No Sacrifice without a Cost

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 24 (day two) However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” vs. 24

Sacrifice always comes with a price. David could have accepted the threshing floor, the oxen, all the was required for a proper sacrifice….except a sacrificial action. If it costs nothing, it is worth nothing. Jesus taught this to his disciples in every way he could.

And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins.  And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” Luke 21 2-4

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

God rewarded David’s action far beyond what was expected. David was atoning for his disobedience, and praying for mercy for his people. God was continuing to establish his kingdom and would later turn that threshing floor into the foundation of the Temple.

What has your service to Christ cost you? What are you willing to give? Isn’t he worth it all?

 

Trust Misplaced

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 20 (day two) 

“We have no portion in David,
Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;
Every man to his tents, O Israel!” vs. 1b

When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 7:12-13

Even the best of us fail. Sometimes, we who follow, put so much faith into leaders of all kinds that when we see their fallen nature surface we become extremely disillusioned and forget the greater call to follow God alone. We will be disappointed if all our trust is placed in human leadership. Preachers, teachers, bosses, politicians (no additional commentary necessary), and even family are subject to our broken nature. We must not lose sight of our call to follow a greater design given to us by God. To put it in a literary context: Camelot was always greater than Arthur. Jesus is and was the only one who never deviated, never doubted, and never broke that covenant with God. Where is your trust? If someone you believe in disappoints you, will you run out and burn the kingdom or trust the larger call to seek the welfare of the city?

My Son

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 18 (day two) The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” vs. 33

This story has moved me since I first read it years ago, and now as a father even more so. This grief is as real and transparent as we could imagine. I believe that David would have, even after all Absalom had done, given his life in his place…sound familiar? There is something so moving in this scene where David receives the news of his son’s death. In this tragedy there is no hope for reconciliation. This is the end of this story.

Jesus is different. We often draw parallel’s between leaders, especially David, and Jesus, but they will always fall short. Jesus did die in our place…in order that we might live. That grief is replaced with unimaginable joy. I pray that no of us ever have to experience what David did, but that all of us experience Jesus.

Humility’s Perspective

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 16 (day two)

Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” vs. 12

Humility often brings a broader perspective. Here we see the displaced king walking among his predecessor’s family and friends, and his reception is less than regal. Ordinarily this would have been met with a swift retribution. David’s loyalty to Mephibosheth notwithstanding, it is unlikely that he would have tolerated rocks and insults being hurled at him. Although David has been brought pretty low, his response isn’t some sort of pity party, and I appreciate that. He has a healthy understanding of how God can use these moments for a course correction, or to gain greater insight into the larger picture. Sometimes there will be valleys to walk through, but that doesn’t mean God is not teaching all along the way. Stand up, take a breath, and figure out what is God’s next step for you.

Ittai Who?

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 15 (day two)

But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.” Vs. 21

Who was this Ittai character, and why didn’t David act more like him? Maybe you missed this verse. There are many names and places mentioned and many are not spoken of again. Friends of David turning to follow Absalom. Friends of David sent to spy on Absalom. Friends of Absalom giving really bad counsel. Then there is Ittai. While we may not know his back story, we can see he is a man of conviction. He recognizes David’s authority and shows great integrity by staying at his side.

This rift between David and Absalom had grown and simmered for many years, and from our text there seems to be no attempts at true reconciliation. Absalom deals with his anger by plotting for years to take the kingdom. David, the true king, flees. Is this the same David who killed his tens of thousands in battle with Saul? Where was the David we tell our kids about in Sunday school? Is this evidence of the guilt he still carried from his very public shame? We are not told. What we are told is the David ran rather than confront his own son. Is your conflict worth giving up the kingdom?

Secret Sin

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 13:1-33 (day two) 

Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; 12:11

But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar. 13:22

Don’t ever let yourself become convinced that your “secret” sin will only impact your life, and that you and you alone will carry the consequences if you are ever found out. The truth of the matter is that our lives are so intricately woven with our families, our friends, even those who associate with us. They all notice our choices, actions, and often suffer with us. We cannot walk in sin and extricate our lives from those who are watching. We may not walk the same road as David, but his life should serve as a cautionary tale to all of us who harbor “secret” sin. It is always less secret than we realize, and the consequences are almost always more public than we could have ever imagined.

Talk to God First

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 12:1-23 (day two) 

…and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! vs. 8b

It is not uncommon to want what we don’t have. Sometimes it’s money, power, prestige. Other times it can be more practical wants like spouse, family, career. It’s the what happens next that defines our where our heart and devotion truly are. Do we act impulsively? Do we assume that we are supposed to have it and then try secretly to get it (ie David)? Do we lay it before the Lord who gives all gifts? I don’t think the Lord would have honored David’s request for another man’s wife, but it would have brought to light the desire which could have been dealt with properly. But there are times when God says yes, the issue is getting in front of God. How often is this a theme in scripture? It happened to David’s predecessor, Saul. He was impatient and acted impulsively, and it cost him dearly. We would do well to be mindful of all desires that come before us. Regardless of God’s answer, talking with him before acting is always the best course of action.

 

Truth Will Out

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 11 (day two) 

Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. vs. 6

This is a hard read, make no mistake. A man who we revere succumbs to sin. We want to believe there are those above reproach, and that those we esteem would never stoop to such degradation. We must remind ourselves that it is Jesus alone who walked a sinless life.

What strikes me as I reread this passage today is that David’s actions to cover up his sin came only after Bathsheba sent word that she was pregnant. It seems he would have been content to ignore his lust and subsequent adulterous actions had pregnancy not been the result. Does this just sicken you? It does me, but perhaps not the way you would think. I am wounded because I recognize that tendency. If I’m in no danger of being caught, then I won’t have to acknowledge the action. We can all recognize the error in this thinking, but that does not stop our sinful tendencies. We are often content to just keep walking with sin corroding our hearts simply because nobody noticed.

The old axiom states: Truth will out. Whether or not anyone else ever finds out, you can bet you will be held accountable before God.

The Lord Helped David

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 8 (day two) 

And the Lord helped David wherever he went. vs. 6b, 14b

Victories, success, power – wow, David must have had it made, huh? It’s easy to look at a success story like that of King David and only see the ‘prosperity.’ But if we have seen anything in the past few weeks of our study, it is that David wanted what the Lord wanted. He moved where the Lord moved him. He surrendered his plans to God’s, and the Lord helped David.

Ok, ok, so now I have the secret formula, right? Want what God wants, seek after him, and then I’ll be rewarded! Not quite. We would all be wise to remember that God’s ways are not our own, and we should expect nothing in the way of payment for anything we do for the Lord. The key take away is that the Lord helped David. That is the victory. It may be through a cancer treatment, a transition at work or home, an opportunity to share your faith. Trust and obedience will result in God’s favor. Don’t read into another’s success, be grateful the Lord is on your side.

It was a Good Plan

Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 7 (day two)

Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’ vs. 7

It was a good plan. I would be willing to bet that anyone that David proposed it to would agree that it was a good plan. Build the Lord a house. Honor the Lord by creating a beautiful temple. What could be bad about that? It wasn’t God’s plan. Has that happened to you? Have you had a desire to do something great, selfless even, only to be told no? That can be pretty defeating…unless you are after God’s heart. Listen to David’s response.

Now therefore, O Lord God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken. Vs. 25

David’s plan was good, but God’s was best. David did not rashly run out thinking his good idea was the final word. He heard from the Lord and was given a greater understanding of God’s ultimate plan. Greater than David could ever imagine.