Day 107

2 SAMUEL 1:1 – 3:39 and LUKE 21:1–38

2 Sam 1
We need to have this account put into sequence with 1 Chr 12. Though David had great troubles at Ziklag there was the formation of a mighty army coming under his authority while he was there. Saul was just slain and the kingdom is soon going to be placed into the hands of David. The tide of Israel’s fortunes are now about to change. This army will consist of men of courage and purpose. They recognize in David the manner of leader they could rally behind. This is lacking in much of today’s leadership both in the political and religious realms.

David now comes to know about the slaying of Saul and Jonathan (vs 4). He is told the account of an Amalekite who reportedly happened upon Saul at the time the king was stricken. The Amalekite goes on to say that he followed the instructions of Saul to spear him through seeing that he could not possibly live. This man then took Saul’s crown and bracelet and brought it to David, thinking that it would work to his benefit. David orders this man to be slain seeing that he thought nothing of stretching forth his hand against the anointed of God. David’s actions indicate his ability in seeing a bigger picture. A common man would look at Saul and say he received what he had coming to him. He tormented David, murdered innocent people, including priests and disobeyed God on numerous occasions. David recognized Saul as God’s anointed king over Israel. He was placed into the position of a king for a purpose. Though David was the primary focus of Saul’s disdain He was still God’s appointed man. He more than likely came to the place of seeing these events as preparation for the throne. God is the giver of life and he is the one who can take it away. He is a God of mercy but it is still His prerogative. David on at least two different occasions could have taken the life of Saul but it would have short-circuited the work of grace that God was developing in David. Are we frustrating the grace of God in our lives (Gal 2:21)? Are we allowing for shortcuts in our lives by dismissing God’s instruments of grace that He brings our way? These instruments of grace can be people (Like Saul) or circumstances that we prematurely seek relief from.

David deeply lamented the death of both Saul and Jonathan. He speaks fondly of both of them making mention that in death they were not divided (vs 23). It appears that it was on the issue of David where Jonathan and Saul had varying opinions. Still, one cannot help but believe that things could have turned out differently for Jonathan. Their encounters served as such a blessing and encouragement to David. We do not know any other details regarding Jonathan so it is best not to speculate further. The final verses of this chapter reflect the strong affection that David had for his fallen friend. Even though the path has been cleared for David to come to the throne there is no sense of rejoicing in David. He is in deep mourning over the fallen king of Israel and his son. Here again, we see the heart of God being expressed through David. The Lord takes no delight in the plight of fallen man.

2 Sam 2 
David now asks of the Lord if he should go up to Judah. He was aware of his being called and anointed to become king. He does not presume; he enquires of the Lord which is wisdom on his part. The Lord says he can go up but he was not told where specifically he was to go. So David exercises wisdom again by asking as to where to go. The Lord told him that he was to go to Hebron. The men of Judah came and anointed him king over Hebron. This would be the 2nd anointing of David. He seeks to extend a kindness to the house of Saul but Abner, the captain of Saul’s army takes Ishbosheth, the son of Saul and makes him king over Gilead, Ephraim, Benjamin and much of Israel. It is a picture of the divided monarchy that will be seen after the death of Solomon. The time of the united monarchy is still a few years off.  Joab and Abner meet by a pool at Gibeon. This meeting could be likened to a high stakes poker match as they observed each other’s actions. Abner seems to take the initiative by allowing 12 of his choice fighters to go up against 12 of Joab’s. This led to an all-out battle resulting in Abner suffering loss.

One of the three sons of Zeruiah (Asahel) follows hard after Abner probably seeing him as a great trophy to be obtained. Abner sought to have Asahel turn back but he only kept coming after him. Abner, after several warnings speared Asahel, killing him instantly. The other two sons of Zeruiah, Joab and Abishai pick up the chase against Abner. The children of Benjamin now align themselves afresh with Abner and he cries out to Joab about the folly of further use of the sword against each other. Joab reminds Abner that it was under his provocation that this whole matter erupted (vs 14). It was also Abner who did not receive the kindness extended to him by David but rather took Ishbosheth, Saul’s son to be king. Abner clearly knew that David would be the new anointed king. His blind ambition cost Israel many more lives and set himself up for future tragedy.

The 2nd anointing of David at Hebron lasted for 7 ½ years (vs 11). The name of Hebron has the connotation of fellowship. David was now in the position of being a king but it still will be some time before he reigns over all of Israel. We have observed through our Biblical surveys various groups of (3’s) which denote three levels of Christian development.  David was anointed to be king in the house of his father Jesse. It was here where he was called but he did not yet reign. He went through a process of qualifying in his interactions with Saul. The Bible makes mention that we are chosen in the “furnace of affliction” (Isa 48:10). David went through many fiery trials in his wilderness wanderings but we can see that he qualified; he passed the tests. To be able to call Saul “God’s anointed” speaks to the quality of David’s character. The third anointing will take place later at Zion which has great spiritual significance. There are the three division of Moses tabernacle, the 3 heavens, the 30, 60, 100 fold believers and so on. We all desire to reign as kings and priests but are we willing to pay the price? We must go beyond the outer court in our spiritual walk with God.

2 Sam 3
There was still conflict between the houses of Saul and David. David is now married to 6 different wives, excluding Michal and he had several sons that were born to him at Hebron. We will see later on that a few of these sons will seek to usurp the throne. David in his wanderings from the pursuit of Saul has been in a process of preparation for reigning. He is in violation however of one of the laws that Moses gave for kings as seen in Deuteronomy 17:17.

Deu 17:17  Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

This will cause David significant damage later on during his reign over all of Israel. Abner had now established himself strong in the house of Saul. He has a charge made against him by Ishbosheth regarding abuse of his concubine. This exchange becomes heated to the point where Abner threatens and then follows through in seeking to turn the kingdom over to David. Abner must have realized the inevitable however he had put himself into a positon of strength which could well draw the favor of David. He sends messengers to David and requests a league or agreement be made where Israel would be given. David makes a requirement that would have Michal, his first wife (of 7) to be part of the agreement. She has since remarried. David still had affection for the house of Saul and went about seeking to secure his hand over all of Israel by this act. Abner communicated this arrangement to all of Israel including Benjamin and it was agreeable to all.

Everything seemed fine until Joab met up with David after Abner had left. He is still enraged at the slaying of his brother Asahel at the hand of Abner. There is no room in his heart (or his brother Abishai) to even consider that Abner is genuine in his overtures for peace. It is also important to note that Asahel would not have been slain if he would have listened to Abner. They are suspicious of Abner’s motives and give no thought to the possibility of having a peaceful Israel. We will see Joab do mighty exploits for David in many of the battles to come but this root issue will pose a problem at the end of his life. He doubts David’s word here concerning Abner and he will later doubt David’s choice for his own successor.

The sons of Zeruiah, particularly Joab will be a hardship for David throughout his reign. Joab and Abishai go forth to slay Abner. David further endears himself to the people for the way he mourns over Abner. He made it abundantly clear that he had nothing to do with Abner’s death. Though the house of Saul caused David much distress there is nobility in his responses towards them. He has the quality and character needed to reign over Israel. It is a quality and character that the whole of Israel will soon recognize as they accept him as God’s appointed king over their nation. These are the qualities which enable him to reign in the millennium.  We would do well to seek to emulate these attributes as well. We are called to be kings and priests.

Luke 21
The primary emphasis from this chapter is on the 2nd coming of Christ. The Lord first shares about the widow who cast in two mites in contrast to the rich men who gave unto the treasury. It makes clear as to how the Lord views giving. It is not the amount but rather the portion or percentage of what we have that matters to God.  This goes back to the first offerings  of Cain and Abel. Abel gave of his best, he did not hold back. The same can be said for this widow who is eternally known for the casting in of a mere two mites. This does not speak of just money but also of our service to God. He gave His best for us and is most certainly worthy of our best.

The Lord now turns His attention to the 2nd coming; in fact He is speaking to us. The catalyst for this transition into this subject came as some commented on how beautifully adorned the temple was. The Lord spoke of the day when the temple would be destroyed and then proceeded a short distance to the Mount of Olives to speak about what the last days would be like (Math 24:3). The first portion of His discourse speaks as to how nation will rise against nation in the last days. Perhaps we can make an application to the release of the first seal in Revelation 6. The rider on the white horse goes forth with the primary purpose of aligning nations. This is taking place today as nations are forming new alliances. Jesus spoke to this on other occasions when He mentioned about the separation of the sheep from the goats (Math 25:32).

There will be the coinciding events such as earthquakes, famines and pestilences. This is being seen in greater measures with each passing day. I feel the scourge of pestilences and famines is about to intensify to higher levels. The signs are there for all to see but is anyone giving heed? In verses 12-15 the Lord speaks as to how believers will be persecuted. This has been happening for some time in many nations of the world. It is now becoming more prominent in first world nations.

The ability to have wisdom as to what to say at such times is what we have seen in the Lord in His recent discourses. The priests and scribes could never gain the advantage of Jesus; His answers and subsequent questions confounded them. The Lord seems to be indicating a similar ability for the saints of the last days. You cannot pre-plan or meditate ahead of time on what you are going to say. Jesus had an anointing to discern people and situations. It provided a powerful testimony to both His accusers and to those who heard His message gladly. The outstanding discourses we have seen of the Lord in the last few chapters will be on full display by many saints in our day.

Jesus, as the Son of man was effective due to His love and imbibing of the Word (Isa 7:15). This is a vital key for us. Jesus goes on to say that those who are Christians at that time will be hated, with many being put to death. Once again, this has been occurring in many third world countries for years. It can be hard to grasp and understand this level of persecution if we have been immune from its consequences. This hatred for Christ is now coming out of the shadows and hitting closer to home. How are we responding? The early indicators are not promising. The church is slowly but surely ceding ground to this demonic assault. It begins with the compromising of God’s Laws so as to not be overly offensive. Once the laws begin to erode the door is open to evil; it begins subtly but quickly becomes more blatant.  Little by little the values and standards that once upheld a nation begin to disintegrate. The Lord spoke earlier in this chapter as to how the glorious temple of Herod would one day be laid waste, with not one stone on top of another. This is how it happens to a glorious nation.  The bedrock principles that established a nation can be chipped away one stone at a time by the altering and eroding of God’s Law. I think of America as I write this as a stark example. The day is now at hand where America is choosing. The religious freedoms have been taken for granted for too long. We are beginning to see the fulfilment of what Jesus is addressing in this discourse.

In verses 20-29 the Lord makes a direct reference to the time of the abomination of desolation. It is true that nations are gathering against Jerusalem in this hour but it will be even more so during the time of the great tribulation. There must be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem in the last days (Rev 11:2). There must also be a peace treaty that will be broken in the midst of the last 7 year tribulation period. There must also be the ministry of Moses and Elijah during this period as well (Rev 11). This is the period that Jesus is referring to in verses 20-29. It will be at this time when the Word is given to flee Jerusalem. The Lord makes clear that there will be signs in the heavens and upon the earth. The signs abound everywhere but are we really preparing? The Lord then gives warning about the need to be watchful (vs 36). He speaks to the days of Noah when people were caught up in their own lives, living for this world etc. It is a wakeup call to the church; a warning that we not be caught unawares. Luke 21, like many of the other chapters of the Gospels is written to our day. The Lord had the ability to address the issues that pertained to the days of His earthly ministry while at the same time speaking prophetically 2000 plus years later. This chapter is written to our generation. It is written with you and me in mind. Lord, help us to have ears to hear and to respond.