How to Handle Unexpected Hostility

September 16, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.

I Samuel 25:2

This man, who probably had two separate homes (one in Maon and one in Carmel), was extremely rich. Some wealthy people are generous – and some are mean and stingy. In the historical period described in I Samuel, if there was ever a time when it would be wise to approach a rich man to ask for a favor, it would be during the shearing time – a time of celebration and prosperity.

Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.

I Samuel 25:3

What a contrast! This evil and rude and mean-spirited man had a beautiful and gracious wife. He was a fool, and she was known for wisdom. He was “churlish” – translated from a Hebrew word which brings to mind a mean dog that bites the hand that would feed it, and is a pun on the name “Caleb,” which in Hebrew sounds like the word for dog. How could a man like Nabal obtain a wife like Abigail? If you know me and my wife, you are probably thinking I should know the answer to that, since it describes me and her! The Bible doesn’t tell us, though. We are left to assume that Nabal changed after the wedding, or that it was an arranged marriage, without Abigail having had a say in the matter.

And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.

I Samuel 23:4

David and his men needed food and supplies. Not knowing Nabal’s temperament, David believed this would be a good time to call in the favor implicitly owed to him by Nabal, but instead of charging into the shearing party with 600 unruly soldiers, he exercised discretion and sent ahead ten young, inoffensive messengers.

And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name: And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast. And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel. Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.

I Samuel 25:5-8

There was an understanding that the good service done to Nabal’s shepherds in protecting them and his flocks, and in being very scrupulous not to take anything for themselves without permission, would be rewarded in a culture where the custom of hospitality toward strangers was of the utmost honor.

And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased. And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.

I Samuel 25:9-10

Verse 14 says that Nabal “railed” on them, which is translated from a Hebrew word that means to screech at someone in fury like a predatory bird swooping down on its prey. It is difficult to overstate how insulting this was toward David, especially after he had just had an opportunity to take Saul’s life, and had refused to do it.

Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be? So David’s young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.

I Samuel 25:11-12

David was a complex character. He was a man after God’s own heart, known for his passion and zeal for God, but passionate and zealous people often have a hard time controlling that passion and zeal. David was someone who rejoiced at good news with his whole heart – as many of the Psalms attest – but he was also someone who could react very violently at bad news – as many of the OTHER Psalms, along with some of David’s actions – attest. When he received word of Nabal’s insults and his refusal to pay what David felt he owed, he did not hesitate.

Sometimes it’s hard to read tone into Biblical dialogue, but it’s not at all hard to hear David’s attitude, and imagine him speaking through gritted teeth with flexed muscles and furrowed brow in this verse:

And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.

I Samuel 25:13

David angry at Nabal

While this was going on, one of Nabal’s servants had the foresight to see where things were heading, and, when David’s servants left to report back to David, this servant, acting on his own initiative, went and found Nabal’s wife, Abigail, and told her what kind of trouble Nabal had stirred up for himself.

Just as David acted decisively and without hesitation when told of Nabal’s offensiveness, Abigail acted just as quickly and decisively – but with a far different motive and intention. Whereas David had strapped on his sword, Abigail packed a picnic!

Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.

I Samuel 35:18

That sounds like a huge amount of food prepared in a short period of time. As she went forth, the Lord’s invisible hand (what we call His providence) was at work. He arranged it so that David, bearing down on Nabal’s estate, ran smack into Abigail at just the right moment.

And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.

I Samuel 25:23-25

A superficial reading makes it sound like she was being disloyal to her own husband, pointing out that his name was well-deserved, but in reality she was doing him a great service – albeit behind his back.

Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord. I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

I Samuel 25:26-31

There is tremendous wisdom in this speech, and it is not flattery. It is truth: David would one day reign over Israel, and the act of vengeance he was on the verge of committing would have been a stain on his reputation that would have hindered his abililty to rule, as well as showing a lack of trust in the Lord to fight his battles for him.

And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

I Samuel 25:32-3

We can take a few lessons from the account of Nabal, David, and Abigail:

1. Don’t assume that people are good-natured.

David took it for granted that his good service toward Nabal would be returned in kind. We don’t have to resort to gross pessimism, but we do need to remember the doctrine of man’s depravity, so that we are not caught off-guard when someone responds to our kindness with rudeness or hostility.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Romans 3:10-11

2. When you encounter unexpected hostility, don’t respond with rash anger in return.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

There are times when righteous indignation is the appropriate and even God-honoring response, but a cooling-off period in which we seek the Lord in prayer and Bible-consultation helps us to exercise wisdom.

3. Don’t let your mouth write a check your provision can’t cash.

Nabal talked very boldly and arrogantly and provocatively to David’s servants, but he was ill-prepared to deal with the consequences.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:28-33

4. Peacemakers enjoy God’s favor.

Abigail saved both both men from a tragic consequence – at least temporarily.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Matthew 5:9

Making true peace involves sharing the truth, and it involves self-sacrifice. Abigail took a big risk intercepting David, but she needed to share the truth that ultimate vengeance belongs to God, not us. David’s change of mind turned out to be the right course of action, and Nabal did not escape God’s justice.

And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light. But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died. And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.

I Samuel 25:36-39

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Romans 12:19

Abigail’s actions remind us in a way of Jesus, Who rescued us from the wrath and the shame we deserved because of our hostility toward God and each other. If you have been rescued from the power of sin, and from even greater sin than you would have committed apart from God’s providence and intercession, then praise Him. If you are still in your sins,  seize this opportunity right now – as did David – to turn from your present course, and turn toward Jesus. Repent, trust Him, ask Him to take away your sin and guilt – and live.

A Kite that Soars

July 25, 2016 at 11:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Although David lived many centuries before the historical period known as the “Renaissance,” he was in many ways a quintessential “Renaissance man.” A valiant warrior, a wise king, a diplomat, statesman, and visionary, he was also a skilled musician, worship leader, and poet.

The Holy Spirit inspired the Biblical writers to faithfully record the historical narrative of much of David’s life in I and II Samuel, while at the same time inspiring David himself to pen beautiful poetry describing the person and work of the Lord God. Sometimes these literary genres intersected in wonderful ways, making the Holy Scriptures come alive for readers centuries later.

II Samuel 22 is a good example:

And David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.

II Samuel 22:1-11

I find myself in an ever-shrinking minority in continuing to use, endorse, and recommend to others the King James Version of the Bible, but, in my opinion, it truly excels the other versions, especially in these poetic passages of Scripture. There are certain parts of the Bible which should make the reader’s heart soar like a kite in a high wind. To me, other versions may fit the definition of a kite, but they are like kites being dragged, bumping, along the ground. The King James Version, with it’s Shakespearean-era turns of phrases and memorable rhythms, is a kite that soars.

Beware of Foretold Favor

January 10, 2014 at 11:36 am | Posted in The Fives | Leave a comment
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David wanted to build a house in which the presence of the Lord could dwell (II Samuel 7:1-3), but the Lord wanted David’s son to be the one to build it (II Samuel 7:4-13). David’s son Solomon became king, and at the appointed time he determined to fulfill the promise which the Lord had made to his father.

And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.

I Kings 5:5

When the opportunity came for Solomon to accomplish this sacred duty, he recognized that the providence of God was at work. He also remembered – and relied upon – the promise of God to help him accomplish it.

As Christians we must remember that the Spirit of God which brought us to Christ does not thereafter lie dormant in our lives until our time to go to Heaven. He has decreed good works for us to accomplish during our temporary sojourn in this wicked world. We certainly don’t want to miss these opportunities! Our task is to remember this promise, to get excited about it, and to seek to accomplish it in God’s power. When enthusiasm and expectation meet providence and purpose, great things are accomplished and God is glorified.

Prayer, Protection, Praise, and Posture

September 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Posted in Selected Psalms | 5 Comments
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David had fled to Gath, the Philistine home of his old nemesis, Goliath. There, they harassed and mocked him. They slandered him. They made threats against him.

[To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.] Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Psalm 56:1-4

If David was going to praise God in these circumstances, even his praise would have to come from God. It is right for God to praise Himself.

David’s first prayer was: Keep me alive.

Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up…

Psalm 56:1

David’s second prayer was: Keep me upright.

Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.

Psalm 56:5-6

David had a bull’s eye on his back. All Christians do. We are Satan’s primary targets. God wants us to stay upright, but we don’t get upright before God by getting on our feet. We get upright before God by getting on our faces.

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

Psalm 56:8

God numbers our hairs and our tears. He accurately knows everything we have been through.

Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

Psalm 56:12

In prayer, it is okay to remind God of His Own promises – not because God forgets, but because it refocuses us on His covenant.

David’s third prayer was: Keep me praising You.

Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

Psalm 56:12-13

God answered David’s three prayers. He kept him alive. He kept him upright. And He kept him praising God. God did this by shining His light. Light is essential for life, for staying upright, and for praising God. God is the Father of Lights, and He is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth.

Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part Three)

July 5, 2012 at 10:05 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Selected Psalms, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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David appeared to be at the top of his game. Having been blessed greatly by God, David was exhibiting several signs of being a good steward of these blessings. But if Satan had been watching David, taking notes and looking for an opportunity to trap him with just the right temptation, then he would most certainly have noticed a major weakness. David had a weakness for lust, and a desire to have more and more wives.

Before the incident with Bathsheba, David had as many as seven wives: Ahinoam; Haggith; Abital; Eglah; Maacha; Abigail; Chileab. This was common practice in those days, but it was still sin against God (Matthew 19:8; Deuteronomy 17:17). So, when the devil planned an attack on David, he must have said, “Aha, he has a weakness for beautiful women.” And the snare was set.

Here are some lessons we can learn about avoiding Satanic traps:

1. When we’re blessed in fighting, we need to remember to ask for God’s protection and preparation. Prayer and spiritual warfare go hand in hand.

Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

Psalms 144:1

2. When we’re blessed with family, we need to watch out for those with whom they would associate. Your family members can be influenced by others outside of your family.

Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:

Psalms 144:11

3. When we’re blessed with faithful friends, we need to abide in God’s Word (not err from it).

The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

Psalm 119:110

4. When we’re blessed with fear, we shouldn’t have a fear of aviation.

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

Psalms 124:7

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

I Corinthians 6:18

5. When we have the blessing of God’s favor, we need to remember to be alert.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

I Peter 5:8

6. If we’re blessed with fame, we need to be awake and active.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13:11-14

Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part Two)

June 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 6 Comments
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We noted King David’s many blessings in Part One. The Bible is not a book of fairy tales, myths, or legends. Its Author, the Holy Spirit, does not hide the sins, shortcomings, and ugly truths about its heroes. When David sinned with Bathsheba, there seems little doubt that his pride over his might, favor, and accomplishments played a part in his fall. However, when we go back and look carefully, we can see that this was perhaps not the chief cause of his downfall. David was actually being a good steward of these blessings God had given him.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Luke 16:10

When David was blessed in fighting, he gave God the glory (as recorded in many of the Psalms), and was obedient to fight God’s enemies. When David was blessed in his family he didn’t just indulge his sons; he gave them responsibilities. When David was blessed with fame, God knew he could trust David to give God the glory. When David was blessed with faithful friends, he listened to them, and obeyed God’s Word. When David was blessed with feasting he didn’t become greedy or gluttonous; he became generous and giving.

So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

II Samuel 9:13

When David was blessed with fear he didn’t lord it over people; he sought ways to show kindness.

And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?

II Samuel 9:1

So, what else could have played a part in David’s lusting for Bathsheba and subsequent entrapment in sin? If you are a Christian, when you were saved, a great victory was achieved over Satan. Your salvation was a tough loss for Satan, and you may have been given a brief period of reprieve after that, but it didn’t take long for the Devil to get back up and come after you again. It might have been the next week, the next day, at school or at work. It might have been the next Sunday at church, or it might have been when you told your spouse or family or friends. It might even have been in the car on the way home from church! Pharaoh was forced to let God’s people out of Egypt, but he changed his mind and came after them before they even reached the Red Sea (Exodus 14). Jesus said, “Get thee behind Me, Satan” (Luke 4:8), but many of us are too nervous to have him back there where we can’t keep an eye on him. Thankfully, we don’t have to trust Satan. We have to trust the Lord Jesus.

David looked like he had on all his spiritual armor.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11

But there was a chink in David’s armor. The Devil is wily. He’s watching us closely. He’s looking for weakness. “Wiles” are tricky schemes, traps, snares, treachery by guile. That’s one reason why we must be very careful about placing a novice Christian in a position of leadership.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

I Timothy 3:7

We must also try to be kind and meek and mild, and not contentious.

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

II Timothy 2:26

Satan does not stop attacking Christians, even when they are not serving the Lord. He does not make deals with believers. He does not really expect to get true Christians to bow down and worship him. We’re already saved. He can’t take us to hell. He wants us to think about ourselves. One of his main temptations is to tell you to do what feels good. Do what’s easy. Look out for number one. No rules, he says. Just “rights.” Then, once you’re worshiping yourself instead of worshiping God, he has a very limited agenda. He wants to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).

David had a weakness – a chink in his armor – and that’s all it takes: one “occasion” (Galatians 5:13; I Timothy 5:14). An “occasion” is a foothold. It is what happens when you allow the enemy to build a little encampment inside your walls of protection. Next time, we will try to identify the “occasion” that Satan used to trap David.

Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part One)

May 16, 2012 at 9:42 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 3 Comments
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The events in II Samuel Chapter 8 took place after the incident at Ziklag and after the death of Saul. After defending himself against numerous enemy attacks, David received a brief period of rest from God before he went on the offensive, counterattacking. David experienced:

I. Blessings in Fighting

At this point in David’s career he was not a leader who simply sent out men into battle. David was a leader who fought in person.

Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went.

II Samuel 8:6

And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went.

II Samuel 8:14

David’s accomplishments in battle – against the Philistines and against the Syrians – were so spectacular that God gave him:

II. The Blessing of Fame

And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.

II Samuel 8:13

God also gave David:

III. The Blessing of Fairness

And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.

II Samuel 8:15

And:

IV. The Blessing of Family

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers.

II Samuel 8:18

Priests were there to make sure David had access to the Word of God. In this way, God gave David:

V. The Blessing of Faithful Friends

And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe;

II Samuel 8:17

It is good to have friends who are loyal, but the best friends are friends who are men of faith.

God gave David:

VI. The Blessing of Fear

David feared God, and David’s enemies feared David. Most of the people he conquered became his servants.

And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.

II Samuel 8:2

God gave David:

VII. The Blessings of Forgiveness and Feasting

And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.

II Samuel 9:1-2

Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.

II Samuel 9:11

Mephibosheth was of the house of Saul, the man who had tried to kill David, yet David showed him forgiveness, kindness, and treated him like a member of his own family.

God gave David:

VIII. The Blessing of Favor

David was wealthy, healthy, handsome, talented, smart, strong, loved, respected, and trusted – all in II Samuel Chapter 9 – but only two chapters later, we see David fall into his greatest sin – the incident of his affair with Bathsheba and subsequent murderous cover-up. Was David so blessed by God that he became filled with pride and fell into sin? Or was there something else going on behind the scenes? Stay tuned for Part Two, in which we will delve deeper into what it means to be a good steward of our blessings.

The Husband of One Wife – Part 2

October 11, 2010 at 10:45 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Marriage | 9 Comments
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We have seen:
I. What God Authorized
Now we are looking at
II. What God Allows

The practice of multiplying wives grew in the Old Testament, and considering the number of wives he had as king, it seemed to reach its zenith during the reign of Solomon. King David’s most well-known sin was his affair with Bathsheba and its murderous consequences, but what is often overlooked is that after David was given Saul’s daughter, Michal, as his prize-bride, he had an additional six or seven wives besides Bathsheba.

The following colloquy between David and his son, Solomon, takes place when Solomon is a boy, around the time when he first begins to take a serious interest in girls. It is purely imagined. There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that such a conversation actually took place. However, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Solomon “learned” from the example of his earthly father. I am using it strictly for illustration purposes.

Solomon: Dad, how did you meet Mom?

David: Well, the kings were going out to battle one time, and I didn’t go, and I happened to see her.

Solomon: Where?

David: Well… she was up on a roof, and I was on my roof – a little higher up – and I saw her over there.

Solomon: What was she doing – hanging her laundry out there? Come on, Dad – I really want to know.

David: … She was taking a bath.

Solomon: Okay – did you run downstairs, and then wait until she was decent, and then go over there to meet her?

David: No, I kept looking…

Solomon: Okay, well, I’m sure she covered herself up when she saw you, but you remembered her and ran into her later?

David: No, actually, I had her brought to me.

Solomon: Well, you were the king – and she was a single lady –

David: No – no… she wasn’t single.

Solomon: I never realized Mom had been married before – I guess her first husband must have died?

David: No, I had her husband killed.

Solomon: Wow! He must have been evil and abusive!

David: Actually, no, what happened is – he was away at battle – and I brought him back home… to try to cover up the fact that I had got his wife pregnant with your older brother.

Solomon: I have a brother?

David: Well, actually, no, he died under the judgment of God. But when I brought this man home, he was so honorable that he wouldn’t go inside his home because he was an honorable man, and loyal to his fellow soldiers… So, I had… well… I had him killed.

Now, when we read in the Bible that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, does it surprise you that the richest, wisest man in all the world found life to be vain and empty?

And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

Ecclesiastes 7:26

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

I Kings 11:3-6

At the end of the Old Testament, God makes it very clear how He feels about more than one wife:

For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away…

Malachi 2:16

So then, you see by the time of Christ that the practice of polygamy is only common among Gentiles and pagans.

III. What God Accepts

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

I Timothy 3:1-2

These verses are not saying that a bishop must be a “super-Christian” – really exceptional and special. They are not saying that only church officers should be all these things. They are saying that a church officer must be a blameless Christian – just as all Christians should be striving to be blameless. The phrase, “husband of one wife” can be debated as to whether it means “never having been divorced,” but any serious Bible student, teacher, commentator, or scholar will have to admit that, whatever else it means, it definitely excludes polygamy. Monogamous marriage is the only acceptable type of marriage to God.

Clean and New

April 5, 2010 at 9:01 am | Posted in Selected Psalms, Uncategorized | 16 Comments
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The prophet Nathan came to David the king. Nathan told him about a man who had been blessed by God with more than he deserved. However, this rich man was covetous, and he took a fancy to something that God had given to a poor man. Even though the poor man valued the thing dearly, the rich man stole it from him.

David was furious. He wanted the rich man to be punished with the loss of his very life. That was when Nathan revealed that the Lord knew David had committed a sin like the rich man’s, but to an even worse degree.

The anger drained from David. It was replaced by shame, and he admitted his sin and earnestly sought God’s forgiveness (II Samuel 12:1-13).

David realized that he needed cleansing from sin, but even more than that, he needed to remove the cause of the sin. Otherwise, it would only be repeated. Therefore, he prayed,

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

Who alone can “create?” Who can make something out of nothing? Who can bring into existence a thing which never before existed? Only God. David needed more than a repaired or improved heart. He needed a whole new heart. Furthermore, he needed a “right spirit.” Christian preachers have a saying whereby they encourage people to “get right” with God. Despite the dubious grammar in this expression, it correctly captures the idea of David’s plea. Grievous sin has grievous consequences, but for those who come to God by faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross, the Lord will create a new heart, a right spirit, forgiveness for past sins, and the victory over repeated sin.

Boys Will Be Boys, but Boys Should Want to Be Men

December 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Biblical Parenting | 8 Comments
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The Lord has commanded parents and church elders to train up boys and young men to be what the Lord wants them to be when they reach true manhood. God anointed David, the son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, king of Israel when he was still in his teen years.

By looking at what kind of boy David was, we can get a good idea of what kind of young men we should be training boys to be.

Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.

I Samuel 16:18

The phrase “cunning in playing,” means that David had taken time to develop and hone the skills with which God had gifted him. We must encourage boys to commit themselves to practicing and exercising their God-given talents.

The phrase “a mighty valiant man” means that David was courageous in dangerous situations. We must not shelter our boys from situations where their courage will be tested.

The phrase “a man of war” refers to David’s willingness to stand and fight for what was right. We must impress upon our boys that there are things that are worth fighting for, and Christian men are to be meek, but never cowardly.

The phrase “prudent in matters,” means that David exercised wisdom. He did not behave foolishly or invite criticism by behaving childishly. He behaved appropriately for his age.

The phrase “a comely person,” refers largely to David’s physical appearance. He was thought to be handsome. We certainly can not train boys in their physical characteristics. God determines this through genetics and His Own providence. But we can certainly train boys to dress appropriately and groom themselves properly.

Conspicuously absent from the description of David in his teen years are any indications that he was involved in foolish vanities. David, if alive today, would not be involved in hanging out at the mall, or text messaging silly word-plays. He would not inappropriately play-wrestle with girls or young ladies. He would have little time for shuffling his iPod, playing laser tag, or shopping for spinning hubcaps. He would not over-pay for ripped-up, ill-fitting clothes, so he could slouch around with uncombed and unwashed hair, trying desperately to look “cool.”

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