…Psalm 82: Division between Israel and Judah

   “What share have we in David?  We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse…

     Every man to your own tents, O Israel  Look after your own house, O David!”

-Kingdoms_of_Israel_and_Judah

ISRAEL [northern Kingdom]
JUDAH [southern kingdom]

This is one of the great “turning points” in the history of Israel.  From this point on, the southern kingdom will be known as Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital–and there will always be a descendant of David as their king. The northern kingdom, composed of the other ten tribes, will be known as Israel.

As Solomon experienced a rise to unprecedented heights of personal prosperity and security, he fell as victim to moral weakness and political conflict.  The kingdom is now under his son Rehoboam’s reign, and is following in his father’s footsteps and heading toward disaster.  He tries to set even greater burdens than his father Solomon had already put on the people of Israel, and this will cause rebellion among the people. The two kingdoms divide and the northern ten tribes will appoint a new king—Jeroboam.

In the north, Jeroboam quickly leads Israel into idolatry.  Over the next 25 years Israel will prove to be so wicked that it will produce self-proclaimed prophets.   The Levites would continue to remain faithful to God and others who remained righteous in God’s sight fled to Judah to join with them.  Because of their idolatry and wickedness, when the fall of the northern kingdom takes place it will be so great it will never recover.  There will be civil conflict between the northern and southern kingdoms as well as wars with foreign enemies.

Only two tribes of the southern kingdom, Judah and Benjamin will remain with Rehoboam.   Overtime however, Judah will also turn its face to idolatry.

1 Kings 12:1-5

1  Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king.  2  Now when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it, he was living in Egypt (for he was yet in Egypt, where he  had fled from the presence of King Solomon).  3  Then they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying,  4  “Your father made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.”  5  Then he said to them, “Depart for three days, then return to me. I will give you my answer.” So the people departed.

1 Kings 12:16-19  Rehoboam determines to put even harder demands than His father Solomon on all of Israel

16  When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying,  “What portion do we have in David now? We now have no inheritance in the son of Jesse— To your tents, O Israel!   Now look after your own house, David!”  So Israel departed to their tents.

All but Judah Rebel    17  But as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.  18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, to who was over the forced laborin Israel, and all Israel stoned him to death.  And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee back to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel [northern kingdom] has been in rebellion against the house of David [Judah] to this day.

PSALM 82   
1     God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
     He judges among the gods.
2     How long will you judge unjustly,
     And show partiality to the wicked?      Selah 
3     Defend the poor and fatherless,
     Do justice to the afflicted and the needy.
4     Deliver the poor and needy, free them from the hand of the wicked.
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5     They do not know, nor do they understand;
     They walk about in darkness, all the foundations of the earth are unstable.
6     I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.
7     But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”
8     Arise, O God, judge the earth–
     For You shall inherit all nations
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…Psalm 33: Man’s Wickedness — God’s Perfection (part 2)

A place for Sacrifice and Atonement

2 Samuel 24:18-25

18 So Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 David went up according to the word of Gad, just as the LORD had commanded. 20 Araunah looked down and saw the king and his servants crossing over toward him; and Araunah went out and bowed his face to the ground before the king. 21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be held back from the people.” 22 Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what is good in his sight. Look, the oxen for the burnt offering, the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23 “Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” 24 However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.

wheat-threshing-600x427God came to David with another solution – sacrifice. David was to erect an altar to the LORD there on the threshing floor of Araunah.   David began to make his way up to the place where the angel of the LORD had been halted. (verse 16)   Araunah and his four sons were there at the threshing floor threshing wheat.  David was making his way to where they were.  (1 Chronicles 21:20-21). It must have been a terrifying moment for them.

Araunah having land near to David and the city of Jerusalem, offered to give David the land–but David refused…   If David accepted this offer, his sacrifice would cost him nothing. He could not offer a “sacrifice” without first making a sacrifice.  David purchased the land.  He offered his sacrifices to the Lord, and when this sacrifice had been made, the Lord heard and stopped the plague.  This place would become  the property on which Solomon’s temple would be built.

PSALM 33  The Sovereignty of the Lord In Creation and History

1     Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.
2     Praise the Lord with the harp, make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
3     Sing to Him a new song!  Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
4     For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth.
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5     He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
6     By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them
      by the breath of His mouth.
7    He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap, He lays up the deep in storehouses.
8     Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
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9     For He spoke, and it was done;  He commanded, and it stood fast.
10   The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing, 
      He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
11     The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.
12     Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
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13    The Lord looks from heaven, He sees all the sons of men.
14     From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth;
15     He fashions their hearts individually, He considers all their works.
16    No king is saved by the multitude of an army, a mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
17     A horse is a vain hope for safety, neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
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18     Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy,
19     To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
20     Our soul waits for the Lord;  He is our help and our shield.
21     For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.
22     Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You.

…Psalm 36: Man’s Wickedness — God’s Perfection (part 1)

First, we are reminded of the faithfulness of God as the Savior of His people.

Second, we see that while God is a faithful Savior, He will use men of courage and faith.

Third, we see that while man is sinful, our sin never hinders God from accomplishing His saving work.

Fourth, we see from this epilogue that no human king will ever be able to fulfill God’s promise of salvation.

 

The Census

Exodus 30:12:  “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.”

The principle of Exodus 30:12 speaks of God’s ownership of His people.  No man had a right to count or number what belonged to God.  The people of Israel belonged to God. If David counted he should only do it at God’s command and receiving ransom money to “atone” for the counting.  [Bible.org]

2 Samuel 24:1-17

Census  [verses 1-7]

 1 Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”    2 So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.”  3 And Joab said to the king, “Now may the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?” 4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel.

Judgement on David’s Sin  [verse 10-17]

 10 And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”  11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.” ’ ” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”  14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

15 So he Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

 Altar on the Threshing Floor   [verses 18-25]

 18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

         22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”  24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

Here we have an example of Calamity and Compassion.  God has poured out His wrath on His people, but now He took compassion on them. He order the angel, who was standing by the threshing floor, to cease from killing any more people. David could not have known God’s purposes yet, and so he petitioned God in an attempt to halt the plague. He asked that God’s anger be satisfied by pouring out His wrath on him [on his father’s house].  But God had a better plan.

  • Moses and Aaron, and throughout the period of the judges, God saved His people when they cried out to Him (1 Samuel 12:6-11). Then God saved Israel through Saul and David.  They led the nation in battle against their enemies.  God served as David’s Savior over and over again in his lifetime. God is faithful  as the Savior of His people, even when His people fail. David continually worshiped God as His fortress and his salvation.
  • David was prepared for his reign as Israel’s king by shepherding a small flock of his father’s sheep. He learned to trust God and to act courageously to save the flock from the attacks of bears and lions. His military career began with his confrontation of Goliath on the battlefield.  Saul did not inspire courage in his men, but David’s courage inspired many others to fight with faith and boldness against unbelievable odds. These men made it possible for David to cease fighting when his strength began to fail.

 If David is the best that history has to offer, we can only see the faithfulness of God as He used David in bringing about great blessings through his failures. Two of Israel’s greatest blessings came about as a result of two of David’s greatest sins. David’s sin with Bathsheba resulted in the messianic line passing down through Bathsheba, and eventually this marriage produced the next king — Solomon.  David’s sin in numbering the Israelite warriors resulted in the purchase of the threshing floor of Araunah, which was the building site for the temple that was to be constructed under King Solomon.   The salvation of the Gentiles was due, to the rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah by the Jews (see Romans 11).  Our sin, while it offends the righteousness of God, can be used to accomplish His purposes and promises. He will also employ Satan to achieve His purposes (1 Chronicles 21:1.).

  • There must be one coming who is greater than David. Israel had rejected God as their king in 1 Samuel 8, when they demanded a king to “save” them from their enemies. God never really abdicated His place as Israel’s King, as Israel’s Savior. Through the line of David, God would someday provide a King for His people who would save them from their sins. He would be more than David, more than a man, and one who was without sin. He would be the Lord Jesus Christ, who came as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He would be “delivered from death” as God the Father raised Him from the dead. He would return as the King of Israel, triumphing over his enemies.

PSALM 36  Man’s Wickedness and God’s Perfections

1     An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
     There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2     For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
     When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
3     The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit, He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
4     He devises wickedness on his bed, He sets himself din a way that is not good–
     He does not abhor evil.
5     Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
6     Your righteousness is like the great mountains, Your judgments are a great deep–
     O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
7     How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
     Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
8    They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
     And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
9     For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light we see light.
10     Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness
      to the upright in heart.
11     Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12     There the workers of iniquity have fallen, they have been cast down and are not able to rise.

… Psalm 64: David’s Darkest Days

All of what has happened to David is like a horrible dream.  Give Satan one inch and he takes a mile.  It began with one bad choice…  problems upon problems will carry him through the rest of his days.
  • David has sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and by having her husband killed—by Joab.  David has repented, but it seems there are endless consequences he will have to face.
  •  There was the rape of his daughter Tamar by her half-brother, Amnon.
  • Then there was the murder of Amnon by his half-brother, Absalom. Absalom fled to Geshur, where he was given sanctuary by his grandfather, Talmai. Through the intervening of Joab, David was pressured into allowing Absalom to return to Jerusalem. In time, Absalom succeeded in undermining the reign of his father.

New Text  2 Samuel 18 – 20

  • David now has been forced to flee Jerusalem due to the revolution instigated back by Absalom. While he never actually took the throne from David, Absalom acted as king for a few days, until he was defeated in battle and his life was ended.  As Absalom hung from a tree with his hair entangled in its limbs, Joab stuck three spears into Absalom’s stomach and then his ten armor bearers killed him with their swords, then hid body under rocks.
  • God gave David’s army victory over the rebel forces… but by means of going against David’s command.   Absalom was murdered by Joab, who killed Absalom in spite of David’s specific orders not to harm him.
  •  David is invited to return to Jerusalem to resume his rule over the nation Israel. But on the way there is strife between the men of Judah (David’s tribe) and the men from the other tribes in Israel. Somewhere between the Jordan River and Jerusalem, a rebellion is instigated by Sheba, and the Israelite’ s again forsake David as their king.
  • David is about to return to Jerusalem, removes Joab as commander of his armed forces,and replaces him with Amasa.   But that too is short-lived.
  • David forms his army again to go after the troublemaker Sheba.  An incredible display of violence happens as  Joab (again) “underhandedly” runs his sword through Amasa, spilling his intestines on the path.  The army of David stops to look at the scene of this man wallowing in his own blood.
  • David’s enemy Sheba has been beheaded through the intervention of a wise woman fro inside the city.   Sheba is cornered and put to death by beheading.  They take his head  and toss it over the wall.  The city is delivered, and the division of Israel is reversed.
  •  Joab retrieves it and carry’s it back to David.  With Amasa gone, Joab is again commander of David’s army.
PSALM 64   Oppressed by the Wicked But Rejoicing in the Lord
1     Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation, preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
2     Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
     From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity–
3     Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
      and bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words.
4     That they may shoot in secret at the blameless,
     Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.
5     They encourage themselves in an evil matter, they talk of laying snares secretly.
     They say, “Who will see them?”
6     They devise iniquities:  “We have perfected a shrewd scheme.”
     Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.
7     But God shall shoot at them with an arrow, suddenly they shall be wounded.
8     So He will make them stumble over their own tongue, all who see them shall flee away.
9    All men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God;
      For they shall wisely consider His doing.
10   The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in Him.
     And all the upright in heart shall glory.

… Psalm 61: The Lord Intervenes

 This battle belongs to the Lord! …and He continues to be faithful to David.
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PSALM 61    Assurance of God’s Eternal Protection

   A Psalm of David.

1     Hear my cry, O God!  Attend to my prayer.
2     From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed;
     Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3     For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.
4     I will abide in Your tabernacle forever, I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.     
Selah
5     For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage
     of those who fear Your name.
6     You will prolong the king’s life, His years as many generations.
7     He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!
8     So I will sing praise to Your name forever, that I may daily perform my vows.
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 ahithophel-and-hushai-gave-advices-to-absalom (2)This is the wonderful effect of Divine Providence.  Absalom’s mind is blinded and his heart is influenced to not rest in Ahithophel’s counsel.  Rather he desired the advice of Hushai’.    God can turn a man .himself and destroy him by him by his own mistakes and passions–Ahithophel’s former counsel was followed.  The advice that came after was not followed.  God intended to correct David, then the latter advice was meant not to destroy Absalom.  God can overpower any wisdom of man.  Whatever wisdom or help any man employs, the success is from God alone, who will not let his own people perish.
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Passage:  2 Sam. 17:1–21   Ahithophel’s counsel overthrown

Ahithophel, Absalom’s advisor, pointed out that it was David who was the problem in Israel, and suggested gathering twelve thousand men to set out to kill David.  Then all of Israel would return to Jerusalem like a bride for Absalom. At first Absalom thought the idea was a good one.  Absalom then passed it by Hushai who said Ahithophel’s advice was not good.  He spoke of David’s wisdom, he is angry and dangerous, like a bear robbed of her cubs.  He was too wise to be caught with his soldiers, but would be well hidden.  Hushai advised Absalom to wait until all Israel was behind him and then for him to go into the battle.  Absalom accepted the advice of Hushai.

God was watching over David. “For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.”  David’s underground worked to keep David informed (verses 15–20).   Hushai worked through Zadok and Abiathar, the priests. They sent messages by a maidservant to David. On one occasion they were almost caught, but were saved when a woman hid them in a well and covered it and spread grain over it to disguise their whereabouts.

verse 22-29  Ahithophel hangs himself,  Absalom pursues David  

 Ahithophel was greatly troubled that his counsel was not followed.  He then returned back to his own  city, put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died.  He knew Absalom’s cause would fail.  Absalom followed the advice of Ahithophel in taking possession of David’s concubines,  then Absalom went with his men and chased after his father.   The Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom.

…Psalm 3: David Escapes from Absalom

If a man does not turn back… If a man does not repent,  the LORD God, he will sharpen His sword. He bends his bow and makes it ready.  – Psalm 7:12
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Absalom lacks any sense of debt or gratitude to his father.  There is absolutely no submission to his father as king. Absalom sees himself as “next in line” for the throne. He uses the position of power he has gained for himself to undermine his father’s authority and to disrupt his kingdom. Behind his father’s back he has spoken ill of him to make David as if unfit to be the king of Jerusalem.
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PSALM 3
The Lord Helps His Troubled People
A Psalm of David When He Fled from Absalom His Son.
1     Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
      Many are they who rise up against me.
2     Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.”
Selah
3     But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4     I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.
Selah
5    I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
6   I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
7     Arise, O Lord!  Save me, O my God!
     For You have struck all my enemies on the cheek, You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8    Salvation belongs to the Lord.
     Your blessing is upon Your people.      Selah

It is important to remember that God is not making David pay for past sin. Rather it is the choice Absolam has made to take advantage of his father in a low period of his life.  Nathan made it clear David would not undergo the penalty for his sin, because the” Lord had taken his sin away” (2 Samuel 12:13)  Those who suffer as a direct result of their sin…”All these curses will come on you, pursuing you and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you didn’t observe what your God has said, not observing His commands that He gave you.” (see Deuteronomy 28:15).  The sin of Absolam will see this terrible overtaking in his own life.
.      As for David, sometimes the righteous suffer for the sake of being righteous (see 1 Peter 4). And also when the saints suffer because they are the “sons of God,” who are being prepared for glory (see Hebrews 12).  David’s suffering was not punishment for his sin, but divine discipline, which was designed to draw him closer to God.  David wanted to be restored to fellowship with Absalom, but he knew better than to ignore or disobey the law in order to facilitate such a reunion. David was tricked into allowing his son to return. David knew he could not be reconciled to Absalom until Absalom had repented.  If we are going to blame anyone for Absalom’s sin (other than Absalom) it would have to be on Joab because he sought to bring about reconciliation without repentance.
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2 Samuel 15:13-37
13 Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
15 And the king’s servants said to the king, “We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands.” 16 Then the king went out with all his household after him. But the king left ten women, concubines, to keep the house. 17 And the king went out with all the people after him, and stopped at the outskirts. 18 Then all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king.
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also going with us? Return and remain with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place. 20 In fact, you came only yesterday. Should I make you wander up and down with us today, since I go I know not where? Return, and take your brethren back. Mercy and truth be with you.”
21 But Ittai answered the king and said, As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.”
22 So David said to Ittai, “Go, and cross over.” Then Ittai the Gittite and all his men and all the little ones who were with him crossed over. 23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people crossed over. The king himself also crossed over the Brook Kidron, and all the people crossed over toward the way of the wilderness.
24 There was Zadok also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar went up until all the people had finished crossing over from the city. 25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. 26 But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.” 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they remained there.
30 So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up. 31 Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!”
32 Now it happened when David had come to the top of the mountain, where he worshiped God—there was Hushai the Archite coming to meet him with his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, then you will become a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I was your father’s servant previously, so I will now also be your servant,’ then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me. 35 And do you not have Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? Therefore it will be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Indeed they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything you hear.”
37 So Hushai, David’s friend, went into the city.  And Absalom came back into Jerusalem.

…Psalm 62: Absalom Conspires Against His Father David

 And Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, but did not see the king’s face.  – 2 Samuel 14:28

  Absalom sent for Joab, “Look, I sent to you, saying, ‘Come here, so that I may send you to the king and say to him, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would have been better for me to be there still.  Therefore, let me see the king’s face— if there is iniquity in me, then let him execute me.”  So Joab went to the king and told him what Absolam had said.  When David called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before his father.  Then the king kissed Absalom.   – 2 Samuel 14:32,

The story progresses.  Joab uses a widow to speak to David’s conscious about Absolam …what the widow had said to David gave the king the answer as to what to do about his own son. (2 Samuel 14:1-17).

Woman’s fourth response“I thank you very much, O king, but doesn’t your ruling on my behalf pose a problem for you? How can you rule to protect the life of my son and yet not do the same with your son, Absalom? We know that we are all going to die someday, but God does not delight in death. He seeks ways to keep men alive and to bring back those alienated from Him. Why are you not doing the same thing, seeking to find ways to spare the life of Absalom, and to bring him back to Israel?”

David’s response: “Whoa! All of a sudden, it is beginning to look as though this entire conversation has more to do with me and my son than with you and yours. This feels very much to me like the kind of thing Joab would do. Tell me the truth, is Joab the one behind all this?”

David loved Absolam.  His son was a master schemer and without a heart of repentance for his actions. There was no fear of God in him.   David showed favor for Absalom, for no other reason than to display Divine grace.  It is true that God has thoughts of compassion toward sinners, not willing that any should perish—David also had compassion as a loving father would for his son and kissed him–for the prodigal son that he was.  But did the compassion of David to reconcile him do anything for Absolam’s conscious?  In 2 Samuel Chapter 15:1-12 we see the beginning of Absolam’s rebellion against King David.

Chapter 15:1-12

With a kiss from the king, Absolam is free to go about wherever he chooses. He acquires a chariot and horses and 50 men who serve him. Absalom would have made a great politician. Every day Absalom would station himself on the road to Jerusalem. Absalom would call out to those passing by, asking from where they came and why they had come to Jerusalem. He greeted all in a way they would remember.

When Absalom learned that the traveler was coming to Jerusalem to seek justice from the king, he tells the traveler that he is terribly sorry to inform him that the king has made no provisions for judging cases. With great skill, Absalom makes it known that if he were judging in Israel, he would see to it that such people were heard, and that he would rule in their favor.

Not only is Absalom a liar saying there was no one to hear their case, he is a hypocrite. He just gets people to think he is their friend. And it worked! Absalom wins the hearts of the people. After four years of running David down and building himself up in the eyes of the people, Absalom was ready to make his move. His plan was to make his debut as the new king where David born, in Hebron

He went to his father and told him that he had made a vow while he was living in Geshur.  He vowed that if God ever granted him the privilege of returning to Israel he would pay his vow to the Lord in Hebron.  David granted him permission to leave.

Absalom had sent word throughout the tribes of Israel that when the trumpet was blown, this was a signal for them to proclaim their allegiance to him, rather than to David. He recruited 200 men in this way to leave with him. In addition, Absalom had managed to recruit Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor. Ahithophel was a most gifted man; his counsel was exceedingly wise: The advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom (2 Samuel 16:23).  Nevertheless, God would make use of Ahithophel. He would use his counsel to bring about the fulfillment of prophecy, and He would thwart his counsel in order to save David from the hand of Absalom (2 Samuel 17:1-14).

The sorrows of David began with David’s own sin concerning Uriah and his wife, Bathsheba. It continued with the death of the first son born to David with Bathsheba. David’s own daughter (Tamar) was raped by one of his sons, and then this son (Amnon) was murdered by yet another son (Absalom). Absalom flees to Gerar, and David yearns to see him, but knows he cannot. Then, by the deception of Joab, David is compelled to bring Absalom back to Israel. When Absalom gains his freedom, he uses it to undermine David’s reputation. Next will come Absolams’s rebellion, and the division of Israel, and finally the death of Absalom at the hand of Joab. It is, indeed, a trail of tears.

PSALM 62
David’s Calm Resolve to Wait for the Salvation of God
1     Truly my soul silently waits for God, from Him comes my salvation.
2     He only is my rock and my salvation, He is my defense, I shall not be greatly moved.
3     How long will you attack a man?  You shall be slain, all of you,
      like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.
4     They only consult to cast him down from his high position–
     They delight in lies, they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly.     
    Selah
5     My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.
6     He only is my rock and my salvation.  He is my defense, I shall not be moved.
7     In God is my salvation and my glory.  The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
8     Trust in Him at all times, you people.
      Pour out your heart before Him,  God is a refuge for us.     
    Selah
9   Surely men of low degree are a vapor, men of high degree are a lie.
     If they are weighed on the scales, they are altogether lighter than vapor.
10   Do not trust in oppression, nor vainly hope in robbery–
     If riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
11  God has spoken once, twice I have heard this:
       That power belongs to God.
12   Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy–
       For You render to each one according to his work.

…Psalm 4: Suffering Displays God’s Strength Through Our Weakness

God never wastes suffering, He redeems all of it for His glory and our blessing.  The classic Scripture for the concept that suffering displays God’s strength through our weakness is found in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, where we learn that God’s grace is sufficient for us, for His power is perfected in weakness.

Our culture hates weakness, but our frailty is a sign of God’s workmanship in us. It gets us closer to what we were created to be—completely dependent on God.   Consider how the Lord Jesus was the exact representation of the glory of the Father— He was completely dependent on the Father, choosing to become weak so that God’s strength could shine through Him. And He was the strongest person the world has ever known.  Not in His own strength, but He displayed the Father’s strength.  His strength can shine through us is because we know God better through suffering.  I once heard a man say, “I got theology in seminary, but I learned reality through trials. I got facts in Sunday School, but I learned faith through trusting God in difficult circumstances. I got truth from studying, but I got to know the Savior through suffering.”

-Passages:

From this time onward, David is finding himself  in one difficulty after another.  Satan has been allowed to enter, and David will find it can be very difficult to shake him off—but David still prayed–he still was trusting in God for deliverance.  We find David  once again in back in  Jerusalem while Joab and his armies are at war against Rabbah

Joab captures Rabbah  2 Samuel 12:26-31

Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the people of Ammon, and they took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, “I have fought against Rabbah, and I have taken the city’s water supply. Now gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it—or else I take the city and it be called after my name.” So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, fought against it, and took it. Then Joab took their king’s crown from his head. Its weight was a talent of gold, with precious stones. And it was set on David’s head. Also he brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance. And he brought out the people who were in it and put them to work with saws and iron picks and iron axes, and made them cross over to the brick works. So he did to all the cities of the people of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

Amnon’s Sin against Tamar  2 Samuel 13:1–39 .

After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David loved her.  -2 Samuel 13:1

David had a beautiful daughter whose name was Tamar.  David’s eldest son Amnon,  Tamar’s half-brother,  became obsessed to have her in his bed. So much he made himself sick over her. He knew she was a virgin and Amnon thought it would be impossible for him to do anything to her.

Amnon had a shrewd friend, Jonadab, who told him how to get her. Jonadab was also the son of King David’s brother Shimeah.  Jonadab proposed Amnon to pretend to be ill and when his father would visit him, to ask for his sister to bring him something to eat and prepare this food before him. David indeed sent word to Tamar to prepare food for Amnon. Tamar took dough, and made cakes while Amnon watched. She took the pan and offered it to Amnon, but he refused it unless she fed it to him with her own hand.  He ordered everyone to leave his room and bid Tamar to bring the cakes to him, he caught hold of her and brought her into his bed and raped her.   But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing!  And I, where could I take my shame?  And now Amnon, after getting his way with her, suddenly hated her.  And Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly.  And Absalom her brother said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother, do not take this thing to heart.” So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.  David heard what had happened and was very angry. But Amnon was David’s first born and he loved him very much so he did him no harm.  Absalom hated Amnon now for having dishonored his sister and he did not speak to Amnon.  Instead he held onto his anger and plotted against Amnon.

 Then after two years past, Absalom prepared a royal banquet and invited all of David’s sons. During the feast Absalom ordered Amnon to be slain. Absalom commanded his servants, saying, “Watch now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon!’ then kill him.  Absalom’s servants killed Amnon after making him drunk with wine.  Absalom fled with all of David’s sons and went to Talmai.   Amnon stayed there for three years in exile.

Absalom’s Return from Exile   2 Samuel 14:1–33  

Joab, King David’s army commander and friend, realizing that three years have past and David was still pining over Absalom, and thinks David’s resolution against his son Absalom may have softened.  Joab hired a woman who could speak well to address David. With a false story she eased David into accepting the young man Absalom’s return to Jerusalem.

 And when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself, and said, “Help, O king!”  Then the king said to her, “What troubles you?”  And she answered, Indeed I am a widow, my husband is dead.  Now your maidservant had two sons; and the two fought with each other in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one struck the other and killed him.  And now the whole family has risen up against your maidservant, and they said, ‘Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may execute him for the life of his brother whom he killed; and we will destroy the heir also.’ So they would extinguish my ember that is left, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the earth.”
So the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” And the woman answered and said, “As you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. For your servant Joab commanded me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant.  To bring about this change of affairs your servant Joab has done this thing; but my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of the angel of God, to know everything that is in the earth.”
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Then Joab brought Absalom back to Jerusalem, but David did not allow him to come to the palace. Absalom remained in his own house.
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PSALM 4     
1     Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! 
      You have relieved me in my distress, have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
2     How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame?
     How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood?     
     Selah
3     But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
     The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
4     Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.     
    Selah
5     Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.
6     There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?”
     Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
7     You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
8    I will both lie down in peace, and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

…Psalm 51 Death to David’s Son, Birth of Solomon

Psalm 51 helps us understand the heart of David and his allegiance to God after he so grievously sinned against God and all his family.

And when her mourning for Uhriah was over, David sent and brought Bathsheba to his house  and she became his wife… Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her.   She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon.           2 Samuel 12:24

2 Samuel 12:15:25   David’s intense grieving, telling of David’s suffering over his sin and the death of his son.  It is one of the more moving passages in the Bible. David writes the 51st Psalm, though he had been assured that his sin was pardoned, prays earnestly for pardon and greatly laments his sin. He was willing to bear the shame of it and have it go ever before him.  David submitted to the will of God in the death of one child, and God made up the loss to his advantage, in the birth of another.  The way to see our our peace and comfort return back to us in tough situations , or the restoring of the loss made up some other way, is “cheerfully” to resign all to God.  God, by his grace, had ordered David’s new born son to be called Jedidiah–Beloved of the Lord.

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PSALM 51

1     Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness–
     According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
2    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3     For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4     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.
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5     Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
6     Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part
      You will make me to know wisdom.
7     Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8     Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9     Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
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10     Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11     Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12     Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13     Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.
14     Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation,
        And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15     O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
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16     For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
17     The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—
        These, O God, You will not despise.
18     Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem.
19     Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
       with burnt offering and whole burnt offering, then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

 

… Psalm 32 David’s Sin and Consequences

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death”       James 1:14–15

There are few Old Testament stories that make the kind of impact as David’s sin with Bathsheba.  David, a man God had called “righteous”— falling into sin so deep and ugly.  After all, he was human— Jesus spoke of the danger of the lust of the eyes.

In Matthew 5:27–30, he called for purity of thought.  Adultery, like other sin, begins with entertaining the idea in the mind.  Jesus warned against the lustful look by saying, “… every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”   Sin almost never consists of one deed alone—by offending just one point David had broken all of God’s law.

imagesCAFN2HFQThe story of David’s sin with Bathsheba—which included adultery, murder, and the lies and deceptions it took to try to cover those crimes — is about a man who not only had fallen, but also of a man God picked up from a self-imposed pit of despair.  This tragic story begins when looks out from the roof of his palace and spies the very beautiful — Bathsheba. Without even thinking about it, David sent for Bathsheba, who he is told is married to a warrior named Uriah who is away fighting at the time  2 Samuel 11:1–4.

Bathsheba did the only thing she could when the king of Israel sends for her — she went to him. A short time later she sent him word that she was pregnant. In an attempt to cover up his sin, David sends for Uriah and invites him to go home to his wife for the night before going back to the battlefield. Being a man of amazing integrity and loyalty, Uriah refuses to go home to his wife while his men are still out fighting 2 Samuel 11:5–12.

Since David’s plan to cover up his sin has failed, he goes to plan B: have Uriah killed in battle so that no one will be the wiser to what has happened. David sends word to have Uriah placed where the fighting is fiercest so that it will be more likely that he is killed. That is what happens, and when Bathsheba receives word of it, she is sent into a period of mourning over the death of her husband 2 Samuel 11:14–26.

In Psalm 32, David demonstrates a clear understanding of himself as sinful and in need of forgiveness. He also shows remarkable insight into a holy God who delights in forgiving. The bridge David describes between our sin and God’s forgiveness is his confession. We experience the crushing force of conviction when we stubbornly refuse to acknowledge our rebellion to God. But when we confess our sins to Him we experience the joy of forgiveness and restoration that follows.

PSALM 32
A Psalm of Contemplation
1     Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2     Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
     And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3     When I kept silent, my bones grew old–through my groaning all the day long.
4     For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
     My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.     
    Selah
5     I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.
      I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
     And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.     
   Selah
6    For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
     In a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters
     They shall not come near him.
7     You are my hiding place, You shall preserve me from trouble–
     You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.     
     Selah
8     I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go–
      I will guide you with My eye.
9     Do not be like the  horse or like the mule, which have no understanding,
      Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
     Else they will not come near you.
10    Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
11     Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous–
     And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!