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2 Samuel 22-24: Blessings for the King Print E-mail
2 Samuel
Sunday, 17 September 2017

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It is good for us at times to stop and thank the Lord for all of the blessings that we have as followers of Jesus. Occasionally counting our many blessings is a good idea! I heard a good example of this from Jeanette Smith at her motherís funeral. She told the story that every week when her mom got home from shopping for groceries she would bring in the bags and empty them all on their kitchen table. Then she would spend just a few moments in prayer thanking the Lord for His provision for her family. Everything that she had purchased to feed her family for the week was a gift from the Lord and she wanted to take the time to be thankful.

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King David was greatly blessed by the Lord. He had taken him from being a nobody shepherd boy in Bethlehem to being the king over all of Israel. The watcher of sheep was now the ruler over Godís people. And throughout the whole journey, the Lord has been protecting and providing and being present with David. Even after horrible sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, the Lord showed David great mercy and continued to bless him as king. As we noted last week, the author of 1-2 Samuel is bringing Davidís story to a close in the final chapters of 2 Samuel. We saw last week the last words concerning some of Davidís enemies. This week we turn to the actual last words of the king (even though he will say some more in the final stories told). And I think a unifying theme that runs throughout chapters 22-24 is Godís various blessings on Davidís life. I want to mention just four this morning from the text.

Victory over enemies (ch. 22)

2 Samuel 22 consists of a psalm of David (Psalm 18). It is one of the better summaries of Davidís belief in God as his Sovereign Protector. We donít have time to look at every phrase in the poem, so let me just summarize it with a couple of thoughts.

First, David praises God for responding to his desperate cries for help. David knew what it was like to be on the run from his enemies. He knew what it was like to be facing impossible odds. He lived through many days that very well could have been his last. Yet, he survived. How did he do it? His answer is that he did it through the Lord! Look at verses 1-4. God is Davidís rock, his fortress, and his deliverer. He is his shield, his stronghold, and his refuge. And notice the language: David is calling God all of these things. He doesnít just provide protection, He is protection. His person and presence is my rock and my refuge. And David needed Him. Look at verses 5-10. David cried for help and God responded in power. The description here is lengthy, stressing Godís great power to deliver David. David concludes Godís response in verses 17-20. Look at those with me. David was desperate and the Lord came through. He needed help and God was his support. He rescued David because He delighted in him. What an overwhelming thought to think that the Lord delights in us and therefore does us good!

Second, David praises God for His justice and provision. David writes something that sounds strange to us in verses 21-25. Look at those with me. Now wait a minute, is this the same David that slept with Bathsheba and killed Uriah? How can he say that he was righteous? Let me offer a couple of thoughts. First, David is not saying that he is necessarily perfect but that he did depart from the Lord. He still believed in God, even in the midst of his sin, which leads to the second point. Second, faith in God is the measure of righteousness. This is of course Paulís argument in Romans: we are made righteous through faith in Christ. Our faith will lead to obedience and righteous living (as James teaches), which begins by not departing from belief in God. David goes on to praise God for His justice and continue to point out all the ways that God has blessed him. Look at verses 31-36. David fought, but the Lord gave the victory. So David praises Him. Look at verses 47-51. One great blessing that the Lord gave David was victory over His enemies.

Justice to rule (23:1-7)

The last words of the king are recorded in 23:1-7. Look at verses 1-4. These are important words, signified by the author calling them the oracle of David. These are words that are from the Lord. And what has God told him? A just ruler who fears the Lord is a great blessing for Godís people. David was that and the people were blessed under his rule. But there is more going on here than just the rule of David. Look at verses 5-7. Not only was David a just ruler, but he seems to be pointing to the justice of the ongoing rule of the kings. Now we know that many will not prove to be just like David, but the covenant is everlasting, which leaves us wondering. When will a just ruler like David come? When will another ruler from the house of David come that fears the Lord? These questions leave us longing for the perfect King. And we know that His name is Jesus! Jesus will come and rule justly and punish the wicked and be a blessing to all Godís people. Even David is looking for Him at the end of his life!

Men to serve (23:8-39)

The text mentioned last week some of the men that surrounded David and fought with him in his numerous battles. We get a full list of those men in 23:8-39. It begins with The Three. These men were able to accomplish some impressive military feats. One of them killed 800 men at one time. One of them struck down so many Philistines that his hand got stuck to his sword. And the other fought against the Philistines when everyone else had turned away. These were mighty soldiers for David. The author includes a story in verses 13-17. Look at that with me. It seems that The Three carried out this crazy mission for King David (it may have been another three). When David was hiding out in a cave and said that he longed for some water from Bethlehem. These men risked their lives to go and bring David some water. And what did David do with it? He poured it out of course! Now you may be thinking, ĎWhy in the world would he do that?í He did this to communicate to these men that he was unworthy of their faithful service. Only the Lord was worthy and so David used the water to worship the Lord, which would have seemingly been a great honor for these men.

The author goes on to list the rest of the men in verses 18-38. He begins with Abishai and notes that he was the chief of the thirty. We have seen his faithful service to David. He lists another individual who was also set apart for his great service, including killing a lion and an Egyptian giant. Some noteworthy details about the list of the thirty is that they were from various backgrounds, a few of them even being foreigners. The list ends with Uriah the Hittite, Bathshebaís husband, which is a sobering reminder of Davidís murder of him. All of these men were great gifts from God. Notice the language in verse 10b and 12b. The Lord used these men to bless David by giving him victory over his enemies. What a blessing to not have to always fight alone! And as we said last week, all of these men serve as good examples for our young men. If you are looking for a way to spend your life well, spend it serving the Lordís anointed!

Forgiveness of sins (ch. 24)

The book ends with an odd story about Davidís sin in taking a census of Israel. Part of the weirdness stems from the first verse. Look at that with me. It is not easy to understand what is going on here and the parallel story in 1 Chronicles 21 notes that it was Satan who actually incited David to number the people. So which is it? I think what the author is emphasizing here is Godís sovereignty over all things. So even though Satan incited David and David chose to sin in numbering the people, the author wants us to know that God is sovereign over it all. Another option is that God did order the census, but David, under the influence of Satan, carried it out in a sinful way. It is hard to be sure. Either way, David did carry out the census and recognized his sin in doing it, which he confessed. After Davidís confession, the Lord sent the prophet Gad to give David three options for punishment: three years of famine, three months of running from your enemies, or three days of pestilence. David chose the later because he thought: ĎLet us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.í

So the pestilence comes and 70,000 men are killed. Again we see the great price of our sin. But when the angel comes to Jerusalem, the Lord mercifully tells him to stop. He does this at a particular place: the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Gad tells David to build an altar to the Lord at this site and offer sacrifices. So David purchases the land because he does not want to offer a sacrifice that cost him nothing. The book closes with his offering. Look at verse 25. David makes the offering and the Lord shows mercy just as David had hoped. Why is this significant? It is on this spot that Solomon will build the Temple (see 1 Chronicles 22:1, 2 Chronicles 3:1). I think this symbolized for David and for the author the glorious blessing of Godís provision for forgiveness of sins. David did not build the Temple, but he experienced the blessings of what took place there, namely atonement for sins.

David was greatly blessed by God throughout his life. He had victory over his enemies. He experienced a just rule and was promised a Forever King who would rule justly. He was surrounded by men who were willing to give their lives in service to their king. And he experienced the mercy of God through the forgiveness of his sins. These were all blessings that God gave to His anointed. And they are all blessings that come to those who put their faith in the Lordís Anointed today. The Forever King that David spoke of is none other than Jesus our Lord. He was a descendant of David and He came to defeat all our enemies at the cross, which He did through His death and resurrection. He saves all who turn from their sins and believe in Him and gives them as gifts to one another (the Church) to aid each other in serving the King. We are part of that band now as members of Trinity Baptist Church! Jesus came to Ďtabernacleí among us so that He could offer Himself as our atonement for sin. Through faith in Him we can experience the mercy of God just like David. The great King of Israel prepares the way for the greatest King of Israel, Jesus our Lord. Follow hard after King Jesus today! Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 October 2017 )

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