Friday, November 17, 2017

Year 7, Day 321: 2 Samuel 4

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Today we get another vision of David's pursuit of righteousness.  Jonathan's lame son in killed.  The avengers come to David to show him that they killed one of his rivals.  They expect to be rewarded and welcomed.

We should not be surprised when we get to David's reaction.  David scolds the men.  He's not interested in other human beings protecting him from enemies.  David knows that God can do such a thing far more righteously than any human being can.  After all, who can judge a person's heart any better than God?

Furthermore, this child of Jonathan's was of no danger to David!  The people would not have seriously supported his claim to the throne.  Nevermind that this was the child of one of David's closest friends!  Naturally David is not interested in rewarding these killers.

I think this is a really enjoyable perspective to hear.  We can easily focus on many of David's faults, especially when we think about his wives, concubines, and his lust.  But we should also realize just how strongly he pursued righteousness when acting as a leader of God's people.  David was interested in making the right thing happen for the right reasons.  As a king, David paused frequently and trusted in God.  That is a quality that is to be respected.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Year 7, Day 320: 2 Samuel 3

Theological Commentary: Click Here

2 Samuel 3 gives us an interesting tale about the working of human political machines.  As we read through these words, we hear that Abner is offended by the house of Saul.  This provokes Abner to have a change of heart.  Abner decides to support David and his claim to the throne instead of Saul's deformed son.  This is a big decision; Abner was one of the leading generals of Saul's troops.  As Abner went, much of Saul's family fighting force would go as well.

However, Joab cannot forget what Abner did.  Abner killed Joab's brother, Asahel.  Let's make sure that we remember the story.  Abner was being chased by Joab's brother and Abner killed him after telling the other man to leave him alone several times.  When this didn't happen and Asahel forced the attack, Abner killed him in self-defense.  Joab cannot get past this family grudge, so Joab kills Abner in cold blood.

What we can learn from this is that sometimes we blame people not because they are guilty but because we want them to be guilty.  Joab cannot forgive Abner even thought Abner was acting in self-defense and gave Asahel several opportunities to back away.  Abner is truly innocent, but Joab wants nothing to hear of it.

Look at David's reaction, though.  David curses Joab, which is amazing.  David looks to one of his generals and curses him.  David risks losing Joab's loyalty.  Why this is significant is because we see David choose the righteous path over the popular path.  Abner didn't deserve to die.  David sides with Abner instead of siding of his general Joab.

This is really a powerful testimony.  We need leaders who will do the right thing, not the popular thing.  We need leaders who will assert truth, not popular opinion.  We need to look for people who can think for themselves and stand up when needed.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Year 7, Day 319: 2 Samuel 2

Theological Commentary: Click Here

I find this chapter interesting in that we get a glimpse of humanity from multiple directions.  First, David comes to God and asks his will.  God tells David to go up and be anointed as king.  David obeys.  As he does, he calls out the people who cared for Saul’s dead body and praises them for doing so.  David accepts the role of leadership with grace towards his enemies.

In contrast, we get to see Abner.  Abner doesn’t consult God.  Abner takes one of Saul’s malformed sons and lifts him up as king.  Abner may be loyal to Saul.  Abner may simply enjoy his position of power and not want to relinquish it.  Either way, Abner does not react with grace towards his opponents or towards God.  It ends with war among the tribes.

We can learn much from the contrasting actions.  However, what I think is really telling is that this whole situation arises because the people demanded a king in the first place.  When we look back at the time of the Judges, the Hebrew people were not fighting with each other.  They had their issues, but they were external rather than internal.  When the people were under God, they were united.  Now, however, they are desperately concerned about human leadership and human authority.  They are concerned about authority, power, greed, domination, rank, etc.  It’s interesting to note how the people fall as their desire to be under God wanes.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Year 7, Day 318: 2 Samuel 1

Theological Commentary: Click Here

This passage gives us two very interesting choices for David.  The first choice is the death of the Amalekite.  Reading this story after finishing 1 Samuel 31 should cause us to pause.  After all, wasn’t Saul killed by his own sword?  Didn’t the Philistines gather him and his things up and put them on display?  How then are we to take these words of the Amalekite?

The truth is that this Amalekite is likely lying.  He probably knows that Saul was trying to kill David.  He probably thinks that he can earn himself a position with David if he claims to be the one who killed Saul.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that at least twice David had the opportunity to kill Saul himself and never did.  As a result, the Amalekite is killed.  Whether David kills him because he knows that he is lying or because he respected Saul’s life is unclear.  Either way, this Amalekite was probably the first and last person to claim he killed Saul!

This leads us to the second interesting choice that David makes.  David mourns the life of Saul and his sons, especially Jonathan.  For those who know David, this isn’t an unusual choice.  This absolutely fits with David and how he lived.

What makes this choice unusual is just how unworldly this choice is.  Most people would be cheering the death of an opponent.  Most people would be cheering the death of someone who desires you to be dead.  Most people would be focused on their opportunity to become king.  Not David.  David is mourning the loss because he isn’t focused on himself and his desires.  David mourns because it is the right thing to do.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Year 7, Day 317: 1 Samuel 31

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Today we finish the book of 1 Samuel.  I’ve found it odd that the book is called 1 Samuel, but Samuel is clearly dead prior to the end of the book.  Furthermore, the book ends with Saul’s death.  2 Samuel actually has nothing to do with Samuel, but with David as king!  There isn’t really anything theological in that chapter, just an interesting thought.

Regarding the death of Saul, there are a few things to note.  First of all, notice that Saul takes his own life.  While this is technically a suicide, I’m not entirely sure that it is equal to other types of suicides.  Saul takes his own life because his death is imminent.  He is going to be captured – maybe killed – at the hands of the Philistines.  Saul knows that if he kills himself, he can choose how painful and how long his death takes.  The Philistines might drag it out for hours, days, weeks, and maybe even years.  Saul takes his life to avoid the worst of the possibilities.

That being said, Saul still takes his life.  In that choice, Saul wrestles control out of God’s hands.  It could be that God would use the moment to teach Saul a lesson.  It could be that God could rescue Saul from the Philistines at a later date.  It could be that God has rejected Saul so much that God allows Saul to suffer and die.  The point is, we’ll never know because Saul takes his own life.  Saul doesn’t give God an opportunity to show His righteousness or His mercy.

Finally, we can tell from this story that God’s Word is true.  God promises Saul that none of his offspring will be upon the throne.  That promise is lived out in this battle.  In one moment, Saul and his sons are gone.  The only thing of Saul’s that remains now is Michal, David’s wife.  The door is now open for God to move as He places David on the throne.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Year 7, Day 316: 1 Samuel 30

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Today I am focusing on a very small portion of this chapter.  I’m going to look at what happens after David has his town burned.  David marches his soldiers out after consulting with the Lord.  He is victorious, getting everything back that was lost, including his wives.

The issue is that during the pursuit there are some of his men that become tired and are unable to pursue the enemy as quickly.  This is important, because David knows that the enemy has got a head start on them.  The longer David’s possessions and wives were in the hands of another, the more likely they wouldn’t be able to be recovered properly.  Therefore, David leaves the tired men behind so that he can go on in speed.

When David is victorious, he has their own possessions retrieved as well as plunder from their defeated enemies.  Some of the men who went out to fight with David grumble and tell David that those who were left behind had no right to any of the plunder since they didn’t fight.  David has a decision to make.

Today we see David make a good decision.  David turns to those who grumble and teach them a powerful lesson.  The lesson is to realize where our strength rest.

David’s lesson goes like this.  It is God who gave us the power to defeat the enemies.  Therefore, the plunder should go to all people.  After all, if we only give plunder to those who fought, we are making the subtle claim that it was their own power and not God’s that provided victory.  I think that’s a very powerful lesson for the day.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Year 7, Day 315: 1 Samuel 29

Theological Commentary: Click Here

1 Samuel 29 gives us a bit more indication towards David’s dark side.  The Philistines are marching out to go to war.  The lords among the Philistines don’t particularly want David to go down among them.  Unfortunately, given the circumstances I don’t think that I can really blame them.

Yesterday we discovered that David has been up to some nefarious actions.  He’s raiding people to stay alive.  He’s lying about his actions to Achish.  He’s killing people to cover up those lies.  He’s begun a bit of a downward spiral in his life.

Here’s the thing.  David continues those patterns of deceit in this passage.  Achish comes to him and tells him that the Philistines want him to stay behind.  Do you here what David says?  “What have I done?”  He plays innocent when he knows he’s guilty.  Perhaps what is worse is that he plays off of Achich’s ignorance of his actions as proof of his innocence.

David is showing his prowess as a liar today.  He is also showing his prowess as a manipulator.  I can’t give him a very high grade for what I see in this passage.

That being said, I can’t be too harsh on David, either.  David isn’t doing anything that I haven’t done.  David is just thinking about himself, something that I do quite frequently.  Chapters like this are a great opportunity for us to look into our lives and see where we are similarly guilty.