Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Sunday afternoon car show in Brittany

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Apr 6, 2 Sam 4-7

Today's readings are 2 Sam 4-7.

Ish-bosheth is eventually murdered by his own people (2 Sam 4:1-7). The assassins go to David, believing they have done David a favor. David executes them, as he did the Amalekite who claimed to kill Saul (2 Sam 4:8-12). David will not suffer those who have such low regard for the leaders God has placed in power. For the time being, the kingdom is reunited, and there is peace.

Notice how far the northern kingdom has slipped. Aside from infighting, Saul's people are murdering their leaders! This is Saul’s legacy, one of division, paranoia, pride and anger. Scripture tells us we can judge a tree by its fruit (Mt 7:7-19). Saul’s fruit has been rancid for quite some time.

There’s more to see, though. David’s refusal to come against God’s anointed, whether it be Saul or Ish-bosheth, and his determination to execute those who do, is a revelation of a biblical truth. Those who oppose God’s anointed king will die. Likewise, all those who oppose the King of Kings will die.
In 2 Sam 5, in another contrast to Saul, David gains victory and respect over Israel's enemies. He is made king and in a stunning military victory, captures Jerusalem and makes it the capital of Israel.

We see that David has united the nation, something that Saul was unable to do. The king the people wanted, Saul, was a failure. Now the king that God has chosen, David, is blessed. The problem was not that Israel wanted a king. It was that they wanted a king like other nations had. God intended for them to have a godly king, a king that would be set apart and set them apart from other nations. God had far better plans for His children than they could imagine. This is the struggle we enter into when we look around us and desire the things the world has and values. We can easily miss a greater blessing.

As David makes arrangements to transport the ark to Jerusalem in a manner other than what was instructed, tragedy strikes. The ark was to be carried by the Levites, not placed on a cart (Ex 25:12-14; Num 7:9).  It was not to be touched by anyone other than the priests (Num 4:15). Uzzah, who rescues the ark from tumbling off the cart, dies. His story is a difficult one to digest (2 Sam 6:5-7). Our human sensibilities cry out that Uzzah was acting instinctively and doing what was innocent and right. To a lot of folks, it doesn’t seem fair that Uzzah should die. Yet, we’ve seen before that God’s holiness is uncompromising. There is one prescribed way to come into God’s presence, and it is non-negotiable and not subject to interpretation. The handling of the ark is a prime example of guidelines that are meant to be obeyed.
One day, long after David’s time, Jesus will be revealed as the only way to salvation. His terms are non-negotiable as well. Good intentions and instinctive reactions will save no one, only belief in Him will.

David is angry at first (2 Sam 6:8) but when his anger turns to reverential fear, God blesses, and David moves the ark again, this time with great care and reverence. We also learn that David's wife, Michal pays the price for dishonoring God's chosen king of Israel (2 Sam 6:16-23).

David wants to build a house for God (2 Sam 7:1-3). God denies David’s desire but makes incredible promises to David because God knows David's heart (2 Sam 7:4-17). David responds to those promises not with questions, as some would, but with praise and thanks (2 Sam 7:18-29). David is humble and contrite, willing to trust God with his hopes and dreams even when they are refused.

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