2 Samuel 24 – Righting Your Wrongs

Have you ever done something you knew was not right? Maybe others even told you it wasn’t wise, but you did it anyway. Then afterwards, things began to unravel. Your conscience began to trouble you. Your situation got worse. And you began to realize you needed to right your wrong.

Oddly enough, God ends the book of 2 Samuel with just such a situation. In 2 Samuel chapter 24, Israel has sinned and David falls to temptation, taking an unnecessary and uncalled for census. (1 Chronicles 21:1) Perhaps David’s act of taking a census was an act of pride and arrogance, but afterwards David knows he has done wrong. God, being just, brings judgement on the sin of David and Israel…graciously allowing David some say in the judgement.

Then, in mercy, God relents. He tells David to offer a sacrifice at the very place where David experienced mercy.  Though the owner of the land, the oxen, and the wood needed for the sacrifice offers it all to David for free, David insists on buying them instead…knowing that by its very nature and definition, a sacrifice must cost us something.

Why would God put such an account at the end of 2 Samuel? Why would He conclude the story of David in such a way? Perhaps its a reminder to us that no matter how much God blesses us, we should never get “too big for our britches.” Perhaps its a reminder to listen to wise counsel, no matter how successful we’ve become. (Proverbs 13:10) (Proverbs 21:11) (Proverbs 11:14) And perhaps it’s a reminder that God will not ignore sin…no matter who you are. (Numbers 32:23)

We must not forget that how our story ends will depend on whether we heed these same reminders and remain humble before the Lord.

2 Samuel 22 – Thinking About God’s Goodness

As I was out walking one morning, I was struck by how pleasant the morning was. It was a little cool, a little breezy, and just right. And so, I started thinking about how good I really have it. I thought about how much God has blessed me and how far He has brought me. His goodness came flooding in on me.

That’s what’s happening with David in 2 Samuel chapter 22. At a time when things are good, David thinks back on all that God has done for him. He thinks about the places to which God has brought him and he’s flooded with the realization of how good God has been to him. David is so overwhelmed by all that God has done for him that he sings and compares it to Moses’ Red Sea crossing.

When’s the last time you found yourself thinking about God’s goodness. How long has it been since you have rehearsed God’s leading, rescues, provision, and protection?

Things might not be all that good for you right now, but it’s funny how rehearsing God’s past goodness to you can change your perspective on your present situation.

Try it. I dare you!

2 Samuel 19 – Become a Kinder and Gentler You

There are some things in life that can change a person.

  • Going through a war.
  • Having a stroke.
  • Being victimized.
  • Going through a divorce.

Things like these can impact a person to the point of changing how they see and react to people and life.

In 2 Samuel chapter 19, you see a changed David. There, rather than exercising military might, David offers kindness and mercy to those who had rebelled against him.

What was it that prompted this kinder, gentler David? Perhaps he felt he had brought on their rebellion because of his actions with Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 12:11-12)

But perhaps David was keenly aware of the undeserved mercy he had received from God, and it prompted him to be more merciful to those who had wronged him and were undeserving of mercy.

We’re told that of those who are given much, much is required. (Luke 12:48) We’re also told that those who have been forgiven much should love much. (Luke 7:36-47) David knew how much God had forgiven him. He also knew how much mercy God had shown him. This awareness led him to be more merciful and forgiving to those who had rebelled against him.

When’s the last time you stopped to think about how much God has forgiven you, or how much mercy He has shown you?

If you make a habit of remembering God’s mercy and forgiveness toward you, it will change how you respond to others; especially those who have wronged you.

2 Samuel 17-18 – Expect the Unexpected Lessons

Ever notice how some of our greatest lessons come to us in ways we didn’t expect? Simple, common-place events can suddenly yield unexpected gems of understanding and insight. Like when your child casually says or does something and suddenly you see things more clearly.

2 Samuel chapters 17 and 18 contain the story of battle plans and battles. Yet, in these narratives, you suddenly get a glimpse into the character and the heart of God Himself.

In these chapters, you see the providence and involvement of God in the plans of men. You get a picture of the loyalty that God exercises toward us. And you actually hear God’s heart of self-sacrificing love for His children. (2 Sam. 18:33) And the fact that these glimpses of God arise out of battle stories is yet another unexpected lesson.

In the midst of our battles, we need to remember that:

  • God is sovereign and providential over our circumstances.
  • He is loyal to us, even when others are not.
  • God loves us with a love that readily and freely lays down His life for ours.

We see these three characteristics displayed powerfully on the cross. On the cross, God demonstrated His providence, loyalty, and love by taking our place and dying on the cross in the person of Jesus. God did what David couldn’t do. He died for us. He died in the place of His rebellious children.

This is a lesson that will surface, not only in 2 Samuel chapters 17 and 18, but everywhere we turn…if we will have the eyes to see it.

2 Samuel 15-16 – It’s Not Fair!

“It’s not fair!” “They can’t do that!” “It’s not right!”

We used these words as children when we thought we were being wronged, or when we thought someone what getting away with something they shouldn’t.

But I feel this way when I read 2 Samuel chapters 15 and 16. There, David’s son Absalom shows a deep and unwarranted contempt for David. He steals David’s people from him and eventually steals most of his kingdom from him. Many of David’s trusted friends and advisors turn and side with Absalom. And on top of that, Absalom thumbs his nose at David by sleeping with David’s concubines/wives. It’s not fair!

Then, instead of fighting back, David leaves town. David allows Shimei to throw rocks at him and curse him…not just once, but all along the trail. And David prevents his guards from punishing Shimei. David just rolls over and takes it. It’s not fair!

And where is God in all of this?! Why doesn’t God step in and correct these wrongs? Is God on Absolom’s side? Is He continuing to punish David for his sins with Bathsheba? Does God not care about injustice? It’s not fair!

But, there’s something we need to learn from David in all of this. We need to learn to trust God’s sovereignty and plan at all times…even when it looks and feels unfair. David reminds us:

  • It’s all in God’s hands.
  • If God hasn’t changed the situation, it’s for a reason.
  • We don’t know what God will work out in the end.

It’s simple to say, “Trust God.” But it’s hard to do; especially when what’s happening is not fair. But, as followers of God, we must keep telling ourselves, “It’s not about fairness. It’s about reliance!”

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?