2 SAMUEL 10:1 – 12:31 and LUKE 23:1–31
2 Sam 10
David again seeks to extend a kind hand to a former foe by looking to do a kindness unto Ammon. David is mindful of those who helped him when he was fleeing from Saul. This is a quality of a righteous king. Jesus references these kindnesses when he says “if you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me” (Math 25). The Lord puts a premium on the motive of heart. Nahash and the Ammonites would not be a people that Israel would be linked to but Nahash extended a hand to David when he was fleeing from Saul. Remember, Nahash was the first king that Saul defeated after becoming king. He was the one who agreed to a covenant provided there was the putting out of an eye from the leaders of Israel. Saul annihilated the Ammonites when he heard about this. Now David is looking to comfort Hanun, his son after the death of his father. Nahash may have helped David to spite Saul but in any case he wanted to extend a kindness to his son.
This attribute of David speaks volumes as to how the Lord sees similar situations. “Love your enemies, do good to those who take advantage of you…” The capacity of righteous rule is one where a king needs to have an enlarged heart. This is the reason why there first needs to be the lamb before the throne. David’s heart has been enlarged due to his experiences that have led up to his rule over all of Israel. It is a process that many will reject due to its cost. One of the foundation stones of righteous rule is benevolence; it only comes through trials of testing and suffering.
The princes of Hanun, the new king of the Ammonites do not trust David, they suspect evil intent to spy out their land and take it. This is their heart and this is why they would think this way. It is also the heart of Satan himself. He is a deceiver, the father of all lies. He would employ the tactic of seeking to be amenable so as to gain advantage. It is a tactic that will be on full display in the days of the antichrist. He comes in peaceably so as to try and gain advantage. Once the guard of the people is let down, he strikes. This is how the enemy gains advantage, especially when coming from a position of initial weakness.
You see this tactic at work in the world today. Lifestyles that were abhorrent just a few years ago have now gained acceptance at virtually every level. Now that there is a measure of acceptance there is a demanding of rights. If these rights are not implemented they soon seek to come against the voices and institutions that oppose them with the intent of silencing them. This method of infiltration of enemy forces is what Hanun and the Ammonites are suspecting of David. They are putting David and his intent into the category of how they themselves think. This window into their mind-set is instructive for us and will help us to see and discern properly in these last days.
Hanun and the Ammonites shamed the representatives that David sent forth (vs 4). David, after meeting the men employs Joab and the mighty men to come out against them. Joab and Abishai strategize as to how to war against them. It is a significant battle that involves the Syrians as well. Here is where Joab is at his best. He was a constant thorn and disappointment to David but he knew how to fight. David was always careful in how he responded to some of Joab’s actions. It is times like this where Joab is at his best as captain of David’s forces. This inherent flaw however will eventually cost him in his later years. It is another example where we need to seek to have the Lord to eliminate heart related issues when we are young so that it does not bind us in later years.
David and Israel slew the Syrians and their captain Shobach, who represented Hadadezer which resulted in the Syrians making peace with Israel. In addition, they feared in giving any further help to the Ammonites. Once again, we see David’s kingdom being further established. In the millennium there will be nations that will rebel against the Lord’s rule; in fact there will be a final conflict between Satan and the forces of God at the end of the 1000 years. This makes clear that even when there is righteous rule in the land there will be pockets of rebellion. As long as the throne is established in righteousness and the law of kings is observed (Deu 17) there will be dominion over the land. If there are cracks or breakdowns in any areas of that rule there will be opportunity for the enemy to move in and corrupt. We need to keep this in mind as we progress in our study.
2 Sam 11
The time had come when kings go forth to battle. The mind-set of battle or planning to battle or simply being vigilant would keep a leader’s focus on the interests of the kingdom. The account here says that David tarried at Jerusalem. His focus and mind-set allowed for a distraction in the way of a glance at a beautiful woman bathing herself within David’s view. This glance grew to his inquiring as to who this woman was. When it was discovered that this woman had a husband who was at war, David took quick advantage. Let’s remember that David had been taking on additional concubines which were a violation of the law of kings as brought forth by Moses. He spoke this law long before Israel had a king yet it was a law that David and his successor(s) would violate.\
Deu 17:15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
Deu 17:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
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.
Deu 17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
Deu 17:19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
The verses above display a beautiful connection between the king and priest and how they were to flow and function together. David is God’s appointed king but he is now about to suffer the fruits of violating one of the principal law of kings. Up until now David had ruled righteously. Israel for the most part was at rest with their kingdom firmly established. David is a picture and type of the Lord Jesus Christ but he is not the Lord. Though he is given the privilege of functioning as both king and priest he is still mortal. David allowed his heart to be defiled and as a result brought the woman (Bathsheba) to himself. He lay with her and soon thereafter discovered that she was with child. David steps deeper into treachery as he comes to know of her being with child.
David summoned Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband via Joab. In verse 6-13 David seeks to have Uriah go to his home and have relations with his wife so as to try and cover up his sin. Uriah would not do so seeing that other men, including Joab did not have this privilege in the midst of war. It is possible that Uriah suspected something was going on since he was being given unusual attention. Uriah drives a deeper stake into David’s heart when he makes the comment about the Ark of God and Israel dwelling in tents and how should it be that he should have such privilege of food, drink and the love of his wife. It was David on an earlier occasion that mentioned about the Ark dwelling in a tent while he was in a house of cedar (2 Sam 7:2). We also see the sovereignty of God at work here so that the sin with Bathsheba would come to light. The fact that it does come to light is the mercy of God. This is why David can sing of the mercies of the Lord later on his life. If this transgression were to be covered up it would have given the enemy much more advantage against David and Israel.
It was clear that David was not going to be able to convince Uriah to go into his house and be with his wife. He then sends a letter via Uriah to Joab to place him in the hottest battle zone. The purpose was for him to lose his life. Joab followed through as instructed and Uriah soon lost his life. Joab gives instruction to a messenger as to how the battle went and he coded it by saying that ‘Uriah thy servant is dead”. The method that was used to ensure Uriah’s life being lost was not a conventional one. This is one of the reasons why David had a certain fear of Joab. He was privy to David’s actions regarding Uriah. It gave him a measure of leverage that no one else had. The price for Joab was the prestige and honor that came as being captain of the army.
Once David received the word of Uriah’s demise he sends words of encouragement to Joab. It is a most shameful display of leadership seen in a king, particularly one of David’s stature. He felt the objective had been achieved and life can now return to as to how it was before this incident began. He has Bathsheba, Uriah is no longer an obstacle and all can now go forward. Just one problem! The Lord was displeased and now the enemy has gained an even greater advantage as a result. This is one of the primary reasons why God takes His time in the development of a righteous king. When the king of Israel falls it sets a heavy precedent that is not easily undone. We are all called to reign with Him as kings but are we gaining an appreciation for all that is entailed? Are we appreciating as to why the Lord takes His time in the preparing of a king to rule? Do we better understand why Jesus, as the Son of man spent many hidden years learning and being trained to reign before His unveiling? It is another example of a well-known Biblical account coming alive with application and meaning for us today.
Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
2 Sam 12
The Lord is now going to address the sin of David through Nathan, a prophet who was close to David. Nathan must have been alerted to David’s sin as he goes about the telling of a story of a man who had his only lamb taken away from him. In hearing this account David was enraged at the man who would do such a thing; to a man who had the one small lamb. In his rage he states that a 4 fold method of repayment be made without pity. Nathan then goes on to say to David these formidable four words. “Thou art the man” There it is! This is Truth confronting sin. David’s sin is a grievous one but the response he will give will either break or make the man. What do we do with Truth? Pilate asked the question; what is Truth (Joh 18:38)? David had a defining moment at Ziklag when he was able to encourage himself in the Lord against all odds. His spirit man prevailed over his soul (1 Sam 30:6). This attracted many mighty men to David who then helped fight battles out of Ziklag to Zion. Now David is at another critical point in his life. How will he respond to Truth? It is easy to comment on the shortcoming of others while we ourselves harbour similar traits. This is why the Lord exhorts us to first judge ourselves before judging others. The yardstick used in judging others will be applied to us, sometimes with even greater scrutiny. God loves David and we see His mercy at work where he immediately addresses the deplorable sins of adultery and murder. How then did David respond?
Nathan expresses the great displeasure of the Lord as to what he had done. He gives a brief history in all that He had done for David in establishing the throne. God also makes clear the sins that were committed were both adultery and murder. The Lord adds that the sword will not depart out of his house. There will be things exposed openly in contrast with what David sought to do secretly (vs 8-12). One can only imagine the heaviness of the blows these words must have been to David. He blew it, there is no chance of recovery; it is over.
David had the ability to acknowledge the Truth. He had sinned against the Lord. The Lord now gives David a lifeline by saying that He has put away his sin and that he will not die. It appears that God saw the heart of David in his acknowledging of the Truth and in so doing was able to say his sin was put away. There will be many consequences as a result of his sin but it has been forgiven. This was another defining moment for David. Though he sinned greatly he could acknowledge truth and experience the forgiveness and restoration of God.
This demonstrates the power and depth of the work of the blood at the Cross. True, the blood covers the sins of all who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and saviour and confess the sinners prayer. The blood of Christ can even atone for the sin of murder and adultery in the life of a king who sinned in the light. To be forgiven at this level one must acknowledge Truth and allow the work of the Cross to be achieved. David’s experience enabled him to know God’s desire in having Truth established in the inward parts of a believer (Psa 51:6). It enabled David to know that God can work with a heart that is broken and contrite before Him and that He will not turn away from such a person who is repentant (Psa 51:17). This experience enabled David to have a greater love for God’s Laws and to have a heart that opens itself to Him for examination and accountability (Psa 26:2, Psa 139:22-23).
One of the consequences for his sin was the child that was about to be born through Bathsheba was going to die. David agonised over this child while it was still alive (vs 15-18). Bathsheba soon bore David another child who was named Solomon and the Lord loved him. Joab prevailed in battle once again which enabled David to gain the fruits of another nation as the crown of the defeated king was placed upon David. God was beginning the process of restoring David but there would be future troubles that will hit close to home as a result of his sin. God had forgiven David but there will be major fallout from his actions. Still, we can take great comfort in God’s ability to restore. May the lessons of David be learned and serve as an encouragement for us as to how great how our God is.
The chief priests and the scribes now bring Jesus before Pilate thinking that enough evidence had been brought forth to accuse him. They charged Him with undermining Roman authority in addition to HIs admission of being the Son of God. After briefly examining Jesus, Pilate declares that he finds no fault in Him. Jesus is then sent to Herod who was in the vicinity; he ends up making a mockery of Jesus. Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate. This whole sequence can be summed up in one word. (POWER).
Herod and Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of the charges that were made against Him. Secondly, they understood that it was because of envy that they were so vehement in their trying to stop Him. The chief priests, the Scribes, Pilate and Herod were all concerned about their position of power. They would do anything to retain it. Though Pilate and Herod had authority over the priests and scribes they were still concerned about maintaining a balancing sentiment among the people. It is no different today especially when looking at the political systems of different societies. Take America for example, you now have such an entrenched political establishment in place. The only thing that matters is retaining power and position at all costs. We see the sad reality of such policy as righteous governance now takes a back seat. People who are in positions of power have the ability to stem the rot of misrule but oftentimes bend to cultural influences that further undermine godly values. All for the purpose of retaining power.
Why does this happen? The bottom line is that it reflects what is in the heart of the people. In democratic societies you find that leaders are oftentimes a reflection of the people who elected them. It is so easy to criticize leaders who are in these places of governance but have we prayed for them, prayed for the nation etc.? When Pilate could not convince the people of his innocence he makes them an offer that he feels will exonerate himself. He presents to the people a choice of who to be released unto them. Will it be Barabbas, a known murderer or would it be Jesus? The sentiment of the people demanded the release of Barabbas. This goes to show what was in the heart of the people.
The priests and scribes were able to move the sentiment of the people to now be against Jesus; so much so that they choose a known murderer to be released unto them instead of the Lord. We can smugly reflect upon this and think to ourselves why would the people ever do such a thing? Do we think that we are too sophisticated, too smart that we would be immune to such foolishness? The truth is we are far guiltier! We have been enlightened; we have the advantage of history to know better yet we only build upon this folly by endorsing a culture that reflects the Barabbas sentiment. We make heroes out of the basest of people while religious values erode into oblivion. We think that we would never cry out for Barabbas over Christ but what is really in our hearts? Is it a surprise when we see some of the leaders that are brought into position of power? Of course, this is not true of all nations but having been born and raised in the USA this subject is very personal to me. Take a given Sunday in the USA and honestly try to answer the question as to who is more desired. Is it Barabbas or is it Christ? The entertainment culture is so refined through sports and movies that it can cleverly repackage reality and truth into an art form. We do not ask for Barabbas in the raw sense as Israel did but we do so through alternative means. I am not against recreation and some forms of entertainment but it never is to serve as a substitute to the worshipping of the living God. It all comes down to what is within the heart of man. In the end, Pilate gave sentence that reflected the will of the people (vs 24-25).
Luke’s account of the events surrounding the cross is a fast moving one. It appears that the chief priests, scribes and those offended by Jesus had won the day. The one who tormented them with His teachings and instruction is now placed upon the cross. Even in these last few hours the sentiment of many of the people had turned against Jesus. The enemy voices successfully moved the people to ask for Barabbas instead of Jesus as the one to be released unto them. A known murderer and thug being preferred over a righteous and innocent man. Such things could not happen today right? What a picture this must have been; the hopes of mankind now being nailed to the cross. The tortured, humiliated and beaten body of Jesus now laid bare on a tree for all to see. Is this leadership? Is this who the prophets of old were looking for? We of today’s modern age know the story but do we really know of its lessons? How is leadership and success defined in today’s churches? Do we see the Lamb of God or are we mesmerized by something else; a counterfeit Christ which caters more to the elements of the flesh? Let’s be honest, how would we view this scene at Calvary?
There will be a similar event that will take place in the future. The ministry of Moses and Elijah will return to the earth, specifically in Jerusalem to testify of the God’s Laws and message of restoration. It will be a countering message to that of the antichrist and the cultural pressures of the day. It will be very similar to the Lord’s challenge to the priests and scribes in the lead-up to His death upon the Cross. Who will align with the ministry of Moses and Elijah? Moses was a teacher and he was the primary law-giver of his day. There will be great emphasis on these subjects in the last days. Where is the teaching ministry today? Where is the upholding of God’s laws and standards?
What you have is compromise resulting in a watered down gospel that caters to uncircumcised hearts. The ministry of reconciliation and restoration will also be emphasized as seen through Elijah. These men and their messages will be opposed. They will be killed just like Jesus was. The people will rejoice in their death thinking that they have prevailed (Rev 11:10). You see this sentiment in Luke 22:35-36 as the people are mocking and jeering the Lord. Moses and Elijah will then rise up after 3 ½ days just as the Lord will do. This helps us to understand more of what the transfiguration experience must have been like. Jesus, Moses and Elijah were all going to go through a similar trial. Just as Peter, James and John were with the Lord in His transfiguration moment we have the opportunity to align with Moses and Elijah in their upcoming moment in these last days. To do this we must place priority on the respective ministries of Moses and Elijah.
In this account of Luke’s we find some faithful ones who did not consent to His death. Joseph of Arimathea was a just man who had rank in the community. He was one who had been seeking for the kingdom of God. He took risk in asking Pilate for the body of Jesus. He took the body, wrapped it in linen and placed it in a sepulchre hewn in stone which no man had been placed in previously. It was his way of testifying of his faith. He wrapped the righteous Son of God in linen as testament to the death of a righteous man. We need to see such GOOD and JUST men come to the surface in these last days. These are men and women who will be willing to take a stand in the midst of great opposition. May we be numbered amongst them.