2 Samuel 23-24 B

I love a good speech, don’t you? David’s last public words are a great contrast on good & bad leadership. Read 23:2-6 again.

Bethany was over tonight (we are rarely in the same time zone, let alone the same living room, so this is notable). We found ourselves talking about godly leadership and authority, what it looks like and what stems from it.

David is a man who knows what it’s like to walk alongside God. Even in the wake of immense sexual sin, he is still deeply anchored by his relationship with God. We’ve read about David’s highs and lows as Israel’s king and everything in between.

Here are a few questions I’m asking myself as we close out the books of 1 & 2 Samuel:

-What can we learn about Israel’s relationship with God?

-What can we learn from Saul?

-What can we learn from David?

-Who do you relate to more and why?

Tomorrow we’re starting the book of Matthew and the perfect King will arrive on the scene!

-Carly

2 Samuel 21-22 B

Chapter 21 is devastating. Imagining this mother, Rizpah, fighting off wild animals in the night for the sake of her sons is heart breaking. Her actions inspire David to finally give Saul and Jonathan a proper burial. The LORD honors the recompense of these deaths for the crimes committed against the Gibeonites, but yikes.

Interestingly enough, the hail incident I referenced the other day was when Joshua defended the Gibeonites from five kings in the land in Joshua 10. The LORD seems to love these guys. Random timing on the famine, so many years later?

David’s beautiful song in 22 (restated in Psalm 18) interests me on the heels of this story.

“The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not acted wickedly against my God. For all His ordinances were before me, And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless toward Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness before His eyes. With the kind You show Yourself kind, With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;” (22:21-26‬)

It’s cute that David fancies himself blameless after the past 11 chapters of yuck. Then I remember: righteousness is always attained by faith. Amid all the murder and adultery David had faith. The evil he successfully avoided was turning to other gods. He always depended on the LORD for favor and success.

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (22:33)

There is grace enough for David, and grace enough for us, so long as we put our faith in the LORD, preferring His Way to our own.

He lights up our darkness. (22:29)

How are you putting your faith in Him today?

-Bethany

2 Samuel 19-20 B

I love this unnamed wise woman who just makes it happen in verses 14-22. We hardly know anything about her, but she gives us a lot to think about.

She’s somehow risen to authority in a time and a place where women didn’t really do that. She’s trusted by the people in her town and puts their well-being first.

She is wise; she decides to make one swift, violent move to avoid massive violence and bloodshed. Sometimes you need to make a drastic move to weed out evil.

Is there something in your life that poses a threat to the rest of it? A habit? A person? A belonging?

Pray about this. Ask God to expose anything in your life you need to hand over, in order to protect yourself and the safety of your soul.

-Carly

2 Samuel 17-18 B

I love how Carly incorporated the Psalms when she wrote for these chapters last time.

There are so many people mentioned in this story, it’s hard to keep it all straight. Who’s on who’s team, who is conspiring, who is staying, who is laying low, who is switching teams?

David doesn’t want to fight this battle. He doesn’t want a winner or a loser. He wants it all to be settled and for things to go back to normal, with his malicious son safely home.

There isn’t much mention of the LORD in these chapters, except this suspicious sentence:

“For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.” (18:8‬)

What?! The forest had the most kills?? (This reminds me of Joshua 10:11 when more people died from hail stones than swords). It is a tree which captures Absalom.

Alive.

Let that sink in for a minute: Nature, which is subject to the LORD, was fighting alongside David’s men, killing over 10,000 men, and followed the orders to “deal gently for my sake for the young man Absalom”. (18:5)

The LORD’s relationship with David is fascinating. I’m not going to comment further, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and observations.

-Bethany

2 Samuel 15-16 B

Things are catching up with David in the worst way. I admire how he humbly accepts the curses hurled his way; the man knows when he’s in the wrong!

There is nothing new under the sun; politics have ALWAYS been schmoozy, deceptive and personal. Nothing proves this more than the story of Absalom slinking his way into the throne as a direct result of manipulative charm. What sways you to listen to someone?

The book of Proverbs repeatedly cautions us against falling for smooth speech and good looks.

What are the marks of a truly good leader? Here are a few of my rules:

1. Their reputation proceeds them. Anyone can boast about themselves and claim integrity. Find out from those who have known them a long time what they’ve been like in the good and the bad times. (I essentially hinged my marriage on this!)

2. They are marked by humility. Are they prideful? Buckle up. You are in for a long and bumpy ride as they struggle against the Lord. God opposes the proud.

3. They are authentic and approachable. The over-the-top-charm thing and his five pound pony tails should be a red flag. Why? When someone is leaning into their appearance and personality instead of their morals to get ahead; bad things happen.

What kind of leader are you?

-Carly

2 Samuel 13-14 B

“For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him.” (14:14)

This verse leaped off the page at me. Echoes of the prodigal sons father can be found all the way back here.

This is a messy time in David’s life. Ammon did a horrible thing on the heels of David’s horrible thing, which snowballs into many more horrible things. The promise, “the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own” (12:10), is unfolding.

In the midst of this, Joab reminds David of God’s heart through Tekoa. The LORD is the God of second chances. Time will tell just how much Absolam didn’t benefit anyone with his return (he obviously didn’t deserve this second chance), but this is still true of God.

What do we do with the second, third, fourth, fifth chance from God? He continues to draw those estranged from Him. Who have you “banished”? What is God saying about that? He lets us experience consequences, but He also extends grace continually. What will you do with His grace today?

-Bethany

2 Samuel 11-12 B

Here’s Bethany’s post on these chapters from a couple years ago. If you’re new to this story, start there. (Isn’t she such a fantastic writer? I’m humbled to collaborate with her!)

Sin is so ugly. If this was the only story we had in the Bible that demonstrated the impact of (sexual) sin, it would be PLENTY.

Lust. Greed. Adultery. Lying. Murder. Deceit. A child’s death. UGH. These poor people! Come on!

Satan is a liar. You can not cover up your sin. Your mistake impacts more than just you. You will not get away with it. If you are in relationship with God and massively fail him, confess. The truth will set you free!

Don’t lie, hide and try to save yourself. More people will get hurt. More distance will grow between you and the Lord. And ugh, that shame? That stomachache you can’t shake? It will eventually fade. Not because what you did has gotten any better, but because your heart is growing calloused.

We belong to a gracious Father. Full of mercy, abounding in love, quick to forgive, slow to anger and relentlessly gracious. Confess your sin, tell the truth, repent! Do not let it get any worse.

Is there something you to confess? Something broken that you need to hand over before it gets any worse?

Listen to the Voice of Truth.

-Carly