2 Samuel 4:1-6:23
Ishbosheth the son of Saul, was not a king at all. He had been given the position by man (Abner) but not by God. Ishbosheth, lost heart and was struck with fear when his general died, but he did nothing about it. He doesn’t seek the LORD, or rally his troops, we only find him taking a nap in the middle of the day. It’s no wonder two wicked men were able to enter his quarters and decapitate him, bringing his head to David.
These men thought they’d score some big time points with David for what they’ve done, but David’s not that kind of man; he immediately has them executed for shedding innocent blood.
David was a king to the core. He wasn’t a perfect man by any means, but he had been prepared – his entire life, for this calling – it was all moving towards this moment. All the elders of Israel finally recognized what God was doing and came to Hebron to crown David king. Our job and responsibility in life (especially in the ministry) is not to choose or appoint to positions of leadership those whom we want to be there, but those whom God wants there. God shows us in time, through prayer, circumstances lining up, and His hand upon their lives.
God begins to establish David as king and put things in place. Israel is finally able to conquer Jerusalem. Joab earns and reaffirms his position as general. They begin to build up the city and even the king of Tyre sends resources to encourage and assist David in this. We read two important passages:
2 Samuel 5:10 (NKJV) “So David went on and became great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.”
That’s the key isn’t it? And the LORD God of hosts was with him. (Matthew 28:20; Acts 18:10; Hebrews 13:5)
2 Samuel 5:12 (NKJV) “So David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.”
God does such a good work, not for David, but for the sake of His people.
God goes on to give David victory over Israel’s archenemy, the Philistines. God will do the same for us if we inquire of Him as David did, and seek Him earnestly.
David has it in his heart to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, which is a great desire, but unfortunately he does it the wrong way. The Law of the LORD clearly communicated how the Ark was to be transported but David didn’t do it Scripturally and paid the price. When the oxen stumbled, Uzzah thought he was doing right by keeping the Ark from falling, but God struck him for that. He was not to touch the Ark. It was only to be carried by the priests through the designated rings with the designated poles; it was only to be handled by those whom God appointed. How important it is that we do things Biblically!
By God’s grace David is eventually able to bring the Ark to Jerusalem – when he does it God’s way and David dances in worship with all his might. His wife Michal saw the dance and despised her husband, most likely influenced by the enemy who hates it when we worship wholeheartedly. This bitter woman who could not see God’s hand in all that had taken place, then lost the many blessings in life of bearing children.
Since Jesus was leaving physically, His final words would be critical. Here He issues a new commandment, not just that they love one another, but that they love one another AS HE HAS LOVED THEM. By this all we will know that we’re Christians, not merely by our church attendance, bumper stickers, t-shirts, Bibles, morals…no – by our love.
Do I truly love others the way Jesus has loved me? Sandy Adams said, “Sometimes it is easier to love a sinner than it is a saint. We expect more from those within the family…the world will know who my Father is, by the way I treat my brother.” (or sister) The bottom line is if we don’t love (agape style), we’re not saved…it really makes me check my heart (1 John 4:7-8).
Jesus had taken care of these guys for the last 3 ½ years; He was everything to them, they had come to believe that He was the Messiah, the Prophet, the One – and now He’s telling them that it’s time for Him to leave?
This would be very, very tough and trying time for them – but the truth would bring them comfort (it always does – we just need to listen and look for it). Jesus was indeed going away, but one of the things He would be doing up yonder is “preparing” a place for them. Some believe it’s in reference to our new bodies, others see it as our custom-built home in heaven, the main thing is, that where He is, there we will be.
They should have known about this place called heaven and the Person who would take them there, but they (like us) were a little dense, so Thomas speaks up, with the question of the ages, “Lord, we don’t know where You’re going so how can we possibly know the way?” Jesus, responds with some of the most important words we’ll ever hear:
John 14:6(NKJV), “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Some people despise the fact that Christian’s say the way to heaven is narrow; they’re offended because they believe that there are many roads to heaven’s entrance. But I’m just glad that God made a way, and that one way is so simple and beautiful, all I need to do is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And by the way, these aren’t the words of Christians, these are the words of Christ.
Jesus answers another question, this time from Philip, who wanted Him to show them the Father – this would be all they needed to see. But Jesus reveals the fact that if they’ve seen Him, they’d seen the Father. Not that Jesus is the Father, but their nature and nurture, their love, their lives, were the same – like Father, like Son.
Jesus goes on to teach them, and us, more of the most important things we need to know, since He was leaving them physically – next in the realm of prayer. This would be new for them, that when they prayed, they were to ask in His name. A powerful prayer life is essential in order to see God truly move mightily. When we ask in Jesus’ name it has to do with His heart, would it be something He would approve and is it for His glory? I like to use the words, “In Jesus’ name,” as a reminder to myself and others of this wonderful promise – “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” But it’s not a mantra, a tag, or a verbal formula to get my way, it’s a Person we consider when we pray, that He may have His way.
As we cover the 3rd and 4th letters of the Hebrew Alphabet (each stanza started with that letter respectively) it’s all about the Word of God.
I’ve always loved the prayer of:
Psalm 119:18 (NKJV) “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.”
This is a perfect prayer to pray as we’re about to read, study, or hear God’s word, that the Lord would open our eyes – to see wondrous things from His law. I found it fascinating that the same root word in the Hebrew – translated “wondrous” here, is translated wonderful in Isaiah 9:6 in reference to Jesus. Another good prayer to pray is, “Lord open my eyes that I may see Jesus in Your Word.” (He’s everywhere – Hebrews 10:7)
Other verses that stood out to me in this section are:
Psalm 119:24 (NKJV) “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”
Many times we look to men for counsel (and that has its place), but the best counselor is the God as He speaks to us through His Word.
Psalm 119:28 (NKJV) “My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.”
When I read the above passage I think of the many, many people how are hurting, depressed, distressed, and struggling with anxiety. Their hearts are heavy, they’re melting. Some don’t even want to live any longer. May they pray this prayer – may God strengthen them with His word.
Psalm 119:32 (NKJV) “I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.”
I like this verse because it speaks of God working on my heart, making it larger, stronger. This is the only way we can run the race, finish, and win. O Lord, make our hearts strong.
Which verse stood out to you? Why?
V. 31 – This precept is everywhere in the Proverbs isn’t it?
Who wants to be rebuked? We all should welcome it when necessary.
Imagine if you’re only surrounded by people who are afraid to tell you the truth and you never get any constructive criticism – no correction whatsoever, even though you need it desperately because you’re living dangerously. To some it may sound appealing, to never ever be rebuked, but it’s not a good atmosphere any for us.
We should want to hear the truth, even if it hurts, even if it cuts.
C. H. Spurgeon said, “Get a friend to tell you your faults, or better still, welcome an enemy who will watch you keenly and sting you savagely. What a blessing such an irritating critic will be to a wise man, what an intolerable nuisance to a fool.”
V. 32 – Similar to v. 31, the primary distinction is instruction as opposed to correction.
In one sense, rebuke is telling me what’s wrong; instruction is teaching me what’s right.
He who disdains instruction despises his own soul; the word disdains refers to the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect. “Ah, I don’t need to listen to any of those lessons.”
But we do:
2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”
Doctrine tells us what is right, reproof tells us what is not right, correction tells us how to get right, and instruction tells us how to stay right.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.