2 SAMUEL 4:1 – 6:23 and LUKE 22:1–38
2 Sam 4
The curse upon the house of Saul continues as two men who served as captains of Ishbosheth follow through in their plot to slay him. They somehow thought that they would gain favour with David by further securing his throne. It is hard to imagine them doing this in light of what David did with the Amalekite who stated that he put the mortal wound into Saul. David was outraged when he heard about the slaying of Abner however he did not execute any judgement upon Joab. These men somehow thought that David would honor them for taking such initiative. They were making themselves sound spiritual in their approach to David by saying that the Lord has avenged his wrong by way of Saul. No doubt these two, Rechab and Baanah were very much with Saul when his reign was strong; having no allegiance or sympathy towards David. These men were clear opportunists seeing that the house of Saul was weakening by the day. David saw through their motives and declared the deceased Ishbosheth to be far more righteous than they. He quickly ordered their executions for their brazen actions.
David used opportunities to show kindness to the house of Saul provided they did not plot or take advantage of their situation. He had no tolerance for those who randomly took action into their own hands. This is a blatant example of opportunism nonetheless it still is seen today. There is the tendency to put our finger in the air to see the direction of the wind and cast our lot in accordingly. We must ever be mindful that we will answer to what is within our heart.
2 Sam 5
The establishment of David as king over all of Israel is now about to take place. What was first seen prophetically through Melchizedec (Gen 14:18) is now coming to pass. Israel had priests from the time of Moses but never a king. We have referenced the following verse on a number of occasions before but it bears repeating:
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
The role of a priest is what prepares one to reign as a king. David is the first king of God’s choosing due to the heart for God that he conveyed. He is king but he will also be able to offer sacrifices as part of the new dispensation. We will soon see a new dwelling place for the presence of God (The Ark). God is now going to allow His presence to come under the custodial care of a capable priest unlike the last representation as seen in Hophni and Phineas (1 Sam 2-4). All of Israel gladly consents to come under the authority of David (vs 1-4). This is David’s third anointing and now he has authority over all of Israel. His total reign as king is for 40 years. (7 ½ years over Judah and 33 years over all of Israel)
The first battle as king is against the pesky Jebusites. This is one of the enemies that Joshua could not remove (Jos 15:63). This enemy speaks of those who sow discord among the brethren. It is a powerful enemy to dislodge due in large part to its infiltration through the church. Why was David and his army successful here when there was failure before? I believe 1 Chr 12 helps to give clarity to the quality of men that assembled with David as part of his army. They were courageous, loyal and disciplined. The Jebusites (spiritually) have an ability to divide the brethren which in turn weakens their ability to go forward. It can come through doctrinal disputes, or even offenses. The body of Christ is strong when it is united; it is weakened when divided. One of the blessings of Zion, which David is about to take, is that it’s the place of the Lord’s blessing. It is a place of unity as seen like the anointing oil that was poured upon the head of Aaron (Psa 133, Exo 30). There was a picture of unity from the top on down and this made Israel a powerful fighting force.
David immediately gained favour with Hiram, king of Tyre who provided cedar trees, carpenters and masons for the work on David’s house. One of the flaws (a significant one) is again seen in David as he takes on more concubines and wives (vs 13). This will also have an impact on future generations as well. The Philistines, having heard that David had been anointed king gather against him in the valley of Rephaim (vs 18). They will soon discover that David and his army is not like Saul.
First though he exercises wisdom by enquiring of the Lord as to whether he should go up to battle against them. David had a sense that God was establishing him as king but he does not presume upon God. The Lord makes clear that he can go up and they will be delivered into his hand (vs 19). This is the place where David had his breakthrough on behalf of Israel. He called the place Baal-Perazim because the Lord had broken through upon His enemies as the breach of waters. It was a mighty and decisive victory. We constantly cry out for the God of the breakthrough in areas of our lives. It may not come right away but when it does it is glorious.
What characterizes a breakthrough? It is like a dam that has allowed traces of water to come through its seams before totally bursting in overwhelming surges of power and force. Lord, we need a breakthrough! Amazingly, the Philistines once again gather against David at Rephaim. David goes to the Lord and enquires as to whether he is to go up against them. The Lord responds by giving him a totally different tactic. How easy it would have been for David to just come out against them like he did a bit earlier. This helps to ensure that our reliance would always be upon God and not on methods which could lead to pride and presumption. David follows through on what the Lord told him to do and it results in another resounding victory (vs 25).
2 Sam 6
The time has come for the Ark to be brought to Jerusalem. It has now been outside the confines of Moses Tabernacle at Shiloh for over 50 years. Remember how the Ark was brought into battle presumptuously by the priests Hophni and Phineas against the Philistines? This tragic event resulted in the loss of the battle and more significantly the loss of the Ark into enemy hands. The Ark made a quick sojourn through several Philistine strongholds which brought about judgements consisting of diseases and destruction of their gods (1 Sam 5). They summoned help from Israel to take back the Ark and it rested in Kirjath-Jearim for a number of years. The Ark is now about to find a new dwelling place, a home that will be attended by a faithful priest, a home or tabernacle unlike its predecessor at Shiloh.
There is the tragedy involving Uzzah when he put forward his hand to try and steady the Ark (vs 6-7). It was a sobering reminder as to the sacredness of the Ark and all that it represents. There will be a New Testament reality soon to take place when David functions as both king and priest at Zion but the Old Testament law still stood. The Levites, specifically the Kohathites were the only ones who could bear the Ark. David is going to be an exception because he is a picture of the Christ to come and a picture of the New Testament priesthood of which we can be a part of.
David in a sense is a man born out of time. The Ark should have been carried by the Levites as ordered by God back in the days of Moses. This event brought fear upon David and Israel. It was a clear demonstration of God’s displeasure for what he did. It was swift and complete. The Ark was brought to the house of Obededom for about three months. His house was blessed during the period of time the Ark resided there. In verse 14 we see David as king dancing before the presence of the Lord with a linen ephod as priest. He is now fulfilling both functions. He is exhibiting the modern day equivalent of what it means to be both king and priest. They brought the Ark into the midst of the tent or Tabernacle that David had prepared for it. Once again he takes on the role of a priest (which up to now was only the prerogative of the Levites) and makes burnt and peace offerings to God. He blessed the people and there was a great celebration among the people.
It is noteworthy to point out the reaction of Michal, David’s wife. She is viewing this procession with great disdain (vs 16). She later speaks to David as to how shameful he was in front of Israel and the maidservants. David’s response in verse 21 seems to indicate a certain resentment that Michal was carrying. David had to remind her that it was God who appointed him above her father Saul. Michal was separated from David during his wanderings so she probably bore more sympathies towards her father. In addition, she was married to another man. This is the danger of extensive separation. Michal loved David in the early stages of their marriage. She was responsible for his escape from Saul when David’s life was in danger (1 Sam 19:12). There was a judgement that came upon Michal as a result of her despising David’s actions when the Ark was being brought up. She remained barren for the rest of her life. This meant that the seed of David and the seed of Saul were never mixed. There are seasons of barrenness that God ordains as seen in Hannah (1 Sam 1:5). This example indicates that barrenness can also be a judgement as seen here with Michal. We must not despise nor take lightly the things of God. The moving of the Ark through Jerusalem up to David’s Tabernacle was no small event. Michal looked at this scene with contempt and paid a high price because of it. It is so important that we allow God to bring a total cleansing to our heart. This could be one of the reasons why David consistently cried out to have a heart that is searched and examined by God (Psa 139:23, Psa 26:2). It is a healthy exercise for us as well.
Things are now coming to a climax. The enemies of Christ realize that the time to kill him at his hand since He is continuing to grow in favor with the people. The account of Satan entering into Judas is a bit different than the account we see in John (John 13:27). Suffice it to say that Judas’s heart was now fertile ground for the seeds of betrayal to be planted. There then came a time when his heart was conducive and open for Satan to literally enter into Judas. This is not be confused with what happened with Peter when Jesus rebuked Satan through Peter (Math 16:23). Peter’s intent was neither malicious nor conceived from an uncircumcised heart; he merely took issue with what Jesus said regarding His going to Jerusalem to die. Satan seized on this vocalised challenge to try and dissuade the Lord from His appointed mark at Calvary. Judas heard the Truth but allowed his heart to become corrupted to the point of becoming a thief. Satan was able to take advantage of this. Once again, we need to have that constant cry for a pure heart (Math 5:8, Psa 51:6). The men were happy to satisfy Judas’s request for money by agreeing to give him 30 pieces of silver. All he had to do was to seek an opportunity to turn him over at a private place outside the view of the masses.
The Lord commissioned Peter and John to prepare a room for the Passover meal (vs 8-14). The room they were sent to was exactly as Jesus said it would be. This should have helped them to realize that Jesus could be trusted in what He was speaking to them. Is it possible for them to believe that He will die and rise again after three days? He tells them that this will be the case. The details that Jesus gives regarding the room they were to prepare should have helped to serve as a reminder.
In verse 15 we see the great joy and desire Jesus had in having this opportunity to fellowship with them. The Bible speaks about our not forsaking the gathering together of brethren especially as the last days draw near (Heb 10:25). Jesus needed the strength and blessing of being around His chosen ones having full knowledge as to what was about to take place. These troubled days are serving as a reminder as to how much we need each other. The strength and support of the body of Christ is an essential.
The Lord makes the disclosure that one among them will betray Him (vs 23). You can imagine the discussion that would have taken place after such a disclosure. How is it possible that this group that has walked closely together with the Lord in recent years would have a betrayer among them? What is scary is that no one knew who it was up until the time Jesus disclosed the culprit to John. The heart is deceitfully wicked in its ability to conceal its intent and motives. There is no doubt that Judas knew that what he was doing was wrong but I feel he had no idea as to what length it would be taken. He may have been able to get away with deceitful acts before without any kind of disclosure and may have felt this would be no different. We can note the frustration he began experiencing when Mary broke the expensive perfume bottle (John 12:3-4). His heart had become desensitized to Truth and the things of God.
If this was not enough for the Lord to deal with there was strife among the brethren as to who would be the greatest. The Lord must have been truly saddened and concerned. On the one hand He was looking at this gathering for the purpose of fellowship and being strengthened. He was about to become sin and go to the cross. Now there is the issue as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom. This had to be a significant added burden to the Lord. He knew that the promise of the Father (The Holy Spirit) would soon be given but it would be prohibitive in an atmosphere of disunity. We will see how Jesus handles this when we look at John 17. The Lord quickly assumes the role of a servant, after knowing that all power had been placed into His hands (John 13:3-5). The Lord had everything that these men desired so what did He then do? He took a towel, got on His knees and assumed the role of a servant. He further stated that true greatness will be determined by the extent that one serves (vs 25-28).
The Lord speaks to Peter that Satan desires to lay hold of his life (vs 31-34). He also mentions that he is praying for him; that Peter’s faith will not fail. Peter takes issue with the Lord’s words and says he is ready to go to prison and even unto death for the Lord. There is no denying the love that Peter had for Jesus but he did not have a clue as to the dynamics that were about to take place. The moment at hand is the greatest conflict heaven and earth has ever experienced. The will of the Father which was ordained before the beginning of creation (Rev 13:8) will soon materialize.
Peter felt he had the capacity to stand in this hour. In challenging the Word of the Lord he was opening himself up to Satan to sift and try him. Satan knew the potential that resided within Peter. Satan also knew that the hour was at hand when Jesus was about to take upon Himself sin, as the Lamb of God. Peter, would be designated as one of the chief spokesperson for the Gospel hence Satan’s desire to lay hold of him. God is about to establish His kingdom on earth (as decreed before the foundations of the world) as it was decreed in heaven (Rev 13:8). It is here where the greatest spiritual battle ever known and will be is about to take place. Peter, in challenging the Words of the Lord had no idea of all that was about to take place. Jesus prayed for Peter and no doubt is praying for us that our faith will not fail; He is ever interceding. As we near the end of the age we too need to be reminded of the challenges that will confront us. We cannot be indifferent or half-hearted in these days. By the grace of God we must be willing to stand for Truth and hold firm in our convictions.
We now come to one of the most solemn yet powerful moments throughout all of Biblical History. To me, the account that Luke brings forth regarding this moment is the most dramatic and descriptive. The Lord is now entering Gethsemane and immediately comes into a posture of intense prayer. One of the most agonizing verses is seen below:
Luk 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
What is the above verse all about? What is it about the cup that the Lord is struggling with? What is the cup? Let’s go back before the beginning of the foundation of the world.
Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
In the foreknowledge of God, He knew that man would one day disobey His command, even before man was created. God knew that there would have to be a sacrifice to atone for man’s transgression. It was decided that God the Son, as the Lamb of God would become that sacrifice. There could be no other way. What a cost! What a price that would have to be paid.
Before man was created there was a rebellion in heaven amongst the angels, spearheaded by Lucifer. In his role as worship leader in heaven he sought to usurp the glory and honor that belonged to God alone. How did he do this? He asserted his will.
Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Lucifer failed in the area of his will and as a result was cast out of heaven along with a third of his rebellious cohorts. When God created man, he was created in innocence, free from sin but not holy. Holiness needs two things to be realized. First there needs to be a choosing to be holy (Lev 11:44, 1 Pet 1:15-16). Secondly, holiness must be tested. How then did the test come about as it pertained to man?
God gave a commandment to Adam in Gen 2:16-17. In this commandment he gave the Law of not partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Up until now man was free from laws. Once the law was given, man is then put into a position of choosing as to whether he will keep the law or disobey it. Adam and Eve had no problem keeping the law until they were put into a position of being tested. How did this test come about? It came about by Satan himself when he introduced himself to Eve by challenging the one law that God had given to man.
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Adam and Eve are now being tested. If you read further in Genesis 3 you find that Satan is seeking to get man to fail in the very same area he himself fell. In verse 5 he entices Eve by saying that she would be like god. We know that man failed God by disobeying His law which resulted in man becoming a partaker of the sin nature. God now has a problem! How can God have a problem; after all He is God? The problem is this. How does God reconcile man, whom He loves who is now bathed with the nature of sin, which He hates and disdains more than anything else to Himself?
It can only be remedied by the ultimate sacrifice, the giving of the life of the Son of the living God. The Son of God must become man, live as a man and experience what it is like to be a man, yet without sinning. At the appropriate time this sinless Son of Man must become sin in order for the sacrifice to be complete. That time is now in the garden. This is what the cup represents; it means Christ must become sin and take it to the cross. Why is this such agony for Jesus? Why is there such a struggle? Up until now Jesus had a close intimate love relationship with His Father. Now, as he becomes sin, He will become the object of everything the Father hates. Think of the price being paid by the Father at this moment. His beloved Son is now going to have to take upon Himself the entire sin of mankind and suffer the consequences of a horrible death upon the cross. If we can grasp this reality we will never ever see God as owing man anything; He has already demonstrated and expressed His love in a way that can never be repaid. Oh how He so loves you and me!
What is now taking place at Gethsemane is the fulfilment of what was ordained before the time of creation. This is where the greatest spiritual battle of all time is taking place. The kingdom of God is being established upon earth, at Gethsemane as the Lord decreed it in heaven, even before creation. We also know that all of hell was present as well. Satan is working hard in trying to get Jesus to assert His will above that of the Father in much the same way he did when he rebelled in heaven. The battle is in the area of the will.
The Lord, as the Son of man was looking for an alternative; Father is there any other way? Still in the end, He was able to declare these words which served as the death blow to Satan; nevertheless, not my will, but thine will be done. There it is! The battle has been won. Now, this does not mean the battle and agony of the Cross has been any less diminished. He still had to be arrested, betrayed, tortured, humiliated and die an agonizing death. The battle of the will is the key. Jesus prevailed where Satan failed. It is an opportunity we have as well. If we can come to that place of seeking the Lord to help us in those times when our will is challenged, He will help us. The Holy Spirit can bring us into places we cannot enter into in our own strength (John 21:18). It comes down to our will, which means we have a choice. It is one of the greatest gifts that God has given to man. The intensity of this battle that Jesus had is summed up in verse 44. It mentions that he sweated great drops of blood through His time of intense prayer.
We are not only forgiven for our sins when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives but we are also provided an opportunity whereby we can become like Him; to be holy. It is not automatic. There has to be choosing to be holy. This is accomplished by knowing and embracing His Laws; His laws bring us into the position of choosing as to whether we will keep them or ignore them. The enemy will always be there to try to get us to assert our will against God’s commands. May God help us through the strengthening and empowerment of the Holy Spirit to cry out “not my will, but thine O Lord be done”.