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The Temple has been built and the Lord was faithful to fill it with His presence. Now Solomon dedicates and prays over this House of God. What a seismic moment in their history and ours. To speak into such a profound moment had to come from the Lord. No human, even the wisest one can do that without God's guidance.

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Solomon worked with Hiram for the final preparations for building the Temple. He also conscripted workers and levied taxes to pay for all of his building projects, creating the first cracks of resentment that will, ultimately, divide the nation.

...continue reading "I King 6 and II Chronicles 3"

This is the same events from II Samuel 24. In this version, in the very first sentence of I Chronicles 21, It states that Satan moved David to take the census as an act against Israel. David wanted to know how many warriors he had; which was a direct affront to God, who had given David the victory- no matter what the tale of the tape had been in every battle. David had dropped his eyes from the God who had saved him countless times and was concentrating on the world.

...continue reading "I Chronicles 21 David’s Census"

So far, the author, Ezra, has given us the general genealogies from Adam to David to the exile. Then the narrow genealogies of 10 of the 12 tribes. Then a detailed genealogy of Saul.

Now we begin with the death of Saul leading to the anointing of David.

...continue reading "I Chronicles 10"

The topic of my previous post was the first half of the Amnon's rape of Tamar and Absalom's horrible initial response.

As we rejoin the story in verse 21, David is made aware of the whole situation. "And he was very angry."

For two years, Absalom was in a silent rage and did not speak to Amnon.

Then Absalom had a sheepshearing party and invited all the king's sons. Absalom tried to get King David to come, but David said no. So then Absalom asked if Amnon could come. David asked why (which is more than he asked about why Tamar should cook and feed Amnon), but it sounds like Absalom just kept urging and David said ok.

Why hadn't anyone done anything to Amnon prior to this? If David had heard about it and was angry, why is Amnon still alive and breathing? Ryrie has a note that Amnon was David's firstborn and was in line for the throne. This doesn't seem like an excuse for violating Mosaic law and violating one's daughter, but apparently David didn't see it that way.

So Absalom planned with his servants to get Amnon drunk and then slay him. And then they did. This caused all of the other sons of David to flee.

But when word got back to David it was wrong. He was told that all of David's sons were slain. So David and all of his servant tore their clothes in grief. But David's brother brought him the real update. The kings sons came home and everyone grieved.

Absalom fled and lived for three years in exile of the family.

Eventually. David's heart was comforted regrading Amnon and began to long to see his son, Absalom.

No mention of Tamar. I guess we have to assume she's still sitting in Absalom's house disgraced. And this action wasn't on her behalf, so it seems unlikely it was very much a comfort to her, seeing how Absalom framed it to her immediately following the rape.

I'm not much of a feminist, if anything I am, generally, in disagreement with what they stand for and believe. But this chapter is deeply unsatisfying and frustrating. Ultimately, I trust the Lord and His Word.

God Restores

There is something so compelling, not just the image of a man on his face fasting and pleading with the Lord, but when told no, calming getting up, cleaning up and anointing himself and then worshiping the Lord. And then, and only then, breaking his fast. The servants who observed it firsthand marveled.

We just don't see that much today. It all could happen in private; so maybe it does happen. But we don't hear much about God from our public figures. If they don't do much to emphasize Him, it's hard to imagine the rest. I guess that's why David would get such a honored moniker of "man after God's own heart", despite his horrific sin- this side of him was such a positive example.

v. 24 A lot happens in this verse.

  • David comforts Bathsheba. That seems significant. It shows he was compassionate and recognized her need. It sees very pro-woman for the time. Giving time and attention to her need after the loss. Many cultures dismiss woman as second class citizens and yet God included this in His Holy book.
  • Then they tried again within the confines of a legal marriage and she conceived, and gave birth to Solomon.
  • "Now the Lord loved him." I assume this means Solomon, since that's the last male name in the story; but I wonder if it also means David- having restored the situation.

God (via Nathan) named Solomon Jedidiah, for the Lord's sake. This means beloved of the Lord. Ryrie says this name marked him as successor for the throne.

One final thing that struck me from this whole passage. This seems to be a model of how to be restored after sin. You confess, repent, ask for forgiveness, worship God, and then you accept forgiveness and return to walking in faith, understanding that, although there still may be consequences to come, your sin itself has been forgiven. David didn't walk around letting the devil tell him what a bad person he was. He didn't walk away from God and go his own way. He didn't stay at the castle, hidden in shame. He went on with life, as God had granted to him; letting God's forgiveness be enough. Because it is enough and it is all that can be. Nothing David did could have added to what God granted.

We cannot let the enemy chase us around waving our past at us, 'for shame, for shame'. Accept the unearned gifts of grace and mercy, worship the Lord, and move on with life.

Back to the Battle

Verve 26 takes up back to the battle against the Ammon battle. Joab had, basically, won the battle and told David to come and claim the victory. So David arrived with the rest of the troops and took the crown from the king (75 pound crown!)

vs. 31 is a grim ending to this chapter. After David defeats Ammon, takes their spoils, and then, depending on the interpretation, he either puts them all to hard labor or kills them all in gruesome manners similar o how they killed prisoners.

I really slowed down in this chapter. There just seemed to be so much there. I look forward to comparing what struck me with what I find in the Wiersbe commentary.

v 15b ..."Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick."

A couple of items to contemplate from this verse:

  • It is specific that the Lord struck the child sick.
  • The child was male.
  • The author phrases it as Uriah's widow, not Bathsheba, keeping the cause of the issue in the forefront. She bore another man's child.
  • And, the Lord struck the child sick, not dead.

Why sick and not dead? As always, I do not presume to speak for God; but the next verse is my clue:

v. 16 "Davis, therefore, inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground." For seven days, he denied himself to intercede for the child. Even when his elders were pressuring him to eat and take care of himself. To the point they thought he might harm himself when the baby actually died.

David got himself (and the baby and Bathsheba, and everyone else) into this when he refused to deny himself everything he wanted- even when what he wanted wasn't his to have.

And even more importantly, David still had hope for the child and went seeking God's face. Something else he wasn't doing before Nathan came to him.

In other words, David was genuinely repenting and his behavior (at cost to himself) was demonstrating that he really got the point. When we babysit our nieces and nephew and catch them doing something wrong, we correct them. And if we get a smirk or a grin in return, we try again to show them why what they did was wrong. We make an effort to explain it and we look for signs that they "got it". Otherwise, the second we left the room they would resume. We didn't want external pressure to be the only thing mitigating the behavior; but an internal understanding. A smirk does not denote internal understanding. So I used to joke that I wasn't done with the correction until I saw them cry. I did not want them to cry, but I was looking for a sign that they understood, in a real way, that what they had done was unsafe or mean, or whatever. Sometimes, it meant when they did get it, they would tear up.

That's what I perceive as happening with David. Suddenly, the life of his child was on the line and he understood that it was his choices that led to this. Personal responsibility before the Lord.

He also understood that the Lord was his only help. What his elders had to say was useless in light of the circumstances. God and God along could decide how the story would end.

And then this chapter of the story did end tragically. The baby died.

In response, David ended his vigil and went to worship the Lord. Only then did he end his fast and return to his normal life. This was very confusing to the elders, who understood the world, but not necessarily, the Lord. So they asked David about his surprising behavior. Here's his reply: (my paraphrase)

v. 22-23 While the baby was alive, I had hope that God would intervene by His graciousness and answer my prayer. But His answer was 'no', so now it is out of my control. God has decided and it is final.

I want to burn this scene into my mind. I think there are so many lessons for living.

  • There are consequences for sin. Sometimes we pay them, sometimes we are forgiven of the sin and the consequence, and sometimes we are forgiven of the sin, but still bear the natural consequence.
  • Genuine repentance bears witness through changed behavior. David didn't have his men fast, as Saul had done when he was trying to change outcomes. David fasted in a long and serious way.
  • David took personal responsibility. There's no evidence that anyone fasted with David or shared in this scene.
  • Faith is asking God for what you want and keep asking with confidence that He may say yes.
  • However, when God clearly says no, and a door is closed, faith is also accepting the no and still remembering that God is good and perfect and there is a reason for the no that is beyond what we can comprehend. (In this case, the salvation of the world and blaspheme of God was on the line, so He said no and the whole world was a better place for denying David's request to avoid the consequences of his sin.
  • Those around us may not understand the scene we are having with God. It may look mysterious, strange, or wrong to them; but if we're being led by the Holy Spirit and we're genuinely trying to love out our faith in the Lord, we keep on keeping on until we're on the other side and can better explain ourselves.
  • A child died. That is the most horrible thing many of us can imagine. While it would be unwise to casually throw out this story to someone in a trying situation; it is worth pointing out that God is in the trials of life with us. This story has a lot to say to those suffering.
  • Notice Nathan was gone at this point. God used Nathan to speak to David at first, but then it came down to God and David. When we try to minister to people, we should never forget that we only have a small part to play. The real change happens when that person gets alone with God.