In 2 Samuel 24:1-25, there are some things that need sorting out. Who was it that incited David to go and conduct a census? And why was it that God’s anger burned against Israel because he did? And how was it that the due punishment for David’s sin was averted? And what is there in the text that leads us to the cross of Jesus?
There are those who think that God only works in a big way, through miraculous events. He certainly has in the past and there’s no telling what He will do in the days ahead, but to fill out the whole picture, we need to remember that God also works in the ordinary things of life – birth, census…things like that. Luke 2:1-35 tells us some of these things – even including the extraordinary – by which he has made known to us the path to eternal life – through Jesus, His Son.
There’s no doubt that 2 Samuel 23:8-39 makes an interesting list of names of men. David’s men. Men who supported and strengthened him during his flight from saul and his time as king over Israel and Judah. These men were great in their valour, courage and strength, winning battles and serving their Master no matter what the cost. Christians have a more worthy Master than these men ever did. Jesus, son of David, surpassed his ancestor in every way. Where are those who serve Him with courage and undying love?
There have been many occasions when the last words of people have been significant. That much is true for King David. In 2 Samuel 23:1-7, we have a record of David’s last words and they are words that carry much weight, not just because he was dying, but because they came to him from the Lord. Because that is so, these words of David take on a new perspective and point us beyond David to something greater in the plan of God that includes all of His people.
It is well known that King David was a prolific song writer. 2 Samuel 22:1-51 is one of his compositions, pretty much identical to what is recorded in Psalm 18. We can read David’s song as a testimony to the strong and abiding grace of God toward him, but also as a forerunner and pointer to the grace of His greater Son, Jesus, who would come and show grace to the extreme, not just to David but to all His people.
There’s no question that 2 Samuel 21:15-22 is an unusual passage. It recounts the stories of 4 battles that David and his men found themselves in – all against formidable foes, some descended from the giants and some even with six fingers and toes on their hands and feet! The battles make intersting reading, but so do the lessons that ultimately flow from the text which once again points us to Jesus as our Mighty King who fought the ultimate battle and won!
This part of God’s Word, 2 Samuel 21:1-14, would have to be one of the saddest parts of Scripture. Although it is not quite clear when this actual event occured (as these latter chapters of 2 Samuel seem not to be in chronological order), it still is instructive for us. While the king made good the promise that brought an end to the nations’ drought, the price tag was very high as seven of the family of Saul were hanged. Rizpah’s grief and pain were all too real. Another mother knew that pain. Her name was Mary and her son was Jesus! He too was strung up, but not for his sins, but ours.
Following hot on the heels of the rebellion led by David’s son, Absalom, came the rebellion led by Sheba in 2 Samuel 20:1-26. Called a ‘worthless fellow’ in verse 1, Sheba’s rebellion also proved fruitless and only led to more bloodshed, including his own and that of Amasa’s, David’s chief. Thankfully, God in His mercy did not treat our rebellion against Him as a reason not to come in grace and save us, which He did by David’s Son, Jesus who never rebelled but paid the price of death for rebels like us.
With the death of Absalom, the civil war that threatened to undermine David’s kingdom came to an end. On returning to his throne, we find in 2 Samuel 19:1-43 that David immediately sought to put his house in order – rewarding some, ending the service of others and reviewing the actions of those given responsibility. When Jesus the King returns, he will also undertake similar actions and none shall escape his searching eye.
2 Samuel 18:1-33 records how the civil war led by Absalom against his father came to an inglorious end. It was a sad day for David for many reasons, one of which was that this was the culmination of some bad choices and parenting. Yet still, in spite of the tragic nature of the text, David again points us to Jesus who could do and will do what David could not.