Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Apr 5, 2 Sam 1-3

Today's readings are 2 Sam 1-3.

Having requested help in taking his own life in battle, Saul is dead. All but one of Saul's sons, Ish-bosheth, are dead as well, paving the way for David to be made the king.

God instructed Samuel to anoint Saul as the first king of Israel. Now God has rejected Saul as king because Saul's heart was not right before Him. God has raised David up because David's heart was right before God. The interesting thing is that God raised both men up as kings, both serving His divine purposes. David has shown respect for Saul as his king, repeatedly calling him "God's anointed," even though Saul was clearly evil. This reveals David's heart for God and his unwillingness to take matters into his own hands. Ultimately God demonstrates the He is the one who sets kings up and takes them down. 2 Sam will concentrate on David’s reign as king.

In 2 Sam 1, David laments the passing of Saul and executes the Amalekite that took Saul’s life (2 Sam 11-15).  At first, this seems harsh, particularly considering the Amalekite’s efforts to honor David but David went to great lengths to avoid harming “the anointed of God,” desiring to leave Saul’s fate in the hands of a sovereign God. The Amalekite’s killing of Saul, even at his own pleading, denies the sovereignty of God. This is a point to ponder. God is the creator of life. Anyone who takes the life of a created being, even their own, strives against the will and work of God.

David is ready to ascend the throne, but it’s not going to happen without some tension. The Philistines control a narrow band cutting through central Israel with the northern tribes above them and Ephraim and Benjamin below. Furthermore, some factions that are loyal to Saul remain, particularly his tribe, Benjamin. The current capitol is in Benjamite territory and probably not a good place for David to walk in and receive his crown. David is anointed as king over Judah at Hebron (2 Sam 2:1-4).

After David fails to bring unity among the tribes (2 Sam 2:5-7) Abner, a cousin of Saul and commander of his army (1 Sam 14:50) decides to install one of Saul's sons, Ish-Bosheth, as king over Israel. The kingdom becomes divided between Judah to the South and Israel to the North (2 Sam 2:8-11).

Beginning with a not-so-friendly competition between some younger warriors at Gibeon, matters between Judah and Israel escalate quickly until unbridled war breaks out (2 Sam 2:12-17).

Abner reluctantly kills one of David’s nephews (2 Sam 2:18-23). Meanwhile, we see Judah getting increasingly stronger and Israel getting weaker (2 Sam 2:29-3:1).

Through it all, David has many sons, a sign of God's blessing and grace in the culture of David's time (2 Sam 3:2-4).

Ish-bosheth, his support dwindling, alienates Abner (2 Sam 3:5-21) who makes peace with David but is murdered by another of David’s nephews, Joab, who ignores David's new peace accord (2 Sam 3:22-25).

There’s a contemporary lesson to be learned about leadership and respect in these chapters. David had deep convictions about opposing those people God placed in leadership, believing they were there for God’s purposes. David not only refused to raise his hand against the leaders, but he also executed those who did, no matter how good their intentions. We would be wise to have David’s attitude about those who lead us.

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