2 Samuel 14 – A Heart for Reconciliation

Ever have two people you cared about become estranged from one another? It’s awkward and heartbreaking. You care about both of them, but the tension between them is stifling. You end up spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to get the two of them back together.

This is the atmosphere of 2 Samuel chapter 14. Joab (King David’s general) longs to see David and his son Absalom reconciled. It hurts him to see the divide between them…especially knowing how much it hurt the heart of the king.

And so Joab goes to great lengths (and some personal risk) to help King David see the issue from a different angle and hopefully soften his heart toward Absalom. And Joab doesn’t give up. First, he gets the two of them to move closer by getting David to agree to allow Absalom to move back to Jerusalem. Then, after some prodding, Joab gets David to agree to see Absalom, bringing them together face to face.

Joab had the desire and the perseverance to see the king reconciled to his son because he knew that this was really the king’s desire. And Joab risked his personal and professional standing for the sake of that reconciliation.

Joab personifies who and how we’re supposed to be. Knowing that our king longs to be reconciled with His children, we should invest ourselves to the point of risk in order to facilitate such reconciliation between our King and those who are estranged from Him. (2 Cor. 5:18-21)

2 Samuel 13 – Have You Become Your Parent?

It happens to everyone. If you live long enough, it will happen to you. It’s the day no one wants. The day you fought so hard to avoid. It’s the day where something you say or do causes you to stop dead in your tracks and say, “Oh no! I’ve become my parent!”

It’s inevitable. Whether it’s due to nature, nurture, or natural consequences of actions, parents will end up passing some things on to their children. Some of those things will be good, and some of those things will be not-so-good.

This is what is happening in chapter 13 of 2 Samuel. In chapter 12, the prophet Nathan confronts David with his sin and tells David that the consequences of his sin will ripple out into his family; and eventually into the nation itself. (2 Samuel 12:10-11). And that begins in 2 Samuel chapter 13.

But David’s sins of immorality and murder were not handed down to one child. They were spread out among two children. We find Amnon re-enacting David’s immorality by raping his half-sister, Tamar. And we find Absalom re-enacting David’s murder by killing his half brother, Amnon, for raping his sister Tamar. Like a drop of food coloring in a pitcher of clear water, David’s sin begins to infiltrate his family and his nation.

It’s a sobering thought, not just to parents, but to all of us. Our sin and poor judgment can actually infect those around us. This should cause us to stop and think each time we’re about to make a decision of some sort. “How will what I’m about to do live on in the lives of those around me?”

So here’s the question: What kind of legacy will you be leaving if your children, or the people close to you, eventually look or sound like you?

2 Samuel 12 – God’s Rules of the Road

To get from point A to point B often requires several steps…and at times, a little help. But, if you will receive the help and take the steps, it’s amazing how far you can get.

In 2 Samuel chapter 12, David moves from hypocritical sinner to conquering king. But it was a hard trip, requiring some help and several steps.

David needed someone to clearly point out that he was not only moving in the wrong direction but that it was a dangerous direction.

Then, David was able to humbly admit his sin and accept the correction given to him. At this point, David turned and started moving toward God…first in shame and regret, and then in petition for help. And even when God would not make the trip any easier, David worshiped God and acknowledged God’s sovereignty. And finally, David turned his attention to the here and now; comforting those whom his actions hurt and getting back to the work he had neglected. (2 Samuel 11:1)

God’s response was to bless David’s family with a son and to bless his work with a victory.

If we’re to get from where we are to where God wants us to be, we need to mind God’s rules of the road. God’s rules of the road are accountability, confession, repentance, prayer, submission, obedience, and worship. These help us to progress on the trip God desires for us, and they lead us to those rest areas where God can bless us, our families, and our work.

So mind God’s rules of the road, and you will move from where you are to where God wants you to be.

2 Samuel 11 – What a Difference a Decision Makes!

“What a difference a day makes.” It can be bright one day and dark the next. Your investments can be growing one day and tanking the next. A relationship can be great one day and falling apart the next. What a difference a day makes!

When it comes to 2 Samuel chapter 11, we could say, “What a difference a chapter makes.” In 2 Samuel chapter 10, David is the conquering king. But in chapter 11, David is the cowardly sinner. In chapter 10, David is killing the enemy. But in chapter 11, David is killing his own man.

How did this happen!

Though the change in David seems quick and radical from chapter 10 to chapter 11, it was actually a slow and subtle slide. David started taking it easy. He let up a little. After all, he had worked hard and suffered much in his life. No one would begrudge him for taking a little break…even if it was the time when kings were normally out working hard with the troops.

So, instead of advancing on the enemy, he stayed behind. Instead of aggressively taking ground, he took a nap. Instead of running toward victory on the battleground, he took a stroll on a roof. And things just naturally progressed (or rather digressed) from there. With each wrong decision, David became more insensitive to God and what was right.

It can happen to us, too. One decision leads to another, which leads to another, and so on. We need to remember that there are really no small decisions. Decisions have a cumulative effect. They lead somewhere. And because of that, we should not make decisions casually.

Perhaps the phrase should be, “What a difference a decision makes!”

2 Samuel 9-10 – Are You A Person of Integrity?

There are some people in life that leave a lasting, positive impression on you.

  • They say and do what’s right in every situation.
  • They’re the same in public as they are in private.
  • They lovingly speak the truth
  • They keep their word.
  • They’re genuinely interested and concerned about you when you’re talking to them.
  • They are people of peace, but they are not afraid to confront difficult issues.

In short…they are people of integrity.

In 2 Samuel chapters 9 and 10, you see David’s integrity.

In chapter 9, David shows himself to be a man of his word. There, he’s intent on keeping a promise he made, even though everyone around him would say, “You’re not obligated to do this.” He commits to showing kindness to Mephibosheth as long as he lived, even though this is the descendant of the king who sought to kill him.

In chapter 10, David attempts to show sympathy and concern to the new Amorite king at the loss of his father. David was under no obligation to do so, but this king’s father had been loyal to David and David wanted to return that loyalty. But when the new king responded harshly to David’s gestures, David was not afraid to deal with the difficult situation.

In short, David was a man of integrity. He was the real deal. He was devoted to God, devoted to others, and devoted to doing the right thing. These are the characteristics of integrity.

I want to be more like David in these ways. I want people to look at me and say, “He’s the real deal. He’s the same no matter where he is or who he’s with.” I want to be a person of integrity. How about you?

2 Samuel 8 – How to Succeed

I’m one of those people who tends to wait and see what happens. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lazy or a slacker. I’m the type that steadily works, taking care of the day-to-day stuff; assuming that God will somehow take that and weave it together into some kind of direction or master plan.

But I’ve known people who are conquerors. They are going somewhere specific, and they have a plan to take the next piece of ground that will get them where they want to go.

This was David. In 2 Samuel chapter 8, you see a David who is focused, driven, and calculating. He works hard, makes the hard decision, and strategically advances toward his goal. And in all of this, he didn’t lose sight of the fact that it was God’s blessing (not David’s ingenuity) that made him successful.

If any of us are going to be successful, that’s the combination God’s looking for. A focused and calculated drive toward a goal, along with a grateful humility toward God for His work and blessing. Let me say that one more time…for my sake. Success comes from a focused and calculated drive toward a goal, coupled with a grateful humility toward God for His work and blessing.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be more like David.

2 Samuel 7 – Melting the Father’s Heart

Picture this…

One day, a father gives his boy a shiny new bike. While riding the new bike, the boy realizes his father doesn’t have a bike of his own. The boy doesn’t take into account that his father has a car and all the possessions he desires. He just knows that his father was so good to him to give him his new bike, and he wants his father to have one.

So the boy tells his father he’s going to get him a new bike and begins to save his money for one. This melts the father’s heart. So the next day, the father brings home an even bigger present for his son. Overwhelmed all the more by his father’s generosity, the boy climbs into his father’s lap and tells him he’s the greater dad in the whole world!

This is a picture of what’s happening in 2 Samuel chapter 7. David is grateful for what God has done for him and wants to give back to God. This attitude of gratitude melts God’s heart, causing Him to bless David all the more. Realizing he can’t out-bless God, David sits before God and acknowledges God’s greatness.

This chapter, like the story of the boy with the bike, reveals a tender interaction between a father and His child. In both stories, the father’s heart is melted by the child’s attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude leads us to want to give, which leads us to become more like our Heavenly Father. This melts the heart of God because what parent doesn’t melt when they see their children trying to imitate them?

Do you have an attitude of gratitude that prompts you toward generosity…and melt’s the heart of God?

2 Samuel 6 – Living Full Throttle for God

If you followed me through a typical week, you would find times when I get things right and times when I mess things up. Times when my desire is to lift up God and times when I’m more concerned about myself. Times when I’m acting gracious and times when I’m being sarcastic. I can appear very disjointed and dichotomous at times.

2 Samuel chapter 6 has that same feel. It presents as a case study in contrast…or more appropriately human nature. For example…

  • David shows great desire to have the ark (God’s presence) among them, yet shows great disrespect for following God’s directions for transporting the ark. (Numbers 4:5,6,15) (1 Chronicles 15:13-15)
  • David is angry at God for the death of Uzzah and doesn’t want the ark near Jerusalem. (Uzzah had reached out to steady the ark when it looked like it was going to fall…which was against God’s command that no one was to touch the ark.) But, when David finds out that God is blessing the people in whose home the ark is kept, he then wants to bring the ark to his location.
  • Publicly, David’s life is one of joy, worship, and admiration. But privately (with his wife Michal) his life is one of strife and contention.

If you step back and look at David’s life, it can seem very two-faced. Yet God continued to reach out to him, walk with him, and redirect him with mercy, grace, and patience.

Why?

Maybe the thing that made David’s life so full of contrast was also the thing that made him a man after God’s own heart. Perhaps it was David’s willingness to go after God full throttle that so endeared him to God. And though this often meant his mistakes were also full throttle, at least he was willing to turn around and get back on track when he missed it.

Are you living a life that’s full-throttled for God?

2 Samuel 5 – Are There Keys to Living a “Charmed Life?”

Have you ever known someone who seemed to live a charmed life? They’re in the right place at the right time. They get all the right breaks. Everything they touch turns to gold.

Those outside of Israel probably felt David lived a charmed life because everything he touched seemed to work out so well.

How did he do it? 2 Samuel chapter 5 shows us three keys to David’s success. David…

  • Asked for directions.
  • Followed instructions.
  • Gave credit where credit was due.

ASKING FOR DIRECTIONS

David was seasoned by years of experience. He had paid his dues and he knew how to get things done. Still, he continued to ask God for direction and permission, rather than launching out on his own initiative. (2 Sam. 5:19,23.)

FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS

David not only asked God for direction. He also followed God’s instructions. (2 Sam. 5:20,25)

Unlike David, some people never get where they want to go, because they don’t ask for directions. Others fail to get where they want to go because they don’t follow the directions they were given. But this was not David.

GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

David could have easily taken credit for all his accomplishments. But he refused to believe his own press. Instead, he gave credit to God…where it was due. (2 Sam. 5:12,20) David knew his success was not because of him or for him. He realized God was blessing him for the sake of God’s people. (2 Sam. 5:12)

A WORD OF WARNING…

Don’t assume that asking God for directions, following God’s instructions, and giving God credit will assure you of a “charmed life.” Remember, David spent years running from a homicidal king, and Jesus was wrongfully accused, tried, and crucified.

These three keys are not a magic formula for a “charmed life.” But they will make your life stronger, wiser, and more fruitful.

So, today…try asking God for direction, following His instruction, and giving Him the credit He’s due. You will be surprised at the difference it makes.

2 Samuel 3-4 – Political Correctness or Personal Character?

In an election year, the airwaves and internet are full of adds for those running for office. The candidates say the right things and promise to do the right things, hoping to convince people to vote for them.

It feels like the same thing when you read 2 Samuel chapters 3 and 4. Though not an exact parallel, David must respond to some divisive issues much like a politician. He must respond in a way that will endear him to those who oppose him without turning off those who are already loyal to him.

When one of David’s generals wrongly kills a prominent and much-loved general of the opposition, David responds in a way that wins the trust of the opposition (2 Sam. 3:31-39) yet does not directly discipline his own military leader. (2 Sam. 3:29,39)

When an opposing king is killed by the king’s own military leader, David further endears himself to this king’s people by having the murderer killed rather than rewarded. (See 2 Sam. 4)

Are David’s responses the evidence of Godly character or of a politician working angles to get everyone to like him? Because Scripture seems to vouch for David’s character, we could say it was the former. But since Scripture doesn’t shy away from recording the less-than-stellar moments of God’s people, we can’t say for sure.

What we do know is that David found solutions that looked beyond either/or answers. He took the empathetic high road and always gave God the glory. (2 Sam. 4:9) As a result, people were drawn to David and he won their loyalty.

We should remember and practice this in our difficult situations. Our desire should be kindness, wisdom, and godliness, rather than political correctness.