Saturday, May 22, 2010

David's Special Ops Team


8 "These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite,[i] who was leader of the Three[j]—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.[k]

9 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!

11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah[l] held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

13 Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 14 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.

15 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 17 “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men[m] who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.

David’s Thirty Mighty Men

18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty.[n] He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty[o] and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.

20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior[p] from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions[q] of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.

24 Other members of the Thirty included:

Asahel, Joab’s brother;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
25 Shammah from Harod;
Elika from Harod;
26 Helez from Pelon[r];
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
27 Abiezer from Anathoth;
Sibbecai[s] from Hushah;
28 Zalmon from Ahoah;
Maharai from Netophah;
29 Heled[t] son of Baanah from Netophah;
Ithai[u] son of Ribai from Gibeah (in the land of Benjamin);
30 Benaiah from Pirathon;
Hurai[v] from Nahale-gaash[w];
31 Abi-albon from Arabah;
Azmaveth from Bahurim;
32 Eliahba from Shaalbon;
the sons of Jashen;
33 Jonathan son of Shagee[x] from Harar;
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar;
34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah;
Eliam son of Ahithophel from Giloh;
35 Hezro from Carmel;
Paarai from Arba;
36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah;
Bani from Gad;
37 Zelek from Ammon;
Naharai from Beeroth, Joab’s armor bearer;
38 Ira from Jattir;
Gareb from Jattir;
39 Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all."

Friday, May 21, 2010

The sweet psalmist of Israel

2 Samuel 23
David’s Last Words


1 These are the last words of David:

“David, the son of Jesse, speaks—
David, the man who was raised up so high,
David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.[h]

2 “The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me;
his words are upon my tongue.
3 The God of Israel spoke.
The Rock of Israel said to me:
‘The one who rules righteously,
who rules in the fear of God,
4 is like the light of morning at sunrise,
like a morning without clouds,
like the gleaming of the sun
on new grass after rain.’

5 “Is it not my family God has chosen?
Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me.
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail.
He will ensure my safety and success.
6 But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away,
for they tear the hand that touches them.
7 One must use iron tools to chop them down;
they will be totally consumed by fire.”

Now David is old. He is about to die. He reminisces on the goodness of God and the plight of the godless.

He calls himself the "Sweet psalmist of Israel." While we all experience the ups and downs of life, he took the extra effort to make them into poems, songs, write them down, compose music to them. Truly an artistic and creative genius!

David, the sweet psalmist of Israel!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As the deer pants for the water...



Psalm 42
For the choir director: A psalm[a] of the descendants of Korah.


1 As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?
3 Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”

4 My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!

5 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and 6 my God!

Now I am deeply discouraged,
but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
from the land of Mount Mizar.
7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas
as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.

9 “O God my rock,” I cry,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?”
10 Their taunts break my bones.
They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

11 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!"

O Lord have mercy on me

Psalm 41
For the choir director: A psalm of David.


1 Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!
The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.
2 The Lord protects them
and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land
and rescues them from their enemies.
3 The Lord nurses them when they are sick
and restores them to health.

4 “O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.
Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”



5 But my enemies say nothing but evil about me.
“How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask.
6 They visit me as if they were my friends,
but all the while they gather gossip,
and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.
7 All who hate me whisper about me,
imagining the worst.
8 “He has some fatal disease,” they say.
“He will never get out of that bed!”
9 Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely,
the one who shared my food, has turned against me.

10 Lord, have mercy on me.
Make me well again, so I can pay them back!
11 I know you are pleased with me,
for you have not let my enemies triumph over me.
12 You have preserved my life because I am innocent;
you have brought me into your presence forever.

13 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and amen!
41

I've made a mess of me..



Psalm 38
A psalm of David, asking God to remember him.


1 O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage!
2 Your arrows have struck deep,
and your blows are crushing me.
3 Because of your anger, my whole body is sick;
my health is broken because of my sins.
4 My guilt overwhelms me—
it is a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and stink
because of my foolish sins.
6 I am bent over and racked with pain.
All day long I walk around filled with grief.
7 A raging fever burns within me,
and my health is broken.
8 I am exhausted and completely crushed.
My groans come from an anguished heart.

9 You know what I long for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh.
10 My heart beats wildly, my strength fails,
and I am going blind.
11 My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease.
Even my own family stands at a distance.
12 Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me.
Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me.
All day long they plan their treachery.

13 But I am deaf to all their threats.
I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.
14 I choose to hear nothing,
and I make no reply.
15 For I am waiting for you, O Lord.
You must answer for me, O Lord my God.
16 I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies gloat over me
or rejoice at my downfall.”

17 I am on the verge of collapse,
facing constant pain.
18 But I confess my sins;
I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
19 I have many aggressive enemies;
they hate me without reason.
20 They repay me evil for good
and oppose me for pursuing good.
21 Do not abandon me, O Lord.
Do not stand at a distance, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
O Lord my savior.

O Lord, hear me as I pray



Psalm 5
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by the flute.


1 O Lord, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray to no one but you.
3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

4 O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness;
you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
5 Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence,
for you hate all who do evil.
6 You will destroy those who tell lies.
The Lord detests murderers and deceivers.

7 Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
8 Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.

9 My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with flattery.[a]
10 O God, declare them guilty.
Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 For you bless the godly, O Lord;
you surround them with your shield of love.

David almost killed - banned from battle!



Now that the insurrection was over, it was war as usual in Israel.
The Philistines had been defeated, but not for long.
They came back again.
And again.
And again.

Battles against Philistine Giants

15 "Once again the Philistines were at war with Israel. And when David and his men were in the thick of battle, David became weak and exhausted. 16 Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants[p]; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds,[q] and he was armed with a new sword. He had cornered David and was about to kill him. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine. Then David’s men declared, “You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?”

18 After this, there was another battle against the Philistines at Gob. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of the giants.

19 During another battle at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair[r] from Bethlehem killed the brother of Goliath of Gath.[s] The handle of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam!

20 In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. 21 But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea.[t]

22 These four Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Coup d' Etat - was done like That!



A week or so after it started, the rebellion was over.
Absalom had been killed.
His rebellion cost the lives of some 20,000 soldiers.
David had called out to God, in prayer and poem and song.
Now he's headed back to the palace.
Everybody is knocking themselves out to curry his favor!

Just a few nights ago, he was mulling over people's loyalties...
9 "Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind,
and the powerful are not what they appear to be.
If you weigh them on the scales,
together they are lighter than a breath of air."

He must have found this mildly amusing...

15 "So the king started back to Jerusalem. And when he arrived at the Jordan River, the people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and escort him across the river. 16 Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin, hurried across with the men of Judah to welcome King David. 17 A thousand other men from the tribe of Benjamin were with him, including Ziba, the chief servant of the house of Saul, and Ziba’s fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed down to the Jordan to meet the king. 18 They crossed the shallows of the Jordan to bring the king’s household across the river, helping him in every way they could."

Listen to my complaint!



Psalm 64
For the choir director: A psalm of David.


1 "O God, listen to my complaint.
Protect my life from my enemies’ threats.
2 Hide me from the plots of this evil mob,
from this gang of wrongdoers.
3 They sharpen their tongues like swords
and aim their bitter words like arrows.
4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent,
attacking suddenly and fearlessly.
5 They encourage each other to do evil
and plan how to set their traps in secret.
“Who will ever notice?” they ask.
6 As they plot their crimes, they say,
“We have devised the perfect plan!”
Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning.

7 But God himself will shoot them with his arrows,
suddenly striking them down.
8 Their own tongues will ruin them,
and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
9 Then everyone will be afraid;
they will proclaim the mighty acts of God
and realize all the amazing things he does.
10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord
and find shelter in him.
And those who do what is right
will praise him."

Find rest in God alone...



Psalm 62
For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.


1 "I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.

3 So many enemies against one man—
all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
or a tottering fence.
4 They plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
but curse me in their hearts.Interlude

5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
8 O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.Interlude

9 Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind,
and the powerful are not what they appear to be.
If you weigh them on the scales,
together they are lighter than a breath of air.

10 Don’t make your living by extortion
or put your hope in stealing.
And if your wealth increases,
don’t make it the center of your life.

11 God has spoken plainly,
and I have heard it many times:
Power, O God, belongs to you;
12 unfailing love, O Lord, is yours.
Surely you repay all people
according to what they have done."

Have you ever been dissappointed in someone?
9 "Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind,
and the powerful are not what they appear to be.
If you weigh them on the scales,
together they are lighter than a breath of air."

Have you ever prospered?
It is not a worthy center of your life...
10 "Don’t make your living by extortion
or put your hope in stealing.
And if your wealth increases,
don’t make it the center of your life."

There is one worthy source of hope:
A rock. My salvation. My fortress...
5 "Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken."

Hear my cry Oh God!



Psalm 61
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by stringed instruments.


1 "O God, listen to my cry!
Hear my prayer!
2 From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
3 for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
4 Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of your wings!Interlude

5 For you have heard my vows, O God.
You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name.
6 Add many years to the life of the king!
May his years span the generations!
7 May he reign under God’s protection forever.
May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him.
8 Then I will sing praises to your name forever
as I fulfill my vows each day."

David was only on the run for just over a week.
He must have written a song/prayer every night!
Adversity inspires artist expression.
He cried out to God.
His pain was multiplied. His life was on the line. And it was his own son that he would be fighting against!

Justice - Do you know the meaning of the word?



Psalm 58
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy!”


1 Justice—do you rulers[a] know the meaning of the word?
Do you judge the people fairly?
2 No! You plot injustice in your hearts.
You spread violence throughout the land.
3 These wicked people are born sinners;
even from birth they have lied and gone their own way.
4 They spit venom like deadly snakes;
they are like cobras that refuse to listen,
5 ignoring the tunes of the snake charmers,
no matter how skillfully they play.

6 Break off their fangs, O God!
Smash the jaws of these lions, O Lord!
7 May they disappear like water into thirsty ground.
Make their weapons useless in their hands.[b]
8 May they be like snails that dissolve into slime,
like a stillborn child who will never see the sun.
9 God will sweep them away, both young and old,
faster than a pot heats over burning thorns.

10 The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged.
They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then at last everyone will say,
“There truly is a reward for those who live for God;
surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.”

You Too can sing a new song!



Psalm 40
For the choir director: A psalm of David.


1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
5 O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.

6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand[a]—
you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
7 Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:
8 I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart.”

9 I have told all your people about your justice.
I have not been afraid to speak out,
as you, O Lord, well know.
10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles surround me—
too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
I have lost all courage.

13 Please, Lord, rescue me!
Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
14 May those who try to destroy me
be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
be turned back in disgrace.
15 Let them be horrified by their shame,
for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”

16 But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,
let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my savior.
O my God, do not delay."

David cried out to God is these black days.

You too can sing a new song!!

Prayers to music

David was only out of Jerusalem a week or so.
But he didn't know if he would live or die.
Come back as king or be slaughtered by his own son.

He continued to write down his prayers and put them to music.

Psalm 26
A psalm of David.


1 Declare me innocent, O Lord,
for I have acted with integrity;
I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.
Test my motives and my heart.
3 For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to your truth.
4 I do not spend time with liars
or go along with hypocrites.
5 I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
I come to your altar, O Lord,
7 singing a song of thanksgiving
and telling of all your wonders.
8 I love your sanctuary, Lord,
the place where your glorious presence dwells.



9 Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
10 Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
and they constantly take bribes.
11 But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
So redeem me and show me mercy.
12 Now I stand on solid ground,
and I will publicly praise the Lord.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Cripple turns Crafty



When your world turns upside down.
When all the rules change.
When the one on top is now on bottom and the one outside is now in.
That's when true character shows, true friendsip shines, loyalty and honor are displayed.

David is still king of Israel.

But he is on the run for his life.

It's kind of like - Hitler's in the bunker. Who's running the country now?

King David had shown kindness to the man Mephibosheth because of his love and friendship with Jonathan, king Saul's son. He had put Ziba in charge of a large estate that David had given to Mephibosheth. He had invited Mephibosheth to eat at his table as a sign of ultimate kindness.

Now David is fleeing from his own son Absalom and Ziba meets him with provisions.

2 Samuel 16:1 "When David had gone a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth,[a] was waiting there for him. He had two donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 bunches of summer fruit, and a wineskin full of wine.

2 “What are these for?” the king asked Ziba.

Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”

Wow! Sounds like Mephibosheth is grateful, and is returning the favor to king David in his time of need!

3 “And where is Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson?” the king asked him.

“He stayed in Jerusalem,” Ziba replied. “He said, ‘Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.’”

Oh!

Oh!

The guy has gone crafty! He sat at David's table. He knew the disarray that David's family was in. This seemed like a good time to move in and take over the kingdom!

So who sent the provisions? Must have been Ziba!

4 “In that case,” the king told Ziba, “I give you everything Mephibosheth owns.”

“I bow before you,” Ziba replied. “May I always be pleasing to you, my lord the king.”

You never know who you can trust!

There is a crazy saying, that I don't like. It says, "No good deed will go unpunished."

Must have come from this story!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A song in the black of night



David is running from his son Absalom.
No one doubts that the kid would kill the old man without remorse.
Everything he has worked for his entire life is crumbling around him.
The night is as black as black can be.

David grabs a parchment and begins to pray, and write.
He sings a sad mournful song.
As he lifts his focus to God, and God's greatness, the song ends on a hopeful note...

Psalm 3
A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom.


1 "O Lord, I have so many enemies;
so many are against me.
2 So many are saying,
“God will never rescue him!”

Interlude[a]

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
4 I cried out to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy mountain.

Interlude

5 I lay down and slept,
yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me.
6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
who surround me on every side.

7 Arise, O Lord!
Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
8 Victory comes from you, O Lord.
May you bless your people."

Interlude

In you have time, listen to this interesting video of Mariah Carey telling of the role of God and music and singing in the troubled times in her life.

Rebellion!

Predictably, David's lack of correcting his kids comes back to bite him. Here is David Junior. All of his father's good looks, charm, ability with people. But no maturity. No discipline. Never received the hard knocks of life that create mature character.

Absalom rewards his father's undisciplined "love" with full blown rebellion and revolt!

1 "After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. 2 He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. 3 Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. 4 I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!”

5 When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. 6 Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.

7 After four years,[k] Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and fulfill a vow I made to him. 8 For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the Lord in Hebron[l] if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.”

9 “All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.”

So Absalom went to Hebron. 10 But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.’” 11 He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. 12 While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum.

David Escapes from Jerusalem


13 A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!”

14 “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.”

15 “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.”

16 So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. 17 The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house 18 to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard.[m]

19 Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. 20 You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness.[n]”

21 But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens—whether it means life or death.”

22 David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along.

23 Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness."

David's life is in disarray. The kingdom is in disarray. He had the strength of character to conquer the Philistines, but he did not transfer strength of character to his sons.

If you are tempted to "love" your children so much that you cannot discipline them, take this story to heart.

Spoiled Brat


I remember it well. I was driving my two daughters to school. My oldest one said something that prompted this remark from me.

"You are SO spoiled!"

She looks at me, blinks those beautiful big eyes and says, "But dad, you're the one that did it to me!"

I looked at her and said, "You are right. And it is going to change, from this moment on."

We instituted some changes that led to both children becoming productive, responsible, hard working contributors to society. They run their households well, they raise their children well. We are so terribly proud of them.

David also spoiled his kids. But he never corrected. He "loved" them, but he could not discipline them. Absalom ended up coming into adulthood as a spoiled, self centered, egotistical infant.

28 "Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, but he never got to see the king. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab to ask him to intercede for him, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but again Joab refused to come. 30 So Absalom said to his servants, “Go and set fire to Joab’s barley field, the field next to mine.” So they set his field on fire, as Absalom had commanded.

31 Then Joab came to Absalom at his house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”

32 And Absalom replied, “Because I wanted you to ask the king why he brought me back from Geshur if he didn’t intend to see me. I might as well have stayed there. Let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then let him kill me.”

33 So Joab told the king what Absalom had said. Then at last David summoned Absalom, who came and bowed low before the king, and the king kissed him."

And the king kissed him?

This kid murdered his own brother!

David had set a boundary. He would not see Absalom again. Then he capitulated. This kind of parenting leads to one thing, and one thing only.

Contempt!

Revenge. Cold, hard, cruel revenge!



Absalom was furious that his half brother Amnon had raped his sister Tamar and thrown her out in disgrace. He waited. And he waited. Two years go by. The authorities have done nothing to Amnon. His dad the king has done nothing to Amnon. Now it is time for Absalom to enact his revenge.

23 "Two years later, when Absalom’s sheep were being sheared at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come to a feast. 24 He went to the king and said, “My sheep-shearers are now at work. Would the king and his servants please come to celebrate the occasion with me?”

25 The king replied, “No, my son. If we all came, we would be too much of a burden on you.” Absalom pressed him, but the king would not come, though he gave Absalom his blessing.

26 “Well, then,” Absalom said, “if you can’t come, how about sending my brother Amnon with us?”

“Why Amnon?” the king asked. 27 But Absalom kept on pressing the king until he finally agreed to let all his sons attend, including Amnon. So Absalom prepared a feast fit for a king.[e]

28 Absalom told his men, “Wait until Amnon gets drunk; then at my signal, kill him! Don’t be afraid. I’m the one who has given the command. Take courage and do it!” 29 So at Absalom’s signal they murdered Amnon. Then the other sons of the king jumped on their mules and fled.

30 As they were on the way back to Jerusalem, this report reached David: “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons; not one is left alive!” 31 The king got up, tore his robe, and threw himself on the ground. His advisers also tore their clothes in horror and sorrow.

32 But just then Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimea, arrived and said, “No, don’t believe that all the king’s sons have been killed! It was only Amnon! Absalom has been plotting this ever since Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33 No, my lord the king, your sons aren’t all dead! It was only Amnon.” 34 Meanwhile Absalom escaped.

Then the watchman on the Jerusalem wall saw a great crowd coming toward the city from the west. He ran to tell the king, “I see a crowd of people coming from the Horonaim road[f] along the side of the hill.”

35 “Look!” Jonadab told the king. “There they are now! The king’s sons are coming, just as I said.”

36 They soon arrived, weeping and sobbing, and the king and all his servants wept bitterly with them. 37 And David mourned many days for his son Amnon.

Absalom fled to his grandfather, Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. 38 He stayed there in Geshur for three years. 39 And King David, now reconciled to Amnon’s death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom."

Amnon committed the crime of rape and got away with it. So Absalom kills him. Now Absalom has committed murder. His only consequence? He has to flee to another country for 3 years.

David's lack of disciplining his children is going to catch up with him and bite him with a vengence.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lust. Rape. Hatred. Rejection. Murder.



No - I am not copying the headlines from todays newspaper.
This all happened during King David's time.
In fact - in his very own family.

Let me set the stage.
David was handsome. He liked beautiful women. He married 7 of them. Had 10 concubines.

So what was his family like?
In a word - a mess!
Today our favorite word is - dysfuntional.

He was a great warrior, a lousy husband, and a worse father.
Here is the sad, sad, sad story...

2 Samuel 13
The Rape of Tamar


1 "Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her. 2 Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her.

3 But Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea.[a] 4 One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?”

So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”

(Aside: So our culture is not the only one to confuse "being in love with" and "being in lust over". Amnon had no love at all for Tamar, as you will soon see. He did have a huge case of lust for her!)

5 “Well,” Jonadab said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.”

6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, “Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish[b] as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.” 7 So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon’s house to prepare some food for him.

8 When Tamar arrived at Amnon’s house, she went to the place where he was lying down so he could watch her mix some dough. Then she baked his favorite dish for him. 9 But when she set the serving tray before him, he refused to eat. “Everyone get out of here,” Amnon told his servants. So they all left.

10 Then he said to Tamar, “Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here.” So Tamar took his favorite dish to him. 11 But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.”

12 “No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in Israel. 13 Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me.”

14 But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her. 15 Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her.

16 “No, no!” Tamar cried. “Sending me away now is worse than what you’ve already done to me.”

But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her. 17 He shouted for his servant and demanded, “Throw this woman out, and lock the door behind her!”

18 So the servant put her out and locked the door behind her. She was wearing a long, beautiful robe,[c] as was the custom in those days for the king’s virgin daughters. 19 But now Tamar tore her robe and put ashes on her head. And then, with her face in her hands, she went away crying.

20 Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, “Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, my sister, keep quiet for now, since he’s your brother. Don’t you worry about it.” So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in her brother Absalom’s house.

21 When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry.[d] 22 And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about this, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister."

David the dad did nothing.
The murder comes later.
Stay tuned...

(The biggest tragedy in this story is sweet, innocent, beautiful Tamar. Like many girls since her, she was scarred for life with this terrible wound not only to her body, but to her psyche, her very soul...Her dad did nothing. The authorities did nothing. Did her sisters and mother comfort her? Perhaps. The only one who did anything, was her brother. He finally took the law into his own hands)

A song of ascent.



Psalm 122
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.


1 "I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 And now here we are,
standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is a well-built city;
its seamless walls cannot be breached.
4 All the tribes of Israel—the Lord’s people—
make their pilgrimage here.
They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord,
as the law requires of Israel.
5 Here stand the thrones where judgment is given,
the thrones of the dynasty of David.

6 Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
7 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
“May you have peace.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem."

Oh Lord, you are so good!



Psalm 86
A prayer of David.


1 "Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;
answer me, for I need your help.
2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
You are my God.
3 Be merciful to me, O Lord,
for I am calling on you constantly.
4 Give me happiness, O Lord,
for I give myself to you.
5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
6 Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord;
hear my urgent cry.
7 I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble,
and you will answer me.

8 No pagan god is like you, O Lord.
None can do what you do!
9 All the nations you made
will come and bow before you, Lord;
they will praise your holy name.
10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.
You alone are God.

11 Teach me your ways, O Lord,
that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
so that I may honor you.
12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
13 for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.[a]

14 O God, insolent people rise up against me;
a violent gang is trying to kill me.
You mean nothing to them.
15 But you, O Lord,
are a God of compassion and mercy,
slow to get angry
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
16 Look down and have mercy on me.
Give your strength to your servant;
save me, the son of your servant.
17 Send me a sign of your favor.
Then those who hate me will be put to shame,
for you, O Lord, help and comfort me."

Oh what joy!

It seems like David wrote this song after this incident with his murder of Uriah.
He has repented.
He has received foregiveness.
Oh what joy!!



Psalm 32
A psalm[a] of David.


1 "Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
2 Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,[b]
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
3 When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.Interlude

5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.Interlude

6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
7 For you are my hiding place;
you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory.Interlude

8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!"

The joy is back.
Not giddy happiness.
A deep abiding comfort in a restored relationship with God.

The Sinner's Prayer



David repented.
He really and truly repented of his sin.
No, not right away. Only after he was confronted by the prophet.
But when the facade was torn away, he repented with all his heart.
This prayer is the most famous prayer of contrition in the Bible.
The sinner's prayer...

Psalm 51
For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 "Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.[a]
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,[b]
teaching me wisdom even there.

7 Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar."

David got to the heart of relationship with God.
Contrition.
Repentance.
Forgiveness.
Restoration.
A clean heart.
Renewed joy.
A broken and repentant heart.
Sacrifices.
Positive influence on others...

Best Military in the World!

No - not the US military, silly!
King David's guys...

David's core competency at this point in his life was military conquest. That would make or break the kingdom.

However, he had gotten distracted. Instead of leading his troops, he was staring at beautiful naked women and having sex.

It is a reminder, that often when we are on the top of our game we are in more danger than when we are in the struggle! Think Tiger Woods. Think Bill Clinton. (Well - no, he was always degenerate)

Joab and the fighting forces are winning left and right. Joab, the loyal general sends this message to David.

26 "Meanwhile, Joab was fighting against Rabbah, the capital of Ammon, and he captured the royal fortifications.[h] 27 Joab sent messengers to tell David, “I have fought against Rabbah and captured its water supply.[i] 28 Now bring the rest of the army and capture the city. Otherwise, I will capture it and get credit for the victory.”

29 So David gathered the rest of the army and went to Rabbah, and he fought against it and captured it. 30 David removed the crown from the king’s head,[j] and it was placed on his own head. The crown was made of gold and set with gems, and it weighed seventy-five pounds.[k] David took a vast amount of plunder from the city. 31 He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with[l] saws, iron picks, and iron axes, and to work in the brick kilns.[m] That is how he dealt with the people of all the Ammonite towns. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem."

Chronicles tells the story more succinctly.

1 Chronicles 20
David Captures Rabbah

1 "In the spring of the year,[a] when kings normally go out to war, Joab led the Israelite army in successful attacks against the land of the Ammonites. In the process he laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.

2 When David arrived at Rabbah, he removed the crown from the king’s head,[b] and it was placed on his own head. The crown was made of gold and set with gems, and he found that it weighed seventy-five pounds.[c] David took a vast amount of plunder from the city. 3 He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with[d] saws, iron picks, and iron axes.[e] That is how David dealt with the people of all the Ammonite towns. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem."

At this period in the history of Israel, they beat the Philistines every time.

4 "After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph,[f] a descendant of the giants,[g] and so the Philistines were subdued.

5 During another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of Lahmi’s spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam!

6 In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. 7 But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea.

8 These Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them."

Military conquest lead to peace at home, stability in their life, and enormous prosperity.

David lead the greatest military in the world (at that time)