April 12

Read 2 Samuel 3 -- 5

In Today's Reading:

Abner deserts Ish-bosheth to join David l Abner murdered by Joab l Ish-bosheth murdered l David declared King of all Israel l The city of Jebus (Jerusalem) is captured and, although over 3,000 years have passed, Jerusalem remains the city of David (5:7) and the capital of the nation of Israel.

Verse for Today:

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron . . . and they anointed David king over Israel (2 Samuel 5:3).

Following the death of Saul, Abner, the powerful commander of Saul's armies, proclaimed Saul's son Ish-bosheth King of Israel. Abner controlled the puppet-king and his kingdom and, to avoid a threat from the Philistines, moved the capital from Gibeah, northwest of Jerusalem, to Mahanaim in Gilead (2 Samuel 2:8-9), east of the Jordan, between the tribes of Gad (Joshua 13:26) and Manasseh (13:30).

Now there was long war between the House of Saul and the House of David: but David [grew] stronger and stronger, and the House of Saul [grew] weaker and weaker (2 Samuel 3:1). About seven years later, there was a quarrel between Abner and Ish-bosheth (3:6-11). Because of this, Abner offered to make a league with David (3:12-16) and contacted the elders of Israel, reminding them: The Lord [has] spoken of David, saying, By the hand of My servant David I will save My people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies (3:18). A short time after Abner, the commander in chief of Israel's army, met with David, he was murdered by Joab in revenge for Abner killing his brother Asahel (3:27). Abner also posed a threat to Joab's prestigious and powerful position as commander in chief of David's army. And, soon after that, Ish-bosheth was assassinated by two of his own guards.

So all the elders of Israel came to . . . King David . . . in Hebron . . . and they anointed David king over Israel (5:3). The time had come for David to move his capital from Hebron to the central location where the Jebusites held a stronghold located in the heart of the Promised Land. God had chosen this place to be known as Jerusalem, the City of God and the political and religious capital of Israel.

The Canaanites had held the fortified city of Jebus even after Joshua had conquered Canaan more than 400 years earlier. The Jebusites were so certain they were unconquerable that they ridiculed the [new] king and his men [who] went to Jerusalem (5:6). Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David (5:7). The conquest of Jerusalem was essential, since it was the chosen site for administration of the Kingdom and the Temple that would be the dwelling place of God. It is the only city in history about which God has declared: Jerusalem, the city [where] I have chosen . . . to put My Name (1 Kings 11:36; see also 9:3, 14:21; 2 Kings 23:27; 2 Chronicles 6:6; 12:13; Nehemiah 1:9).

This strong hold of the Jebusites is symbolic of strongholds which may lie deep within our hearts and minds and which may not be known to anyone, either by our conduct or in our conversation. They depict secret thoughts of lust, pride, envy, jealousy, and other things that keep Christ from becoming Lord of our lives. The secret strongholds may not conflict with giving the Lord our time, talents, or tithes and may seem insignificant to us, as harmless to serving Christ as the Jebusites were to Israel. How sobering to realize that there could never have been a Temple for the dwelling place of God in the place that He had chosen until the Jebusites, who held the central position in the Promised Land, were cast out. The carnal mind, with its physical impulses (Romans 8:7-9; Colossians 2:18), secretly and subtly demands to remain within our hearts. However, we can, and must, choose to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God . . . bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Christ Portrayed:

By David, the anointed king over Israel (2 Samuel 5:3). Christ is the Lord's Anointed. "Christ" is Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah, "Anointed One" (Psalms 2:2; John 1:41). Jesus is the King of the world. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS . . . and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin (John 19:19-20).

Word Studies:

3:1 waxed = grew; 3:10 translate = transfer; 3:12 league = covenant; 3:27 smote = stabbed; 3:31 bier = a stand for carrying a corpse or a coffin; 4:2 reckoned to = considered part of; 5:8 getteth up to the gutter = enters the city through the water tunnel; 5:23 fetch a compass = circle around behind them.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Pastor · Country: Belize (236,000) on the eastern coast of Central America · Major languages: English and Spanish · Religious freedom · 64% Roman Catholic; 26% Protestant; 2% spiritist/animist; 1% Hindu; 1% Muslim; 1% Baha'i · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His loving-kindness and faithfulness (Psalms 138:2).

Optional Reading: Acts 13

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 John 2:5