Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Week 22 Day 3 Promises, Promises

2 Samuel 7

One day David gets an idea.  Poor God. His Ark of the Covenant has been floating around, from tent to tent, while David is residing in a house made of cedar.

David's thought?  Why not build a house for God?

He shares his idea with Nathan who readily agrees.

However, that night, Nathan has a dream, and God lovingly but firmly gives His response to all of this.


God doesn't have to have a house.

He is still there whether in a house of cedar or in a tent.

God loves David.

We often hear He is a man after God's own heart.

And reading this chapter, it is obvious.

He is.

God loves him.

He plans on blessing him for years to come.

In fact, he doesn't just plan.  He promises.  Promises generations of blessings for David and for His people.

But David won't be the one to build a house for God.

That will be David's son.

I love David's reaction to all of this.

He isn't hurt or feeling slighted.

He is in awe.

He can't believe that God loves him and His people SO much.

He pours out words of praise before God.

Isn't that what we all should do?

Even if God's answer isn't what we expect or even want, shouldn't we pour out our words of awe to Him?


Next reading:
2 Samuel 8-10

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 22 Day 2 Long Live the King

2 Samuel 5-6

I actually read this a week ago.

And I have re-read it.

And re-read it.

But I have had trouble posting about it.

This was a hard passage for me to read.

It starts off good.

After all of these years of running and hiding and defending himself, David is finally declared king.

God's favor is obviously with him as he continues to defeat his enemies and his power and his kingdom grew stronger and more powerful.

But even in all of this, David was very human.

And that begins to show through his leadership.

It started with the moving of the Ark. 

David wanted to move the Ark to Jerusalem. 

So he gathered men (like 30,000 of them) and they had a huge procession to move it.

Except that one of the oxen pulling the cart stumbled.

And a man named Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark.

He was struck dead. On the spot.

I just researched that a little bit to find out why.

I can see how that would be instinct. Something is tipping, I reach out to steady it.

I don't claim to be a scholar but from what I read the Ark was being moved improperly (via cart rather than carried).  Only descendants of the Levites should have been moving it.  And there were specific instructions from God to not touch it with hands.

All that leads to one dead man and one very angry David.

Isn't it funny how we get angry when we are the ones who are sinning?  David should have known better.  And maybe deep down he did.  I imagine this was all a shock to a man who was watching his kingdom blossom due to his favor with God.  Even when we have favor, we still can fall.  And we will.  And there will be consequences.

The last part of the passage is the part I had a hard time with.


Now remember Michal has been removed from her life and returned to this life, the wife (one of many) of David.

She is at home watching the celebration as the Ark is finally brought to Jerusalem.

And she doesn't care for the way David is celebrating.

She feels he is acting improperly.

From these verses, it is hard to know what her thoughts were.  Or her motives. 

But she reprimands David.

And he rebukes her.

And she died childless.

So in a way God rebuked her too.

And that is where I am...trying to understand all of that.  Trying to digest the whys and hows...

Any thoughts out there?

Tomorrow's reading:  2 Samuel 7.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Week 22 Day 1 West Side Story...The Early Years

2 Samuel 3:6-4:12

As I read this passage, all I could think about was The West Side Story.  As in the musical.  But without the music and songs.

David and Saul's armies are at odds with one another.

On one side, you have Abner who is the leader of Saul's army.

On the other side, you have Joab, the leader of David's army.

In yesterday's passage, Abner had killed one of Joab's brothers.

In today's passage, Joab is out for revenge.

See how it reminds me of The West Side Story?

When does it all stop?

Anyway, at the beginning of this passage, Abner is accused by Saul's son of having an illicit affair with one of Saul's slave women. 

That doesn't go over well with Abner.

I assume he is innocent by his response OR he is just really guilty and won't admit to it.  It is sometimes hard to tell the difference.

Abner lets Saul's son know that he doesn't appreciate the accusation.  And that he is done.  He is now on David's side.

Again, I am guessing that he is genuine in his response and truly has switched sides.  It appears he had.  Unfortunately, we will never know.

Because Joab slipped in and killed Abner in retaliation for the death of his brother.

David was not a happy camper.

Then to top everything off, a couple of men slipped in and killed Saul's son as he slept in his royal bed.

Again, David was not a happy camper.

And the men who committed that crime?  They were killed too...

And the war rages on...

Tomorrow's reading:  2 Samuel 5-6

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 21 Day 6 and 7 A Nation Divided

2 Samuel 1-3:5

Saul is now dead.

David mourns then prays, asking the Lord where to go from here.

God clearly tells him to go to Hebron.

So David does.

And he is made the king of Hebron.

Meanwhile, Saul's family has selected their own king.  His son Ish-Bosheth was selected king of Israel.

And though Saul is now dead, the rivalry between the two men is not.

For the next several months, Saul's family and David's followers are in a constant state of chasing one another.  Joab, one of David's commanders, and Abner, one of Saul's commanders, lead the war.

And the battle wages.

Will the nation ever unite?

Next reading:
2 Samuel 3:6-4:12

Friday, July 19, 2013

Week 21 Day 5 Share and Share Alike

I Samuel 30-31
As you remember in yesterday's reading, David was sent home after the other Philistine kings objected to him joining in the battle against his own people, the Israelites.

When David arrives home (3 days later), he finds that his own city Ziklag has been raided by the Amalekites.  Not just raided but all of the wives and children are gone.  Not killed, just taken.

I love that you have all of these tough warriors who find this scene and cry until they couldn't cry anymore. They weren't crying over the loss of their property, their valuables, their treasures. They were crying over the loss of their families.  This thought is just heartwarming to me.

Obviously, David is a little upset.  He starts out on the quest to find his wives.

And as always, God provides a way.

He provides an Egyptian servant who leads the men right to the Amalekites.

A little bit later, the families are reunited.

One other "neat" part of this story is that as David and his men were heading out to find their families, they came upon a ravine.  Two hundred of the men were just too tired to cross the ravine.  So David left them behind.  After defeating the Amalekites, David and his men returned home.  They came upon the 200 soldiers left behind.  Trouble makers in the group didn't want the men left behind to get any valuables beyond their wives and children since they had stayed behind.  David makes it clear that what they have, they have because of God.  They will ALL share alike.  End of story.

In the next chapter, the Philistines do attack the Israelites.  And just like Samuel (the spirit) had predicted, Saul's sons are killed in action.  That includes David's beloved friend Jonathan.  Saul is wounded and begs his servant to just end his life. The servant just can't do it so Saul does it to himself.

And just like that, Saul's reign is over.

Tomorrow's reading:
2 Samuel 1-3:5

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Week 21 Day 4 Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo

And you are NOT it...

I Samuel 29
So the Philistines are ready to go to war.

Against the Israelites.

So David (who is still living among the Philistines) joins in.

Or at least tries to.

Achish doesn't think a thing of David joining in.

The other kings do.

"Um, why is he here?"

There is a little discussion about the faithfulness and loyalty of David, an Israelite, in fighting the Israelites.

In the end, David is sent home packing.

No war for him.

And no facing his own people.

Do you think God was in the middle of that situation?

Tomorrow's reading:
I Samuel 30-31


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Week 21 Day 3 Calling on the Spirits

I Samuel 28

The fighting never ends.

The Philistines are ready to attack Israel.  Again.

But this time, they have David on their side.

And Saul knows.

He knows he is in trouble.

So he calls on God...the same God he has rejected over and over again.

The God who doesn't respond.

And Saul is desperate.

I am pretty sure it is safe to say he is not in his right mind.

In his moment of weakness, Saul seeks a medium to foresee the future for him.

The only problem is that he has forced all of the mediums and fortune-tellers from the land.

Ironically, in spite of that, Saul's men know where to find one.

Saul puts on a disguise and goes to visit her in the darkness of night.

The woman is suspicious but finally does what Saul asks.

She brings up the spirit of Samuel.

I find all of this interesting. I see "fortune teller" advertisements around town. I hear people say in astonishment, "That person really knew me and my past..."

And from what I read here, that is possible.

This story doesn't indicate that all fortune tellers or mediums are false.  Or that spirits can't be disturbed.  Samuel's was.

What it does indicate though is that it is not God-endorsed.  Not God-approved.  Not God-driven.

Our faith and hope should be in God.  Alone.

Not in people.

I like how Samuel asks, "Why have you disturbed me?"

Not, "Wow, Saul, so good to see you again!"

Saul and Samuel have an entire conversation.

And not a pretty one.

Saul and his sons are going to fall.

I will admit, I am a little confused by the statement "Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me."

Does that mean Samuel is not in heaven? Or that Saul (in spite of all of his errors) is? Or just that they would all be spirits (no longer alive)?

After reading a few different commentaries, there are no clear answers. Some say that Samuel is actually Samuel.  Some say he was an evil spirit conjured up by Satan. 

We just don't know. 

Either way, Saul learns his fate.

His time on earth is short.

And he knows it.


Tomorrow's reading:

I Samuel 29