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22. David’s Special Battles

January 19, 2010

Text:    II Samuel 20:1-21:22

Outline:      I. Sheba      II Samuel 20:1-25

                          II. Famine      II Samuel 21:1-14

                         III. The Philistines      II Samuel 21:15-22

Context/Discussion/Comments:

     As a result of the verbal fighting that went on among all the tribes as David was about to cross the Jordan River and return to Jerusalem, Sheba, a Benjamite, refuses to accept David as king and convinces the other tribes not to accept David. In reality, Sheba wants to be king. So David returns to Jerusalem and the palace only as King of Judah. David has conquered Absalom’s uprising but his kingdom is no larger now than when he first became king after Saul’s death. Upon returning to Jerusalem, David places the concubines he had left in charge of the palace under house arrest. David does not trust them and considers the fact that they no longer may be loyal subjects. Amasa is sent to assemble the men of Judah to come before David. He does not return so his loyalty is also in question. Abishai, one of David’s commanders, is sent out with David’s army to find Sheba. Joab happens to find Amasa and kills him. Joab also finds Sheba in the city of Abel Beth Maacah and makes a contract with a woman to receive the head of Sheba in return for not attacking and destroying the city. The contract was fulfilled so Joab returned to Jerusalem.

     A three year famine exists so David seeks the Lord. This famine could have taken place anytime during David’s reign. It is placed here more as an addendum than as a chronological recording of the event. David learns that the famine is caused by Saul’s destruction of the Gibeonites against God’s will. David calls the Gibeonites before him to learn what he can do to make amends. They ask David to give them seven of Saul’s male descendants so they can kill them. David agrees to their demand but saves Mephibosheth because of his covenant with Jonathan before the Lord to watch over and care for Jonathan’s descendants. He gives the Gibeonites 7 other male descendants of Saul to kill. Rizpah, the mother of two sons killed, mourned until the famine lifted. Upon hearing of her mourning, David decides to retrieve the bones of Saul and Jonathan and bring them back to Benjamin to be buried alongside their father. With that, the famine ended.

     Israel and Philistia battled one another throughout David’s reign. In one battle, David was nearly killed. After that, David’s men refused to have David in the field where his life could be in jeopardy. Perhaps this is why David stayed home and ended up committing adultery with Bathsheba.

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Lessons/Applications:

   1. There is always someone who believes:

          • they can do your job better.

          • you are unworthy of your position.

          • they are more deserving than you are.

     In some of these situations, separation is the best solution for peace. These solutions, when applied in the local church or in a family, are always more painful than when applied in the workplace because there [church, family] they are more personal.

   2. There are four major reason for calamity in this world. They are:

          • natural events because we live in a fallen and cursed world.

          • accidental events because of bad decisions made.

          • God’s discipline of His Children.

          • God’s desire to have His Name Glorified through special events/circumstances.

   In Chapter 21, items 2 and 3 are in play and perhaps 1, because of Saul’s actions. Bad decisions are usually hasty decisions made at the height of emotional turmoil. Take your time, be objective, gather the facts, and pray seeking God’s wisdom [but don’t procrastinate] and your decisions will be sound and wise.

   3. There is always a time or situation in which mercy is welcome. Use it to bring glory to God.

   4. Recognize that sometimes our purpose on earth is to battle the enemy all our lives so that others might experience peace. David was a gifted warrior anointed King of Israel for a specific purpose. Know your God-given gifts and use them to glorify God in faithfulness to Him.

   5. When it come to our sinfulness, God is both merciful and condemning. Mercy comes to those who acknowledge and seek God. Condemnation comes to those who refuse to acknowledge or seek God and who prefer to follow their own wisdom and will.

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