A Voice in the
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"...The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people..." (1Sam13:14)
These.. God's words to King Saul after his first blunder. Some time has now passed, and Saul, rather than repenting and following God with his whole heart, continues a reign of disobedience; proving out these words.
Lowly Servant's Heart:
Then the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him...fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons."(1Sam16:1)
Samuel goes to Bethlehem and proclaims a sacrifice/feast. Jesse parades his sons before Samuel. The eldest, Eliab, appears; and Samuel sees how tall he is, he is quite strong and handsome. Besides...he's Jesse's "first born." This "must be" God's choice.
He is forgetting that Saul was quite handsome, too, standing head and shoulders taller than anybody else in Israel. And "now" look at him!!
God brings Samuel up short, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."(16:7)
How depressing!! "All" the sons of Jesse have now appeared before Samuel, and God has rejected them all. What's happening, God? Didn't you say your new king was here? Why have you rejected all of them? Well, ok, just in case then....
Jesse, do you have any "other" sons? Is "this" everyone?
Well, there's the youngest. He's a scrawny snot-nosed kid out there with the sheep. But he's just a "kid." He's a red-head!
David is called, and the Lord says, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!" Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward."(16:12-13)
Yes...the "nobody" is anointed in the midst of all the "somebodys." So, what do you think now, Eliab? Take a good look at your little brother. Look at his eyes. The Holy Spirit now rests on him!
As I was reading this recently, my spirit "jumped" a bit at the word "Arise." I felt a little "excitement" on God's part. Yes Samuel! This is the one! God knowing, of course, that through David He was going to be sending His Son to redeem mankind...that the next phase in His redemptive plan was now in motion. Just as David was rejected initially, the "son of David" would be also, "He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him."(Is53:2)
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1Cor1:26-29)
But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him. (1Sam16:14)
Saul's servants make a suggestion, which Saul accepts, that a court musician should be found to sooth Saul when he's feeling sorely. Who do you suppose they find? David.
What are David's qualifications? He's a good musician, man of valour, a man of war, prudent in speech, a handsome person; AND the LORD is with him.(16:18)
After the royal interview, David becomes not only Saul's in-house musician, but also his Armor Bearer.(16:21) What an interesting set of circumstances. I'm sure Saul at this point doesn't know that Samuel has anointed David as his "replacement." But, here David is...right next to the king. Learning what is involved in kingship, first hand. Getting an "inside track" to all the politics of the day.
After killing Goliath (which we will consider next installment), Saul makes David a "captain."(18:13) David finds himself in a position where he is "coming and going" before the people. He has quite some prestige. He has been victorious over Israel's enemies, he has been anointed as future king by Samuel, the people simply adore him to no end. How does he react? "David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him."(18:15) He seemingly did not get all puffed up with pride, and start going after Saul and his throne; even though he knows it will be "his." He remained humble. And it says, "all Israel and Judah loved David..."(18:16)
Along the way a very dear friendship comes about. At that, a strange one. Saul's successor to the throne "should be" Jonathan.(20:31) And yet, Jonathan, the political successor, and David, God's anointed become best of friends. And when it eventually comes time that they must part company because of Saul's wrath, they make a covenant; Jonathan realizing that David will become king, and David promising kindness to Jonathan's family(20:13-16) even though the norm for the day was to kill off any rivals along with their extended family.
Add to all this...David becomes Saul's son-in-law. Goes and kills 200 Philistines. Saul sees that his daughter loves David...AND..."that the LORD was with David"(18:28)
So it says, "Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David's enemy"(18:29) By this time Saul is realizing that David is his "replacement" which Samuel had spoken of some time earlier.
What does David do in these circumstances? He does not quit. Nor does he become aggressive. The Lord is with him and David "behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed."(18:30)
What a contrast! Saul seeing David..that the Lord is with him, and that he behaves wisely..is afraid of David. If the Lord is "with" someone, why should a "believer" be afraid and feel threatened? Saul was not a "Believer" (Large "B").
On the other hand, when David was presented with opportunities for favor by marrying the king's daughter, asks, "Who am I, and what is my life or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?"(18:18)
While he has a royal appointment in the king's court, and anointing as future king David does not puff himself up in superiority.
Paul put it this way, "For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me... For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith... For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (2Cor12:6, Rom12:3, Titus2:11-13)
The Battle is the Lord's:
There he was, standing over 10 feet tall. His spear might as well be a railroad tie. Every day he came out with the challenge: If you've got anybody man enough to come and fight me! Growl!! C'mon, send somebody over! If he can kill me, we will serve you...I dare you! Or are you all a bunch of cowards?! Grrr!! Curse! Curse!
Impossible odds. Even Saul, who stood head-n-shoulders above anybody in Israel was afraid of Goliath. He wasn't about to get fed to the birds.
Meanwhile, David, while having his royal appointment in Saul's court, also commuted home periodically to take care of the sheep (1Sam17:15). And his father said, "Take now for your brothers..this grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp...and see how your brothers fare.."(17:17-18)
As David arrives, he hears Goliath's taunts and curses against Israel and God. So he goes throughout the camp of Israel, finding out what's going on, hearing that Saul is offering his daughter in marriage, and to give his family tax-exempt status to anybody who will kill Goliath(17:25)
Now, Eliab, the oldest brother is angry with David. What's your problem, David. Those sheep too boring for you?! So you think you're some kind of somebody? Never satisfied, eh. Gotta always be getting into things. Stirring things up.
Just wait a minute, Eliab! Is that any way to address your future king? A bit jealous are we?! Since you didn't get anointed?
David responds, "What have I done now? Is there not a cause?"(17:29) And word gets to Saul that David is stirring things up and saying, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go fight with this Philistine."(vs32)
You can't fight with Goliath! You're just a kid!
No, it will not be me fighting. God will defeat him. The same God who helped defend the sheep against a bear and a lion, will defeat this giant. After all, he has "defied the armies of the living God" ...he hasn't got a chance!! (vs34-37) This is why I'm here today.(vs29)
After he decides he can't fight with conventional weapons, he goes out with what he is prepared with. A sling. Finds some smooth stones that are "just right" for the job.
Hey there little runt!! Grrr! Haw Haw Haw!! Come here and I'll show you a thing or two, as I feed you to the wild animals. Curse, Curse!!
David responds, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand...that all the earth many know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."(17:45-47)
So God uses the skill that has been honed to perfection while out tending those "silly sheep" to aim that stone at the giant's head.
A couple of things we can note from this favorite Sunday School story:
1) God's methods are not with human wisdom: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,(2Cor10:3-4)
2) God does not dismiss taunts against Himself: "I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me... I will render vengeance to My enemies, And repay those who hate Me.(Ex20:5, Deu32:41)
3) The whole earth, including those called by God's name (Israel or Christians), will know that there is a God: "For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea... Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (Hab2:14, 1Cor15:28)
4) The battle is the Lord's: Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today... 'You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed...do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. (Ex14:13, 2Chr20:17, Mk13:11)
You're Safe with Me:
"Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands" sing the women who greet the victorious Israeli army. David has killed Goliath, cut his head off with his own sword, and Israel has chased and killed the Philistines, and now return in victory.
Saul who was promising his daughter and tax exemption is NOT happy. They've just had one of the biggest military victories against a long-standing persistent enemy, and Saul is moaning, 'poor me, poor me.' They are not recognizing "me" ...what can David have, more than the kingdom?(1Sam18:8)
In his jealously while David is playing music, Saul tries to pin David to the wall with his spear.(18:11) Furthermore, Saul is AFRAID of David because, of all things, "the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul."
From this point onward, Saul begins a campaign of trying to kill David, and David finds himself running from Saul. At the same time, many people are "attaching themselves" to David and traveling with him, as David is developing his own little travelling army, along with their families and livestock. The group is comprised of "everyone who was in distress, ..who was in debt, ..who was discontented"(22:2)
David receives assistance and counsel from Ahimelech the priest. (21:2,22:15) Gad, the prophet, also gives him counsel. And, for Ahimelech's part, when Saul finds out, has him and his whole city slaughtered, along with their livestock. But one, Ahitub, escapes and runs to David and tells him the ghastly details.
David responds, "Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe."(22:23)
Two things we see from this incident:
1) David's sensitive heart. He said, "I knew...that he (Doeg, Saul's spy) would surely tell Saul (when he saw David with the priest(21:7)). And he says, "I have caused the death of all the persons of your father's house."(22:22) He was a man, who, when confronted with adversity, was not ashamed or too proud to accept responsibility for his actions; even when the outcome was not his fault. In other words, he was humble enough to not place blame. He was willing to shoulder the blame for somebody else's actions.
2) David's security in God. Here, Saul and the whole armies of Israel are after David to kill him. But David believes God. The God who anointed him as the next king; Surely, the same God who protected him against the lion, bear, and gave him victory over Goliath and the Philistines, is also able to protect him against the rampages of an angry king.
So secure was David in this assurance, that he could extend this "umbrella of protection" to those under his care. He knew God would make him king; had given him victories thus far, along with many assurances of His will; and, even now had drawn an army of people who were under his care. God would not let him down!
Thus, he could confidently assure, "with me you SHALL BE safe."
The same holds true for those In Christ. "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the [Believing] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the [Believing] husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy."(1Cor7:14) No, the one being saved does not "save" the spouse, but the Holy Spirit's protection which comes to the Believer will spread to the unbeliever in that household. And others in the household will reap benefits from one being a Believer. And children under the age of "accountability" where one parent is saved, if they should die, will be saved. Thus, Paul and Silas said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."(Acts16:31)
Doubts and Fears:
"And David said in his heart, "Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand." (1Sam27:1)
Oooh David! What are you doing?
David has killed Goliath. When the Philistines were fighting against Keilah, David went and defeated them there.(23:5) David has had a couple of chances to kill Saul (which we'll discuss in a later section), both in the cave and when Saul was sleeping, and Saul has recognized that David will be king. "But God did not deliver him into [Saul's] hand"(23:14) But...
The flesh gets in the way. The emotions. Fears. The overwhelming awesomeness of everything that God is bringing into David's life. All these people and families under his care. The constant running and fighting. No place to call "home" yet. Nothing is secure. Always on the alert against enemies and/or spies. Not a moment's total relaxed rest. And he's got a "Saul fixation." Eating, sleeping, thinking..."Saul, and how to out-smart him."
What better way, than to hide in amongst Saul's enemies, the Philistines? If Saul comes for David, he must come through the Philistines first, right? And what chance is there for that?! And it worked, "Saul..sought him no more."(27:4)
But now, David is in compromise. And he must also resort to lying. When he makes raids, he must utterly destroy any potential "snitch" and when he gets "home" to Ziklag, he claims to have made raids on Judah.(27:10)
The moment of truth arrives. The Philistines and Israel are about to line up for battle again. And David is preparing to join his hosts, along with his men, to fight against Israel. It takes the Philistine leaders to reject David.(29:4) But does David accept this? No. He becomes angry...What do you mean, I can't go fight with you?!(29:8)
Meanwhile, God is allowing a bit of chastening of David for his foolishness. While he's off throwing a tantrum for not being allowed to fight WITH Israel's enemies, AGAINST Israel (his future subjects), the Amalekites have attacked Ziklag and carried off everyone captive.
David and his men get "home" and find their wives and children all gone. And they "lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep."(30:4) And David was "greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him" because they had all lost their "sons and daughters."(30:6)
"But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God."(vs6b)
Aaah! Finally! And he calls for the priest, and inquires of God, "Shall I pursue this troop?" God responds, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and without fail recover all."(vs8)
You see, this was God's chastening. They recovered all, alive, when they could have easily all been killed and/or raped.
But, we also see God's blessing. While David failed, and God punished; When David repented, God blessed with added wealth, to such an extent that David was able to send "presents" to the leaders and friends in Judah where he had been roving, no doubt eating at their expense.(26-31)
Peter once walked on water, and then began to sink, "And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"(Mt14:31) Just like David, he doubted. James writes, "he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."(1:6)
David came to an understanding of God. Saul was chasing him. He resorted to the enemy. Many of his own men were rabble rousers, speaking of stoning him. He was tired, he was scared. When he realized his error, he did not moan, "poor me, poor me" as Saul did. Nor did he harden his heart. Rather, he strengthened himself in the LORD "his" God. Returned to the fellowship from Whom he had departed.
On Avenging One's Self:
"Now David had said, "Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good. May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light."(1Sam25:21-22)
In the previous section we saw how David was able to repay some of those who had helped support him and his army during his times of running from Saul. He also provided a wall of protection for the people from the marauding bands that would come and pillage.
David comes along to the farmstead of Nabal, sends some representatives to request a little help for their sustenance. And Nabal retorts, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?"(25:10) A servant becomes rebellious against his master, and then he comes to me wanting a hand-out! No way!! Get lost!
It's not like Nabal can't afford it...he's filthy rich. But, as his name says, he's a "fool."
Nabal's wife, Abigail, gets wind of what's going on, and "made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread..." and other food, loaded it all on donkeys.(25:18) She tells her servants to hurry and get going with the goods...as she follows behind.
When Abigail meets David, she quickly bows before him, and says, "On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be!"(vs24) And goes on to request an audience with David. She obviously has the same kind of heart as David, as she shoulders the blame and guilt of her husband's treachery and greed.
Then, some worthwhile advice: Please, David, accept what I've brought, and let's be thankful that you haven't resorted to bloodshed over this whole incident. The Lord has established you to be king, and the Lord will deal with your enemies. And when you are in place as ruler, you won't have this on your conscience. You will not have shed blood without cause, nor avenged yourself.
David accepts this advice from a "woman." "Blessed is the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice, and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand."(vs32-33)
This lesson was well-learned. Later, one of David's reconciled enemies is killed by his own general in retaliation for treason. And David, rather than continuing the vengeful feud says, "The LORD shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness."(2Sam3:39) Later still, when David is running away from Absalom, Shimei, of the house of Saul, walked alongside, cursing David, and Abishai suggests, "Please, let me go over and take off his head!"(16:9) And David replies, "So let him curse, because the Lord has said to him, 'curse David.'...it may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day."(16:10-12)
Anyway, back to Nabal: "It happened, after about 10 days, that the LORD struck Nabal, and he died."(1Sam25:38)
If we are wronged, leave it in God's hands.
"Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."(Rom12:19-21)
A Good Wife:
"So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the LORD has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head. And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife. When the servants of David had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying, "David sent us to you, to ask you to become his wife." Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, "Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord." So Abigail rose in haste and rode on a donkey, attended by five of her maidens; and she followed the messengers of David, and became his wife."(1 Sam 25:39-42)
David obviously knew a "good thing" when he saw her. While it says that Abigail was good looking (vs3); what we see here is that she obviously had the same kind of heart as David. One who feared God.
A true servant's heart was evident, "a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord."(vs41) Wait a minute there, Abigail! David is proposing marriage to you. You will be "queen" and be catered "to."
Perhaps our western customs are a bit skewed. Whether it's a true story or not, it was told of a marriage proposal some 40 years ago. The young man asked his desired intended, "Will you wash my socks for the rest of your life?" She answered, "Yes."
"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her;"(Pr31:10-11)
The Lord's Anointed:
"The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD." So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way." (1Sam24:6-7)
What a turn of events! David has been running for his life from Saul, and is hiding out in this cave along with his men. And who should show up in "their" cave...but Saul!
David's men say to him, "This is the day of which the LORD said to you, 'behold I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.'"(24:4) And David in stealth goes and cuts off the corner of Saul's robe.
Even that act smote David's conscience. Saul was God's "anointed." He had been anointed by Samuel with the specially prepared holy anointing oil. An act which consecrated him to the LORD. And, you see, David's men, while invoking God's name, were not providing David with accurate counsel. God had said Saul would be removed from office and that David would replace him. But had never charged David with the task of removing Saul from office.
David understood that God is the One Who places in office and removes from office. If he were to take matters into his own hands, he would be playing "god."
You see, David was a different kind of king. When Saul fell on his own sword to kill himself after being wounded by the Philistines, a young man, a witness to what happened, came running to David. All excited. Hoping to receive praise from David for having killed Saul...or so he was claiming. You see, this is the way the nations of the world did things. If one's rival was killed, the implementer was given praise.
David responds, "How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?"(2Sam1:14) And has the young man executed for his own words.
There was another day someone was cursing David after he had been king for some years. Zeruiah suggests, "Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD's anointed?"(19:21) You see, the people around David are finally learning from David's example about the "Lord's Anointed."
This time David invokes from another lesson he has learned, about "avenging one's self." And says, "Do I not know that today I am the king over Israel?" And says to Shimei, "You shall not die."
We are not called upon to assassinate corrupt presidents, abortionists, or stir up other violence. Yes, there is much corruption. And yes, let's be "angry" at it..."Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies." (Ps139:21-22) ...but "do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." (Eph4:26-27)
Believers are exhorted to "be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves."(Rom13:1-2)
Kindness to the Enemy:
And the LORD be with you as He has been with my father. And you shall not only show me the kindness of the LORD while I still live, that I may not die; but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the LORD has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "Let the LORD require it at the hand of David's enemies." (1Sam20:13-16)
By birthright, the heir to the throne, Jonathan, makes a covenant with David, God's anointee to the throne. Such was Jonathan's faith in God!
Saul and Jonathan have been slain in battle. David is now king and establishing his kingdom. He asks, "Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"(2Sam9:1)
Mephibosheth could well be expecting swift execution. That's the way things were done in that culture. David says, "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually."(9:7)
Mephibosheth responds, "What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?"(vs8)
Later on, when there is a coup attempt, Mephibosheth hopes to have the kingdom restored to him. And still, David, upon returning, allows Mephibosheth to live.(19:29)
Paul quotes from Proverbs, "Therefore 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."(Rom 12:20-21)
Jesus taught, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. ...love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."(~Mat 5:38-45)
The Ark - David Fears God:
And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark. Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. And David became angry because of the Lord's outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day.(2Sam6:2-8)
David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, "How can the ark of the LORD come to me?"(vs9)
The man "after God's own heart" who could say, "With my whole heart I have sought you; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!" (Ps119:10) ...had forgotten something. What was it?
David had been anointed with the holy oil. Has the Holy Spirit upon him. Has experienced God's protection. Has received God's strength and wisdom in battle. Has seen God's workings in the midst of politics and seen him through to becoming king and has established him. All the people look up to him, and are pleased with him everytime he turns around, almost as though he could do no wrong. He knows God's love for him.
He has just learned God's Holiness and Jealously. And David becomes Angry and Fearful. Details are not recorded. Has David begun to be a bit too exulted in his new position as king? What right does David have to be "angry?" Is he angry with God?
Also, he is afraid of God! So far he has seen God's "gentle and caring" attributes. But now he has seen a bit of God's "wrath." And learns that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."(Heb10:31)
What to do? Time passes and David hears that "the Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom..because of the ark of God"(6:12) which is sitting at his house.
David had forgotten something. The ark was to travel by means of the priests carrying it. Not an ox cart! David was becoming too preoccupied with doing everything "himself" and "his way" that he forgot that God had certain rules established. Dare we say..?..David was becoming a bit "too familiar with" God?
This time David goes to bring the ark to himself...the "right way." With priests and sacrifices. And this time, with joy and rejoicing.
"The ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the chrubim."(6:2) "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!"(Is6:3)
Major Big Time Sin:
"It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they"...accomplished some military missions... "But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold...So David sent and inquired about the woman...and she came to him, and he lay with her... and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child." (2Sam 11:1-5)
Commandment 10 says, "You shall not covet...your neighbor's
Forgetting any considerations about whether David should have been at "home" or on the battle front with his troops, knowing how these things go, it is not very likely this was an isolated one-time temptation and on-the-spot yielding. Knowing the culture of the time, it was likely not the first time David would have seen the woman, either. And, quite likely, highly doubtful that Bathsheba wasn't aware that David would be watching her. And David takes the time to enquire after her, and knows she's married. Furthermore, it is not recorded that she resisted him once she was called for. Obviously a lustful incident from both participants. Pre-meditated and deliberate act.
Next step upon discovery of pregnancy is attempted cover-up. Get the husband home to sleep with his wife, so it will appear that the child is legitimate. But, the husband is too much of a patriot and good soldier to oblige. So, back to the battle-front with him. And Joab is commanded to make sure he dies in battle.(2Sam11:15) When he is dead, David reassures Joab, "Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another."(11:25)
So now, "legitimize" the child by marrying the widow. And the baby is born.
Commandment 6 says, "You shall not commit murder"(20:13)
David has just deliberately, purposefully broken HALF of the LAW of the Ten Commandments. He has brought others into his scheming to help him carry out his acts. The penalty for this under the Law was "Death."
David already had several wives and concubines, as the culture permitted. If they weren't enough, he could have had others legitimately. But he chose a path of evil. And it says...
"But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD."(2sam11:27)
Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And Nathan tells David a story.
This very wealthy man has a visitor come to him. But does not wish to take from his own flock to feed the person, and instead robs a poor man of the only lamb he has, to feed his guest.(2Sam12:1-4)
"So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man" and says, he "shall surely die!"
Nathan says to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel..." I anointed you king over all Israel, gave you all this authority and responsibility, wealth and glory. And if you needed anything else, it was yours for the asking. But what have you done! You've committed murder. You've slept with the victim's wife. Now, adversity will come to your house. Someone will sleep with your wives. You tried to do this in secret. And all Israel will see what will come to you in broad daylight!
David says, "I have sinned against the LORD."(12:13)
"The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
David's heart is evident...
"Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight; That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psa51:1-7) (Suggested reading: the whole Psalm 51)
Once cleansed, David could say, "Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity..in whose spirit there is no deceit"(Ps32:2)
A testament to God's grace: (Jedidiah)
However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."(2Sam12:14)
And as Nathan predicted, the child died and the rest of David's rule was plagued by all sorts of problems and coup attempts; and, includes Absalom's defilement of David's concubines on top of the house, in a tent pitched for the purpose, as Nathan predicted, "in the sight of all Israel."(16:22)
So, if David humbled himself and repented, and received forgiveness; Why all the troubles? Didn't God "FORGIVE and FORGET?"
THERE ARE ALWAYS CONSEQUENCES. Perhaps a little child's story will help to illustrate:
The child was given a nice shiny new board, a can of nails and a hammer. The instruction was, "For every sin or mis-deed, the child was to pound a nail into the board."
As time went by and the child mis-behaved, nails went into the board; and pretty soon the board was full of nails.
Now the instruction was, "For every good deed, pull a nail OUT OF the board." As time went by the nails came out, and father and son sat down to discuss the lesson learned.
The child was distraught. All the nails came out...but the HOLES REMAINED. The board was no longer shiny and smooth.
A Christian may commit a sin, for example, and in the course of the sin receive a broken arm. The sin can be repented of, and God forgives, but the consequence...the Broken Arm...is still there.
We live in a society which refuses to accept consequences for actions. And Law suits skyrocket, as everything is "the other person's fault."
But the Christian is chided, "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives... Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (~Heb12:5-11)
Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains." Then Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you." (2Sam7:1-3)
But God had other ideas, and sends Nathan back to David. You want to build Me a house? When have I ever lived in a house? Have I ever complained that I didn't have a house?
Now listen, David, I took you from tending sheep to rule My people Israel. I've been with you wherever you've gone. I've given you victory over all your enemies and established you. And when you die, I will set up your seed after you, and establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name...and your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.
"Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: "Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sigh, O Lord God...and now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord God, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever." (Suggested reading 2Samuel chapter 7)
David is awestruck again by God's greatness and his own insignificance. And that God would promise to use him as the genetic line to bring the Messiah, the One Who would rule forever and ever.
While David is not allowed to build due to all his bloodshed of battle, he however, makes preparation for the temple. Stockpiles building materials. "Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for..."all the various parts of the temple. And he said, "All this...the LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans."(1Chr28:11-19) And actually gets Solomon started on the project as he turns the throne over to Solomon before he dies.
Solomon's Temple was designed by the Holy Spirit (28:12), through David's drawing board.
Seeking God's Face:
David, the man after God's own heart. We have but barely scratched the surface of this relationship between God and David. A man who started out as "nothing" in the world's eyes, God raised up to be ruler over His people Israel, to be progenitor of the Messianic line.
And yet, this same man, with frailties. Doubts God, forgets and goes his own way...and even commits adultery and murder; not to mention the loyalty-betrayed factor, as Uriah was one of his 37 "Mighty Men." (2Sam23:39) Such a man is called by God, "Man after My own heart."
First of all, David followed God. Although he had been anointed as next king, he was running from Saul. He knew God's promise, but did not know the path God would take him. He did not rush ahead of God, but maintained the heart attitude, "till I know what God will do for me."(1Sam22:3)
When he was in the pits of despair, sometimes having been foolish because of his uncertainties and fears, seeing those around him going crazy with rage, "When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me...Until I went into the sanctuary of God; THEN I understood their end."(Ps73:16-17) Several times it says, David "strengthened himself in the LORD [his] God." (1Sam30:6)
God led and chastened David as a son. "My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways." (Prov 23:26)
David understood God's holiness, that "He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises.." Yet, he saw God's grace and promise inspite of himself..."although my house is not so with God, yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure."(2Sam23:3-5)
David's response to God was always, "When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek." (Psa 27:8)