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Bible Pathways 04/11/2002

April 11

Read 2 Samuel 1 -- 2

In Today's Reading:

Saul, the first King of Israel is killed in battle by the Philistines l David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan l David writes a heroic song and declares: How the mighty are fallen (2 Samuel 1:19-27) l A new era begins as David is crowned king of the tribe of Judah in Hebron l Ish-bosheth is made King of Israel l War between Israel and Judah l Abner, Saul's former commander in chief, remains loyal to Saul's son Ish-bosheth.

Verse for Today:

David enquired of the Lord (2 Samuel 2:1).

Because of jealousy Saul was determined to kill David and had driven him from his family, his wife, and his friends, and into exile as a fugitive for many years.

An Amalekite nomad who knew that Saul had tried for years to kill David mistakenly thought David would be pleased with the news that he had executed King Saul. He could not conceive of anyone not rejoicing in the death of his enemy. He carried in his hand the crown of Saul, but David mourned, and wept, and fasted until [evening], for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the House of Israel; because they were fallen (defeated in battle) (2 Samuel 1:12).

Although Saul had long before disqualified himself from representing God as King of Israel, David expressed sincere grief over Saul's death and the shame Israel's defeat brought to the Lord, saying: The beauty (glory and honor) of Israel is slain. . . . Tell it not in Gath (or) . . . in . . . Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice (1:19-20).

The world delights in discovering the failures of a Christian and uses such failures to excuse its own sins. Surely no Christian should ever be involved in gossip about the failures of fellow Christians. If any man among you . . . [bridles] not his tongue . . . this man's religion is vain (worthless) (James 1:26).

Saul made at least 10 expeditions searching for David in his determination to kill him. David on two occasions had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he refused. He would not touch the Lord's anointed (1 Samuel 24:6; 26:11). His decision required faith that God does control the affairs of earth and does rule in justice on our behalf.

Now that Saul was dead, who would reign in his place? Israel was without a king, which meant there was no functioning government. To complicate matters, the Philistines remained a threat. David had been anointed long ago by Samuel the prophet to be the next King of Israel (16:13). However, Abner, Saul's cousin and the powerful commander of Saul's army, was determined to remain commander in chief of Israel's army for his own self-serving purpose. He immediately persuaded the elders of Israel to put Saul's only surviving son, Ish-bosheth, on the throne over the 10 tribes. David could have felt justified to face Abner in battle for his right to be king as God's anointed successor. Instead, David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into . . . the cities of Judah? And the Lord said [to] him, Go up. . . . [to] Hebron. . . . and there they anointed David king over the House of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1).

Waiting on the Lord is another important principle to learn from David. How prone we are to jump at opportunities for advancement rather than to pray with a submissive spirit for the Lord's plan for our lives. We are all prone to take things into our own hands and fight for our rights. David's attitude was one of dependence on God, so he prayed for His will to be done in His way and at His time. It is reassuring to know that every Christian is His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Christ Revealed:

In David's noble poem of sorrow (2 Samuel 1:17-27). David forgot all his years of suffering at the hand of Saul and considered only the pleasant things. Here David typifies Christ, Who loved us even when we were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).

Word Studies:

1:2 did obeisance = bowed in honor; 1:9 anguish = extreme pain; 1:18 use = song; 2:6 requite = repay; 2:14 play before us = hold a contest as to which side has the best soldiers; 2:17 sore = fierce; 2:26 following = attacking; 2:32 sepulcher = grave.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Kevin Brady (TX) and Rep. Mark Kennedy (MN) · Pray for one another · Country: Belgium (10 million) in northwestern Europe · Major languages: Flemish and French · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 3% Muslim; .8% Protestant; .5% Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Give thanks to the God of Heaven; His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever (Psalms 136:26).

Optional Reading: Acts 12

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 John 2:5

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