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  1. Military Mahem (II Samuel 3,4)

    August 28, 2012 by Pito

    Abner, the cousin of Saul and General of the armies of Israel, made Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, king over all the tribes but Judah. When Abner asked Ishbosheth for his concubine, the king became very angry. Abner, out of spite (wrong reason), withdrew his support of Ishbosheth and headed for Hebron, where David had been coronated as king over Judah. David gladly received him as Abner brought many of the northern tribes with him.

    However, Joab, David’s General, was very displeased over this defection and he accused Abner of being a double-agent for Ishbosheth. Joab was also still harboring hatred towards Abner for the killing of his brother, Asahel.

    When Joab murdered Abner, David wanted everyone to be clear that he had nothing to do with it. Even though David was upset, he did not take decisive action to right the wrong.

    More intrigue followed as two of Ishbosheth’s men decided to murder him in his bed. Treason came from within the ranks. The writer of the New Testament warned the church about wolves in sheep clothing. May we never think that “it couldn’t happen in our church.”

    When the murderers went to David with Ishbosheth’s head, they expected to be praised and rewarded by the king. On the contrary, David had them executed for slaying one of Saul’s descendants. He had promised Saul that he would not wipe out his line after he became king. David kept his word.

    Because of the blessing of God, David’s kingdom increased and he became great. How did David respond to all this blessing? Contrary to the specific command of God, he took more wives. One of the greatest dangers to any church is spiritual laziness flowing out of arrogant presumption.

    Jesus speaks these words to His complacent Church,“I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold…So because you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth…Be zealous therefore and repent.” We flee slothful behavior by buying gold from Jesus and white garments, for we are “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” We dine with Him that we may overcome with Him. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” Read Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.

     


  2. My Soul Waits in Silence (II Samuel 2)

    August 22, 2012 by Pito

     

    You would think that after Saul’s death David would immediately be enthroned over all the nation of Israel. He was not. He still had to wait on the Lord for the fulfillment of His promise. Another son of Saul, Ishbosheth, who was not anointed by God, stood in David’s way to the throne. Even though the elders of Judah anointed him as king, David refused to seize the throne over all Israel. He waited.

    Our chapter is more about Generals than about the king. Abner, the same General who had not guarded Saul when David stealthily took Saul’s water jug during the night, decided to support Ishbosheth, not David. It seems that Abner wanted to be the power behind the scenes of a weak king.

    As the army of Judah, led by David’s three nephews, Joab, Abishai and  Asahel, came to Gibeon, the army of Ishbosheth also came and they agreed to let a group of young men compete. After the young men killed each other, the two armies fought, with Judah taking the day, 360 to 19.

    As Abner and his men fled, Asahel, an Olympic Marathon Champion, caught up to Abner to try to take him out. Abner, a hardened Army Ranger, tried to convince Asahel to stop pursuing him, but Asahel refused. At that point Abner thrust him through with the blunt end of his spear, killing him on the spot. We don’t know Asahel’s motives. He may have been zealous for the victory for Yahweh and David, or he may have just wanted the glory for killing the enemy General. We do know that he failed to kill Abner and got killed himself. Applying wisdom in our lives is sometimes a complex thing. God wants us to wrestle, to struggle with how to apply his Word to the challenges of our complex culture. Our hope and comfort is that the Spirit is working in the Church to help us in these things. Let us not forget that “In a multitude of counselors, there is wisdom.” Asahel discovered that unilateral decisions can be very dangerous.

    Our passage closes out with David’s kingdom, like Jesus’ Kingdom, getting “stronger and stronger.” Despite human weaknesses, God’s grace accomplishes His purposes in a fallen world. Let us therefore be encouraged and strengthened for subsequent sufferings. May we patiently wait on the Lord in all things. Read Psalm 62


  3. Saul’s Suicide Addendum II

    August 20, 2012 by Pito

     

    If you are a Christian who thinks that our previous post opens the door for you to kill yourself, consider these things: 1) God is the Lord and Giver of Life. He also is the only one who has the authority to take your life, other than the civil authorities administering capital punishment. Taking your life is God’s prerogative, not yours. 2)  Suicide is not selfless, it is selfish. Love does no harm to others. A person contemplating suicide fails to see the hurt he would bring those who love him(her). Depression is not a justifiable reason for suicide. Having a burden and being a burden are quite different. You are never a burden to those who love you. Your loved ones want to help you carry your burden (Galatians 6:1).  Let them. 3) Trying to escape reality by killing yourself is cowardly and unbecoming a Christian. Trust God for your future. The Lord has made this promise to you in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. In Isaiah 26:3, we read, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Keep your mind on Him. 4)  In Proverbs God says, “All those who hate me love death.”  Christians, by definition, love God. Loving death puts you in a different group of people, evil people. In Hebrews 11, the roll call of faith, there is plenty of death, death by persecution, but there are no suicides. Those who are contemplating suicide are putting themselves in bad company, like Saul and Judas. This is not good. 5) Also in Hebrews 10 we read, “If we sin willfully, after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment… Read Hebrews 10:26-31.  These are certainly sobering thoughts. May the Spirit apply them as He wishes. 6) The Lord forbids you to kill yourself, but He commands you to kill your SELF. Romans 6:11, “Likewise, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Christians are to die daily. If you want to kill yourSELF, do it God’s way. Mortify the deeds of the flesh. Die to sin. This is pleasing to our Lord, who died for us.

    If you are a Christian contemplating suicide, don’t do it. Seek help and the Lord will provide. Read Romans 8:31-39


  4. Saul’s Suicide? Addendum I

    August 15, 2012 by Pito

    How does God view suicide? It is sin; it is the sin of self-murder. Exodus 20:13

    In the case of Saul, and in many similar cases, suicide is perfectly natural; rejecting God is moral and intellectual suicide. But let suicide never be glorified as heroic. It is the last resort of the man who dare not stand up to life.

    Can a Christian commit suicide? Is it the unforgivable sin because the person has no more opportunity to repent? Consider this: Do we make confession for all the sins we commit every day? If we were to die in our sleep, what about all of our unconfessed sin?  Is it covered by the blood? Yes, it is.

    Consider this: Jesus said,  “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:10

    And in like manner the The Westminster Confession says,

    “They, who in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate and to do more than God requires, that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.” Ch. 16.4

    Remember what Samuel said to Saul when he rebelled against the explicit command of God.”Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry,” ( I Samuel 15:23).  Do stubborn Christians die? Is that sin covered by the blood? Do rebellious Christians die? Is that sin covered by the blood?

    The conclusion of the matter is that we are not just guilty of sins, we are the kind of people that do that kind of thing. All we do is tainted by our sinful nature. The short answer is yes, a Christian can commit suicide and that is a sad day indeed. If a person is in Christ Jesus, all we are and do is covered by the blood.  God’s grace is greater than ALL our sin.


  5. King Saul Falls on His Sword (I Samuel 31, II Samuel 1)

    August 14, 2012 by Pito

     

    Although Saul had been told on the previous day that he would die in the battle against the Philistines, there is no evidence that he made any attempt to prepare to meet his God. His sad life came to a sad end, his heart hardened so that he could find no repentance. Our Lord warns us against this by declaring, “Exhort one another daily while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” We dare not ignore the width and depth of this warning, lest we end up like Saul.

    Leaders have a high responsibility due to their influence on the followers of Christ. “My brethren, let not many of you be teachers,  knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” James 3:1   Do not forget that your leaders are sinners too! The higher the pedestal, the farther the fall is in the eyes of those who exalt them. Psalm 146:3  “Do not put your trust in a son of man, in whom there is no help.”

    After Saul’s body was mutilated by the Philistines, some valiant men from Jabesh-Gilead came and took the headless body and buried it. God always has his valiant men. If we want our sons to be valiant men, they must have valiant men as their examples. Fathers, be valiant men for your sons and daughters. It is your calling to shepherd their young hearts right into the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    After Saul and Jonathan’s death, David wrote a song honoring their exploits and their courage. David kept his heart from bitterness by trusting the Lord, by keeping short accounts with Saul, by thinking no evil of the man who was trying to kill him, and by a heart given to quick repentance.

    Saul’s death not only brought about an end of his kingdom, but it also made the way for a renewed kingdom headed by David. The mighty had fallen to make way for a mightier one, one who defeated the Philistines and restored peace to the land. Jesus, the Son of David, is the second Adam who assumed His throne and established His eternal kingdom of Peace and Joy. Because He is Mighty God, grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Suggested reading: Romans 5:12-21


  6. The King is Dead. Long Live the King! (I Samuel 29,30)

    August 7, 2012 by Pito

    The Philistine generals were rightly suspicious that David and his men would turn against them in a battle with the Israelites.  David had already demonstrated that he would not raise his hand against Saul, the Lord’s anointed. They had Achish, the Philistine king, to send David away. He was too dangerous to have around.

    Rebellious men think they have cast His chains asunder by merely sending the Son of David away. Jesus is dangerous to those who refuse to be instructed and to be wise (Psalm 2).  He is also dangerous to the church because, “The Lord will judge His people,” like Saul, who became the enemy of God because he disobeyed the revealed will of God. He let the Amalekite king live and lost the kingdom. He repented, but it was a counterfeit. He swore falsely. I Samuel 15

    I Samuel 29 and 30 record a major transition in the life of the nation of Israel. While Saul died, David emerged victorious and rich with plunder. The Egyptian-like prince, Saul, fell in battle while the Israelite prince began to inherit the Promised Land.

    Judgment fell on the third day and because judgment came upon the wicked king, the entire nation was, as it were, raised from the dead. The king is dead. Long live the king.  Everything pivoted on the death and resurrection of the king—on the third day.

    After David retrieved the goods and families of Israel from the enemy, he returned them, along with other spoils of war, to the cities that he would one day rule over.

    David was not acting like a “king of the nations.”  He was establishing his rule by giving, not by taking. Does that remind you of anybody you know?

    “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6

    “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

     


  7. Rebellion Is As Divination (I Samuel 28)

    August 1, 2012 by Pito

    When confronted by a massive Philistine army, Saul, the rebellious king of Israel, was greatly afraid. He wanted some reassurance from God that he would win the forth-coming battle, but God was silent.

    When Saul didn’t receive a message from God through a prophet, nor through the Urim, nor through dreams, he decided to consult a medium, a woman who might bring him a message from Samuel, from the dead. To her surprise, Samuel came and confronted Saul with the same message he gave him before he died. “The kingdom has been taken from you and given to your neighbor, David.”

    At this point a depressed Saul became a distressed Saul. Samuel told him that he would be killed on the very next day. Saul was already weak from not eating and now this!  The woman then convinced Saul to eat a meal.  Here is Saul, the king of Israel, eating at the table of demons. He was feasting in the house of the dead, consuming a counterfeit Passover with a witch. This Passover was of no benefit to him, but it did open the door for David, the true Israel, to come up out of Egypt (Philistia), and to establish God’s kingdom in the Promised Land.

    All of this pictures the Son of David who also came up out of Egypt and became our Passover, establishing a Kingdom that has no end. When the Father sees the blood of the Son of David on your doorpost, He will pass over you. Let us resolve to keep the Feast with joy and thanksgiving as we pilgrim to the world beyond in hope, based on the truth of God’s Word.


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