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The Message of The Bible - Part Ten
by Dave MillerIn the last lesson we were in I Samuel chapter 15 and 16. The first king of Israel was Saul. This king was selected in I Samuel 8 in violation of Godís will. God in Deuteronomy had predicted that they would have a king and had given some guidelines regarding the king. That was simply Godís prophetic foreknowledge. It was not His will that they have a king because He was their king, as made perfectly clear in I Samuel 8. For them to want a human king was a demonstration of their lack of trust, their lack of faith in the great monarch of the entire universe.
God gave in to them. He allowed them to have what they wanted and He selected the best man for the job at the time, Saul. Yet by I Samuel 13, Saul had violated Godís will. Samuel confronted him and said, "Godís going to select a man after His own heart." Two chapters later, in chapter 15, Saul is once again given instructions, very clear instructions, about what heís to do to obey God. Once again he violates Godís will. Samuel rebuked him and said, "To obey is better than sacrifice, to hearken than the fat of rams. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, God has rejected you from being king" (I Samuel 15:22-23).
In chapter 16 of I Samuel, Samuel was commissioned by God to go to the home of a man named Jesse, who had eight sons. He began with the oldest son and God said, "No this is not the successor. This will not be the king." He worked down until he finally came to the very youngest and last of Jesseís sons, a boy named David who was out tending sheep. God said, "This is the one." Therefore, Samuel anointed David--the first of three anointings David received that confirmed his function as the second king of the nation of Israel. In chapter 16 we are informed that God selected David because God looks upon the heart, not upon the outward appearance.
In chapter 17 we begin to catch glimpses of this young boy who is to be king. Even though God had rejected Saul, Godís timetable is such that He allowed Saul to continue on the throne for a total of forty years. Throughout the rest of I Samuel we see Saulís reign. It is a rather sad one in the way he conducts himself. Heís jealous and an extremely prideful man. God shows us David as a boy as he advances in years and in experience and in favor with the people. For example, in chapter 17 we are told of Goliath, a giant, a Philistine, apparently over nine feet tall. He would come out every morning and taunt the Israelite army. The Israelites were basically afraid. They did not want to try to match someone up in a military or personal encounter with this giant.
David, who was at home tending the family sheep, was sent by his father to bring some food items to his brothers. He had three brothers in the military. He observed this giant out there taunting Godís people. He began to question why this was being tolerated. His attitude was that this individual, this uncircumcised Philistine, should not be allowed to defy the armies of the living God. In the final analysis David, using merely a slingshot, was able to topple this giant and rout the Philistine army. When they saw their champion defeated by this young fellow in this valley between the two armies, they turned and ran. The Israelites gained a great victory. Incidents like this in the life of David demonstrated his character, his attitude, his spirituality, and his deep trust in the God of the universe. He was absolutely convicted and confident that God was one that an individual could rely upon, that God was real, and that He surpassed all the false deities of the various ethnic groups that were still in the land of Canaan.
As we continue to read through I Samuel, we see Saul becoming jealous of David. On one occasion he heard a number of the people singing victory songs and one of those songs spoke of how Saul had killed his thousands of enemies and yet how David had killed his ten thousands of enemies. Consequently Saul became extremely jealous. He hated David so much and was jealous of the fact that he was superior in so many ways and that he had gained the hearts of the people. On at least two or three occasions he actually tried to kill David.
David ultimately had to go into hiding. David made friends with one of Saulís sons, apparently the one that would have been in line to take his fatherís place on the throne. His name was Jonathan. He and David formed a very close friendship. So much so that Jonathan said, "I know that you are destined to be on the throne." Here is a very unselfish, godly individual who was willing to give up any hopes of having the throne in order to comply with Godís will which was to place David upon the throne. They had a wonderful relationship and formed a covenant between them. Jonathan even assisted David in avoiding any sort of ill treatment on the part of Jonathanís father Saul. He tried to protect him and shield him from being injured in any way.
As we continue in I Samuel we read of incidents where David had an opportunity to rid himself of this first king of Israel. Yet on a number of occasions he refused to do so. He said, "No one should touch the Lordís anointed." In other words, he recognized that he was destined to be king, that Saul was a wicked king, and that God was going to replace him. Yet David never took it within his own hands to try to eliminate this rival. He left that up to God. He refused to allow any harm to come to Saul from his own hand or the hands of his men. David went into hiding and apparently remained in hiding for a number of years. At one point he even went over among the Philistines and was permitted by them to reside within their domain, where he was safe from Saulís efforts to eliminate him.
We finally come to the end of I Samuel. Saul had shown himself during his entire forty year reign to be an evil man who simply could not get his heart right and get his stubbornness corrected. Samuel said in I Samuel 15 that Saul was stubborn. He had a rebellious streak running through him. He could have gotten hold of that and devoted himself properly to the Lord, but he continued to be a very self-centered, prideful man throughout his life. In the close of I Samuel chapter 31 we come to the close of Saulís reign and the end of his life.
His life came to a tragic end. The Israelites were involved in a military skirmish with the Philistines. Saul in the process was mortally wounded. He and his armor bearer very swiftly got out of the thick of battle. He was running from the Philistines who were in hot pursuit. He was so fearful that he would be overtaken and perhaps tortured that he turned to his armor bearer and ordered his armor bearer to kill him. We call that "euthanasia". He ordered his armor bearer to commit an act of euthanasia. I suppose if his last name had been Kevorkian he would have considered the possibility of doing that. Saul was mortally wounded. He was going to die. There was no hope for him to live. He just wanted his life to end so that the Philistines wouldnít overtake and torture him. But the armor bearer refused, and rightfully so. Euthanasia is not biblical. Itís against the will of God. Itís taking life into oneís own hand and deciding whether or not a person should live or die, instead of allowing nature to take itís course. Consequently Saul, so true to the pattern of his life, pulled out his own sword, placed it hilt down upon the ground and then threw himself on the blade. I Samuel 31 closes by informing us in that particular military engagement with the Philistines, not only did Saul die but also three of his sons, one of whom was that wonderful young man Jonathan.
We then move into II Samuel. In the Hebrew Bible First and Second Samuel are one book, the book of Samuel. Thereís really no division here. For the sake of arrangement of material the book was divided in the Septuagint version, the Greek version of the Old Testament. In II Samuel we see David ascending to the throne. First he consolidates his kingdom. It takes several chapters to unite the twelve tribal groups. Even though Saul was now dead the military commander of Saulís army, Abner, threw the weight or the influence of the military behind one of Saulís surviving sons. A good many of the northern tribes of Israel continued to side with Saulís lineage as king. Therefore, it took a little while for David to consolidate this fragmented nation. Even though it was one nation, the nation of Israel, there were twelve tribal groups and they each held tribal loyalties and tribal prejudices. It takes several chapters in
II Samuel for David to consolidate the kingdom, to draw the people back over to his side. He finally manages to accomplish that and the nation is united even though it took some bloodshed to accomplish it.
That brings us then to chapter eleven. If you were to take II Samuel and lay this book out in terms of its climax and its forward progress, you would find the book going uphill for the first ten chapters. David performs admirably. He fulfills or lives up to the label that had been given to him, "a man after Godís own heart". He consolidates his kingdom. He is sole king over the entire nation of Israel and very accomplished. Yet then we see the rest of the book taking a nose dive. David had become proud of his accomplishments, very prideful in terms of the fact that he was now king over a lot of people and very popular. All of that must have worked on him. Itís easy for that to happen to us. Therefore, his pride got the best of him.
He was in Jerusalem and the army was out in a battle. He stayed at home and that caused him to have an opportunity to see a woman who was bathing. When he saw this woman he did not do what Paul told the Corinthians to do, "Flee fornication"
(I Cor. 6:18). Donít give into the lust of the flesh. He allowed this sight to work upon his heart and mind and he arranged for her to be brought to him. He committed adultery with her, another manís wife, sent her back home, and then later found out that she was pregnant.
He gave orders for her husband to return from battle. He was hoping to make it appear as if her husband was the father of this child. Those efforts failed. Therefore, David arranged with his military commander, Joab, for most of the men to retreat in the thick of the battle leaving Uriah, Bathshebaís husband, vulnerable. The plan worked and he was killed in that particular military engagement. David felt that he had covered his tracks. He took the woman to be his own wife.
In chapter 12 Nathan, the prophet, came to him, sent by God. Nathan confronted David. He began by simply telling him a story, a parable, about a very wealthy man who had a bunch of sheep. Another fellow over here only had one. It was his pride and joy. When this very wealthy man who had lots of sheep entertained some guests, he didnít want to kill any of his own sheep so he went and seized this poor manís only sheep. It was like one of his family members. He killed that sheep in order to serve it to his guests. David was outraged and said, "The man who did this must be executed. He deserves to die." Nathan pointed his finger at David and said, "You are the man. Iím talking about you."
He proceeded to rebuke David for this terrible evil, not only adultery, but murder. His lust and adultery escalated to the point that he committed murder. In the rest of that chapter God, through the prophet Nathan, lists a series of consequences or judgments that would be brought against David and his household because of this sin. The rest of II Samuel details those events. From this point forward, the rest of Davidís life is down hill. Though previous to this he had been called a man after Godís own heart, we must remember that human hearts can be changed. We change our minds. We change our attitudes through life. Thatís what happened to David. At this point heís no longer a man after Godís own heart. God would not have done any of that. David had changed his mind, attitude and heart and had submitted himself to this terrible sinful behavior.
God said that the child that would be born to Bathsheba would die. That happened, and it caused David great grief. There would be other repercussions. He said, "Because you have taken this woman and had relations with her in private, I am going to see that your royal wives are taken and in a very public way are used sexually." Other sentences were made. Notice what happened almost immediately as you read the rest of Davidís life in II Samuel. One of his sons raped one of his daughters. They were half-brother and sister. Another son, who was the full-blooded brother of the sister, plotted in his heart to seek revenge. His name was Absalom. He waited a couple of years until the time was right and then he rose up and murdered the brother that had raped his sister.
All of this is terrible trauma and grief for any parent, including David. Absalom had to go into hiding, because he had committed this murder. He remained gone for three years, long enough for David to mourn for the death of this other son. When he finally got over that death, he longed to see Absalom who had committed this murder and gone into hiding. Joab went to David and said, "Let me bring him back." So David said, "Iíll let him come back to town, but I wonít see him personally." Absalom comes back, but because his father continues to refuse to entertain an audience with him he developed resentment and anger. He saw his own fatherís conduct, the way he had brought about the death of a man. All of that had to have worked on Absalom. Absalom is described as an extremely handsome young man and very charismatic. He had a tremendous personality and people just tended to gravitate to him. He used that skill and those attributes to influence a large number of Israelites to side with him. The day came that he mounted a rebellion to overthrow the government of his father, to dethrone his own father from the capital city of Jerusalem. He temporarily succeeded. David had to take his most valiant confidants, leave Jerusalem and go into hiding, into exile. Absalom came and sat down on the throne of his father. It was then that he violated the royal harem in fulfillment of Nathanís prophesy against David. There were enough supporters of Absalom that he was able to be king for a short period. But in time the circumstances were such that David managed to regain control of his throne. Absalom therefore had to flee. David gathered his three generals and he said, "I want you to go after Absalom, but whenever you overtake him I donít want anyone to harm him."
As the battle ensued and the pursuit of these rebels continued, a fellow came to Davidís main general, Joab, and said, "I was out in the battlefield and I saw Absalom riding hard and when he went under a tree his head got caught in this tree. He is just hanging there. Heís very vulnerable." Joab immediately went there, even though he knew his king had said no one was to harm this man, his son. But Joab had had enough of this young man and all the misery and trouble he had caused in overthrowing the government of his father. The Bible says he took three spears while Absalom was hanging in this vulnerable condition and ran him through and killed him.
When word was brought back to David that this son of his had been killed, he went into a period of mourning. Itís interesting that the Holy Spirit in recording the book of II Samuel for us actually records the words of grief expressed by David. You remember these heart breaking words that go to the very heart of any father. Any father can relate to what David experienced here. The words were, "O my son, Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" Can you imagine the grief, the heartache, the broken anguished condition that David was experiencing? We can see that God is making clear that this is what happens whenever people deliberately violate His will. David was merely reaping what he had sown.
That is a central message of the Bible. God is a great God of mercy, grace and compassion. However, sin is destructive. God never makes any laws that are not good for us. All of His laws are for our good (Deut. 10:13). Heís not simply trying to restrict us and strap us down. If we choose to disobey God, to disregard His will, there will be consequences. Even though we might be forgiven when we repent of that sin, nevertheless there are circumstances that can haunt us. That was the case with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. When they ate of that fruit, they could be forgiven for that but they were expelled from the garden and never permitted to return to the Garden of Eden.
In the case of David he very well could have been forgiven for this crime that he committed, but the rest of his life consisted of suffering for the sin that he had committed. He lost Absalom. He had already lost another son. As we approach the end of II Samuel, David begged God to allow him to construct a permanent dwelling place for God. In II Samuel 7, David had made that request and God had said, "No, if I had wanted a dwelling place, I would have so indicated. But I will tell you what I will do. Iíll make for you a permanent lineage." II Samuel 7:12 and following is a prophesy of the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus descended on His motherís side through the tribe of Judah and the Davidic family line. Thatís a tremendous Messianic prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus. Near the end of II Samuel the same sort of thing occurs, and God says, "No, you will not be permitted to construct this permanent dwelling place." They had the Tabernacle, a mobile tent structure. God said, "Iíll leave that for your son."This item originally appeared in The Truth In Love Television Program
The Message of The Bible - Part One
The Message of The Bible - Part Two
The Message of The Bible - Part Three
The Message of The Bible - Part Four
The Message of The Bible - Part Five
The Message of The Bible - Part Six
The Message of The Bible - Part Seven
The Message of The Bible - Part Eight
The Message of The Bible - Part Nine
The Message of The Bible - Part Ten
The Message of The Bible - Part Eleven
The Message of The Bible - Part Twelve