April 12

Read II Samuel 3 -- 5

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

Now there was long war between the House of Saul and the House of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the House of Saul waxed weaker and weaker (II Samuel 3:1). About seven years later, there was a fierce 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 met with David, he was murdered by Joab, the commander-in-chief of Davids army and Ish-bosheth was assassinated by two of his own guards.

So all the elders of Israel came to . . . King David who made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: 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. The Canaanites held the fortified city of Jebus even after Joshua had conquered Canaan, more than 400 years earlier. They were so certain of their security that they ridiculed the king and his men who went to Jerusalem with a peaceful proposition for their surrender (5:6). Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion (5:7). This battle was for the chosen site for the Temple that would be the dwelling place of God.

This strong hold of Zion 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 that keep Christ from becoming Lord of our lives. The secret strongholds may not conflict with giving the Lord our time, talents, or tithes. They may seem insignificant to us, and 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 fleshly mind, with its physical impulses (Colossians 2:18), secretly and subtly demands to remain within our hearts. However, we too can, and must, choose to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5).

Christ Portrayed: By David, the anointed king of Israel (II Samuel 5:3). Christ is the Lord's Anointed. "Christ" is Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah, "Anointed One" (Psa. 2:2; John 1:41).

Word Studies: 3:1 waxed means grew; 3:10 translate means transfer; 3:12 league means covenant; 3:31 bier means coffin; 5:8 getteth up to the gutter means enters the city through the water tunnel; 5:23 fetch a compass means circle around behind them.

Prayer:

Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WMCT-AM, Mountain City, TN · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Mrs. Robert Miller · Country: Cote d'Ivoire (16 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and over 60 native dialects · Religious freedom · 40% animist; 25% Muslim; 10% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy (Psalms 106:1).

Optional Reading: Acts 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 34:7