Thursday, November 23, 2017

Year 7, Day 327: 2 Samuel 10

Theological Commentary: Click Here

2 Samuel 10 fills us in on some more of the political milieu of the time of David.  The king of the Ammonites dies, so David sends a delegation to great the new king.  David is a good warrior, but he knows that the battle that costs the fewest resources is the battle that is never fought.  If he can start out the reign of this new king by seeking peace, it may set a trend for the rest of the king’s life.

However, the Ammonite king gets bad advice.  Isn’t funny how one little turn of bad advice can really mess us a whole life?  The Ammonite king’s advisors hint that David may have sent the gift with a hidden agenda: as spies.  Honestly, it isn’t an unreasonable thought.  I could see a king doing such a thing as spy out a new king’s political position before his power is fully established!  While not unreasonable, it is still bad advice.  Lesson one from today is to realize that bad advice can start out sounding quite rationale.

The king then acts on that bad advice.  He acts upon something with no proof.  He humiliates the gift that David sent him.  It is one thing to be suspicious, it is another thing to act upon it through a rash decision.

Naturally, this upsets David.  David sets out his army to conquer those who rejected him.  Long story short, the Ammonites rely on mercenaries, and the mercenaries take the money and run when the battle proves tough.  The Ammonites are defeated.  This new king finds himself a vassal (or worse) shortly after becoming a king simply because he chose to act on bad advice.  That’s a huge lesson to learn.

What I really like about this story is how the vassals of the conquered army line up to make peace with David.  These kings act under good advice.  When someone more powerful than the person to whom you are submitting comes along, make peace with that person!  That is just rational.

That same thinking is one of the key tenets of my faith, by the way.  God is the biggest power out there.  Why would I not seek peace with Him?  Why would I not pursue a forgiving relationship with the biggest power on the block?


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Year 7, Day 326: 2 Samuel 9

Theological Commentary: Click Here

There are so many good things that come out of today’s chapter, and from so many angles!  We can talk about David caring for those unable to care for themselves by speaking about David’s care of the lame Mephibosheth.  We can talk about David’s ability to forgive in his care of Saul’s descendant.  We can speak about David’s ability to let go of grudges using the same line of thinking.  We can talk about his pursuit of righteousness by returning Saul’s land to one of Saul’s kin.  We can speak to David’s generosity by inviting in this man to eat at his own table like one of his own sons.

All of these are great thoughts to pursue.  At their core, however, is on mega-thought.  All of these things are possible only because David trusts God.  David has completely and totally placed his life within the provision of God.  David has accepted that his life will go as God orders it.

Because of this, David is able to be generous.  After all, who can out-give God? Can David possibly give away more than God can give Him?

David is able to let go of grudges because he trusts God.  What punishment can David impose than will be more righteous than the punishment that God imposes?  What makes any of us think that in our grudge we can be more righteous than a God who knows all, including the hearts of others?

David is able to look upon the downtrodden in life because he trusts God.  God looked down upon David the shepherd and saw what nobody else could see: a king.  If David trusts God to see what truly lies within, why should he not do the same and follow God’s sight?

All of David’s righteousness starts with his trust for God.  True righteousness first begins with relationship.  When we let go of our impulse to care first about ourselves and trust God, we find ourselves capable of doing much more than we ever thought possible.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Year 7, Day 325: 2 Samuel 8

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Today’s chapter is largely about the victorious conquests of David.  There are several important things to note today.  None of them, however, are more important than the note that we have about David dedicating the spoils of his victory to the Lord.  I find this note to be exemplary.  It was the Lord who prospered David; it should be the Lord who gets the credit.  The Lord’s name should be praised highly for the progress that David makes.

As subthemes to that overarching theme, I have a few other points to ponder.  First, let’s look at the fact that God continues to prosper David in war.  It would be easy to take a chapter like 2 Samuel 7 and turn it into a chapter about how God must hate war because He wouldn’t let David build the temple.  To make such a point, however, is simply narrow in focus.  To make sure a point ignores the theme of this chapter.  If God hated war, why on earth would he prosper David in war?  I don’t mean to say that God is a violent God, either.  The reality is that God understands something that we don’t.  The eternal status of the soul is far more significant than the fleshly life.  War or no war, everybody dies.  God’s focus is on the eternal.  It is wrong to say that God hates all war just as much as it is wrong to say that God loves war.  God is focused on the eternal.  War is a thing that humans bring onto themselves.  God will work through our bloodthirst to bring about His righteousness.

Second, notice that David starts to put garrisons in the surrounding nations.  In other words, David begins to dominate the region.  David places garrisons in the other nations for two main reasons.  These garrisons will ultimately ensure the peace.  They will be able to watch over the conquered land and deal with any rebellions before they get too great.  The other reason is that the garrisons will help ensure that tribute is paid back to David.  David uses these garrisons as a means to help keep the flow of resources coming into his own people.

In all of this, God is with David.  God prospers David.  God takes David and through his military prowess brings the land under a single power: His people.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Year 7, Day 324: 2 Samuel 7

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Today’s reading starts off as a bit of a downer.  David wants to build the Lord a temple.  David has good motivation for this, even.  David respects how the Lord has allowed him to prosper and wants to show the Lord some honor in return.  There isn’t anything harmful in this request.

The downer is that the Lord says no.  God doesn’t want David to build him a house.  David has drawn too much blood.  One might say that David may have made too many enemies.  Whatever the reason, in spite of David’s best wishes, God says no.

What I find absolutely amazing in this chapter is David’s response.  David accepts God’s ruling.  David could have gotten mad.  He doesn’t.  David could have gotten stubborn and built the temple anyway.  He doesn’t.  David accepts the ruling.

In fact, David takes God’s no and turns it into an opportunity to give praise to God.  That’s what I truly find worthy of lifting up.  David hears the Lord tell him no to one of his dreams and David turns around and praises God because of it.  This is a man after God’s own heart.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Year 7, Day 323: 2 Samuel 6

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Today we have two very classic stories.  You can read my thoughts on Uzzah’s death elsewhere.  Obedience to the Lord is a very important consideration, and not being obedient can have some very serious consequences.

Today I am going to focus on David’s dance and Michal’s reaction.  David dances before the Lord as the ark is brought up before him.  Michal is angry because she sees David’s action as improper.

I’m always torn by this story, primarily because I am an introvert.  I typically don’t enjoy parties, celebrations, and public dancing.  I can resonate with Michal, depending on how David danced. If he actually did do something lewd or inappropriate, then he should be chastised.  Since I cannot see how he danced, it isn’t like I can actually judge.

On the other hand, as an introvert I do really need to accept that public displays of love for God may well be out of my comfort zone but that doesn’t make them necessarily inappropriate.  There is a difference between actually being lewd or inappropriate and a person seeing it as lewd or inappropriate. As an introvert, I should always be mindful to understand that my inherent quiet disposition should not influence my judgment of right and wrong when it comes to public events.

In the end, I can understand both sides.  I’m guessing, though, that David didn’t actually do anything wrong since the Biblical account supports his dancing.  It’s never wrong to show one’s love for God in public, so long as we don’t offend God in doing so!  As David says, we should let God be the judge of what He finds appropriate and inappropriate.  He is more than capable of doing so.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Year 7, Day 322: 2 Samuel 5

Theological Commentary: Click Here

In today’s chapter, we get to hear about David becoming king.  The story is actually anticlimactic.  The tribes come before David and make him king.

This decision makes sense in a good way.  Saul is dead.  Jonathan is dead.  Jonathan’s son is dead.  Abner is dead.  Anyone who truly wanted to stand in David’s way is gone.  Those who would care to rise up against David would have no more legitimate claim upon the throne than David.  None have blood claim to Saul’s family.

What is important is that the Hebrew people recognize David’s spiritual position.  He is the one that God has chosen.  Therefore, while nobody has blood claims upon the throne, David has the spiritual claim.

Once David has the throne, he goes about taking care of his true enemies.  The Jebusites are the first on the scene.  There are internal enemies, living in the city of Jebus (called Jerusalem once David takes over).  What is neat is how David conquers the Jebusites.  They are confident that David cannot conquer the city because Jerusalem is in a very defensible position.  They are wrong.  David uses stealth and cunning to defeat the defensible city.  Typically, brains beat brawn when brains have even time to think through the situation.

Then comes the Philistines.  What I love about this story is that David pauses and consults God before taking on the Philistines.  David trusts God.  He respects God.  He listens to God.  He is victorious because he is willing to follow God and put himself ina  position of humility.


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.