If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.
Day 88 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue Second Samuel and Psalms.
Second Samuel 7 is a key chapter pointing towards another coming King. This is a good point to re-watch a video we first saw on Day 15.
2 Samuel 4-6 – David continues to honor Saul’s family and deals harshly again with those who have taken Saul’s son’s life.
Yet, after years of struggle and waiting, David has “arrived.” Indeed, he has become “greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him” (5:10). Apart from one reference to the young Samuel (1 Samuel 3:19), it is of David alone in the books of Samuel that we hear that “the Lord was with him.” David is indeed the “man of God’s own choosing” or, as the phrase is more traditionally rendered, a “man after God’s own heart.”
David is going from strength to strength, because the Lord is with him. Among David’s successes in this section are the capture of Jerusalem from Jebusite control to become his capital city (5:6–9); the final defeat of the long-time archenemy of the people of God, the Philistines (5:17–25); and the eventually successful bringing of the ark, the symbol of God’s presence, into the city of Jerusalem. Successes all, but there are also failures. David remains fully human, and the biblical writers make no attempt to mask his flaws.
David’s expression of animosity toward the “blind and the lame” (5:8) may be such a failure, unless he is simply tossing the mocking words of the Jebusites back in their faces (5:6).
Another failure may be David’s acquisition of more “concubines and wives from Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 5:13; contrary to the instruction of Deuteronomy 17:17).
A most obvious failure in this section of 2 Samuel is in his transport of the ark to Jerusalem. The move was right in intention but wrong in execution. The ark was to be carried, so to place it on a cart, in neglect of the specific divine instruction, proved a costly mistake.
And finally, there is the matter of Michal. A true daughter of Saul, she cares little for David’s unguarded display of love and loyalty for God—far too undignified! David’s abandon in caring more for God’s honor than his own is laudable. But what of his sharp response to Michal’s criticism? Might this have been the place for a soft answer (Proverbs 15:1), rather than a sarcastic recasting of Michal’s comment about the servant girls? And whose decision was Michal’s perpetual childlessness (6:23), the Lord’s or David’s? And beyond this portion of 2 Samuel, further and more devastating failures await (ch. 11).
David was no cardboard saint, but a flesh-and-blood, flawed man of deep faith.
How does this good news, for us as flawed people of faith, that it is precisely such people that God chooses to build His kingdom, help us trust that God has a plan and purpose for each of us?
Ultimately this is the case only because the true and final son of David took the punishment for all the flaws of his people, so that now all that qualifies us to be used of God is contrite acknowledgment of those flaws and trust in Christ (Luke 18:9–14).
2 Samuel 7 – Well settled in his own “house” (palace), David decides it is time that he build a “house” (temple) for the Lord. It seems such a good idea that the prophet Nathan readily agrees. But the Lord, whose thoughts and ways are different and higher than ours, has a very different building plan in mind. David is not to build a house for God, rather, the Lord will build a house (dynasty/kingdom) for David.
And what a house it will be, a house and kingdom “made sure forever before me.” Even David’s sinful descendants will not derail God’s grand design: “Your throne shall be established forever.” Stunned, David lays aside his own blueprint and simply sits in the presence of the Lord, marveling at the amazing plan the Lord has just unrolled before him.
How easily our imaginations can be captured by and our energies exhausted by what we want to build for God, when what He really wants is for us to sit attentively, witnessing what He is building so that we may marvel and give Him thanks!
In the amazing promise to David in 2 Samuel 7, the earlier promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1–3) is gathered up and refocused.
How, in a far grander sense, are all these promises are gathered up and finally fulfilled in Jesus?
2 Samuel 8 – As a first indication that God’s building plan (ch. 7) for the house of David is on track, chapter 8 summarizes his many past victories: “the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.” The Lord gives, and David gratefully gives back, dedicating to the Lord silver and gold “from all the nations he subdued.”
A further indication that the building plan is on track is that David uses his royal power not for self-aggrandizement but to provide “justice and equity to all his people.”
Two key Gospel truths are reflected in these episodes from the reign of David, the king anointed to represent God to His people. First, as recipients of God’s free grace, we are called to extend grace freely to others: “you received without paying; give without pay” (Matthew 10:8). Secondly, grace is a gift offered, with no condition imposed, but to reject the King’s offer of grace is to incur his wrath (John 3:36).
How do you see these Gospel truths reflected in your life?
If you don’t see them in your life, God invites you to return to the truth of what Jesus has done for you—remember the Gospel.
Psalm 88 – Proof of life, even in a despondent child of God, is prayer. While this desperate psalmist frankly describes his sense of abandonment, he utters only one petition, “Let my prayer come before you.” Sometimes it is enough to be heard. What follows is a list of emotions which indirectly form Heman’s reasons for why God should answer him.
First, Heman suggests that God is responsible for his anguish. Heman knows that such a claim will make an impact on his merciful God, because Scripture assures that the pain of God’s children moves Him (Genesis 6:6, 7; Isaiah 49:15; Jeremiah 31:3, 20; Hosea 11:8).
The second reason God should save Heman from despair is that if he dies because of despair, he will not fulfill his primary purpose on earth—to glorify God. Those who are loved by God long for His presence when he hides His face (2 Corinthians 12:8–9).
By the end of the prayer, Heman reveals that abandonment by a “beloved friend” was the catalyst for his spiritual depression. Though shunned by the friend, Heman cries out to God day and night, because in his heart, despite the pain that finds no resolution in the course of the Psalm, he knows the Lord is unchanging in His steadfast love (grace) and faithfulness, and will never really forsake him (Hebrews 13:5–6).
The light of redemption is quite faint in this psalm, but the Redeemer is still the One sought because there is no other to seek in such pain (Hebrews 4:15; Luke 22:42–44; Matthew 28:19–20).
Such authentic expression of deep depression in Scripture assures us that we can approach God with our hurts and doubts, never wondering if He will reject us. He is not threatened by our raw honesty with Him. He welcomes it. In Jesus, He has Himself entered into our pain and darkness.
How does this Psalm help you to just be open and honest before the God who created you and loves you?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.