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Weekly Prompts for Thinking Through Scripture Covering 2 Samuel 6:12 – 2 Samuel 10

Refresher: David is now the incontrovertible king of Israel and has quickly seized a city that will become his capital: Jerusalem, henceforth to be known as “David’s City.” Once ensconced, one of his first concerns is to retrieve the Ark and bring it with much pomp into Jerusalem. But here at least, “pomp” doesn’t equal biblical faithfulness; failure to follow the Torah’s directions for moving the Ark ends in disaster. So, the Ark is left near where Uzzah died, in the house of Obed-edom.

Day One

Read 2 Samuel 6: 12-23

· V. 12 – The Presence of God brings blessing… concept of “blessing” not to be limited to the (so-called) spiritual realm. Here, what moves David to worship seems to be the potential of said blessing. That’s as good of motive as any.

· VV. 14 – I wonder if we have ever worshiped with “all [our] might”? Half? Quarter?

· VV. 14, 15 – Dancing…shouting…the sound of the horn…leaping. Hark, you high liturgists: say nothing against worship that’s uproarious and involves energetic expression. (Of course, this isn’t to say that there’s no place in worship for solemnity, even reserve.)

· V. 16 – That Michal (here significantly called “the daughter of Saul”) deeply despises David as she watches him energetically head the line that brings the ark into the city is surprising. What do you think provoked her negative reaction?

· V. 12-19 – Music, sacrifice, eating – these recognizable elements of worship have been around for thousands of years. As also have the bitter Michals (Hebrews 12: 15).

· V. 21, 22 – There is a strong corporate component to our public worship – we are to sing to one another. But don’t skew too far with that concept and forget that the first Addressee of our worship is God himself (Colossians 3:16, 17). Here’s the worship rule: If God is addressed/pleased and people are edified – great. If people are pleased, yet God is not addressed/pleased – FAIL. If God is addressed/ pleased but people are unhappy – unfortunate but still a win! This coming Sunday, commit to a God-ward worship!

Day Two

Read 2 Samuel 7: 1-9

· V. 2 – The king is troubled that his residence is rather exquisite compared to the place that houses the emblem of the Presence of God. Does this passage provide an argument that could be brought forward into the present: that the place of public worship should be at least equal to the quality of the worshipers’ homes?

· VV. 4-7 – David wants to build a worthy house for the LORD. That seems like a fine thing to want to go about. But before David “helps” God, God has some things to say to Him. He first reminds David that He’s been traveling in this tabernacle tent for the past 400+ years, and in that time never did He demand of the current leader better accommodations. Hmm – how is David supposed to react to that? Well, this clipped reference to history puts David in his place: why should David do something that others hadn’t?

· VV. 8, 9 – Secondly, before David starts doing something for God, he’s reminded that he’s in the position to build a temple only because God led him out of obscurity and removed opposition to his kingship. And God isn’t done with David – He will make him so that he’s mentioned among the great men who have lived on the earth. So, the main point: David isn’t doing something for God; rather God has done something for Him.

· VV. 4-9 – There are spiritual lessons here: #1 – we should regularly consider that we are just one part of a long history of God and His covenant people. Reflecting on history is a good preventative to getting too big for our britches. #2 – As we hope and plan to accomplish something for God, it’s important to recall and be grateful for what God has done with/through us so far. Shorter: while looking ahead don’t fail to be grateful for past provision.

· Today, spend time considering the trail that has led up to opportunities in your life, your family, your church, the Church. Thank God for what He has accomplished in the past.

Day Three

Read 2 Samuel 7: 10-17

· V. 10, 11a – Remember, this conversation began with David wanting to build a place for God. But God wants to tell David about His building plans! Now, he speaks of how He’s going to establish Israel in their place, finally giving them relief from surrounding enemies.

· Sorry to keep rotating around the same point, but here we go again. There’s an old Jewish joke: “How do you make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.” Well, let’s refine that: “How do you really make God laugh? Tell Him what you’re going to build FOR HIM.”

· VV. 11b – 17 – The length of this passage is all out of proportion to its importance. You won’t find a text that’s more load bearing in the whole story of salvation than this. For here we discover the huge truth that God’s kingdom that will never pass away comes through the line of David. The King of all the kings of history and all the supernatural powers will be David’s Son. Let’s try to say that differently: this passage suggests that whatever societal problem we might be passing through today (e.g., drugs; the politicization of ‘expertise’; wide-spread propaganda) will be solved ultimately by Someone on David’s throne. As the Scriptures move forward from 2 Samuel 7, the announcement in this chapter will shape ALL OF IT. So let me say it again: this chapter is wildly important.

· V. 14 – God will discipline David’s son with “the rod of men.” In other words, he will use people to correct and shape the coming king; Solomon + won’t be disciplined directly (immediately) by God, but the pain will come through people. I think that this principle generally holds true with those are united to David’s Son i.e. Christians. God is using people in your life to correct and shape you. Tip: Some of those you probably don’t like to be around. Don’t run away.

Day Four

Read 2 Samuel 7: 18-29

· V. 18 – Grace humbles unto authentic worship. The chapter began with David desiring to honor God by building him a better house. But God interrupts David’s intentions by announcing what He has done and will do for David and Israel. So there! A good argument could be made that David is a more sincere worshiper at v. 18 than he was in v. 2, and that not because he had accomplished something but because he knew himself as a recipient of grace.

· V. 19 – David realizes that what God has done for David so far pales in comparison to his promises about the future of David’s line. And David calls this “instruction for mankind,” – this promise to David doesn’t hold relevance for just him or his family or even just the nation, but will shape the future of the world. I told you – this is big time important!

· V. 23 – God’s speaking of Israel and her history in v. 6 has brought David around to seeing the big picture. History = important. Keep the past in the present, brothers and sisters!

· V. 25 – A good part of prayer is contained in this: “Do as you have spoken.” We are asking God to do what He already said He would do. Well, if He said He would do it, why do we need to ask? Why pray anyway? etc etc… JUST STOP THE PHILOSOPHIZING AND GET TO PRAYING.

Day Five

Read 2 Samuel 8: 1-18

· V. 2 –David is keeping it real here, not letting us get carried away into spiritual niceties. I’m not exactly sure why David went through this exercise of three lines… perhaps he wanted to kill exactly 2/3 of Moabite’s warriors?

· V. 4 – Hamstringing horses. Another example of David weakening his enemies so they won’t bother him down the road. And now a nakedly spiritualized application: what can you do to kill or hamstring your enemies, that is, to make it harder on your flesh to sin?

· VV. 6, 12 – “Victory wherever he went” – When God is ready to move forward, nothing can get in His way. The ultimate cause of David’s success wasn’t a run of good luck or anything socio-economical or even David himself. God is the answer! Look to God, asking Him specifically for help, casting all your individual burdens on Him, Brothers and Sisters.

Day Six

Read 2 Samuel 9

· V. 1 – There’s the kind of man who uses friends and throws them aside when they’re no longer convenient. Then there’s David, who seemingly for no political purpose wants to honor his deceased “brother” whose memory was very pleasant to him. Maybe this nod to friendship can move you to reach out to an old friend today.?

· VV. 2, 5 – You don’t have to know a whole lot about ancient Near Eastern custom to realize how nervous both Ziba and Machir were to deal with David. Notice Ziba’s, I am *YOUR* servant (in other words: who was that other guy, anyway?).

· V. 6 – David’s “Mephibosheth” is filled with poignancy – to meet the prodigy of an old friend is quite moving. But, of course, when David utters his name, M doesn’t know which way all of this is going. What he can’t yet know is that he’s come into the hands of someone who a) is gracious by nature and b) loves him for the sake of his father. There’s a sermon or two in here!

· V. 10 – To eat at the King’s table – favor, peace, honor, friendship. Can we (I think we can) draw a connection to the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.?

Day Seven

Read 2 Samuel 10

· Ammonites – descendants of Lot, who was the nephew of Abraham

· V. 3 – “In the multitude of counselors there is safety”… sometimes! In the absence of evidence there’s an assumption that someone is up to no good, things tend to go south. Better to expect the best of others, even if you’ll get the occasional thwack. How about this military motto for a middle of the road principle: “Trust but verify.”

· V. 4 – These actions are definitely intended as a humiliation; what exact message do you think the shaving/cutting in half was meant to convey? At any rate, David doesn’t have to head out to regain his lost honor; the fight comes to him. That’s the best-case scenario.

· V. 12 – You never know what you’re going to get out of Joab. Here, in his brief words to the troops, he displays both active courage and also a resigned trust in God – both are possible at the same time.

· V. 19 – The conclusion of the skirmish that began with the insult (v.4) is that David regains honor, gains extra honor… while his enemies are defeated and turn against each other. Recall Hannah’s prayer at the beginning of Samuel. And perhaps it was exactly this scene that David recalled at the end of his life when he wrote these words about God:

With the merciful you show yourself merciful/ with the blameless man you show yourself blameless/ with the purified you show yourself pure/and the with the crooked people you make yourself seem tortuous/ For you save a humble people/ but the haughty eyes you bring down. (Psalm 18: 25,26)

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