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Current study: Spiritual Warfare

12 May 2012

Week 19 Review

May 6   2 Samuel 13-15
May 7   Psalms 3; 4; 13; 28; 55
May 8   2 Samuel 16-18
May 9   Psalms 26; 40-41; 58; 61; 62; 64
May 10 2 Samuel 19-21; Psalms 5; 38; 42
May 11 2 Samuel 22-23; Psalm 57

This week we learn more about David’s exploits – and of the deaths of his son and rape of Tamar. The opening scene was fitting of a current TV show (proving that nothing really changes!).

Absalom, David’s son, had a sister named Tamar. Tamar’s half-brother was Amnon. Amnon pretended to be sick to lure Tamar into his bedroom, ostensibly to bake him some food. During this visit, Amnon raped Tamar. Amnon broke the commandment in Leviticus 18:9:

You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. Lev 18:9 (ESV)

According to the law of the land, Amnon now had the obligation to marry Tamar, unless David refused (and then he had to pay for her), and he was not permitted to divorce her.

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.  Ex 22:16-17 (ESV)

“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days. Deut 22:28-29 (ESV)

Amnon refuses to fulfill his obligation, and Tamar’s brother Absalom makes an odd statement – “stay quiet”. Absalom decided to take matters into his own hands. David knew what happened, but he did nothing. It took two years, but finally Absalom killed Amnon, and then Absalom had to run away. After three years Absalom was restored to his place in the kingdom, but not into full fellowship. It took two more years for Absalom to get back into David’s good graces. Once there, he began to plot the king’s overthrow.

David flees Jerusalem. He takes all his household except for 10 of his concubines. The group travels with the Ark of the Covenant. David knows that taking the Ark would be displeasing to God, so he returns it, knowing that if God wills it, he will once again see the Ark.

More intrigue, more rash promises (sound like something that happens in your office or family?), and finally, Absalom fulfills a prophecy from earlier in the book. This prophecy has been hanging over David’s head as a result of his affair with Bathsheba. Amon publicly sleeps with (rapes) David’s concubines.

Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’ 2 Sam 12:11-12 (ESV)

(Once David returned to Jerusalem, he never slept with these women again. He kept them in the palace and they lived as widows).

During the course of the battles, Absalom receives conflicting advice from his advisors. One advisor, Ahithophel, recommends they attack and kill David immediately. Another counselor, Hushai, recommends they wait. Hushai double crosses Absalom and sends word to David that he should immediately cross the Jordan.

Why didn’t Absalom go for the kill when David was easy prey? Simple.

And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom. 2 Sam 17:14 (ESV)

The battle rages, and finally Absalom is killed. David probably remembered all God had told him about the results of David’s own sin, and he mourned his son. This wasn’t what the people expected because they had just won a great victory. Joab, a trusted advisor, felt confident enough to rebuke David’s behavior, and David “arose and took his seat at the gate”. David chose to forgive his enemies and sought out Mephibosheth, finding that he was duped into staying instead of following David into battle.

Soon after Absalom died, Sheba, a “worthless man”, managed to incite yet another revolt, and “all the men of Israel” followed him. It appears that only his clan was truly dedicated to his cause (20:14). Joab and his men chased Sheba to the town of Abel where, after besieging the city, an agreement was made to withdraw if Sheba alone were killed. Once Joab had Sheba’s head, the attack was over and the men went back to their homes.

More battles rage (David was a warrior, after all), and at the end of the week we hear David’s song of praise (2 Samuel 22. This chapter is nearly the same as Psalm 18.) And finally, we hear some of David’s last words and a recap of the warriors who were important to David.

2 Samuel was quite a bloody book. We saw David besieged, his kingdom nearly destroyed, his concubines raped in full view of the people. We also see God promising David an eternal dynasty.

I am always amazed when I hear people call Christians “fuddy duddy”. They seem to think that we walk around with hidden wings and halos (when they aren’t accusing us of being hypocritical), but if people just read the Bible, they would see that men and women of God were first and foremost men and women with a sin nature. The problems we see in 2 Samuel are the same problems we have today.

Psalm 3                (David runs from Absalom) I have so many enemies! My enemies say my sins are so bad that even God can’t save me. But God – YOU are my shield. Because I trust You, I can rest knowing You sustain me. Salvation is Yours!  (A good Psalm to know when people say “where’s your God NOW?”)

Psalm 5                Hear me, Lord. I faithfully pray to you. You destroy evil. I will enter Your house with fear (awe) as I worship You. Show me the straight path. My enemies are all around me and speak ill of me. But God, You protect those who seek refuge and You bless those who are righteous.

Psalm 13              I’m calling to You – please listen! Deal with the wicked. The don’t pay attention to Your works. But You are blessed! You save Your people despite the actions of the wicked. You are our refuge.

Psalm 26              Lord, look at my heart and see I walk faithfully. I turn away from evil and tell of Your mighty deeds. I love Your house – be gracious and redeem me as I bless You.

Psalm 38              My troubles come from my own sins. Lord, I’ve sinned.  My actions have caused my sorrow. I am crushed. My strength fails me. My friends avoid me. I wait for You to answer me. I confess my sin. Do not forsake me. This is a reminder that we must confess our sins to God!!!!!!

Psalm 40              God has delivered me and put a new song in my mouth. God, You don’t require sacrifice, but You delight in an obedient heart. I testify to You in the congregation – I don’t conceal Your works. You delight in delivering me. You are my help and my deliverer. Isn’t it great that God wants to help us over and over again, even when we create our own problems?

Psalm 41              Another Psalm with a verse quoted by Jesus Himself.

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.  Psalms 41:9 (ESV)

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.  John 13:18 (ESV)

Psalm 42              I thirst for You, God. I praise You, God. My hope is in You. I am far from Jerusalem (my home church) and my soul is cast down, but I know I will be back there to praise Him again. You will vindicate me, God, against deceitful and unjust men. So why am I cast down? My hope is in my salvation and my God!

Psalm 55              Listen, God! I am in anguish – my enemies bear a grudge. This isn’t just any enemy. It’s someone I considered a friend. God, You will save me. My so-called friend plotted this betrayal even while pretending friendship. But You will sustain me. I trust in You! (If this is the lament of your heart, please remember to pray for that individual. God expects us to forgive, and to pray for friends and enemies alike).

Psalm 57              I cry to You Who will save me and fulfill Your purpose in me. I’m in trouble, but You, God – You are exalted over all the earth! “They” are out to get me, but my heart is steadfast in You. I will sing praise to You among the nations!

Psalm 58              (Godly leadership) Do you rule with justice? No! You are wicked and don’t honor God. Lord, please help us! We will rejoice! There is a reward for those who are righteous.

Psalm 61              I cry to You, God. You are my refuge and strong tower. I take shelter in worship and will praise You as I perform my vows (contextually, peace offerings) every day. This psalm was also a prayer for the (Davidic) king – and can be used to pray for our rulers. Like friends and enemies, it’s important to pray for those who are over us by election, or by position – whether we consider them our friend or our enemy. What would your life look like if instead of grumbling about an enemy, you chose to pray about them instead?

Psalm 62              God is my reliable hope. Injustice surrounds me, but I wait in silence (could this have been Tamar’s lament?). God is my rock and I won’t be shaken. Evil is but a breath because Your power and love sustain me. You will render a person what’s due to him.

I’d love to hear about your travels through the Psalms. Which Psalms have most inspired you, and why? Are there any that you didn’t care for? Again, why? It’s always interesting to hear other perspectives about God’s living Word.

I pray you are enjoying your daily time in the Word. What method do you use when you work through God’s Word? I have a notebook and I take notes each day. Some days my notes are sparse and other days they go on for pages. I find that if I write a synopsis of what I’ve read, I remember it better (probably because I force myself to go slowly). I started this method several years ago, and before that, I could barely remember what I read J

When I find a verse I want to memorize, I type it in the biggest font possible and paste it all over my house. I find an appropriate background and paste the text, then make a .jpg which rotates with others on a TV/computer screen. I find that I can memorize the text easier if I have a picture behind the text.

I’d love to know what you do to remember what you’ve studied during the week. If you have suggestions about this, or if you have a successful journaling practice you’d like to share, I’d love to listen!

As always, I covet your comments, insights and prayer requests. I pray that your worship on Sunday is meaningful and inspired. If you are a mother (of bipeds or furkids), I wish you a blessed Mother’s Day.

See you next week!

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