…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 72:1-19: Solomon Celebrates His Blessings

To the Coming Reign of the Righteous King–Christ the Messiah

Psalm 72 is one of only two psalms written by Solomon. In it, he prays that he and his royal descendants would rule over Israel with righteousness and compassion. These traits please God, and all the people of Israel are inclined to imitate such a king. If Israel practiced such righteousness, God promised to bless her with prosperity and global fame. This would make kings and citizens of other countries aware of Israel’s God and Israel’s ways.  It is through the kings that the Lord God’s blessings are mediated to the people.

A Psalm of Solomon.
     1     Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son.
     2     May he judge Your people with righteousness and your afflicted with justice.
     3     Let the mountains bring peace to the people, and the hills, in righteousness.
     4     May he vindicate the afflicted of the people,  save the children of the needy
            and crush the oppressor.
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     5     Let them fear You while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout
           all generations.
     6     May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.
     7     In his days may the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace till the moon is no more.
     8     May he also rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
     9     Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, and his enemies lick the dust.
     10    Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; the kings of Sheba–
     11    And let all kings bow down before him, all nations serve him.
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     12     For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and him
             who has no helper.
     13     He will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy he will save.
     14     He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, and their blood will be
             precious in his sight;
     15     So may he live, and may the gold of Sheba be given to him; and let them pray for
             him continually–let  them bless him all day long.
     16     May there be abundance of grain in the earth on top of the mountains–
              Its fruit will wave like the cedars of Lebanon, and may those from the city flourish
             like vegetation of the earth.
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     17     May his name endure forever–may his name increase as long as the sun shines.
             And let men bless themselves by him, let all nations call him blessed.
     18     Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders.
     19     And blessed be His glorious name forever.  And may the whole earth be filled with His glory.
              Amen, and Amen.

…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 18: David’s Reflections

  As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the Lord is proven, He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

This reflection at the end of King David’s reign contains some of his last words and speaks of the hand of God in his life.  It follows in content  with the tradition of earlier psalms and Israel’s history.  These words are written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They were to be taken very seriously then, and by us as well.   The content includes:  The Song of Israel by the Sea (Exodus 15:1-18),  The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43),   The Song of Deborah (Judges 5),  The Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10),  The Song of David (2 Samuel 22) (Psalm 18),  The Song of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:1-19)..

Samuel 22:1-51, is almost identical with Psalm 18:  David’s Deliverer (verses 1-3),  David’s Danger, His Cry for Help, and His Deliverance  (4-20),  The Basis for David’s Deliverance  (21-28),  Divine Strengthening to Defeat Enemies (29-46),  Praise to God!  (47-50),  God Save the King!  (51).

 The Lord is David’s deliverer and David’s refuge.  He is also the refuge and deliverer of all who trust in Him, including all the Gentiles. All those who set themselves against God’s king (David, or the Messiah), are the enemies of God, and will be crushed.  Is David safe and secure because God is his refuge?  Yes.  David reveals this confidence and security is much more long-lasting than just during his own lifetime. He knows that as God has shown loving-kindness to him, He will show it to his descendants, and thus these blessings of which he has spoken are eternal. God has not only kept His promise to David, protecting him from those who would destroy him and establishing his throne, God will also install the One who fulfills the Davidic Covenant, God’s anointed One, the Messiah.

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 David, Servant of the Lord, spoke to the Lord the words of this song praising God for how He delivered him from the hand of all his enemies.
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PSALM 18
1     I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
2    The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. My God, my strength,
in whom I will trust, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3    I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised–
so shall I be saved from my enemies..
4  The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
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5     The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me, the snares of death confronted me.
6     In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God–
He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
7    Then the earth shook and trembled–
 The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry.
8     Smoke went up from His nostrils, an devouring fire from His mouth–
Coals were kindled by it.
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9    He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet..
10  And He rode upon a cherub, and flew, He flew upon the wings of the wind.
11    He made darkness His secret place, His canopy around Him was dark waters
And thick clouds of the skies.
12  From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.
13   The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14   He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.
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15     Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered
 At Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
16   He sent from above, He took me,  He drew me out of many waters.
17   He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me,
 for they were too strong for me.
18     They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support..
19   He also brought me out into a broad place.  He delivered me because He delighted in me.
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20   The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness– 
According to the cleanness  of my hands He has recompensed me..
21   For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22   For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me.
23  I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.
24   Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.
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25  With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful–
 with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless.
26     With the pure You will show Yourself pure, and with the devious
You will show Yourself shrewd.
27     For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks.
28   For You will light my lamp, the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness..
29     For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall.
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30   As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the Lord is proven, He is a shield
to all who trust in Him.
31   For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?
32     It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.
33  He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.
34  He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35   You have also given me the shield of Your salvation. Your right hand has held me up,
 Your gentleness has made me great.
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36   You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip. 
37   I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them– 
Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.
38   I have wounded them, so that they could not rise, they have fallen under my feet.
39     For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under
me those who rose up against me.
40     You have also given me the necks of my enemies, so that I destroyed those who
hated me.
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41     They cried out, but there was none to save, even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
.42    Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind; I cast them out like dirt
in the streets.
43     You have delivered me from the strivings of the people–
You have made me the head of the nations, a people I have not known shall serve me.
44    As soon as they hear of me they obey me, the foreigners submit to me.
45   The foreigners fade away, and come frightened from their hideouts..
46   The Lord lives!   Blessed be my Rock!  Let the God of my salvation be exalted..
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47     It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me–
48   He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me.
You have delivered me from the violent man.
49   Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles,
and sing praises to Your name.
.50  Great deliverance He gives to His king, and shows mercy to His anointed,
 To David and his descendants forevermore..
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… 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 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!

…Psalm 20: Humiliation…

May the Lord answer us in the day of trouble
May He grant us according to our heart’s desire
We will rejoice in your salvation and in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
Some trust in chariots, and some in horsesbut we will remember the name of the Lord our God.  Psalm 20: 1,4,5,7
 
Honor and majesty You have places upon him…  Psalm 21:5

No one wants to be humiliated. Most of us are willing to do whatever it takes to keep from being humiliated.  Here the Kings own men receive the kind of humiliation that comes when you realize that your own character has been challenged and made public.  The goodness and kindness that God puts into the heart of his people… many use against us to humiliate us.  We’re talking about the kind of humiliation that goes beyond embarrassment to anguish.

It is also said this humiliation is something we all must go through, not for growth, but for salvation. Through it and in obedience to God’s instruction, we learn how to deal with people in godly ways–rather than heaping sin upon more sin.  We also learn to seek the protective covering for us through Christ’s sacrifice.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus talks about the humble, the lowly, and those who mourn.

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”  ~ Matthew 5:3-5

 

The scene is after David has shown kindness to Methebosheth, Johnathon’s son.  The enemy will surely try to strike us down after we we do some good and pleasing for God.   The Lord has helped David to set up a holy kingdom.  The people are all of one accord singing and praising the God of Israel.  This scripture shows the evil nature of the heart’s of men.  This was more of a strike against David rather than the nation of Israel.  A progression of  Satanic attacks will begin to take place in David’s personal life from this point on.

.At War with the Ammonites (2 Sam. 10:1–19)

imagesThe king of the Ammonites died. David affirmed his loyalty to the Ammonites because of the friendship he had with the deceased king.  But the Ammonites insulted the Israelites who had come to them in kindness and shaved off half of the beard of each man. They also cut off their garments at their hips and sent them away in disgrace.   David let his servants stay at Jericho until their beards had grown out.  In the meantime he prepared to punish the Ammonites.

This is a terrific passage of people from different nations working together for the good of all.  The Syrians were hired by the Ammonites to join in fighting Israel.  Joab, David’s general, realized that he was faced with a battle on two fronts. He divided his forces and prepared for battle. He chose to lead the battle against the Syrians and put Abishai in charge of the battle against the Ammonites. First the Syrians were defeated and then the Ammonites fled. After this battle, the Syrians regrouped and came against Israel again. David led in a decisive victory over them. The Syrians decided it was not a good idea to help the Ammonites against Israel any more.

One of the most inspiring texts of the Bible is found in verses 11 and 12. Joab said to Abishai, his brother, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what seems good to him.”

 The Ammonites and Syrians Defeated

Passage    2 Samuel 10:19    
It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place.  Then David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father.  And David’s servants came into the land of the people of Ammon.  And the princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you?  Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?”
Therefore Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away.  When they told David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed.  And the king said, “Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”  When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-Tob twelve thousand men.
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 Now when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men.  Then the people of Ammon came out and put themselves in battle array at the entrance of the gate. And the Syrians of Zoba, Beth Rehob, Ish-Tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field.  When Joab saw that the battle line was against him before and behind, he chose some of Israel’s best and put them in battle array against the Syrians.  And the rest of the people he put under the command of Abishai his brother, that he might set them in battle array against the people of Ammon.  Then he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the people of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.”
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Psalm 20    The Assurance of God’s Saving Work
1     May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble, may the name of the God of Jacob defend you–
2     May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion.
3     May He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice.      Selah
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4     May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.
5     We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
     May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
6    Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed–
     He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.
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7     Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the
       Lord our God.
8     They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stand upright.
9     Save, Lord!  May the King answer us when we call.

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So Joab and the people who were with him drew near for the battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him.  When the people of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fleeing, they also fled before Abishai, and entered the city. So Joab returned from the people of Ammon and went to Jerusalem.  When the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered together.  Then Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the River, and they came to Helam.  And Shobach the commander of Hadadezer’s army went before them.  When it was told David, he gathered all Israel, crossed over the Jordan, and came to Helam.  And the Syrians set themselves in battle array against David and fought with him.  Then the Syrians fled before Israel; and David killed seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand  horsemen of the Syrians, and struck Shobach the commander of their army, who died there.  And when all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.
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