After David became King over all Israel and Judah, he needed to settle down into his own place and palace. Where else to go but the ancient city of Jebus the home of the Jebusites? 2 Samuel 6:6-16 tells how David came to the city and conquered it, defeating the enemy in the process. When Jesus came to Jerusalem, He also came to conquer, but His targets were sin and death. Unlike David, He did not do this by force but by sacrifice. And while David had a palace built for him within his new royal city, Jesus went in to heaven to prepare a place (John 14), in fact a new city (Revelation 21) for His people.
22 years is a long time. It’s a long time to wait. For 22 years, David was been waiting for King Saul and his descendants to be cleared from being in the way of his accession to the throne. Saul was dead by suicide. Abner was dead by murder. But Ish-bosheth, son of Saul remained as King over the 11 tribes of Israel. Would God’s promises to David in 1 Samuel 16 ever reach their fulfilment? And if so, how would David become King? And, given the bloodthirsty nature of some of his followers, how could he establish a kingdom that was not won by force or coercion? And if David points us to Jesus, in what ways is this seen in his rise to the throne as recorded in 2 Samuel 4:1-5:5?
With the scene set for full scale civil war between the houses of David and Saul, things took a brighter turn when Saul’s army general, Abner, turned from supporting Ish-bosheth to lend his support for David. With this, peace in Israel was in sight. Negotiations began and were running smoothly…that was until Joab took the matter in his own hands and murdered Abner. What would Jesus have learned as he read all this from 2 Samuel 3:1-39? And what do we learn as followers of Him who seek to bring in His Kingdom?
With David ascending to the throne as King over the tribe of Judah, and Ish-bosheth (son of Saul) installed as King over the remaining eleven tribes, the scene was set for a showdown…but not the kind of showdown you might have been expecting! Led by the two opposing army generals, (perhaps in some attempt to prove their young men were better), a fight ensued between young men from both sides with the end result, needless death and bloodshed (who would have seen that coming?) But God’s Word is God’s Word and even a passage like 2 Samuel 2:12-32 has much to teach us!
After the death of Saul, 2 Samuel 1:1-11 tells us that David was crowned King of Judah. Judah and not yet all Israel. After years on the run from Saul and with the promise of God in his mind that he would one day become King of the whole nation, how David responded to this next step is informative. Was he going to be a King who would take control of the nation by force or was he going to be a King who relied upon God to establish him? And what of the rival king, Ish-bosheth, son of Saul? Again, how David responded would be crucial!
The book of 2 Samuel continues the story of 1 Samuel, where in chapter 31, King Saul met a grisly end by his own hand. 2 Samuel opens with the news of Saul’s death reaching King-elect David. It may be that the news-bearer presented the report on Saul’s death to David in the hope of some reward, but all it achieved was distress and grief to David and a swift execution for the news-bearer! Why such a response from David? And why such distress? And why such a poetic lament for Saul after all that Saul did for David? And what can we learn from David’s response to the news of Saul’s death?
While the world knows the reality of the horror of war, the believer also knows the reality of the battle for holiness. Best laid plans and intentions can so easily be left aside. The Christian life is a paradox. We have been delivered from the penalty of sin, but not yet from the presence of sin. The desires of our own sinful natures and the Holy Spirit are often in conflict. How do we fight this battle? Every believer needs to know that indwelling sin is the problem, that it lives within our hearts, that it deceives our reasoning and ought not be allowed to have control. The key to victory is not found in ourselves but in the presence of God’s Holy Spirit who can and will assist us in this ongoing battle for holiness.
Holiness. It’s often been misunderstood, even by God’s pople. What are we to make of it? For a start, holiness begins with God. He is ‘holy, holy, holy’. Holiness is his chief characteristic and everything about him (his love, his wisdom, his mercy etc.) is holy. Holiness is also defined by Jesus. As he was and is God, we should expect that everything he did was holy, and this was true. Though he hung around with ‘sinners’, his life was holy in every way. Then also, holiness is necessary for believers. It is needed to prove that we know salavtion. It is needed so that we can have fellowship with God. It is needed if we want to be useful to God. Holiness is a path to take, a battle to fight and a desire to be pursued. It begins with God but ought to be seen in his people who are called to be like him in this way.
In the final section of Paul’s letter to Timothy, the Apostle reminded this young pastor of one of the major snares that would entrap the believers at Ephesus – riches. Although it is no sin to be wealthy, those who do enjoy riches face the temptation to give their hearts to their wealth or their material possessions and in so doing, fail to make use of their wealth for God’s glory. Paul therefore instructed Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17-21 to teach the wealthy at Ephesus to beware of the uncertainty of riches, to be generous with their wealth and to see their wealth in the light of eternity, knowing that everything belonging to this world will be destroyed at the end of the age. It is possible to be godly and wealthy, but to do that God must always come before wealth. To do otherwise is to fail to be faithful stewards of all that God has given His people to enjoy.
The first part of Paul’s concluding statements to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11-16 address Timothy directly. the whole letter was written for his benefit, this section would leave Timothy in no doubt as to how he should go about the task that was a ahead of him. The section of text centres around 5 commands that Timothy ought to put into practice and all these commands are reminscent of language that might be employed by a senior army officer to a junior. The commands are ‘flee’ (sin), ‘pursue’ (godliness), ‘take hold’ (of eternal life), ‘fight’ (the good fight) and ‘keep’ (the commandment). Paul also called upon two witnesses, the Lord Jesus and God the Father, in making this solemn and urgent charge to Timothy. God’s people may feel as though the fight is wearying and hard, but we are not to ‘lay down arms’ until death or until Jesus returns.