Saturday, December 16, 2017

Inaction leads to further Injustice

Read 2 Samuel 13.

The prophecy of Nathan in 12:10-11 began to unfold upon David and his family.

With David's multiple wives, there were many half siblings within his very large family.  Tamar was a beautiful and obedient virgin daughter of King David.  When she realized Ammon's sexual intentions toward her, Tamar displayed an unusual sense of wisdom in four strong statements.
1. This is an outrageous violation, not only against her but against the nation of Israel.
2. This will result in shame with no hiding place.
3. This will make Ammon a common fool in the nation.
4. If he really loved her, all he had to do was ask the king's permission.

Ammon was guilty of lust, lying, and the rape of his half-sister.  He did not love her.  The proof is in his feelings after the rape.  He hated her.  Her full brother Absalom took Tamar into his home and care.

David's leadership as father and king was AWOL.  He knew what happened and did nothing.  This added insult to the injury and caused the anger of Absalom to fester.  Two years passed with no justice or attempt for reconciliation for this known heinous sin in the family.  Finally, Absalom carried out a plot to murder Ammon.

Everyone cried and mourned; over what?  There are no recorded tears for Tamar.  There are no recorded outcries due to Ammon's sins against the family.  The family did not come together to mourn until Ammon was murdered.

And, David failed again in not dealing with Absalom.

As a father of adult children, he was not responsible for their decisions, or their behaviors.  However, he remained their father and if he truly loved them he should have at least spoken up and used the family circle for influence.  As king, he was ultimately responsible in overseeing Israel's justice and spiritual purity.  David's inaction only compounded the problems for himself, his family and the nation.

Lack of swift justice only breeds more sin.  One of the hallmark verses that should guide all levels of justice is Ecclesiastes 8:11-"Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.”

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The purpose of exposing Sin

Read 2 Samuel 12.

David probably thought the incidents that took place were over and he could now relax.  But he failed to deal with the sins in his life.  So, God sent His messenger, Nathan, to confront the king and deliver a powerfully effective message.

Nathan used a story method to capture David's full attention.  As a former shepherd, David's emotions quickly raised to anger in order to right this terrible wrong.  He announced that such a man deserves to die "because he had no pity."  It was at that point that Nathan confronted the king with four words, "You are the man!"

The message reviewed how good God had been to David.  "And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more."  Then, the sins were specifically named aloud.  It is clear from verse 10 that the sins were not only against Bathsheba, Uriah, and others, but they were against God Himself; "you have despised me."  What David tried to hide, God exposed openly.  The purpose of doing this was to lead David to repentance.

The cost was severe.  There would be war (v.10), immorality in his household (v.11), and the death of the child (v.14).  David did repent of his sins and he fully returned to worship God.  Psalm 51 was one of the outcomes of this confrontation.

Here are some excerpts from David's prayer of repentance in Psalm 51.
"Have mercy on me...wash me...create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me...then will I teach transgressors your ways...then will you delight in right sacrifices..."

God loves us too much to allow us to continue with unconfessed sin.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

(1 John 1:9)   

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

3 Proactive thoughts regarding personal Sin

Read 2 Samuel 11.

Power and privilege are bestowed upon individuals by God to use in doing good for others.  The responsibility is weighty.  In Luke 12:38, Jesus said, "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required."  The most dangerous thoughts a powerful and/or privileged person can have is "I accomplished this by myself" and "I can do whatever I want." 

All of us must exercise personal discipline if we are to guard our moral character and remain faithful to our commitments.  If we do not, we will only prove the scriptures to be true, "pride comes before a fall."

It was the season for military leadership, but David did not go.  On the surface, at least, this appears to be a poor decision on the king's part in the stewardship of his time.  David had numerous wives and concubines but his unguarded desires set in motion a series of sinful decisions.  He had the time, the opportunity and the power to fulfill his lust.

The sins are graphic and self-evident.  There was sex with another man's wife.  Next came the attempted cover up of the resulting pregnancy.  Then, there was the death warrant for an innocent and loyal solider.  Uriah served as one of the elite in Israel's army (23:29).  And, Uriah was not the only one who died in the conspiracy that killed him.  Others died also.  Joab merely followed orders, but in doing so David involved him in this sin.  David's guilt was staggering.  The better part of a year went by without any sign of repentance.

"The thing displeased the LORD." (v.27)

Lessons for all of us.
1. Be self-aware.
We must be vigilant regarding potential compromising situations.
When David saw her, he should have wheeled around and gone back inside.  Instead of sending for her, he should have sent word to her to about her lack of discretion.  When we give in to our weaknesses, we are no longer thinking about the presence of the LORD, the best interests of another person, or the consequences of sin. 

2. Be self-disciplined.
We must be ruthless about our vulnerabilities. 
Everyone is vulnerable in some areas of their character, whether it is in the use of power, the desire for possessions, or the pursuit of pleasure.  The abuses of any or all of these will 100% of the time lead to sin.

3. Be self-less.
We must maintain a respectful and eternal view of other people.
David showed no inkling of regard for God, his own family, for Bathsheba, her husband, for her father, nor even his own military.  There was no display of pity.  His selfish behavior caused him to vacate his spiritual leadership and ministry to others. 

How can God forgive such sinfulness?  How could David continue his leadership after this?  With repentance, God can forgive sin.  Only God could take this convoluted mess and redeem it for His glory.  He did and He does.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

7 Lessons on Kindness

Read 2 Samuel 10.

Some wag once quipped, "No good deed shall go unpunished."  We see that here in chapter 10.  David showed great kindness to Mephibosheth because of his commitment to his best friend, Jonathan.  Next, he decided to show kindness to a neighbor at the death of his father.

Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been kind to David in the past.  With the death of Nahash, Hanun, the son, became king.  As a caring good neighbor, David sent a small group of men to represent Israel to convey condolences and bring a message of comfort.  However, when David's men arrived they were perceived as spies and a threat.  The Ammonites abused the men and sent them home shamefully.  This resulted in a regional war.  Tens of thousands of enemy soldiers died.  God gave David victory and eventual peace with these nations.

Lessons on kindness from the leadership of David from Chapter 9.
1. He had a heart of compassion even for those who did not expect it and who could be a threat to him.

2. He took the initiative to be kind.

3. He demonstrated his kindness with peace and restorative acts.

4. He treated even a potential rival as royalty.

But kindness on our part is not always appreciated as we read in chapter 10.
1. Sometimes our best and purest motives may be completely misunderstood.

2. Sometimes our good intentions may be rejected and the very ones we are trying to help turn on us.  They may even enlist others to join them in the rejection.

3. Sometimes there is no choice but to face the false accusations and/or threats head on and trust God for the outcome.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Keeping our Word

Read 2 Samuel 9.

Many people make promises.  People of godly character make commitments.

David's man to man covenant with his best friend Jonathan was life-long.  They made a commitment to care for each other's families in 1 Samuel 20:14.  It did not change with the death of Jonathan, or with the change in national leadership. 

Once the new kingdom was established and surrounding enemies put down, David turned his attention to some unfinished business.  "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"  Indeed, there was one crippled son of Jonathan whom a servant, Ziba, had kept safe.

A tyrant would have killed all the family of the previous king to protect himself; not David.  When Mephibosheth appeared he bowed in fear before the king.  But David quickly sought to alleviate any fear, restored the inheritance of his grandfather, and then publicly committed to treat him as one of his own family.  In addition, David charged Ziba and his very large family to care for Mephibosheth's estate.

Keeping our word is not only important to the receiver but the LORD takes note as well.
"Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether."  (Psalm 139:4)  And, Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.”

Sunday, December 10, 2017

3 Leadership traits of a godly Superpower

Read 2 Samuel 8.

Once in full command of the unified nation of Israel, David expanded the kingdom by defeating all the surrounding enemies.  He made survivors to be servants of the kingdom.  The wealth of the spoils he brought back to Jerusalem.  A ruthless dictator would have abused this power and wealth for his own selfish aggrandizement; but not David.

Why?  What made this superpower different?

1. The leader recognized the ultimate source of all power and authority. 
Twice in this chapter we are told "the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went."  As good a warrior as David was it would never be enough to sustain a lasting kingdom and achieve God's expectations. 

2. The leader recognized the ultimate owner of all things.
David was a faithful steward of all that God had allowed him to have.  Concerning the gold, silver and bronze that he amassed in Jerusalem, verse 11 states, "These also King David dedicated to the LORD..."  Giving ten percent to God was not enough for this leader.  One of the evidences of godliness is generosity.

3. The leader recognized the ultimate judge of all required him to act justly.
God placed him in this position of leadership to be a faithful steward of the people.  In great contrast to selfish rulers or corrupt kings, "David administered justice and equity to all his people." (v.15)

Friday, December 8, 2017

God keeps His Promises

Read 2 Samuel 7.

For about 500 years, the Ark of God, and the center of Israel's worship, had been a tent.  It bothered David that his house was better than God's.  Building a beautiful place worthy of the LORD became his lifelong dream.

God responded with a special message through Nathan, the prophet.
-The LORD did not ask for house.  Though God's presence was over the Ark in the Tabernacle, God cannot be contained, nor does He need humans to take care of Him.
-The LORD reminded David that it was He who took care of the nation.  Indeed, God took David from a pasture to a palace.
-The LORD made eternal promises to David and his descendants.  This is commonly called the Davidic Covenant. 
     1. He will make for David a great name.
     2. He will plant the people on this land and give them peace.
     3. He will give David a son and establish his kingdom forever.

As we shall see that son was Solomon and it is he who will actually build the temple that David only dreamed about.  Also, this promise of a forever kingdom underscores the importance of Messiah's lineage.  According to the family tree in Matthew 1, Jesus was born into the royal family; a direct descendants of David.  The familiar Christmas story explains it: "And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David" (Luke 2:4).

Such an announcement humbled David.  It caused him to go immediately to prayer.  He praised God for what He had done and for who God is.  "For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you..." (v.22).