Wednesday, January 20, 2021

2021.01.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 1:17–27

Read 2 Samuel 1:17–27

Questions from the Scripture text: What kind of song is this (2 Samuel 1:17)? Over whom? To whom did he teach it (2 Samuel 1:18)? What is it called? Where else is it written? What does he call Saul and Jonathan in 2 Samuel 1:19? What happened to them? Where does he not want it discussed (2 Samuel 1:20a-b)? Why—who live there, and what are they (verse 20c–d)? What place does he curse, and how, and why (2 Samuel 1:21)? For what does he commend Jonathan and Saul in 2 Samuel 1:22? How does he describe them in 2 Samuel 1:23? Which daughters does he wish would hear and respond (2 Samuel 1:24, cf. 2 Samuel 1:20)? How? Why? Who is the focus of the lament in 2 Samuel 1:25-26? What about him does verse 25 praise? verse 26? How does 2 Samuel 1:27 summarize/conclude?

We have been learning that the church in 2 Samuel 1 is in a disastrous condition, and that it is part of godliness to be grieved whenever this is the case. If we are to grieve for the church, we should do so differently than those who grieve as those who have no hope for their entities. That is to say that, like the apostle teaches the Thessalonians to do for one another (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18), our grieving over disastrous moments for the church should be theological. 

So the Holy Spirit spends Scriptural ink on a grief-song for Saul. Upon hearing that the former king is dead, David’s first act of leadership is to write this inspired grief-song and give an order (complete with title and web address for where to download it) that the children of Judah learn it (2 Samuel 1:17-18). 

Since God’s people will have much to lament, God has put many such songs into His own song book, for us to sing and pray not only together with each other, but together with the entire church throughout the ages. Thus, though it is good for us to be thoughtful and theological about grief, there is a strength and fellowship in Spirit-inspired lamentation that no merely human words can muster. 

What specific guidance does this Spirit-given grieving song give us for our grief?

Grieve most of all over the dishonor brought unto God, His name, and the people in whom He has most invested His reputation (2 Samuel 1:20). God’s honor is our (and everything else’s) purpose for existing, and whatever dishonors Him forfeits its right to exist (cf. 2 Samuel 1:21).

Grieve with gratitude for whatever good God has done—recognizing that sometimes, it is precisely the former abounding health and happiness and honor that make it so dismaying when these are turned back (2 Samuel 1:22-24).

Grieve with appropriate affection, even if the intensity sharpens the pain of it. In the last section, 2 Samuel 1:25 and 2 Samuel 1:27 form bookends to highlight and intensify 2 Samuel 1:26—David’s personal distress over the love of his brother Jonathan. It would not be right (though it might be more comfortable) to diminish his affection for him now.

What good is behind your current griefs? What situations in the church(es) are grief-worthy? How are you grieving over them? What part do Psalms of lament have in your singing and praying life?

Suggested songs: ARP137 “By Babylon’s Rivers” or TPH137 “By Flowing Streams in Babylon”

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