Recognize how David showed that he valued Israel’s spiritual heritage. (Sect. 43)
David brought the Ark to Jerusalem
David grasped the importance of Israel’s spiritual heritage. Saul had long neglected the Ark; David brought it to Jerusalem, making it the spiritual as well as the political capital of Israel.
Enthusiasm without reverence (2 Sam 6:1-11)
• David and all Israel were bringing the Ark of the Name of the Lord to Jerusalem and celebrating mightily. When the oxen pulling the cart carrying the Ark stumbled, Uzzah grabbed the Ark to steady it. But God struck him dead for his irreverent act. David reacted in anger.
• Uzzah’s sincerity in wanting to protect the Ark from falling was not enough; he lacked the appropriate reverence for God. The Lord specifically forbade Israel from touching the Ark; it was to be carried with poles. Anyone touching it would die. David got the “what” right, but erred in the “hows.” David did not carefully research the Scripture to see if it addressed the topic of transporting the Ark and he did not seek the Lord about it. (cf. 1 Chron. 15:2-15, esp. 2, 13)
Reverence with enthusiasm (2 Sam 6:12-16)
• The second time, David brings the Ark to Jerusalem in the right, prescribed way. Only the Levites could carry the Ark. David was even sacrificing a bull and a calf every six steps throughout the half-mile journey.
A critical and undiscerning response (2 Sam 6:13-23)
David’s enthusiastic faith and uninhibited worship alienated Michal who was apparently persuaded by her father’s protocol. Perhaps the rumors of her father’s encounters with the prophets were an embarrassment to her. (Saul had removed his clothes, fallen and rolled around on the ground while prophesying.)
• On the journey with the Ark, David removed his outer garment so he could dance before the Lord with all his might. When he no longer wore the full regal garments, his wife, Michal, was offended and despised him. Therefore, God made her infertile (a curse in the ANE culture).
Recognize three features of the zenith of David’s reign that will characterize the reign of David’s greater son.
1. Unparalleled military success
2. Justice and political centralization
3. Covenant love and loyalty (chesed) (2 Sam 9)
Recognize the lesson to be learned from David’s response to God’s discipline for his sin.
David’s attitude towards God’s discipline reveals David’s heart
Example 1 – the death of his infant son (2 Sam 12:15-23)
• When God told David his and Bathsheba’s son will die, David fasted and wept, begging God to spare his son. When David realized his son had died, he accepted God’s will, went into the house of the Lord and worshipped.
• David responded humbly God’s discipline, rather than with pride or bitterness. David appropriated God’s discipline because he believed God is good. He knew that prayer and dialogue with God are real. He reasoned that if he humbled himself, perhaps God would change his mind. Likewise, we choose how we will respond to God’s discipline for our sin: we can either get better or get bitter.
• Example 2 – David and the Ark (2 Sam 15:25-26)
• Absalom conspired against his father David by setting himself up as king and gained a following. As David was fleeing Jerusalem, Zadok and the Levites were also fleeing with the Ark. David told Zadok, “Take the Ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord's eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.” David was ready to humbly accept whatever God wanted to do with him.
Example 3 – Shimei’s cursing David (2 Sam 16:5-15)
• Shimei, a man from Saul’s clan, met David and his officials fleeing along the road. He pelted them with rocks and cursed David, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!” David’s official wanted to kill Shimei. But David realized the Lord may have told Shimei to curse him and said, “My son, who is of my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” David showed humble submission to God’s will rather than taking revenge according to his right as king.
• CONCLUSION: The mercy of the Lord does not exclude the discipline of the Lord.
• God’s discipline, love and mercy are intertwined. It is false to think that if we are forgiven, we do not need consequences. God disciplines those he loves, therefore we should endure hardship as discipline (Heb. 12:4-11)
Recognize how the story of David’s census exemplifies the principle that mercy triumphs over judgment.
What was wrong with taking a census
• We can infer that David’s motive was pride and that he wanted to assess his might.
• The consequences of David’s actions
• After taking the census, David was conscience-stricken, confessed his sin to the Lord and begged forgiveness. God sent the prophet and seer, Gad, to tell David he could choose between three consequences: famine, plague, or falling into enemy hands. David chooses to fall into the Lord’s hands instead of human hands, for his mercy is great.
How God’s mercy triumphed over his judgment
God sent a plague that killed 70,000 people. An angel of the Lord was ready to destroy Jerusalem. Then we see the story from two viewpoints:
• God’s viewpoint – the Lord grieved the calamity he had sent. He told the angel who was afflicting the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand,” and stopped the plague.
• David’s viewpoint – when David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the LORD, “I have sinned; I, the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall on me and my family.” To placate his wrath, God tells David to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite and offer a sacrifice. This altar was the site of the future Temple and was near Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified.
Recognize three key theological themes from Solomon’s dedication prayer for the temple.
1.God is too large for the Temple; while the Temple is holy, it cannot restrict his presence
2.God’s name dwells there, and so does mercy for sin
3.If God’s people humble themselves and pray, he will hear their cry and forgive their sin (8:45-50)
Recognize the lesson to be learned from the sin in Solomon’s life.
1 God’s warnings to Israel’s king (Dt 17:14-20, esp. vv. 16-17)
• God spoke to Israel through the Law given to Moses. He said that when they settled in the land, the king must not have many horses or wives and must not accumulate silver and gold. He must get a copy of the Law, read it, and meditate on it daily. He was to revere the Lord and follow the whole Law. Thus, the Lord mandated daily devotions for the king. (1 Kgs. 11:1-6; 10:14-28)
• Solomon asks for wisdom to rule God’s people – a great request. God had commanded Israel not to intermarry with foreign wives, for they would turn their hearts away from him. However, Solomon loved many foreign wives; he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Solomon followed other gods, did evil in God’s eyes, and did not follow the Lord as his father David did. Solomon demanded much money in tribute and imported horses.
3. The lesson from Solomon’s story
• A person can start out well under God’s blessing but not finish well. Solomon started as the wisest man on earth, but died an idolatrous fool. Solomon fell on three swords: money, sex and power. These three idols easily seduce our hearts away from God; sadly, they are not uncommon in the church today.
• We need Christian community so we can confess our sins, turn back to God, and be healed. We each need to be ruthlessly honest with God, self and key people. If we do not, dark sin will grow and eventually ruin us.