ The earlier slander of Ziba stuck in David’s mind. Mephibosheth swares that Ziba tricked him. David forgives him and says ‘enough! You split the inheritance with Ziba’. Mephibosheth replies ‘Let him keep it, I don’t need the material wealth. I am just glad to be with you again’. The church does not see the reality of this test contained in scripture. There are times where ‘David’ does offer opportunities of self advancement that are simply a test to see what our motives are. In this case David rightfully gave material stuff to Mephibosheth, it was the maturity and character of Mephibosheth to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. The scripture contains many examples of Christ followers forsaking things for his cause. Just because the bible ‘offers opportunities for wealth’ does not mean Gods best is for you to ‘go for the wealth’. Now that David’s back in Jerusalem, the divided tribes [Israel-10 tribes, and Judah] have a squabble. Israel says ‘Judah, who do you think you are in being the first ones to escort the king back, he is our king too’! And Judah replies ‘yeah, but he is our blood kin, David is from our tribe. We hold a ‘special’ relationship with him because of natural heritage’. It’s funny, these guys were on Absalom’s side a few days ago, now they are fighting over him! I kinda see Jesus and natural Israel in this story. The nation of Israel became offended over the fact that they were ‘blood heirs’ of the Jewish Messiah. They held to this ethnic pride that would be destroyed thru the Cross. It offended the natural mind to see this ethnic figure [in the historic mind of Judaism] to be accepted by ‘all the tribes’. They wanted him solely for their own purposes. So here we see Judah and Israel fighting over David, he will unite them both under his rule [Ephesians ‘the 2 are made one, Jew and Gentile, and God hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us] and Jerusalem will once again be called ‘the city of the great king’ [we are the ‘city that comes down from God out of heaven’ the bride, the Lambs wife!]

 

(937)2ND SAMUEL 20- Now David comes up against another short rebellion. Sheba, a Benjamite, blows the trumpet and says ‘what part have we in David, every man for himself’. Sheba draws Israel away from her king and Judah remains loyal. David quickly tells his new commander, Amasa, ‘go and gather Judah together and meet me in 3 days’. He takes longer than 3 days and David says ‘surely this Sheba is going to be trouble’ and he sends Joab out too. What’s going on here? First, David removed Joab from the commander position and replaced him with Amasa. For whatever reason Amasa is taking longer to gather Judah, David is reading into it thru the paranoia of Sheba’s rebellion. Was Amasa turning against him too? David then turns to his former commander Joab and seems to be using him as the back up ‘go to man’. Leaders, if you changed the staff for a reason, don’t keep going to the former guy for advice. It only creates tension with the new team. If you think the new guy isn’t working well, then give him a little time and if you have to then go and make the change. But don’t simply give him a title and then undercut his job. Now Joab goes out after Sheba and finds Amasa and kills him. He then chases down Sheba into a city of Israel. Joab comes against the city and a wise woman says ‘why are you trying to destroy us, we are a special town in Israel’? Joab says ‘we just want Sheba’. Sure enough the woman says ‘wait a little bit’ and next thing you know Sheba’s head comes over the wall. You don’t want to mess with these Israeli women! So Joab gets his job back, thru violent means. David puts down this short rebellion. And he has to regroup big time. Leadership means being able to function in the midst of turmoil and inner strife and infighting. That’s part of the cost. There is a verse that says ‘rule thou in the midst of your enemies’. God doesn’t tell us ‘I will remove all the problems so you can rule’. He tells us ‘lead right thru all the stuff’!

 

(938)2ND SAMUEL 21- After David gains back his kingdom, there is a 3 year famine in the land. David seeks the Lord about it. God tells him it is a result of the violence that Saul committed against the innocent blood of the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites were the people who tricked Joshua [Joshua 9] into staying in the Promised Land. After Joshua gave his word, they later found out that they were tricked. Well Saul obviously went back on this promise of protection and came against them. When ever there is a nation wide judgment, we need to see what the possible causes might be. We just elected a new president of the U.S. [11-08]. While there are obviously great historic realities to our new president being the first Black man to attain this honor, yet we also need to seek God over the way we treat the ‘innocent blood’ in our land. Barack Obama has already floated the idea that he will overturn the executive decision of President Bush on our foreign aid being used for abortions in other countries. To be honest it surprised me that he even floated this idea so soon. This is a direct contradiction to the statement he made at the forum at Rick Warrens church earlier in the year. He said he would work to reduce abortion and that the goal of reducing them would be part of his governing philosophy. He simply mislead us on this issue. Also the Gibeonites were ‘illegal aliens’ in the sense that they were the only people group allowed to remain in the Promised Land along with Israel. Our country has had open borders for many years. True, we do have procedures to go by if you want to come to our country. But we have previously promised ‘protection and safety’ to those who wanted to come. Much like the Gibeonites we began to resent the aliens in our midst. We now treat them with less respect and honor than was originally promised. We told the tired masses at one time ‘to come’ but now we want to build fences to keep them out. On both of these issues our country needs to seek God, we are just beginning a few years of very bad national economic times. For those who think this president [or any other!] has the ability to turn this economic disaster around, you are only kidding yourself. The next 4 years will not be good. We need to pray for our president and honor him, but in reality our economy is very bad. Also in this chapter we see David and his men fight the sons of Goliath, the giant who David defeated earlier in his life. Old enemies are resurfacing. David is in a battle with one of them and is almost killed. To the rescue comes Abishai, the brother of Joab. These were the brothers who gave David ‘hell’ all thru out his reign. Self willed, violent. This time David was grateful for the violent ability of these brothers. Sometimes we have to put up with people in our cities, areas. We might not always agree with their style. But when things get rough, we can count on them to get the job done. David and his men wipe out the rest of the giants sons and they tell David ‘you can’t war with us any more, it’s too dangerous’. David recognizes it’s time for a personal transition, he likes being in the battle front, but he is risking too much to think that time has not affected his ability. God leads us thru various stages of growth and development thru out our lives, the bible says ‘there is a time and season for everything’. We need to be able to follow the course as God directs. David was a true warrior, he did not want to adjust his procedure. Wisdom allows us to do what’s best for the overall community and not to please ourselves.

 

(939)2ND SAMUEL 22- David exalts the Lord and mentions many themes that are found thru out scripture. He also says ‘the Lord has rewarded me according to the cleanness of my hands… he has recompensed me according to my righteousness’. Though David is renown for his sin with Bathsheba and the killing of her husband, yet we must see that David’s repentance was real. Ultimately David turned from his sin and God did bless him. We don’t want people to get the impression that repentance did not matter, in David’s case it made all the difference in the world. David also says ‘the Lord is merciful to those who are merciful…and hard with those who are hard’ Jesus says this in Matthew 5. David says ‘God took me and placed me in a large place’. One of the most frustrating things is to be operating from the wrong paradigm. Too often we leave the impression with young Pastors that their ‘job’ is to preach to 30 people a week for 30 years, marry them, bury them, perform the job of the ‘hired clergyman’ and this is what it means to be faithful. While I recognize that many well meaning men are functioning out of this mind set, yet God puts in people [all of his people, not just ‘full time ministers’!] a ‘large place’ to function out of. Now, when I say ‘large place’ don’t think building, think ‘the area, groups of people that I will influence thru out my life’. Scripture says God took David from ‘following the sheep’ [small pastoral mindset] to being king over the nation. God simply gave David great influence and stature for the sake of his people. Jesus said ‘you have been faithful over a little, I will now give you authority over 10 cities’. Are you frustrated because you are supposed to be ‘over 10 cities’ and are still dealing with ‘the little’? Be faithful to the day of small things right now, promotion comes from God alone. ‘You have made me the head of the heathen…strangers shall serve me. As soon as they hear me they will submit’. These are Messianic themes found elsewhere in scripture ‘ask of me and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance, the ends of the earth for your possession’. Jesus became the ‘head of the heathen’ he is Lord over the gentile nations, John calls this ‘the other flock’ in his gospel. God gave both David and Jesus authority for the benefit of people. What kind of people? The lost, down and out. Those who society rejected. God gives us authority for the ‘sake of the heathen’. Don’t see your ‘ministry’ as a gift to the ‘upper class’ only, spend some time ‘with the heathen’.

 

(940)2ND SAMUEL 23- David recounts his life and the mighty men who were with him thru the ups and downs. He says ‘God raised me up on high, the anointed of God. He spake his words thru me’ Jesus was raised up ‘on high’ he was/is Gods anointed one [Messiah] and he spoke only the words that the Father gave him. Now David has some valiant men to mention. Some fought the enemy against all odds. One was in a lentil field and the rest of the people fled. This brother stood his ground and won! This characteristic is important for leaders; there are times where you must stand, even if the rest of your people are afraid! If you start running, then forget it, there isn’t a ‘snowball’s chance in Hades’ that the job will get finished. Also David was in the cave Adullam, and he longed for the water at Bethlehem. His 3 mighty men heard him and they secretly snuck out and broke thru the Philistines front line and got the water for David! A valiant deed. Then they bring it to David and he pours it on the ground! He says ‘God forbid that I should drink the water that you risked your lives for’. I don’t know about you guys, but if I were one of the mighty men, my next valiant act would be ‘watch me make the king drink water off the ground’. One of the brothers killed a lion in the snow. I grew up in New Jersey, when it’s freezing out its hard to carry out tasks. You really don’t want to fight battles and ‘slay lions’ in difficult environments. The mighty men were able to function well, even in harsh conditions. The rest of the chapter is simply the naming of all the others. A few things; God raises up leaders and ‘kings’ at various times in history [Luther, Calvin, Graham, etc.] these men make their mark on history with the help of many other valiant men. In David’s case one of the men saved him from sure death in an earlier fight with the giant’s sons. The point is we are not in this thing to make a name for ourselves or to think ‘I could do a better job than David’ [Absalom] and go and start our own ‘kingdom’. God places key people in key places at certain points in time. It is vital for all the ‘actors’ [those who act/function!] to be courageous, take risks as God ordains, and fulfill the mission to the best of your ability. There are times where leaders WILL HAVE TO LEAD! That means you sought God, you heard what he said, and you followed thru on it. Many sincere men try all sorts of ‘new ideas’ in an attempt to get something off the ground. A year goes by and they have a new idea their working on. What happened? Ultimately you have to lead. You have to follow thru on the directives that God gave you. The problem isn’t with the plan [most of the times] but it’s with the faithfulness to follow thru with the mission. David’s men had the character to stick things out when others fled. Sure, those who flee will be back to check things out every now and then. Don’t despise them, but you know who can be trusted with the next mission. These are the noble warriors who acted valiantly in the face of great odds. These are the ‘go to men’ if you will.

 

(941)2ND SAMUEL 24- David numbers the people. Joab and his men tell David not to do it. Why? Well to be honest we really don’t know for sure, but let me give you my spin on it. The nation of Israel were very religious and sticklers for specific things. You see this development years later with the religious Pharisees, a tendency to focus in on specific instructions and these ideas becoming obsessive in their minds. All Israel knew the original promise that God made to Abraham. God told him that his ‘seed would be like the stars for multitude and the sand by the shore’ [Genesis 15] included in this famous promise were the words ‘go, see if you can count them’? It was understood that God was saying to Abraham ‘go, if you want to test me, try and count them’ [the stars]. It’s possible that the counting of the people was considered a taboo for this reason. Now David does count them and his ‘seer/prophet’ Gad tells him ‘you messed up, you have 3 choices of judgment that will come on you’. David picks the 3 day judgment under Gods hand and 70,000 Israelites die. The census David took showed that Israel had 800 thousand people, Judah 500 thousand [1.3 million total] without counting the women and children! So you can multiply this number by at least 3 to figure the actual size of the nation. God stops the judgment short and David builds an altar at the place where he saw the destroying angel. David also pleads with the Lord ‘why kill the people, let the judgment be on me and my family instead’. David shows the heart of Moses here. Also David had a ‘seer/prophet’ that was part of his ‘ministry team’. In the prophetic churches it is common to have real prophetic people [not flakes!] who are stable in the word, and also give good advice to the leadership. There are real life prophets/seers who function in the church and can play a key role in the future of the church. We end Samuel with David overseeing a large kingdom. The people were the prophetic fulfillment of Gods purpose in the earth at that time. The letter of Peter says we are Gods holy nation today. The Father promised the Son that he would give him ‘the heathen for his inheritance and the ends of the earth for his possession’. Just like David, the anointed king/priest of Israel, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and sees the great multitude of people on the earth [and in heaven] that are the fulfillment of the promise of God to him. We are living proof of the faithfulness of God to his Son.

 

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