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    2 samuel 2 samuel Document Transcript

    • 2 Samuel – FNG Friday, Nov 2, 2012Intro to the bookThis month we are looking at the book of 2. Samuel. You may remember metelling you last month how in the days gone by 1. and 2. Samuel were one book,and at times also joined up with 1. and 2. Kings. And now you can probably seewhy. 1. Samuel ends with the death of Saul and Jonathan and 2. Samuelcontinues the story right where it left off. David hears the news of the death ofSaul and Jonathan, laments for their loss, and then we move on to how Davidbecame king, first of Judah and then of all the tribes of Israel. This book will takeus right to the end of David’s reign. The story will continue in 1. Kings whenDavid transfers the kingdom to Solomon and then passes away in the first 2chapters. So 2. Samuel is basically the account of David’s reign as king.Historical accounts are a bit more abundant for this period of time, and so wehave a bit more accuracy in establishing the point in time when all this tookplace. As you may remember David first ruled just over the tribe of Judah for 7and a half years, which is thought to be from 1010 BC to 1002 BC. Through aseries of events described in 2. Samuel, David then becomes the king of all thetribes of Israel, a fairly short period of time when the whole of Israel was a unitedkingdom. It is thought that David ruled the whole of Israel from 1002 BC to 970BC for a total of 40 years on the throne. So it is this period from 1010 BC to 970BC that we are looking at in the book of 2. Samuel.God is worthy of worship and respectI have to say, it is a good thing to sometimes go back and read through the Bibleonce again. Yeah, I know, I’m stating the obvious. It’s easy to remember Davidas the young man who slew Goliath, ran from a crazy king called Saul andeventually wound up as the king of Israel, ushering in a golden era for Israel. Andso he is remembered as the greatest king Israel had. In all honesty I haveforgotten just how messy his life was – not just while he was on the run fromSaul, but even when he was on the throne!So you have just finished reading 2. Samuel with all the various indiscretions ofDavid and his family so nicely laid out. Probably the most troublesome is theghastly treatment of Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s loyal mighty men, allbecause David wanted to cover up his illicit affair with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba.And you are barely 3 chapters into 1. Kings when God says to Solomon: “And ifyou walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands AS DAVID YOURFATHER DID, I will give you a long life.” (1. Kings 3:14) God, you cannot beserious! Didn’t you just read 2. Samuel?! Come to think of it, weren’t you therewatching it happen?!
    • When Samuel was searching for Saul’s replacement, God famously said of David“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1.Samuel 16:7) And it is the story of Uzzah, which Charles just read for us, that is agreat case study for what is at the heart of the matter.On the surface of it, you may consider it one of the darkest pictures of God. Hereis this grand procession of people bringing back the Ark, when the ox pulling thecart stumble. Seeing trouble this guy Uzzah hangs on to the Ark to make sure itdoesn’t topple over and gets zapped for his trouble! Yeah, real nice of you God.To help us understand the story, it is helpful to review just how it came to passthat the Ark needed bringing back in the first place. And this takes us back to 1.Samuel chapters 4 thru 6, a time even before Saul was anointed as king overIsrael. It was a time when Eli was the high priest, and his sons had turned thetemple into their own personal bar and brothel. Rather than consult the Godwhose presence was manifested between the cherubim on the top of the Ark,they decided to go up and attack the Philistines. When the Philistines gave thema good whipping they wondered why the Lord had allowed them to be defeated.Rather than consult God at this stage, they figured they would just bring thismagic box to go ahead of them in the fighting the next day, as a lucky charm ofsorts. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas were more than happy to oblige. The nextday, the Philistines gave them yet another good whipping, 30,000 Israelites weredead, Hophni and Phinehas were dead and the Ark of the Covenant wascaptured and carried off to a Philestine town called Ashdod.Now, you may remember how on a few occasions in this trip through the Biblewe have seen how God was reaching out and interacting with other nationsaround Israel. In that same vain, I just love this next part of the story, because itis classic God at work. In Ashdod, the Philistines put the Ark in the temple of theirgod Dagon, the reasoning being we beat you up, therefore our God is bigger andbetter than yours, so He can stay in the temple of our god as his servant. Except,when they came in the following morning, their mighty god Dagon – in realitynothing but an idol made of wood or stone, lay toppled over in front of the Ark.Well that was kind of embarrassing, so they quickly propped him back up in timefor morning prayers, and went merrily on their way. The next morning, not onlyhad Dagon toppled over, but had now shattered into several pieces. So theyquickly reassembled him and propped him back up, but I can only imagine thatby now saner heads spent the morning prayers scratching their heads,wondering why they were worshipping something they had just supergluedtogether a few moments ago! Long story short, the citizens of Ashdod had somuch trouble on the account of this box, they decided to get rid of it, so they sentit to the city of Gath. Their residents had heard the stories, so they refused thething and sent it on to Ekron. The citizens of this town had also heard the storiesand wanted no part of it. So after the Ark had been in Philistine territory for 7months, they gathered their wise men and asked the question – how do we sendthis thing back? And part of the answer was: “Now then, get a new cart ready,
    • with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows tothe cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lordand put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you aresending back to Him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way,” (1. Samuel 6:7,8)Which brings us back to our story – the story of Uzzah. How were theytransporting the Ark? “They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it fromthe house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab,were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it and Ahio was walking in frontof it.” (2. Samuel 6:3,4) So which method of transportation were they employing?The Philistine method! How was the Ark supposed to be transported? “This is thework of the Kohathites (one of the clans of Levites) in the Tent of the Meeting:the care of the most holy things. When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sonsare to go in and take down the shielding curtain and cover the ark of theTestimony with it. Then they are to cover this with hides of sea cows, spread acloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place. After Aaron and his sonshave finished covering the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move,the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holythings or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in theTent of Meeting. (Numbers 4:4-6, 15.) The Priests were supposed to prepare itfor transport and the Levites were supposed to carry it. The Philistines didn’tknow that, but the Israelites should have. In fact, 1. Chronicles, which covers alot of the same ground as 2. Samuel gives a bit of an explanation. “After Davidhad constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place forthe ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one but the Levitesmay carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of theLord and to minister before him forever.” Then David summoned Zadok andAbiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shmaiah, Eliel and Amminadab theLevites. He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you andyour fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord,the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, theLevites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in angeragainst us. We did not enquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.””(1. Chronicles 15:1,2,11-13.)This may seem like a lot of nit picking on God’s part, but remember what thecontext was. They had lost the Ark to the Philistines, because they treated itirreverently and used it as one would use a rabbits foot – as a good luck charm.The Ark was lost during the time of judges, and had been returned after a mere 7months. Since then, Saul became king and reigned for 42 years, yet he neverbrought the Ark back from where it landed after the Philistines sent it back, henever went to consult with God there, choosing instead to consult a witch in thetown of Endor.David was now king, and while he had relied on God in tough times, would thepower corrupt him now that he was on the throne? We don’t really know, but
    • reading the account it does seem like his attitude is more on the lines of: I’d likethis box to be with me. He became angry with God when his plan was foiled,asking: “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” (2. Samuel 6:9) Onething is for sure – from that moment on, David and all of Israel took God and theArk of the Covenant seriously. It was only at this point that they took the time toresearched the matter and found out the proper way to handle the Ark. It wasshortly thereafter that David looked at his opulent house and said – it is not rightthat God is still residing in a tent, and proposed to build a magnificent temple.This is what made David a man after God’s heart, a man whom God Himselfdescribes as walking in his ways. David’s heart was turned towards God. Sure,he messed up on a number of occasions, but he always came to God, open toreceive correction and guidance from God. Being a person after God’s own heartis not a matter of living a faultless life. It is a matter of attitude, it is a matter ofrespect, it is a matter of worship.Yes, I did say worship. True worship requires respect for the object of ourworship. Ultimately however, it is our attitude that will determine our level ofrespect and our worship. We are coming right back to the heart of the question:what is sin? At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry you may remember that Satantook Jesus through a series of temptations. In the final one, Satan showed Jesusthe kingdoms of this world and said: “All this I will give you if you will bow downand worship me.” (Matthew 4:9) Astonishing! The chutzpah of it all – to ask Godto bow down and worship one of his creatures! But that is where it’s at. Is ourattitude self centered or others centered? Is our religion a God-managementsystem to get what we want, a kind of celestial vending machine, or is ourreligion about putting God in His proper place? Was God and the Ark of theCovenant something that was going to serve David as he ruled HIS kingdom, orwas God and the Ark of the Covenant that which guided David as he ruled overGod’s people and the inheritance God gave them on this earth? Were thekingdoms of this world really Satan’s to give away in exchange for worship of theGod who created those kingdoms in the first place?The story of Uzzah and the Ark reminded David, and reminds us that God isworthy of our respect. He is loving and benevolent to be sure, but He is still thecreator of the Universe and the giver of life itself. He is good to provide all that weneed for life, but He is not to be treated as some kind of a cosmic vendingmachine, catering to all our whims and wants, bowing down to worship us. Weneed Him to stay alive, not the other way around!That is why, in the depiction of the final events before Christ’s return and thefinale of this great struggle between God and Satan, the book of Revelationdepicts three angels carrying messages to the world. “Then I saw another angelflying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live onthe earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice,“Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgement has come.
    • Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs ofwater.”” (Revelation 14:6,7). It comes down to worship. We are called to respectGod and worship the One who is the creator and sustainer of everything, the onlyOne worthy of our worship, because in the final analysis, that is what this entireconflict is about: a creature and his Creator vying for the worship of the entireUniverse. And occasionally God has to remind us that the choices we make inthis conflict have serious consequences – we are literally talking about life anddeath, eternal life and death. David accepted those reminders and opened hisheart to God, and it is this that God proclaimed as walking in His ways.Final benedictionProbably the biggest low point of David’s life was when he had one of his mostloyal warriors, Uriah the Hittite killed in order to cover up the illicit affair he hadwith his wife. After Nathan the prophet confronted him about that, David repentedand penned what has to be one of the most beautiful personal prayers recordedin the Bible – Psalm 51. It is my hope that this will also be our prayer. Shall webow our heads for prayer as Charles reads the words of Psalm 51.
    • Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs ofwater.”” (Revelation 14:6,7). It comes down to worship. We are called to respectGod and worship the One who is the creator and sustainer of everything, the onlyOne worthy of our worship, because in the final analysis, that is what this entireconflict is about: a creature and his Creator vying for the worship of the entireUniverse. And occasionally God has to remind us that the choices we make inthis conflict have serious consequences – we are literally talking about life anddeath, eternal life and death. David accepted those reminders and opened hisheart to God, and it is this that God proclaimed as walking in His ways.Final benedictionProbably the biggest low point of David’s life was when he had one of his mostloyal warriors, Uriah the Hittite killed in order to cover up the illicit affair he hadwith his wife. After Nathan the prophet confronted him about that, David repentedand penned what has to be one of the most beautiful personal prayers recordedin the Bible – Psalm 51. It is my hope that this will also be our prayer. Shall webow our heads for prayer as Charles reads the words of Psalm 51.