2 Samuel 7-8

Chapter 7 contains one of the four major promises of the Old Testament:

1. Adam/Eden – “he will bruise you on the head and you will bruise him on the heel.” There will be a conqueror of satan.

2. Noah/The Flood – “never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” He’s going to finish what He started.

3. Abraham/Israel – “through you all the nations of the world will be blessed.” His salvation of man will be both personal and international.

4. David/The Eternal King – “your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” JESUS!

Hallelujah! God’s love and promise still endures!! 3000 years after this was written!

Read this section carefully and meditate on its implications. Comment what the Holy Spirit points out!

My personal favorite is how many times the Lord reiterates He has been and will be WITH David.

-Bethany

2 Samuel 5-6

At first glance, reading about God striking down Uzzah makes me feel like David felt, angry and a little afraid. How could he impulsively kill a well-meaning man during a huge celebration of the return of his presence?

If you dig a little deeper into this text, you’ll notice that they put the Ark on a cart. This is a bad move because in Numbers 4, God says to use the carrying poles attached to the Ark to move it and that no one is to touch it themselves. They were carelessly moving it in haste to get God’s favor back in their presence faster. In 1 Chronicles 13:1 when this story is being told, it mentions that David consulted with his officials about moving the Ark, but he neglected to ask God.

Is God just flexing his power to spread fear throughout his people and remind them of who he is? I don’t know. What I do know is that we are very prone to getting carried away with ourselves and treating God like an idol. Worshiping him when we want something, taking shortcuts to execute our own plans and asking only the people we think will agree with us for advice. This story reminds me to revere God. Consult with him. Obey his commandments. He’s not a cruel God, senselessly striking the innocent dead. He’s a loving God, a powerful God, one that runs on top of the trees into the battle before us.

My pastor preached on this story a while back and asked us, when you read these chapters, who d0 you identify with?

Are you Uzzah, full of good-intentions, but not sifting man’s instructions through what God says?

Are you Michal, prioritizing social class and appearance above true worship? Tearing down someone you love because they embarrassed you?

Maybe you’re like David, trying to bend things your way in your own timing. Or maybe you identify with David at the end of chapter 6, giving God the worship he deserves at the cost of your pride.

I hope to be like David after they defeat the Philistines and he shouts “The Lord did it!”, instantly proclaiming that my success is his success. Remembering to give God praise for the work he’s doing that I’m invited in to.

 

-Carly

2 Samuel 3-4

I have too many comments about these chapters. They vex me.

First off, I am not a fan of Abner. I am #teamJoab and maybe that’s super messed up, but there it is: my confession. 

Abner sucks. He’s been Saul’s guy this whole time and now that Saul is dead he feels like he’s basically in charge. We all know Ish-Bosheth is useless, right? So since Abner is holding things down, he thinks it’s totally reasonable that he be able to no-consequence hook-up with one of Saul’s concubines. Then when lil’ Ish confronts him about it he’s like, “How dare you!” And storms off to join David. 

MEANWHILE, Joab is David’s most loyal “friend?” and has just seen his brother murdered by Abner. While he’s out doing David’s job, David’s all making deals with Abner behind Joab’s back. When he comes back and finds out what’s happened his PISSED and I would be too!

The story continues and I’m not going to keep summarizing because you gotta read it to believe it. Or what does Levar Burton say on Reading Rainbow? “Don’t take my word for it.”

The point I’m hoping to make today, is life is super messy and usually it pushes us to sort through the sin and mess and decide which heinous acts we’re okay with. I’m okay with Joab stabbing Abner? Why?!?

There aren’t many people in the Bible we can trust to be good examples. Only Jesus is a perfect example. It’s even hard to see how David could be in the right. Sure he loves his enemies and respects God’s appointed authorities, but even when it means curses for your bestie?? I don’t think I could ever love my enemy enough to symotanioisly condemn a friend. 

Welcome to me, I’m FAR from perfect. Let’s see if we can drudge up the courage to ask God which sins we’ve been casting a blind eye to today. 

-Bethany

2 Samuel 1-2

We made it through 1 Samuel! Over the next few chapters, David’s faithfulness will pay off and we’ll see God fulfill his promise that he will be made a successful king.

There’s a lot of military stuff in these chapters that I don’t connect with at all, but the mention of David’s grieving got me thinking. He finds out Saul and his best friend Jonathon have been killed, and he mourns and fasts all day. David, a powerful man about to be crowned king of Judah, breaks down, sobs and writes a song (gotta love musicians, right?). The Bible sums up mourning that way a lot. They tear their clothes or shave their heads, or do other things that are culturally relevant. I’ll often read in the Bible that so-and-so mourned for a week. Or a month. I don’t think the Bible is implying that we should compartmentalize grief, but instead, showing us that we should make space for it.

Very few times will the Bible mention someone’s death without saying who mourned for them in the verses right after. Have you noticed that?

Acknowledging a loss is important, whether it’s a job, a relationship or a death. Skipping over suffering, especially in death, makes the gospel meaningless. It implies Jesus conquering death was in vain. (Is this too heavy-handed for a Friday morning?)

When we experience a loss, we should carve out time to acknowledge it. Allow ourselves to experience it and invite God in to the process. Some of the most meaningful and greatest God stories I’ve ever heard people tell were written in the face of grief.

When was a time God shaped your relationship with him during sorrow?

 

-Carly

 

1 Samuel 31 + 2 Samuel Overview

If this was my Hollywood story, only Saul and his other sons would have died. Jonathan would have escaped, returned to David and they would have lived happily ever after as BFFs. But no, he is killed ruthlessly, his dead body mistreated and is not even quoted with any last words. Because this is 1018 BC and people are freakin’ savages!

1 Samuel ends as a cliffhanger, since it was originally one book. Since chapter 31 is so short and tragic, let’s get the Bible Projet overview for what Paul Harvey might call “the rest of the story”.

1. Despite Human evil, God is at work.

2. God opposes the Proud, but gives grace to the humble.

3. God will raise up a Messianic King

There is always hope, even in the darkest parts of our stories! The goodness of God does not depend on the goodness of man. Thank you Jesus!

-Bethany

1 Samuel 29-30

Ghost stories yesterday, war hero stories today…isn’t this fantastic literature?

The part that stuck out to me in these chapters was the reaction some of the men had after  getting back what was taken from them. Most are just relieved to be reunited with their unharmed families and get their belongings back. But some of them get greedy and want to withhold their findings from the men who turned back home earlier, tired.

I like fairness, so I can understand that. But the more I understand the gospel, the less of a tight grip I hold on to things I think are mine. The less often I tally up things in my head that others get and I don’t. The more likely I am to share generously and frequently. God is constantly letting us in on his goodness that we don’t deserve. He is not a God of fairness; he’s the God of love, mercy and grace.

I find it hardest to share time, money and food, and can easily justify why I don’t need to. But those three things are God’s currency. The New Testament is soaked with stories of Jesus spending time with people over meals and constantly discouraging a love for money. You can’t love money and me, he warns. Give away everything you own, he says.

David’s words sum this up well: “Don’t be selfish with what God has given you.” Because it’s just that: a gift. Let’s share it.

 

-Carly

Note: Psalm 56 goes with today’s chapters and it is beautiful! “And if our God is for us, then what can stand against us?” 

 

 

1 Samuel 27-28

Let’s call this section “frantic improvising while awaiting the fulfillment of a promise”.

David’s faith is wearing thin. He leads his men to a place Saul won’t follow and is there almost a year and a half! There’s already been a ton of waiting, and at this point I would have most certainly thought I’d imagined the promise of God. Still, he won’t abandon his Israelite agenda and quietly, deceptively continues the conquests of Joshua in regions not yet subdued.

Meanwhile, Saul wants nothing more than an assuring word from the Lord. Not gonna happen. 

Do you ever feel, deep down, that God has given you an answer on something and you just shake your head and mutter, “roll again”. To be sure, the promise God gave Saul is not something you or I would accept, but you can’t trick the Lord in to giving a different answer. “He is not a man that He should change His mind.” That’s the last recorded thing Samuel said to Saul in 15:29. He goes to pretty extreme measures, but the word of the Lord remains the same. Good news for David, bad news for Saul.

We’re not going to be comfortable or 100% trusting of everything God promises, but that doesn’t mean we can change it. Ultimately, it’s a very good thing, because “His ways are higher than our ways.”

What is a promise the Lord has given you? How would your day look if you 100% patiently believed it?

-Bethany