The Lion of Judah – It Seemed Right To All of the People Part 2

David had learned, the hard way, that he had to look closely into the holy word of God, contemplate it, wonder about it with careful and deliberate vision, and then do things God’s way in order to get closer to that Ark. And so,

After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. He called together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites:

From the descendants of Kohath,

Uriel the leader and 120 relatives;

from the descendants of Merari,

Asaiah the leader and 220 relatives;

from the descendants of Gershon,[a]

Joel the leader and 130 relatives;

from the descendants of Elizaphan,

Shemaiah the leader and 200 relatives;

from the descendants of Hebron,

Eliel the leader and 80 relatives;

10 from the descendants of Uzziel,

Amminadab the leader and 112 relatives.

11 Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord. 1st Chronicles 15:1-15 niv 2011

…in accordance with the word of the Lord…

That’s a prospective we often leave out of our personal consideration when we’re in over our heads in comfort and ego.

If you don’t know the Word very well, and you’re sitting around in a whole bunch of confusion and you’re angry with the Lord, then do some learning about Him. Learn how things should be done according to the Word of the Lord, and pray for understanding. Here’s a good starting place:

145 I cry out with my whole heart;
Hear me, O Lord!
I will keep Your statutes.
146 I cry out to You;
Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.
147 I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.
148 My eyes are awake through the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.
149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
O Lord, revive me according to Your justice.
150 They draw near who follow after wickedness;
They are far from Your law.
151 You are near, O Lord,
And all Your commandments are truth.
152 Concerning Your testimonies,
I have known of old that You have founded them forever.
Psalm 119:145-152 nkjv

He’ll answer. It’s a promise. We have a guiding force that loves us so much He came and died for us. That’s some dedication.

Let’s go back to 2nd Samuel and see how this thing turns out.

12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. 13 And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. 14 Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.

16 Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 17 So they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 18 And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts. 19 Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed, everyone to his house.

20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”

21 So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. 22 And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.”

23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. 2nd Samuel 6:12-23 nkjv

David got the Ark to where it belonged, and he brought it in with God’s blessing…but there’s going to be trouble at home. There is a ton of symbolism here that should not go unnoticed. The first is this intense parallel between David coming into his new kingdom, and how that mirrors Jesus Christ coming into His reign – a picture of kingly power and grace. The Ark here is representative of the Throne. The king himself appears as Messiah – and what that means is that when Christ comes our king and priest won’t be two different people anymore. Christ will be both, performing all duties in one person. The duty of sacrifice He already made, once for all by his own blood.

And then there’s David’s wife, Michal…

Michael Youseff said, “David had many wives, but he loved Michal.” – Loved her so much that he demanded she be taken away from another who obviously loved her, and that she be brought back to him. And that action that David took was without the seeking of the Lord.

In 1st Samuel 19 we learn that Michal was into idols. She, as well as her father Saul, had some distain for the things of God. So when she sees David (a man she loved at one time) dancing with all his heart and soul for the sheer benefit of pleasing the Lord, her stomach turns…he sort of looks like a hypocrite here. Her own father had done this sort of thing from time to time. He’d go off wildly prophesying and praising one minute, then be trying to murder a righteous man the next. Now here’s David doing the same thing. He hadn’t asked the Lord about tearing up her marriage to Paltiel, and Paltiel was devastated over the deal. Yet, when given the chance to worship so freely and openly in public, he does that. She confronts him about uncovering himself as one of the base fellows. She’s not talking about what he’s wearing, because he is very well covered. But he’s taken off his royal robes and she doesn’t like that at all. Her heart is revealed when she uses the word base fellows – she’s talking about David being vain – as if he were showing off in worship. She thinks, he’s a hypocrite. Good grief! Could he at least dress like a king? Does he have to display his utter phoniness in public?

Michal misjudged her husband. He had finally reestablished communion with the Lord he loved, and there was no way she could ever understand that, at least not in her present condition. And because of that, she had no children until the day of her death. Her heart remained cold and unchanged. She didn’t repent and look for restoration with the Lord, or her husband. Robert McDonald noted:

Because of her critical attitude, Michal suffered the reproach of bearing no children to the day of her death. This is a needed reminder that a critical spirit stifles fruitfulness.

—William McDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary

And I think that critical spirit was a source of strife at home. This thing with Michal is a consequence for David – just as moving the Ark his own way brought death to Uzzah, moving Michal back into his home in his own way brought death to that relationship. She despised him in her heart. Her heart changed toward David and I’d guess there wasn’t a whole lot of intimacy after that. She had no children to the day of her death.

But David is resolved in his worship, despite the confrontation with his beloved wife. He sticks to his guns here and declares that worship is what he has planned for the heart of Israel – and even the maidservants are going to honor this.

Please join us next week for the rest of this story in It Seemed Right to all of the People – Part 3 in our series: The Lion of Judah.

 

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Posted in Ark of God's Covenant, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, Michal, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, Warrior, Warrior | Leave a comment

The Lion of Judah – It Seemed Right to All of the People Part 1

David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark.  2nd Samuel 6:1-2niv 2011

1st Chronicles, chapter 13 gives us a little more insight as to how this whole event goes down. Please read this account carefully:

David conferred with each of his officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. He then said to the whole assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send word far and wide to the rest of our people throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their towns and pasturelands, to come and join us. Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.” The whole assembly agreed to do this, because it seemed right to all the people.

So David assembled all Israel, from the Shihor River in Egypt to Lebo Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim. David and all Israel went to Baalah of Judah (Kiriath Jearim) to bring up from there the ark of God the Lord, who is enthroned between the cherubim—the ark that is called by the Name. 1st Chronicles 13:1-6 niv 2011

Please note these specifics in the above verses:

David brought them together – and David conferred with each of his officers – and if it’s the will of the Lord – and it seemed right to all the people.

Okay, if it’s the will of the Lord…? Well, it seemed right to all of the people….

What happened to the part where David inquired of the Lord? I double checked this in several translations and they are all the same – David took this action himself, seeking the advice of men, instead of the Lord. It was just more disobedience.

Here is what I want to illustrate for us: How many times do we realize that we’ve allowed something or a situation to bog us down in some sin. For instance, David knew that Israel hadn’t inquired of the Ark of God during the reign of Saul. His intention was to repair the communion that had been lost between God and Israel – his intentions, at the outset, are righteous. However, what isn’t righteous is that he begins to repair the situation without consulting with the Lord.

Here’s an example from my illustrious past:

I started dabbling in some new sin in early spring about twenty some years ago, and by Christmas of that year I knew my communion with God was all screwed up. Did I ask Him how to handle the situation? Did I ever once ask Him how I should go about positioning myself closer to the Ark? Did I ever once consult His Word on instruction with regard to my distance?

The answer to all of those questions is “no.” I thought I could just get a new cart (or in my case, a new life), throw God’s Presence onboard, and move on.

David had a similar solution:

They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.

When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.

Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah… 2nd Samuel 6:3-8 niv 2011

Every time I set out with that new life, the Ark (God’s Presence) would literally fall on me, crushing me to death in my own ignorance. Believe me, those were some painful and embarrassing falls – and in my stupidity I was mad at God.

Just like David, I wasn’t willing to try it God’s way, so I tried it my way – which I considered to be better, you know, more up-to-date and less archaic than the old Word of the Lord. I was modern and hip, and I put the Grace of Jesus Christ on the end of a butter knife and slathered it all over my new life.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? Romans 6:1 niv 1984

It doesn’t work that way. God cannot bless our wickedness for He is holy.

Here’s what I learned, and David learned the same lesson as well.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2nd Corinthians 7:1 nknv

This filthiness of flesh and spirit is our personal beliefs – beliefs apart from what is holy to God. We have to perfect our holiness (our own identity, that is, as what’s holy to God). In other words, our identity and what other’s see should be holy. Jesus said, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48 niv 1984

How do we do that…exactly. Well, we have to do a lot of learning when it comes to God and His ways. For instance, John wrote, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 nkjv

I love to use that verse when I’m teaching because when John wrote that portion of the Gospel he used what I consider to be a significant word. The Greek word for beheld is theaomai and it is:

a prolonged form of a primary verb; to look closely at

—Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

Vine’s Concise Dictionary of the Bible gives a more in-depth definition:

“to behold, view attentively, contemplate,” had, in earlier Greek usage, the sense of wondering regard. This idea was gradually lost. It signifies a more earnest contemplation than the ordinary verbs for “to see,” “a careful and deliberate vision which interprets its object,” … more than merely seeing.

John and the disciples took an attentive, earnest, contemplative look at the Word that became flesh, which was Jesus the Christ, the Savior of the world. They didn’t merely see Him there – they had a wondering regard.

Just like David, I had to take a good, close look at the Word – not just merely read it and set it aside (please see James 1:22-25) – but I had to look closely into that Word, contemplate it, wonder about it with careful and deliberate vision, and then do things God’s way in order to get closer to that Ark.

Please join us next week for the rest of this story in It Seemed Right to All of the People – Part 2 in our series: The Lion of Judah.

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If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.

© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Posted in Ark of God's Covenant, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, Uzzah, Warrior, Warrior | Leave a comment

The Lion of Judah Series – A Kingdom Established Part 2

After Saul died, his son, Ish-Bosheth, was taken by force by Saul’s general, Abner, and made king. Ish Bosheth knew he wasn’t the anointed leader of Israel, but Abner pressed him into the role anyway.

Soon after Saul died, Ish Bosheth is murdered and the murderers bring David his head as proof of their deed.

Unfortunately for these murderers, David has sworn an oath to Saul that he would not cut off any of his descendants. Resultantly, David has the murderers executed.

After this action of righteousness, David begins to repair his communion with God.

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 2nd Samuel 5:1-3 niv 2011

…the king made a covenant…

Some translations also say compact. The word there is:

berîtCovenant or a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh) […]

Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

And how I’m going to explain that is to have you look at Genesis 15. In this chapter we see God making a promise to Abram that he will have a son, “your own flesh and blood” v. 4, and that Abram was going to take possession of the land before him, v. 7.

Beginning at verse 8:

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land…” Genesis 15:8-18 niv 2011

Here’s what I found about covenants in my NIV Study Bible:

In ancient times the parties solemnized a covenant by walking down an aisle flanked by the pieces of slaughtered animals […]. The practice signified a self-[curse promising] oath: “May it be so done to me if I do not keep my oath and pledge.”

NIV Study Bible © 1984

And that’s where God Almighty put Himself, in the form of the smoking firepot and blazing torch – may I be torn asunder as these animals have been If I don’t keep my promise to you, Abram.

And that’s what David does with the people of Israel. He promises to lead them as their anointed king, according to what the Lord said to him, “You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.”

David is a gifted warrior and God puts him in charge of defending and protecting His peculiar treasure – this is part of what a good shepherd does. Remember David’s testimony before Saul? Just as he was going to fight Goliath, David declared:

34… “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1st Samuel 17:34-37 niv 2011

And what was it that Jesus said about the good shepherd? I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11 niv 1984

God wants that kind of a shepherd, and He has anointed it in the person of David.

When David calls on God, there’s enormous victory for the flock. For instance,

18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.

22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. 2nd Samuel 5:18-25 niv 2011

And when David finally takes Jerusalem and calls it the City of David:

12 Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. 2nd Samuel 5:12 niv 2011

So we know God is in all of that.

But David is covered in the same flesh that we have – and within it dwells a besetting weakness.

For instance,

13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 2nd Samuel 5:13 niv 2011

He has a slug of children that he would have never had had he consulted with the Lord about taking additional wives – and, as we’ll learn in this series, some of the children born of those wives and concubines will make the kind of troubles that Saul could have only fantasized of making for David.

With David’s conquests came some prosperity and freedom. He could finally have some peace. This is a comfortable man at this point, as evidenced by the taking of the additional intimate partners.

Honestly, you cannot have this kind of recreation unless you’re in the midst of some peace and quiet.

And knowing how my flesh influences me during times of prosperity and the peace that comes with it, my personal opinion is that David got sort of full of himself…unfortunately, this condition besieged him shortly before he decided to move the Ark – which we will talk about next week.

Please come back next week for It Seemed Right to all of the People – Part 1 in our series: The Lion of Judah.

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© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Posted in Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, Warrior, Warrior | Leave a comment

The Lion of Judah Series – A Kingdom Established Part 1

And when Saul’s son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble…2nd Samuel 4:1 kjv

Poor Ish-Bosheth. Recall that he had been taken and made king, and now the guy who put him there is dead. His power, means and direction was gone – the ESV translates his hands were feeble like this: his courage failed. He believes that he doesn’t have control of the situation and that Israel’s rebellion against God’s anointed king, David, will probably end in severe punishment – especially for him. He believes that he will be looked upon as the usurper to the throne. There’s no doubt in Ish-Bosheth’s mind (nor the minds of all the rest of Israel) that David has the ability to launch a full scale assault to take the throne. Everyone in Israel seems to be well aware that David’s the one who’s been anointed to rule for many years, and now he has the manpower to get the job done:

These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle; they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin)1st Chronicles 12:1-2 niv 2011

Israel has been defecting into David’s ranks left and right. The first troops were the Benjamites – Saul’s own kinsmen – and they joined David while he was still in Ziklag. They came ready for war – not to prepare. They came ready to do battle for the kingdom of David. There was some resolve here.

Next came the Gadites. King James reports it like this:

And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David…. 1st Chronicles 12:8a kjv

The Gadites “separated themselves” from their fellowship, and from their leader (Saul). They were also resolved and steadfast in what they believed:

14 These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand. 15 It was they who crossed the Jordan in the first month when it was overflowing all its banks, and they put to flight everyone living in the valleys, to the east and to the west. 1st Chronicles 12:14-15 niv 2011

They were determined to stand with David in his exile, but before they could even join with him they had colossal obstacles to overcome. First of all, they had to engage Saul’s men on the east side of the Jordan. They very soon had victory there, and then they crossed the Jordan – which was at flood stage. And, while trying to cross raging flood waters, they simultaneously fought Saul’s forces in Benjamin and northern Judah. After these harrowing works, they made it into the wilderness stronghold where David was holed up.

And the list of defectors, their bravery and heroics goes on and on in 1st Chronicles 12. David’s army grew to be a great army, like the army of God 1st Chronicles 12:22 niv 1984 and warriors from every tribe joined him:

38 All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king. 39 The men spent three days there with David, eating and drinking, for their families had supplied provisions for them. 40 Also, their neighbors from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules and oxen. There were plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, raisin cakes, wine, olive oil, cattle and sheep, for there was joy in Israel. 1st Chronicles 12:38-40 niv 2011

As regards the 12th chapter of 1st Chronicles, William McDonald writes:

Today the kingdom of God needs men and women who are equipped by God (v. 2), trained and swift (v.8), strong in faith, able to prevail against overwhelming odds and put the enemy to flight (vv. 14, 15), full of the Spirit, and selflessly dedicated to Jesus (v. 32)—people who have an undivided heart (v. 33)!

—William McDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary

These Israelites who’ve now joined David at Hebron have unswerving conviction to submit to this anointed king – and there was joy in Israel because of it.

Please note Revelation chapter 7: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

They’ve come from every tribe, and there’s a celebration going on here. What are they celebrating?

 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”

These in the white robes, along with the elders and angels are proclaiming wisdom, thanks and honor, power and strength to the One on the Throne. They are celebrating His acknowledgment.

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Having Saul on the throne, and then Ish-Bosheth/ Abner created tumultuous times for the Israelites. They are ready to be done with their tribulations and serve the king who’s been anointed by God.

15 Therefore,

“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
Revelation 7:9-17 niv 2011

There will be great joy in heaven when Christ Jesus and His Kingship are finally recognized on this earth.

Before Saul died, the Israelites were beginning to recognize David as the chosen and anointed king of Israel. As time went on, warriors from every tribe joined David, determined to establish his throne, and there was joy in Israel – just as there will be great joy in heaven when our Lord is finally recognized for who He is.

These warriors who’d jumped ship to join David have an undivided heart – they were of a single mind to make David king.

And apparently Ish-Bosheth knows nothing of (or doesn’t believe) David’s oath to Saul that he would not cut off Saul’s descendants. So we can understand why Ish-Bosheth is so depressed he goes to bed in the middle of the day, where men with murderous intentions find him and behead him. (See 2nd Samuel 4)

Ish-Bosheth’s worries, as well as the worries of the rest of Israel (or whoever was still with Ish-Bosheth), were unrealistic – as David proves when he has Ish-Bosheth’s assassins put to death. We see a glimmer of righteousness beginning to emerge in David as he does to the assassins what he could not do to Joab.

Please come back next week for A Kingdom Established – Part 2 in our series: The Lion of Judah.

 

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If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.

 

© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

 

Posted in Abner, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, Ish-Bosheth, King David, King Saul, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, Warrior, Warrior | Leave a comment

The Lion of Judah Series – The Grass is Always Greener Part 3

Abner believes that he has some hidden knives – he just needs the opportunity to pull them out. So he seemingly lays down his weapons and calls for a truce…but it’s going to backfire on him.

During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul. Now Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, “Why did you sleep with my father’s concubine?”

Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said. So he answered, “Am I a dog’s head—on Judah’s side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven’t handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman! May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the Lord promised him on oath 10 and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him. 2nd Samuel 3:6-11 niv 2011

Rizpah belonged to Saul – and she was extremely faithful and loyal (See 2nd Samuel 21).

At this point in our Biblical history, when a king passed away, the wives and concubines were inherited by the succeeding king. Under no circumstances would Rizpah have become the property of the king’s general (Abner in this case).

Whether Abner had had relations with Rizpah is not known for certain. He disrespectfully denied the allegation. On the other hand, Ish-Bosheth was afraid of Abner (verse 11). He’d watched Abner strengthen his personal position within Saul’s kingdom. A final move to take the throne would be to establish relations within the king’s harem. So Abner may have done this, and that’s probably why Ish-Bosheth questions him about it. Poor Ish-Bosheth can see the writing on the wall – and it’s obvious to David as well.

When Abner sends messengers to tell David that he desires to leave Ish-Bosheth’s service (see 2nd Samuel 3:12), David brings the whole thing out into the open by contacting Ish-Bosheth publicly and demanding that his first wife, Michal, be returned to him. (See 2nd Samuel 3:14)

David loved Michal – and at one time she loved him. But when David fled Saul’s court she was given to another man. It’s a horrible scene in the life David. Michal’s new husband goes with her, weeping, I think hoping that David will change his mind and allow her to return to him. But David doesn’t budge. There’s another reason that David had to get Saul’s daughter back. It’s going to strengthen his claim to the throne as the son-in-law of Saul. And in a show of solidarity with the soon-to-be King David, Abner scolds Paltiel and sends him home without his beloved wife.

William McDonald wrote:

…Michal was brought to David—to the great grief of her husband, Paltiel. David’s personal life thus became further entangled, and another dark chapter was written in his biography.

—William McDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary

Sadly, David does not once ask the counsel of God. He makes moves that serve only himself.

And ole Abner continues to strengthen his position within the new kingdom:

17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now do it! For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’”

19 Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person…2nd Samuel 3:17-19(a) niv 2011

What’s apparent here is that Ish-Bosheth only had influence over the tribe of Benjamin. It seems that everybody else wanted David to be king, and there also seems to be public knowledge of God’s anointment of David.

After Abner gets the support of the northern tribes behind him he hurries back to Hebron to discuss the details with David.

David prepares this con artist a feast, and then Abner and his men go back to the northern tribes in order to organize the transfer of power.

When Joab, David’s nephew and general, returns after a raid and hears about the nonsense going on, he confronts David.

Joab and his brother, Abishai, are highly skilled soldiers. They’re filled with military might, proficiency, and a tremendous capacity for the science of war. They probably have the gift of discernment. They know exactly what Abner’s up to. If Abner retrieves the northern tribes for David, what happens to Joab’s position in David’s army? Abner would probably take Joab’s place.

And while Joab and Abishai are gifted and skilled soldiers, they lack the fruit of self-control. Keep in mind here that everyone is within the borders of a City of Refuge. But, Abner had killed their brother and they’ve got a grudge. Never mind that it happened during a legitimate battle and Abner was defending his life at the time.

30 (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.) 2nd Samuel 3:30 niv 2011

When David hears about it, he curses his own nephews (one of whom is his general) and carries on over Abner’s death in order to please the kingdom—but he takes no legal action against Joab and Abishai.

George Williams wrote:

Joab was clever, ambitious, bloodthirsty, and heartless. He was an ungodly man … Abner … was a traitor to his master and a rebel to his God. He had no real heart for David as God’s king, but was moved to help him by wounded pride. He reaped as he sowed.

—George Williams, The Complete Bible Commentary

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction… Galatians 6:7-8a niv 1984

Abner thought David’s lawn was greener than Ish-Bosheth’s – little did he know there was a massive septic tank under the thing. Had he sought from the very beginning to bring glory to God, perhaps he would have had a place of beauty within the reunification of Israel. Perhaps the battle wherein he was forced to take Asahel’s life would have never taken place, and Joab and Abishai would not have resented him.

What’s worse is that David does not punish Joab for his crime.

David failed to act in accordance with God’s Word, and it puts him on a treacherous path.

No type of Christ is perfect, only our true Savior, Jesus Christ, will act in complete accordance with the will of His Father:

28…“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:28-29 niv 1984

Please come back next week for A Kingdom Established Part 1 in our series: The Lion of Judah.

 

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Posted in Abner, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, The Lion of Judah, The sons of Zuriah, Uncategorized, Warrior | 3 Comments

The Lion of Judah Series: The Grass is Always Greener Part 2

God tells David to go to Hebron, where the men of Judah anoint David king. This is where David learns of the kindness of the people of Jabesh Gilead toward Saul and his sons. David then sends a message of thanks, but it’s also sort of an invitation to recognize him as king as the men of Judah had done.

Meanwhile, up north…

Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. 2nd Samuel 2:8-9 niv 2011

Abner is the commander of Saul’s army, he is also Saul’s cousin. He took Isbosheth (verse 9) and he made him king.

Whoa…Abner must have quite an opinion of himself! Only through God can a king be anointed, and David had already been anointed. Abner not only usurped Ishbosheth’s independence, but he sought to act against the power and authority of God.

Abner, in this instance, represents the devil.

When Christ comes into our hearts, Abner is going to fight it with everything he has. He will find a king, (which will be something or someone appealing), and place whatever that is on a throne in our hearts – hopefully taking our focus away from the true King. And oftentimes, Abner will be sneaky. Jesus warned us about this:

2Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-29 niv 2011

Abner is a big ole weed and we have to watch out for this character.

David was the true king – Ish-Bosheth was NOT the king. He was merely the son of the late king. It appears that he was a fairly quiet, perhaps even a sweet and compassionate character – obviously passive – and it looks as if the Benjamites accepted him, but the statement all of Israel (verse 9) is more of a declaration, rather than a fact – because the Philistines were in control of everything else north of Judah, and David ruled over Judah.

It was only the people of Judah who’d submitted to David.  These folks were in the trenches for their king. I’m sure they couldn’t understand what in the world had gone wrong with the rest of Israel. Why on earth would they follow a false king?

Well, it was Israel’s way. They had a history of having a fickle heart…and, unfortunately, so do we.

This fickleness comes from the lust of our eyes – of which Abner represents very well.

Have you ever read Erma Bombeck’s book The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank? Well, I have a septic tank…and the grass does grow a lot greener in that part of the yard than anywhere else. And though the grass is green and lush, what lies beneath it is a stinking mess.

This lust of the eyes that we have: lust for power, riches, influence, sex, food, drugs – whatever your weakness – it can be boiled down to that one saying: the grass is always greener over the septic tank. Sure, it looks good out there, the most beautiful shade of green you’ve ever seen – it’s the best looking yard on the street. But it is all appearances. What lies below the good looks will kill you. It’s poison, make no mistake.

Some great advice from Paul goes like this:

13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:13-14 niv 2011

Paul said don’t even think about it!

John wrote:

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world – the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires will pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1st John 2:15-17 niv 1984

But then, when we see that awesome, beautiful, green, lush lawn, we think: I want that. And we go to war, fighting for that which we think we need, striking down one another in the process.

12 Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah and David’s men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side.

14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.”

“All right, let them do it,” Joab said.

15 So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. 16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.

17 The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men. 2nd Samuel 2:12-17 niv 2011

Helkath Hazzurim means Field of Sharp Swords.

George Williams made an observation here:

The sharp swords which mutually destroyed the young men should have been used against the Philistine, and not against one another. The destructive energy which rival groups within the Christian Church employ against each other would accomplish great things if used against national evils.

—George Williams, The Complete Bible Commentary

18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. 19 He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. 20 Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?”

“It is,” he answered.

21 Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him.

22 Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?”

23 But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.

24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. 25 Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.

26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?” 2nd Samuel 2:18-26 niv 2011

What was that he said? Suddenly Abner is the voice of reason? Why on earth is he so concerned about a civil war?

Rest assured, he’s not – he’s just seen the writing on the wall. He knows that the remaining sons of Zuriah will be gunning for him and that they will beat him – Even David will eventually admit that the sons of Zuriah are too harsh. (2nd Samuel 3) It’s time for Abner to make a new plan. Let’s call this thing off and perhaps we can all be friends again.

I loved the movie, Tombstone. In one scene Doc Holliday is gambling with a man named Ed Bailey – and he beats him bad. They exchange unpleasantries and Doc taps the ivory handles of his pistols and says, “We cross?”

Ed Bailey, stupidly answers, “Those guns don’t scare me – cuz without ’em you’re nothing but a skinny lunger.”

Eventually Ed Bailey reaches for his gun, but Doc is quicker. What’s surprising, however is that Doc lays his guns on the table instead of blowing away Ed Bailey, and says, “There, now we can be friends again.”

Doc’s led Ed Bailey to believe that he’s safe – as if there’s a truce – but Doc’s got an alternate plan. When Ed Bailey rushes at Doc, Doc pulls out a knife and fillets Ed Bailey right on the spot. The authentic, historical account of that event is horrific. Just because Doc Holliday didn’t haven’t his guns drawn didn’t mean that he wasn’t lethal. Doc Holliday was quick with his hidden knives as well – a fact that Ed Bailey wasn’t aware of…until it was too late.

Abner has some hidden knives – he just needs the opportunity to pull them out. So he seemingly lays down his weapons and calls for a truce… But it’s going to backfire on him.

 

Please come back next week for The Grass is Always Greener Part 3 in our series: The Lion of Judah.

 

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Posted in Abner, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, The sons of Zuriah, Warrior, Warrior | 2 Comments

The Lion of Judah Series – The Grass is Always Greener Part 1

After the slaughter and plunder of the Amalekites, David and his men, the wives, the children—everybody—returns to Ziklag. They’ve only been home for two days when they get the weirdest visitor. It’s a man, obviously marked for mourning in that he’s torn his clothing and has put ashes on his head – as if something is very wrong. The guy claims to have escaped from Israel’s camp – as if to say, “I fought with Israel and barely made it out alive.”

Well, less than a week earlier David had been moving toward the front lines of that battle in his pretended ruse with Achish. So he asks this weird visitor how it went.

“The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

“I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’

“He asked me, ‘Who are you?’

“‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.

“Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’

10 “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”

11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 2nd Samuel 1:4-12 niv 2011

David was devastated to learn that Saul was dead – even though their past should indicate relief more than sorrow at Saul’s passing. Saul was the leader of David’s nation. He not only mourned for Saul and Jonathon, but for the army of Israel as well – God’s peculiar treasure. It’s David’s mourning here that leads me to believe that the Philistine princes were wise to have Achish send him away from the battle. Perhaps David would have risen up from the ranks and laid waste to the Philistines after all.

And after a full day of mourning, David calls the weird visitor back to his presence:

13 David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?”

“I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.

14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 2nd Samuel 1:13-14 niv 2011

Here’s the thing…if this man had indeed been fighting with Israel, he would have been familiar with Israel’s ways, and he would have known all about David and why David had refused on two prior occasions to kill Saul. Remember the armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it 1st Samuel 31:4 niv 2011

I think at this point David has it figured out that this Amalekite did not just happen to be on Mount Gilboa that day. Chances are, the Amalekite reached Saul and his sons before the Philistines and raided the dead bodies. He may have even witnessed Saul take his own life, but he changes the story in order to receive some kind of a reward from David for slaying what appears to be his mortal enemy.

David had lived a very duplicitous life. The consequence of that was that the Amalekite assumed that he and David were cut from the same cloth. But David has had a change of heart.

15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’” 2nd Samuel 1:15-16 niv 2011

In David’s actions here, and also in Chapter 4, David is quick to establish the fact that he’s not happy about Saul’s death, nor is he out to usurp Saul’s throne. He’s going out on a limb of commitment publicly as regards the righteousness and truth of God and His ways – and then he makes public a musical lament for Saul and Jonathon that flatters them in a very majestic and royal way. David is sincere in his expressions. His heart is right before God. But he’s also very careful to make sure that everyone familiar with his conflict with Saul knows exactly what side David is going to come down on – and that is the side of God Almighty.

Otto von Gerlach wrote: (German theologian from the mid 1800’s)

The only deep mourning for Saul, with the exception of that of the Jabeshites (I Samuel xxxi. 11), proceeded from the man whom he had hated and persecuted for so many years even to the time of his death; just as David’s successor [Jesus Christ] wept over the fall of Jerusalem, even when it was about to destroy [Him].

—Otto von Gerlach, 1795–1877

This is one of those awesome parallels between David and Jesus that I’m still trying very hard to sort through.

David loved Saul deeply and sincerely, and was sorry to realize that he had died before reconciliation could take place – before the restoration of their relationship.

Matthew reports that Jesus lamented over Jerusalem in the same way on Tuesday of the week He was crucified:

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate.’” Matthew 23:37-38 niv 2011

God loves His peculiar treasure unconditionally – Saul was that kind of a peculiar treasure to David. David wanted to be with Saul and his family the same way God wants to be with Israel – but she would never listen, and her house was left desolate.

Saul’s house, as well, was left desolate.

Like Israel to Jesus, Saul did not want God’s anointed king to serve and protect. He fought David with everything he had, until Saul was finally dead.

David was a blessed warrior, who had proven himself time and time again, and yet Saul wanted him dead.

Christ fought many a battle for the nation of Israel, and had delivered her many times. Yet, when He stood right there in front of them they didn’t recognize His majesty.

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. 11He came to that which was His own, and His own did not receive Him. John 1:10-11 niv 1984

Like Saul wanted David dead, and only for the sake of his righteousness, Israel sought to crucify Jesus Christ because of His righteousness. They didn’t want to hear any of it.

Back to the account of David…

God tells David to go to Hebron, where the men of Judah anoint David king. This is where David learns of the kindness of the people of Jabesh Gilead toward Saul and his sons. David then sends a message of thanks, but it’s also sort of an invitation to recognize him as king as the men of Judah had done.

 

There’s much more to this particular adventure of David, so come back next week for The Grass is Always Greener Part 2 in our series: The Lion of Judah.

 

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If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.

 

© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Posted in Between Two Kings, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, King Saul, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, Warrior, Warrior | 1 Comment