April 19

 

Read II Samuel 21 -- 22

 

In Today's Reading:

 

God punishes Israel with a 3-year famine; seven members of Saul's family put to death; victories over Philistine giants

 

The days of harvest had once again come, but there was nothing to eat because there was a famine . . . three years, year after year (II Samuel 21:1). The famine was the judgment of God: If you will not hearken (listen) to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all His Commandments . . . . your heaven that is over your head shall be brass (not emitting rain), and the earth that is under you shall be iron (unproductive) (Deuteronomy 28:15,23).

 

It is assumed that this three-year famine occurred during the early years of David's reign, even though it is recorded here more than 25 years later. Recognizing the famine as the judgment of God, David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites (II Samuel 21:1). Saul had violated the covenant that Israel had made with the Gibeonites 400 years earlier. That treaty was still sacred because the covenant had been sworn to in the Name of God (see Joshua 9:3,15-19).

 

The surviving Gibeonites did not ask David for silver or gold to compensate for the murder of loved ones or for the loss of their property (see II Samuel 21:4). From their many years of association with the Israelites, the Gibeonites had to have known the Commandment of God. You shall take no satisfaction (ransom) for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death (Numbers 35:31). Disobedience to this command would cause Israel to be defiled.

 

The Gibeonites asked permission to hang seven men who were descendants of Saul. Therefore, David was responsible before God to deliver the seven men to the Gibeonites. Because of David's covenant with Jonathan, an exception was made for his crippled son, Mephibosheth (see II Samuel 21:7; I Samuel 20:14-17; 23:16-18).

 

Throughout the Old Testament, we learn the value God has placed on keeping our promises. Let us recognize the danger of disregarding our moral and spiritual responsibilities. In God's eyes, not even the king of a nation is above its laws. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish (Psalm 1:1-6).

 

Word Studies:

 

21:5 coasts = boundaries; 22:3 horn of my salvation = saving strength; 22:6 prevented = confronted; 22:19 stay = support; 22:27 froward = perverted; unsavoury = shrewd; 22:31 buckler = defender; 22:46 close places mean fortresses, strongholds.

 

Christ Portrayed:

 

As the One we call upon for salvation (II Samuel 22:4). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for BP Staff: Karen Hawkins · Government Officials: Rep. John Kuhl (NY) and Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (FL) · Country: St. Vincent and The Grenadines (120,000) in the Lesser Antilles of the eastern Caribbean · Major languages: English and French patois · Religious freedom · 50% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic; 2% spiritist · Prayer Suggestion: Glory in the Lord. He is Victor over Satan (Zechariah 3:2).

 

Optional Reading: Acts 20

 

Memory Verse for the Week: I Thessalonians 5:17