2 SAMUEL 22:1 – 24:25 and JOHN 1:19–51
2 Sam 22
David wrote many psalms which were reflections of his experiences through his years since he was first anointed king. This is one of them. We have seen many songs that were constructed after great deliverances. The song of Miriam after coming through the Red Sea, the Song of Deborah in their battle against Sisera and the Canaanites and now a song of David after his deliverances from Saul. Psalm 18 is referenced here and will be covered more extensively when we go through the Psalms. In my early years as a believer I came to know many songs through this particular chapter (2 Sam 22-Psalm 18). Here are a few:
The Lord is my Rock (vs 2), I will call upon the Lord (vs 4, 47), I have run through a troop (vs 30), and Teacheth my hands to war (vs 35). These songs have a triumphant thrust to them and help to give perspective and meaning to David’s experience. Such songs can only be birthed through trials and challenges. In my early years as a believer we used a song book entitled “Scripture in Song”. These were songs, the majority of which were found in the Psalms. I truly miss singing these choruses especially now that I have a much better understanding of scriptural context. Personally, I would not mind seeing them reintroduced into congregational singing. It really does help in allowing Scripture coming to life.
Is there the chance that the church of the last days would have their own choruses to sing? Some of the great hymns we sing today were birthed at a great price. I do believe that God will give many songs and choruses in these last days that will be birthed out of a travailing church. It is a beautiful way of expressing the manifold blessings of God. It is scriptural seeing that the heavenly angels, beasts around the throne etc constantly sing of His praises. We also need to be open to personalized opportunities to singing new songs unto the Lord. David loved the Lord and it is clearly seen in this chapter as well as many others. We will give this song a closer look when we survey through the Psalms.
2 Sam 23
As we are nearing the end of David’s life it is important to look at some of his final instructions. He makes a statement about the quality of a king that is an absolute essential. The king must rule justly (vs 3). At the same time he must have The Fear of the Lord. The Bible mentions three primary things that God looks for in a believer. “…to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God”. (Mic 6:8) We must always have other people’s interests at heart. God is a God of justice and equity. His scales are balanced and true and we need to align ourselves with the Lord accordingly. Do we see justice being administered in today’s worldwide system?
Psa 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
We need to have largeness of heart for people in order to effectively rule and govern. True justice does that which is right in any given situation. David puts a high premium on this quality seeing that it is being addressed in one of his final exhortations before the people. We also see this reiterated on a number of occasions in his preparation for Solomon to reign. We do well to seek and appropriate these throne based values. David goes on to pray that such a ruler will bring an atmosphere like the dawning of a new day without clouds where the light and the glory of God is seen (vs 4).
In verses 6-7 David speaks of the sons of Belial. This is a term that has been seen at various times throughout scripture. The first recorded mention of Belial is in Deu 13:13. Moses reminds the people in his final address that these men of Belial are those who have gone out from among them. People who once walked in truth but have opted towards other gods. Perhaps the best example of this is seen in the two sons of Eli the high priest (Hophni and Phineas). These were the priests who were tasked to represent God to the people yet the Bible defines them as men of Belial (1 Sam 2:12). Let’s examine this truth for a moment. How does this come about? We know about people like Judas and Ahithophel. Are there warning signs that can alert us to such dangers? Perhaps a New Testament verse or two from the Book of Romans would prove helpful.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Can you see the contrast in the above two verses? The righteousness of God is developed as we allow God to bring us from one plateau of faith to another. This is not an automatic process; it requires a choosing to walk in the light as He is in the light whereby we can be cleansed from all our sins and become more like Him (1 John 1:7). If we fail to appropriate grace by faith it can result in an indifferent heart. The Lord does not allow for stagnation or for a mind-set that settles for status quo. If we choose this road our heart will be affected. If our heart becomes calloused or de-sensitized it can lose its ability to absorb the seeds of faith whereby losing its ability to be fruitful. This type of heart condition will then seek to establish truth on its terms which will result in unrighteousness. This progression will then lead to Unthankfulness, idolatry and turning the truth of God into a lie (Rom 1:21-25). It then gets worse from there. I feel to address this to pose the question as to whether there are men of Belial in today’s church. The term “Belial” can be defined as wicked one and they are often identified as those who have come out from among the church. Indeed, O Lord, create within us a clean and undefiled heart (Psa 51:10.
In verses 8-39 there is a listing of the mighty men that surrounded David throughout his kingly reign. Some of these men performed extraordinary feats on David’s behalf. David had an ability to draw the loyalty of key people. One telling example is when he was thirsty to drink water from the well of Bethlehem (vs 15). Three of his mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines at tremendous risk to their lives to fetch a drink of water for their leader. David honoured them by spilling the water onto the ground as an offering unto the Lord. This was costly for David but it was in recognition for the 3 men who served David faithfully. It is a high quality of leadership which would invoke such loyalty.
David shined at very crucial times in his life. Remember the problems of Ziklag? His ability to encourage Himself in the Lord at the time when his flesh and soul were speaking otherwise spoke volumes to the armies of Israel. It was at that time when they began to rally around him (1 Chr 12). How do we respond in our Ziklags? When we allow our Spirit man to grow and emerge at such times it draws the attention of key people oftentimes in ways we are not aware. We can be sure that God takes note. The usual tendency at such times is to yield to the whims of the soul. It is a battle. It is the Word of God that feeds and nourishes the Spirit man. It has an attraction that cannot be seen but is clearly felt by its fruits. There will need to be the assembling of such armies as we draw nearer to the end. David was a man who loved God, loved His presence and had a heart that was open and tender. His heart became fertile ground that enabled David to become the admired man that he was. May we be surrounded by such mighty men and women of God; may we be worthy of such loyalty.
2 Sam 24
David, for whatever reason is desirous to see just how great his military prowess has become. He instructed Joab to number the army of Israel and Judah. This indicates a measure of pride that yet lurked within David. In verse 1 it says that God moved David to do this, in other words to commit this sin. This needs to be balanced by the account given in 1 Chr 21:1 where it says that Satan provoked David. God cannot tempt man, He merely allowed David to be tempted by Satan due to an issue that was yet in his heart. Joab emphatically sought to change the mind of the king on this matter but to no avail. There is a statement in the Book of Job that could be applied here. Remember, Job was a righteous man but he had an inner issue of pride that even he was not aware of.
Job 41:1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?
Job 41:2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
Leviathan is a devilish fiend who is described as the king over the children of pride. He is deeply entwined within the inner fabric of Job and it took a deep trial for it to be drawn out. David was a man who did not hide his heart from God. He constantly asked God to examine and to search out his heart (Psa 26:2, Psa 139:23). As David is nearing the end of his life he is tempted or moved by Satan to number his army. Satan could not have any access to David in this area if there was not something for him to lay hold of.
David gives the order to Joab and he follows through in numbering Israel over a period of 9 ½ months (vs 8). David’s heart became convicted as the tally is provided to him by Joab. He was violating a principal that was given back in the days of Moses (Exo 30:12). We must also remember that one of the laws of the kings from Deu 17 was to not multiply horses. This signified a trusting in one’s own strength as opposed to seeking the mind of the Lord, knowing that an army rises or falls due to His pleasure. David’s disobedience set a most unhealthy precedent for future administrations. How is this applied today? Do you think we can become overly conscious of numbers in our churches or other extended ministries? When this becomes the focus it takes away from God and the work He looks to accomplish. Our motivations, decisions that come as a result will be man-centered as opposed to the things of God. Remember what happened to Nebuchadnezzar when he glanced upon his garden and boasted of the works of his hands (Dan 4)? This sin of David is significant because it has pride as its root. It is pride coupled with the element of “the will” that led to Lucifer’s downfall. Sadly, both are on display in here in the decision that David made. Like before, David is very quick to acknowledge his sin (vs 10). Like before, there are repercussions that take place due to the sin of a leader.
God offered three options regarding the manner of judgement that would come upon the land. David chose the option of three days of pestilence which resulted in the death of 70,000 men (vs 15). David again repented before the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people. He recognized that it was due to his transgression that all of these men (sheep) of Israel perished. He truly desired to have been taken in their stead. He assumed and took full responsibility for his actions. This angel that David saw at the threshing place of Araunah the Jebusite must have been an imposing one. In reading this account I am calling to mind the angel of the Lord that was leading Israel as they came out of Egypt.
Exo 23:20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
Exo 23:21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
Exo 23:22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
Exo 23:23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
I am not saying that this is the same angel but it speaks of the strength and authority that some of God’s angels possess as they go about their delegated tasks. These are angels you do not want to offend. In our lives and in our churches we need to be conscious of their presence and their roles. This is especially true if we are leaders tasked with a high calling. So many lives depend on the decisions that are taken by key leaders. In David’s case we see many tragedies that affected others from his sin. He was a great man and leader who allowed God to bring forth true repentance through his life. David was forgiven and he was restored but what a price he paid. There are so many life lessons to be gleaned from David. He is a true king and priest. He demonstrated many of the attributes that will be later seen in the Son of God. He will experience sin and suffer through the consequences of it. Christ became sin as a sinless lamb and suffered its consequences. David in the end overcame and was restored and will have a reign as a prince in the millennium. Jesus overcame the grave and restored fellowship between man and God through His sacrifice; He will reign in the millennium. What a beautiful saviour we serve! What a beautiful example we see in David as one who presents a clear type and picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord help us to become likewise.
John 1 – Read day 114 commentary