2 Samuel 20:14–21:22
General Joab and his soldiers are tracking down the rebel Sheba who has rejected David as king and has highly influenced the men of Israel. They find him hiding in the city of Abel, so they surround the city and begin to batter down its gates. A wise woman addresses Joab, assesses the situation and saves the city and all its citizens by granting Joab what he asked for, the head of Sheba. Joab blows the trumpet, the “battle” is over.
I’m reminded of:
Ecclesiastes 9:15a (NKJV) “Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city.”
In this case, it was a wise woman.
We read in 2 Samuel 20:23-26 about the structure and identity of some of David’s administration. Seeing that Joab is restored as the general of David’s army is an indication that David recognized that it was God’s will for Joab to be general. King David resisted it for a time, but then yielded to the Lord. Godly leaders don’t merely choose people they prefer, they appoint those whom God has ordained.
I always love to read about David “inquiring” of the Lord. Apparently towards the end of David’s reign there was a famine in the land that lasted three years, so David prayed and asked God why? God revealed to him it was because of a time when Saul tried to wipe out the Gibeonites. Joshua had made a covenant with them (Joshua 9) NOT to destroy them, but rather to protect them; but Saul had violated that covenant sometime during his reign (we don’t have a Biblical account of it). David asked the Gibeonites what it would take to make things right, and seven men of Saul’s descendants were hung. After that, David buried the bones of Saul, Jonathan, and the seven men who had been executed, and then we read in:
2 Samuel 21:14 (NKJV) “…and after that God heeded the prayer for the land.”
Sin that is not dealt with will hinder our prayers (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2).
In case you’re wondering, this is not a normal practice of God, that the children would pay for the sins of the fathers (see Ezekiel 18) but we also need to know that our sins do affect our children. There’s also a possibility these descendants who died, had blood on their hands. One thing we can know for certain is that our God is a JUST God.
David went out to battle with his men, but his age is beginning to show, he grew faint and could have died at the hands of Ishbi-Benob, a giant’s descendant. What a tragedy it would have been for David to die at the hands of a giant! God didn’t allow it – He protected David through Abishai, and David was advised NOT to go out to the battlefield any longer. Age does change us and our activities in life, not that we ever retire from serving the Lord, but the nature of service will vary.
David was described as the “lamp” of Israel, for he was their anointed king. Israel found favor under his leadership, for although he made many mistakes, his heart was right in the sight of God (1 Samuel 16:7; Acts 13:22).
David trained his soldiers well. They saw his example throughout the years and now David’s mighty men were protecting Israel and slaying giants. It’s a good testimony on how we should aspire to do our best to pass the baton on to the next generation.
The book of Acts is part-2, so to speak. Luke tells us that the former account (the Gospel of Luke) is just the beginning of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. Jesus will now build His church through His people who are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells His followers to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Spirit, and then they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth!
Jesus then ascends into heaven and the angels testify to the fact that He would come again one day, the same way He left. The 120 disciples stay and pray in the upper room.
“God’s desire is that our lives reflect Jesus…but we can’t do that by our own power. We cannot forgive. We cannot love. We cannot be kind and considerate like Jesus. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be transformed into His image and be witnesses to Him.” – Pastor Chuck Smith
How beautiful the way the 120 prayed! (Acts 1:14)
Wiersbe wrote this, “God shares His power with us as we pray and ask Him for His help. Throughout Acts, notice Luke’s emphasis on prayer. The first church was a praying church.”
I seriously question whether or not Peter should have chosen an Apostle to replace Judas. I believe the book of Acts makes it clear that Paul was chosen by Jesus to replace Judas. Paul was empowered by the Spirit. Peter did his best to be led by the Scriptures and even though I question his application in this situation, I do believe the Lord will use His Word to guide us!
Wiersbe wrote, “If we are faithful to read God’s Word, study it, meditate on it, and obey it, God will guide us when we have decisions to make. The Holy Spirit teaches us (John 14:26; 16:13–14) and directs us when we pray and seek the Lord’s will. The Holy Spirit uses truth, not ignorance; so the more facts we have, the better. We should use our common sense but not lean on it (Proverbs 3:5–6), for we walk by faith and not by sight. If we sincerely move in the wrong direction, the Lord will show us (Acts 16:6–10; Philippians 3:15), so we need not fear. It is good for believers to read the Word and pray together as they seek the mind of the Lord.”
As I read this Psalm, I immediately think of:
Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
“In time of need…” For me, that’s daily, that “time” is constant, I always need help from the Lord.
The Psalmist asks the question, “Where does my help come from?” But he knows what to do and where to look; he knows that we need to pray and look “up” to God, because our help comes only from Him (who also happens to be the One who made heaven and earth)!
He will protect us, He will keep us, He will shade us from the heat. He will preserve us from all evil, and even our souls.
Over the years I’ve had the gracious blessing, privilege, and opportunity to travel to far away places, such as Mexico, and places in South America, like Peru, Colombia, and Chile; to the other side of the world…places like Cambodia, Nepal, and even Israel. Whenever I journey, I take to heart a plaque we have hanging in our home that has this passage out of today’s Psalm:
Psalm 121:8 (NKJV) “The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”
In the Bible, (according to God) pride is NOT good. Pride is the root of all sin. Pride is the reason the Devil rebelled. Pride can be confidence in self, in my own goodness, my own achievements, my own qualities…and can even lead me to thinking… I don’t need God (that’s the worst place to be).
Peter was proud and overconfident. When Jesus warned Peter that he would deny Him, he defied the Lord right there and then. He said the others might deny, but he never would. This led to Peter not praying, following at a distance, and warming himself by the enemies’ fire. It led to his “fall.”
Humility is the antithesis of pride. It’s an honest assessment of self. I know God loves me and I’m valued by Him, but I also know that I am nothing and can do nothing without Him (John 15:5). Humility is grieved by who I am apart from Christ, but it is encouraged by who I am as a part of the body of Christ.
May we have a healthy humility, and flee all forms of pride.
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.