2 Samuel: Introduction (Part 1) – Are You Ready for The Office You Are About to Hold?

Posted: April 29, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel

Began: April 29, 2018 – Ended:

Personal Reflection as We Begin 2 Samuel (Part 1 of 2)
After we spent almost 6 months in the Book of 1 Samuel, we now move on to the second book that bears of that same last judge of Israel. However, make no mistake about it, the second installment of these writings, it is fully about David as he ascends to the throne and the story of his reign. I think that there are two things that I can identify with in the book of 2 Samuel. Those two things are that (1) are you ready for the office you are about to hold and (2) the fact that, though David is a flawed man, God uses our mess to become part of our message. Today, we will focus on the first point, are you ready for the office you are about to hold?

Are you ready for the office that you hold? 2 Samuel gives us a view of David who knew for many years that he was the next king of Israel. He paid his dues by running for his life for a long, long time. Saul wanted him dead to preserve his throne and his legacy as king. David was running for his life but it was also a kind of paying his dues. It was a time where he could have given up but he kept the faith. As has become one of my main mottos of the last year, he “kept plowing the field in front of him.” David was on the run but he always seemed to be in the moment. He lived life as it was presented to him. If that meant, he was on the run, he still found joy in life as he lived it, no matter if he was having to survive in the wilderness or living in a town where he could rest for a while. He paid his dues to be king for sure. Now…well now…it is time to be king in 2 Samuel. Saul is dead. His long hard road is over. He is no longer living a hand to mouth existence and defending his own life. He no longer is in the wilderness. He is no longer running for his life. He is now going to be king. I am sure that in those years on the run, I am sure that he had conversations with his elite fighting men about the day he would be king. It is now here. Can you identify with that? I know that I can.

After years of “plowing the field in front of me” (sometimes patiently, sometimes wondering if anything was ever going to happen, sometimes be impatient with God’s timing), the time is now here. I am a pastor now. No turning back. We “sold the farm”, so to speak, and are all-in on this journey. I relinquished a job that was comfy and cozy and oh so financially secure and beneficial to Elena and me to follow God’s call on my life. Here we are, inside what we had been praying to God about for several, several years. We had been waiting, learning, and plowing. We dreamed of what it would be like to be in ministry. It is now here. Are we ready for the office that we hold as a pastoral couple? We dreamed of it. We prepared for it for years. That next season is here. I know as we start 2 Samuel that David had those moments after the grind was over of just staying alive that he probably thought, “OK, now what?” It was one thing for the future to be out there. It is another for your time to be here. We always say to ourselves, “if only…this” or “if only…that”. What are you about to take on? What have you been praying for God to deliver you from? What have you been praying for God to deliver you to? What happens when that time is here.

That’s how I relate to these Old Testament characters such as David, Moses, Samuel, and all the others in the history of God’s people. I try to view them as people like you and me that have been called out by God to do special things for the kingdom. They were just guys or gals like you and me. They had real emotions and real fears and real failures just like you and me. Can you imagine David, just a shepherd boy, who became a warrior for the nation of Israel and became a leader of men. All those things are admirable but it’s a whole different ballgame when you are the king. He had been running for his life since Samuel anointed him as the next king. He literally had been running for his life. During all that time, I bet he said to himself, “if only…I was king.” And now the time is here.
That is what I think about today as we start 1 Samuel. Are you ready for what God has for you in this new season? Are you ready for that thing that you have been praying for. To set the stage for our walk for the next few months through 2 Samuel, here is some background information on the book we are about to embark on our journey through.

Overview of 2 Samuel (as provided by reformedanswers.org)
To explain that David’s dynasty remained Israel’s hope for the future in spite of the curses that David and his house had brought on the nation

930-538 B.C.

Key Truths:
• God wanted his people to have the king he would choose.
• God carefully prepared the way for the king of his choice.
• God chose the house of David as the royal family forever.
• Despite the weakness of David’s Kingdom, the hope for God’s people still remained in his family.

The books of Samuel were originally one work that was later divided into two. This book offers no clear guidance on the question of authorship. It seems likely that the attachment of Samuel’s name simply reflects the role he played in the early chapters of the book. Samuel is described as an old man in 1 Samuel 8:1 and as dead in 1 Samuel 25:1, which would have been long before many of the events of 1 and 2 Samuel took place. However, 1 Chronicles 29:29 attaches the names of Samuel and his prophetic successors Nathan and Gad to certain written sources, some of which may well have been incorporated into this written history of Israel as it took shape.

Time and Place of Writing:
The book of Samuel offers several clues as to its date of final composition. The writer relied on a number of prophetic and royal sources for his history, but the earliest likely date for the book is indicated by the fact that it looks back on “the last words of David” (2 Sam. 23:1); i.e., David’s final official words before his death. Also, 1 Samuel 27:6 remarks that Ziklag remained under the control of “the kings of Judah,” which probably acknowledges the division of Judah and Israel in 930 B.C. If so, the book could not have been written until after the division of the nation that resulted from the failures of David and his house. If Samuel was written at this time, the book affirmed hope in David’s line despite the troubles of the divided monarchy.

The latest likely date for final composition is the return from exile in 538 B.C. The writer of Chronicles used Samuel as one of his most important sources (see “Introduction to 1 Chronicles: Author”). Moreover, the book of Kings appears to pick up the history of Israel’s throne where Samuel left off (see 2 Sam. 23:1-7; 1 Kings 1:1), and 1 Kings 2:27 refers to the fulfillment of 1 Samuel 2:27-36. Therefore, Samuel was probably written before Kings, which is dated between 561 and 538 B.C. (see “Introduction to 1 Kings: Time and Place of Writing”). If Samuel was written at this time, the book declared hope in David’s line despite the exile, which largely resulted from the disobedience of David’s royal sons.

It is impossible to arrive at firm dates for many of the events that are described in 1 and 2 Samuel. There is broad consensus that David had consolidated his rule over the tribes shortly before 1000 B.C. (Judah c. 1010 B.C. and Israel c. 1003 B.C.). David’s lifetime extended from c. 1040 to c. 970 B.C.

Purpose and Distinctives:
With Saul dead (1 Sam. 31:1-13), the way was open for David to take the throne without lifting his hand against the Lord’s anointed. 2 Samuel 2:1-5:5 records the steps by which David became king, first over Judah and then over all Israel. Although his ascendancy over the former proceeded smoothly, blood was spilled before the way was clear for him to become king over the latter. The narratives are careful to make the point, however, that David was as innocent in relation to the deaths of Abner, Saul’s former general, and Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s surviving son, as he was in relation to the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.

With David king over a united Israel, 2 Samuel 5-10 summarize the transactions, both political and theological, by which David’s throne was established. 2 Samuel 5-6 recount David’s acquisition of a capital city, his resounding defeat of the Philistines (Israel’s archenemy from whom Saul had failed to deliver the people) and his transference of the ark of God to his newly established capital. 2 Samuel 7 records the very significant Davidic promise (or “dynastic oracle”) in which the Lord, after refusing David’s offer to build the Temple (“house” in Hebrew), promises to build David a dynasty (also “house” in Hebrew) that will endure forever. This promise to David marks the continuation and specification of the divine promise of blessing made to the patriarchs and is a major new development in the Messianic hope that finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ (see note on 2 Sam. 7:4-17). 2 Samuel 8-10 summarize some of David’s principal achievements; e.g., his victories and his covenant faithfulness to Jonathan in showing kindness to Mephibosheth.

The Davidic promise of 2 Samuel 7 establishes, beyond all doubt, that the purposes of God for the house of David are sure. This in no way implies, however, that David or his descendants would not forfeit some of the temporal benefits of their privileged position if they were to fall into sin. 2 Samuel 11-20 depict the domestic and political chaos that followed in the wake of David’s sins of adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11:1-27). When confronted by Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:1-31, David’s repentance was genuine and God’s forgiveness immediate, but sin still had its consequences. With his ability to exercise proper authority impaired (perhaps by a sense of guilt), David witnessed his own sins replicated in the lives of his sons (see note on 2 Sam. 13:21). Not until he had experienced two rebellions, the first by Absalom and the second by Sheba, son of Bicri, did David’s reign regain a measure of equilibrium.

2 Samuel 21-24, which together form a kind of epilogue, provide thematic closure for the book of Samuel. These chapters recount a collection of events that took place at different points in David’s life. At the heart of these chapters are two Davidic poems celebrating the two fundamental reasons for David’s blessedness: The Lord: (1) was his deliverer and (2) had made an “everlasting covenant” with him (2 Sam. 23:5). Framing this central core are two lists of Davidic champions, the human agents of David’s success. Finally, bracketing both the poems and the lists are two accounts of how David’s intercession relieved Israel from divine judgment for Saul’s sin and for his own sin. These chapters left the original readers with clear pictures of the hope they could have in the house of David despite the troubles that David and his sons had brought upon God’s people.

Christ in 1 & 2 Samuel:
Christ stands in contrast to the many examples of the sinful leaders of Israel who appear in the book. More than this, however, Jesus is the heir of David’s throne, and David’s career set in motion and anticipated the person and work of Christ. Both David and Jesus had prophetic sanction, David by Samuel (1 Sam. 3:20; 16:13) and Jesus by John the Baptist (Matt. 14:5; John 1:29-31; 5:31-35). The Spirit of the Lord came upon both (1 Sam. 16:13; Mark 1:9-11), and both did mighty works (1 Sam. 17:1-58; Matt 11:4-5), were involved in holy war (1 Sam. 17:1-58; Col. 1:20), and were rejected by jealous kings (1 Sam. 18:9; Matt 2:16) and warned to flee for their lives (1 Sam. 20:1-42; Matt. 2:13-15). Rejected by their own people without just cause (1 Sam. 23:12; John 19:15), both learned in exile to depend on God. Both interceded on behalf of God’s people (2 Sam. 21, 24; John 17), and both were highly exalted by God (2 Sam. 23:1-8; Isa. 52:13; Phil. 2:9). In these and many other ways, David’s life foreshadowed the accomplishments of Christ, his son.

As Elena and I have begun our journey into ministry as a pastoral couple, are we ready for what we have been praying about for years? The thing that has been pressed into my soul today (I started this blog this morning and had to shelve it because of church) is seeking humility and trusting in the Lord.

As David assumes the throne there was so much that he probably did not know and he had to rely on the support systems that God had put in place. I am the rookie among the bunch of pastors at Calvary. Even though I am the second oldest among them (except our senior pastor who is 3 years older than me), each one has loads of experience in full-time ministry compared to me. Although I had seven years of unpaid and part-time paid positions at my previous church, this is my first time being a full-time pastor. I must remember to listen. I must remember that I have much to learn about being a full-time pastor. It’s just different than bi-vocational. It’s different from part-time. It’s different from volunteer unpaid. I must sit and listen more than I talk. I must not feel less than them, but recognize they are the support system that I need as I grow in full-time ministry. I must be humble enough to realize that they have worlds more experience than me. Just as David when he assumed the throne and he must’ve been at least slightly overwhelmed with it all, I must humbly watch and learn.

When I begin feeling less than the other pastors, I must trust in the Lord. I must trust that He has things for me to learn. When I begin feeling that I am not up to being both parts of my title, director of business AND staff pastor. I must remember to trust the Lord with the process of becoming as much of a pastor as I am a business/finance guy. I must trust the process. I must trust that if I keep learning, plowing the field in front of me, listening, learning, watching that I will develop into the pastor that God wants me to be. I am the rookie that was just drafted. I must learn from the guys on the team that have played the game on this level for years and years. I must trust the process. Keep plowing in this new field and trust me with the rest. There is freedom in trusting in the Lord. In trusting in the Lord, I don’t have to self-promote. I don’t have to tell others how good I am. I don’t have to fight for “air time” in meetings. I just have to plow, learn, watch, and soak it all in. Learn from those that are more experienced than me. Watch how they do it and how they live it. Soak all their experience in and use what God wants me to see and learn. Just trust God with the rest as to what the future holds. Trust that he will guide me to my niche. Trust that God will. Trust that God will.

Amen and Amen.

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