By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new to this, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book. If you want to truly know your King, you can follow this link to read all of the current portions to date!
Previously in 2 Samuel…A fleeing David heard of the death of Saul and Jonathan, and while relief may have been expected, David responded in grief instead. He mourned the death of his brother, Jonathan, and the Lord’s anointed, Saul. However this led to him finally being anointed King over Israel, although Abner, Saul’s general, attempted but failed to continue the reign of Saul’s lineage through his son, Ish-bosheth. As the new King, David conquered and established Zion, the city of David (aka Jerusalem), struck down the Philistines, and brought the ark back to Jerusalem. After so many years of war, flight, murder, and death, David finally found rest, and at that time the Lord spoke to him through Nathan, the prophet, promising him that his kingdom would be established forever! David responded to the Lord’s unmerited favor in complete humility for such an undeserved gift. After receiving such a gift, David quickly reflected God’s glory by bestowing Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, with similar grace! David continued to live for the Lord, but he still fell to temptation. He lusted after a woman named Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and he acted on that lust in sin. His sin brought for death to the son who is conceived, and the Lord promised that evil would rise from within David’s house. We eventually see that evil come forth through David’s son, Absalom, who allowed hate to grow within his heart and caused it to expel his own father from the throne. Absalom attempted to seize the kingdom for is own, but he was ultimately defeated by those faithful to David. Although David specifically requested that Absalom’s life be protected, Joab acted outside of David’s orders and killed Absalom. David was immensely grieved by this, but he eventually returned to Jerusalem and resumed his reign over the people.
BEFORE READING MORE – It would be ideal if you read the chapters to be discussed prior to looking through the outline! This week we are covering 2 Samuel 22 – 24.
2 SAMUEL – The second book of Samuel chronicles the majority of David’s life as King of Israel. From the death of Saul to David’s old age, we get a compact snapshot of all that David faced and did for the Lord. In the first book of Samuel we saw David’s anointing as king, but we also saw grave opposition from Saul, the current ruler, which took the form of relentless pursuit. David showed great character as Saul constantly tried to take his life, and he was established as a man after God’s own heart. In 2 Samuel he finally takes on the mantle of King, but the man after God’s own heart was far from perfect. Amongst his countless victories and empowered rule as King, we also see clear failings (sin). Those failings had frightening consequences, but the Lord was faithful to see through them and to hold fast to the promise to establish David’s kingdom forever! The book introduces many characters including Nathan, the prophet, Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, Joab, David’s general, Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, Absalom, Solomon, and many more! All of these men and women play an important role in defining the heart of man towards God and the propensity of the same to sin, and we also see the terrible consequences of allowing the fruit of sin to come forth. But above all, we are constantly reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness and power to redeem all no matter the circumstance.
- 2 Samuel 22 | A Psalm of Praise: Chapter 22 is interestingly placed within the book of 2 Samuel. David clearly, and rightfully so, had no shortage of praise for the Lord as he is the author of the majority of chapters in the Book of Psalms. This chapter of praise in particular is comparable to Psalm 18, and when you take a look at both chapters side by side, it is clear that they are virtually the same. However, it is hard to say when David actually wrote this Psalm. There are many great words of praise, but the portion that confuses me is this:
“The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt.” | 2 Samuel:21-24
This little snippet is intriguing because it seems out of place. Either David compiled this Psalm of praise when he was young or when he was old. When young, he had just experienced the saving power of the Lord over all his enemies (including Saul – see verse 1), since as a young man we don’t see David experience any devastating failure of sin, such as his encounter with Bathsheba. So, he may be in a euphoric state of victory with some sense of pride at his “righteousness” before the Lord. OR this was an ideal that he attained to when he was old. Although he knew that he was not perfect, he could have recognized the power of the Lord to justly forgive all his faults, and to him that victory and refuge of the Lord completely eclipsed his failures. Perhaps David had found complete forgiveness through the Lord. Is that something we strive for today? Or do we cling to the sin that plagued our life in the past? Nonetheless, David’s praise for the Lord is unmatched. This is a particularly encouraging excerpt from this chapter:
“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears. Then the earth recalled and rocked; the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rod one a cherub and flew; he was seen on the wings of the wind. He made darkness around him his canopy, thick clouds, a gathering of water. Out of the brightness before him coals of fire flamed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice. And he send out arrows and scattered them; lightning, and routed them.” | 2 Samuel 22:7-15
What a powerful and just God that we have on our side!
- 2 Samuel 23 | David’s last words about the Lord, his everlasting kingdom, and his mighty men: In these last words from David, which may be only a portion of his “last words”, the old king honors the faithfulness of the Lord; he proclaims his everlasting covenant with Him; and he praises the mighty men that so valiantly fought by his side. After he is done praising the men that the Lord used to help him prosper, Chapter 23 continues by listing out all of David’s “mighty men” and some of their crazy deeds (Josheb-basshebeth killed 800 enemies at one time)! David’s last words and the list of mighty men seem to just document and summarize David’s life in the Lord. Ironically, despite David’s words of being “blameless” before the Lord in chapter 22, Uriah the Hittite, who was murdered by David himself, was among his 37 mighty men.
- 2 Samuel 24 | David sins again by numbering the people, and the Lord punishes Israel, but shows mercy as David shows repentance: In the final chapter of 2 Samuel, David commits another sin before the Lord. This time it is a little more complicated because we see Satan play a role in the act. This chapter correlates to 1 Chronicles 21 and it hearkens back to Exodus 30. In 1 Chronicles and at the beginning of this chapter, we see that Satan worked to move David in this instance. David was moved to number the people of Israel, which to date was something that only the Lord incited. In Exodus 30, we read that there was an offering to be gathered when doing this, and the whole process seemed to be much more intentional than simply taking a census of the people. It seems as though David, by the working of the enemy, did this from a place of pride as if the nation was his! This was clearly a sin, and the Lord had to deal with it justly. However, the following verses play out a wonderful story of David’s conviction, the Lord’s justice and judgement, His mercy, and David’s repentance.
But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” | 2 Samuel 24:10
David was immediately convicted of his sin, and we can see how his sincere repentance would allow him to speak the words that he did in Chapter 22! However, the Lord is still just, and a sacrifice was required. But in His first sign of mercy, the Lord allows David to choose the punishment, and David chooses a plague over being attacked by enemies. The Lord sent an angel to bring forth a great calamity that killed 70,000 men! But the Lord stopped the angel at the “appointed time”. It seems that it was only after the Lord had stopped the angel that David built an altar for the Lord at the threshing floor of Araunah (shout out to Boaz and Ruth). The angel stopped at the threshing floor of Araunah, and David went to Araunah, built an altar on the threshing floor, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and then, we see “the plague was averted from Israel”. It seems as though the mercy of the Lord is in his foreknowledge and his appointed time like Abraham who was asked to offer Isaac! Also in this story of repentance and mercy, David has a notable interaction with Araunah, who offered to give David oxen for an offering.
Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.” But the king said to Araunah, “No, but i will it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” | 2 Samuel 24:22-24
What have you offered to the Lord? What price did you pay? If you didn’t pay any price, who paid it for you?