Posts Tagged ‘David’

2 Samuel 6:17-23
David Returns Home

One of the things that was so sad, now looking back, about the aftermath of my first marriage was how hatred and bitterness consumed the life of my first wife. She became so obsessed with getting even with me for ending the marriage (which was filled with the serious issues of her drug abuse, her possessive nature, her inability to maintain a job, and then the escalating terrorism of violence between us as I sought to end the marriage). After we separated, there were the constant harassing phone calls, the stalking, the love then hate all in the same conversation, it was her obsession to brow-beat me into submission and coming back to her. It was a time in which I lived in a “def-con 3” (to use the military term) mentality, always aware, senses heightened, always ready for a confrontation. She became so obsessed with destroying me that she lost friends over it. She ended up living with her second husband in their own secluded world in which they were right and everybody else was wrong. It was sad to watch bitterness take control of her life. I think the bitterness in her life which, in effect, became her god is what led her to die at the early of 55 almost 3 years ago now.

So, when I read about Michal’s reaction to David here in this passage, I thought of my first wife. If I was having too much fun after our separation and divorce, she would find something wrong with it and work whatever it was around to the fact that I had destroyed the family. No matter what it was, she could work that trail of anything that I did back to me destroying the family. In this passage, I see that same type of bitterness in Michal. What had changed since we saw when she met David in 1 Samuel to now. There had been a lot of water under the bridge I guess. But the bitterness over David dancing is just a tip of the iceberg. There must have been this smoldering bitterness within Michal where she got to the point that anything David did was wrong. No wonder he did not want to be with her as the end of the passage indicates. The bitterness of Michal drove David away. Let us read this passage, 2 Samuel 6:17-23, now together:

17 They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. 18 When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates,[g] and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes.

20 When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”

21 David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. 22 Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!” 23 So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life.

In this passage, we must take particular notice that here, even though it has been established in both 1 and 2 Samuel that Michal was David’s wife, she is noted as being the daughter of Saul. Is that not an interesting literary twist? Is it possible that the author was pointing out to the reader how similar her attitude in this passage is to that of her father, Saul? I think so. Her contempt for David could not have simply been set off by David’s grand entrance into Jerusalem with the ark. It must have been already smoldering. By the way David reacts to her, this may have been just the most recent confrontation between the two. Who knows? Scripture is not clear on this point. Perhaps, she thought it was undignified to be so concerned with public worship at a time when David needed to be working to ensure the stability of his now united kingdom. Maybe, she thought it was undignified for a king to display such emotion in front of his subjects. Or, even, she may have resented David taking her away from Palti. Further, this resentment may have been the result of seeing that during her time with Palti that David had taken other wives and concubines. Whatever the reason, this contempt she felt toward her husband escalated into a difficult confrontation. As a result of this confrontation, it appears that she fell out of favor with David and he did not have intimate relations with her for the rest of her life. Feelings of bitterness and resentment that go unchecked will destroy a relationship. Deal with your feelings before they escalate into open confrontation.

Sure, David probably contributed to Michal’s bitterness. No one gets bitter toward another person for no reason. But we must deal with bitterness in constructive ways. We cannot let our bitterness become our god and let it consume us to the point that it is all we can focus on. Once we make bitterness our god, it doesn’t matter if a person is contrite and humble before us and tries to make things right, the bitter person will still hold the original offense in front of the other person forever. There is no forgiveness in the bitter person. To forgive would mean to release the bitterness. Often people like having the pain of bitterness because it is the only thing that they have left. Bitterness has caused them to isolate themselves from others. Bitterness has taken over their life.

Thus, I think the takeaway from my own experience with my first wife and with the example of Michal here is that we must learn to forgive others or bitterness will become our god. Bitterness is never satisfied with any type of compensation or acts of contriteness by the offending person. Bitterness is always hungry. Bitterness consumes everything you feed it. Help us to be a people that forgives those who have offended us – even if they never apologize, but especially if they do. Help us to release the persons who have hurt us to you, oh Lord. Help us to not stay in the state of bitterness but to release it to you and move across the bridge into the state of living beyond bitterness. Help us also to see when we have hurt others and try to make things right with that person. Help us to try to reconcile such relationships. Help us to also love that person even if they refuse to forgive us for the things that we have done to hurt them. Help us to pray for those who have hurt us and for those that we have hurt. Help us to release these things to you and leave them there at your altar.

Amen and Amen.

Advertisements

2 Samuel 1:17-27 (Part 1 of 2)
David’s Song for Saul and Jonathan

Love you enemies. Lay down your life for those who hate and despise you. For all those that still despise him still and point to his moral failures as a man, there is no modern day man that I think epitomizes the ideal of loving those who hate as Martin Luther King, Jr. And, yes, there are those who are disappointed in how the victories for the oppressed have turned into a sense of entitlement among some of those he was trying to help as we continue to walk into the 21st century. And, yes, some have made it today as though we can no longer have real honest discussions about race relations for fear of being labeling racist if you push back against the ideals held dear by those he tried to help. There’s no denying in this age of polarization of ideals that the pace of social change is in some cases being ramrodded down our throats without discussion or glacially slow in others. Dr. King would be saddened by the lack of compromise for the purpose of progress in today’s world of political correctness where we are so afraid to speak out without causing a firestorm of bad press. Lost is the art of winning one battle and then the next that Dr. King lived out.

However, even with his failings as a man, I love the preacher in Dr. King. I love how he used the universal truths about love, life and liberty that come from God’s Word to change the world. I love the fact that he espoused loving your enemies. I loved his sermon/speeches. The man could preach. And he backed up his speeches with action. He was willing to love his enemies in the face of repeated hatred. He was willing to love his enemies in the face of repeated violence against himself and against those who had aligned themselves in the fight for basic civil rights of blacks in the South and for all those who were similarly oppressed. He was willing to sit down and have discussions with those who hated him. He sought social justice when everybody wished he would just leave it alone cause it was too hard. He spoke beautifully, eloquently, and logically about the wrongs against the oppressed in the South. No one could argue the logic and rightness of his cause. He was a preacher first and foremost. He loved God’s Word. His sermons and his writings are an amazing testament to a man, who like David had his moral failures, but a man who sought after God’s heart. When people pushed and pushed him to react with violence to the violence perpetrated against blacks demonstrating for their rights in the South. He reacted with non-violence. He often walked his people into situations where they all knew violence would be received to point out that his was an objective of love. He simply wanted America to live out the biblical ideals upon which it was supposedly founded. There were those such as Malcolm X and the Black Panther Movement that agreed with Dr. King’s movement but disagreed with the methods. They wanted violence for violence. However, these valid movements never advanced the cause of oppressed Southern blacks as much as Dr. King’s movement did. And oh how I can sit and listen to Dr. King’s speeches and sermons. Quite the preacher he was. His words can take you places and inspire you. There is no better speech that he gave than the March on Washington Speech. I never tire of the passage of that speech where he says:

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I HAVE A DREAM TODAY!

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama — with its vicious racists, with its Governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification — one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I HAVE A DREAM TODAY!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be plain and the crooked places will be made straight, “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brother-hood.

Oh man. That section of the speech gives me chills every time I read it or every time I see the black & white video from back in August 1963 of Dr. King uttering these words for the first time. This is the ideal. To love your enemies in the face of hatred such that one day they can through love no longer hate you. This is what Dr. King fought for. Love changes things. Not hate. Non-violence conquers violence. Violence only begets violence. Love is what changes things. Love wins.

That ideal of Dr. King. That which he was willing to die for – loving your enemies – and did is what I thought of this morning as I read this beautiful song of honor by David in 2 Samuel 1:17-27. What can inspire us more than David’s words here or Dr. King’s words above. Love wins. Hate loses. Now, let us read through this passage today (for the first of two blogs on this passage):

17 Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, 18 and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar.[a]

19
Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
20
Don’t announce the news in Gath,
don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice
and the pagans will laugh in triumph.

21
O mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain.[b]
For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled;
the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil.
22
The bow of Jonathan was powerful,
and the sword of Saul did its mighty work.
They shed the blood of their enemies
and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes.

23
How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!
They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles,
stronger than lions.
24
O women of Israel, weep for Saul,
for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing,
in garments decorated with gold.

25
Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies dead on the hills.
26
How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan!
Oh, how much I loved you!
And your love for me was deep,
deeper than the love of women!

27
Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.

In this passage, we remember that Saul had caused much trouble for David, but when he died, David actually composed a song in memory of the king. Even though when translated to English the words do not flow very well but in Hebrew this is beautifully flowing song. David was a talented musician. He played the harp. He brought music into the worship services of the Temple. He wrote many of the Psalms (though we simply read them now and think of how beautiful they are even in translated English) which were used in the worship services in the Temple. He, as we know from 1 Samuel, played music in the court of King Saul – sometimes even as spears were thrown at him. He had every reason to hate Saul but he chose not to. He composes a song of lament and honor toward the man that wanted him dead. He chose to look for the good that Saul had done as king and to ignore the times of when Saul had attacked him. It takes courage and a humble heart to lay aside hatred and hurt and to respect the positive side of another person, especially an enemy.

Father in heaven, let us return to the ideals of Dr. King as he laid them out. Love wins. Communication wins. Ignorance and lack of communication loses. Hate loses. We do not stand on the throat of those who disagree with us. We convince them not of our ideals but of those in God’s Word. We convince them through love of the universal truths of God. We seek restoration and unity. Dr. King had the example of David right here in this passage. Man, could David have gone off and been bitter for wasting years of his life running from Saul. However, David never lost sight of the fact that Saul was a child of God and the anointed king of Israel. He chose to honor the man who hated him. He chose to honor the man who hated him enough to want to kill him. He chose to love the man who through a spear at him.

Father, that is your dream for us. That we see each other as valuable in God’s sight even when what that other person is saying makes my skin crawl and my blood boil. That we see each other as worthy of love because God loves us even when we are dead wrong about something. That we sit down and communicate with each other. That we sit down in love and honor and respect for one another such that love wins and hate loses. Jesus Christ did know less for us. He died for us when we show our contempt for Him when we live lives that are in opposition to His Word. Jesus died for us. Even in His own physical time of torment on earth, He could have down of the cross and took vengeance on those who were perpetrating violence against His body. However, He humbly took it all in love. His love for His enemies is our example. He knew the greater ideal was for them to come to know God and be reconciled to Him. We should see our enemies in the same way.

I have a dream that one day we will all be sitting at the banquet table of our Lord. I will be sitting beside those who have persecuted me, hated me, despised me, and we will be praising Jesus Christ together. If that happens then love will have won.

Amen and Amen.

Luke 3:25-38 — Oh here we go again, you might say to yourself, when you read this passage. Another biblical genealogy. The Old Testament frequently gives us these genealogies. But, this time it’s in the New Testament. Why does Luke wait til three and half chapters into his book to give us this genealogy and why does he give it to us at all?

You know, as I do these daily devotionals as we walk through entire books of the Bible, before I write what’s on my heart, I typically do a little research just to make sure that what’s on my heart is true to the meaning of the passage that I am writing about. Usually, there is a wealth of research out there online to rely upon. However, today, I find very little on this passage. It is a genealogy after all. Even the most avid readers of the Bible will admit to skipping over genealogies in the Bible. Long lines of who begat who with names that are difficult to pronounce. We often either skip through the begatting and move on to the next passage that to us has some meat to it. However, this is the Word of God, and if you are walking through entire books of the Bible, like we do here, then you have to deal with the tough passages. That’s where we are today. This is the Word of God and we must deal with it. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all Scripture is God-breath and is useful for instruction. So, there is a point to these genealogies in the Bible and we must figure out what this genealogy in Luke 3 is teaching us.

First, it is interesting that the genealogy here is traced down through Jesus’ earthly mother, Mary. In a society that had a very low view of the legal status of women, it is almost radical that Luke would trace Jesus’ genealogy through his mother. Luke is admitting that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. Tracing his lineage through Joseph would be one of adoption rather than biology. However, the genealogy is biological through Mary. She physically gave birth to Jesus. As you see throughout Luke, he gives numerous mentions of women. As he researched his gospel, he found that Jesus himself elevated the stature of women and they played prominent roles in his ministry. Luke, as a physician, saw women as equals with men. To him, there was nothing in particular about men that gave them greater stature in the world. Thus, it is not surprising that Luke had the revolutionary idea of listing this genealogy as traced through Jesus’ mother rather than the normal way of tracing genealogies through fathers. To those who think that the Bible puts down women, just continue reading the gospel of Luke. Here, you will find that in Jesus’ ministry, women were important. They found more freedom and worth in the Jesus movement than in society in general. So, let no one tell you that Christianity oppresses women. They have played central roles in the faith from the beginning.

The second thing that is interesting here in this genealogy is the difference and similarities between it and the genealogy of Matthew 1. Matthew was writing for a mainly Jewish audience and his intent and purpose was to show the Jews that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. His genealogy’s purpose was to show Jesus’ Jewishness. He wanted to prove that Jesus was of royal descent and was fulfillment of the promises made to David. He need go no further then with his genealogy than back to David. Here, with Luke, you can see the difference. Luke traces Jesus’ genealogy to David and then goes on all the way back to Adam. Why did he do this? Luke wrote to a mainly non-Jewish Greek audience. The point in the genealogy is that Jesus was for everyone not just the Jews. He traced Jesus back to the first man — the one from whom all people were physically fathered. In this subtlety, Luke is allowing his readers to identify with Jesus not as someone from that highly religious and quirky people called the Jews but as everyman Jesus, everyday Jesus. Jesus is all inclusive. No one is excluded from His grace. The only requirement is that you have a pulse and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for your sins. Grace knows no race. Grace knows no national origin. Grace knows no gender. Grace knows no ethnicity. Grace is available to all through Jesus Christ. It does not matter who you are or where you’re from, Jesus has enough grace for you. That’s what this genealogy does. It confirms the message that Jesus is for every man, woman, and child. He is not the exclusive realm of a certain few.

The final thing that this passage tells us is that Jesus was real. He had family roots here on earth. Reading this genealogy you find that Mary came from a long line of the “Who’s Who” from the Bible. This is the family into which Jesus was born. It means that He was real. He was a member of a family. He probably celebrated birthdays, weddings, and other family events. He also probably wept at funerals of members of His extended earthly family who had passed away. He existed in family life for 30 years before He began His ministry. He knows of family life. He knows of the human existence in a fallen world. We know that Jesus existed in history because of the extrabiblical references to his ministry. But, this genealogy tells us that Jesus was not only a real guy that made his mark on human history but we know that He was part of a family. He knows of human existence. He knows family. Thus, He knows you. God was careful to show these names of these people who are part of Jesus’ family as a reminder to us that everyone has a name and every name is important. Jesus knows you. Jesus knows your hurts, habits and hangups. Jesus knows what you are going through. He just wants you to come to Him and ask Him to be your Savior so that your name came be added to Jesus’ family genealogy. He wants you to have your name listed in His book of life. He wants you to be part of His family. He wants you to be co-heirs of the Father’s promises with Him. He wants you in His genealogy.

Father, thank you for sending Jesus into the world through the womb of Mary. Jesus understands the human existence. He was part of a human family. His genealogy proves that He had a human existence and that He knows of the dangers, toils, and snares of human life. This passage also tells me too that Jesus is not the exclusive club that some may make Him out to be, He is for everyone. His grace extends to all. Thank you Father for showing us through this simple often overlooked way, a genealogy. Thank you for showing us that women are just as important to you as men are. It also validates that Jesus is for everyone. His grace extends to all. Thank you Father for sending your Son to be grace for all. All we have to do is believe on His Name. Amen.