Wednesday, February 10, 2021

2021.02.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 3:12–39

Read 2 Samuel 3:12–39

Questions from the Scripture text: Who claims to control the land in a message to whom (2 Samuel 3:12)? What does he ask David to do? What does he say he can/will do? What does David require first (2 Samuel 3:13)? What won’t Abner see if this doesn’t happen? To whom does David then formally make this request (2 Samuel 3:14)? But what had Saul done (cf. 1 Samuel 25:44)? What does Ishbosheth now do (2 Samuel 3:15)? With what initial result (2 Samuel 3:16)? But who intervenes? Of what does Abner remind whom in 2 Samuel 3:17? What does he tell them to do in 2 Samuel 3:18? What other reasoning does he add? Whom does he specifically address in 2 Samuel 3:19? Then to whom does he report their responses? How many people does he bring with him (2 Samuel 3:20)? What does David do for them? What does Abner say that he will do in 2 Samuel 3:21? What does he say that the people will do? What does he say that David will do? Where does Abner go? Then who immediately arrives from what (2 Samuel 3:22)? What does Joab find out (2 Samuel 3:23)? What does Joab say about the wisdom of this (2 Samuel 3:24-25)? Then what does Joab do (2 Samuel 3:26)? From whom does he keep this? What does Joab pretend to want from Abner (2 Samuel 3:27)? But what does he do instead? Why? When David hears about this, about what is he concerned before Whom (2 Samuel 3:28)? What does he declare? Upon whom does he call down the guilt (2 Samuel 3:29)? With what curse? How does 2 Samuel 3:30 summarize the entire incident? Whom, especially, does David command in 2 Samuel 3:31? And whom else? To do what? Who is the lead mourner? What does he do (2 Samuel 3:32)? Who follow this cue? Who composes what in 2 Samuel 3:33-34? About what specific circumstance of Abner’s death does he lament? What does he call Joab? What do the people do? What else does David do as an act of mourning (2 Samuel 3:35)? What do the people think of this (2 Samuel 3:36)? What else pleased them? What did they all now know (2 Samuel 3:37)? How does David summarize the event in 2 Samuel 3:38? What does he say was the effect upon himself (2 Samuel 3:39)? What does he say about Joab and Abishai? Whom does he have hope will do what about it?

Usually, when an ancient king arose, the first priority for him was to establish his power by eliminating or crippling all possible opposition. And we can see a hint of that in David’s request for Michal (2 Samuel 3:13). The resumption of that marriage with the daughter of Saul would be a step toward consolidating the house of Saul (and the rest of Israel) into his kingdom. And Abner is useful unto this end, not only overruling poor Paltiel to ensure the Michal transaction goes through (2 Samuel 3:16), but also making sure that the desired ultimate outcome is secured (2 Samuel 3:17-19).

So by ordinary human (fleshly) logic, it would seem not to be a problem that Joab would go from obtaining kingdom spoil (2 Samuel 3:22a) to eliminating kingdom competition (2 Samuel 3:24-25), even though Joab had not only obvious but divinely-emphasized (2 Samuel 3:27b2 Samuel 3:30b) ulterior motives. This is just the kind of thing that all the other kings did.

But David isn’t “all the other kings”! He’s the one whom Yahweh has anointed and sworn to enthrone (2 Samuel 3:18), who is more concerned about guilt before God (2 Samuel 3:28) than consolidated power—so that Joab’s “thanks” for breaking the covenant of peace from 2 Samuel 3:20-21 is a horrible curse(2 Samuel 3:29). 

And David’s first great act of leadership over the united kingdom is not levying legislation but rather leading lament. He’s the sack-clothed mourner in chief (2 Samuel 3:31), the keynote weeper (2 Samuel 3:32), the royal poet laureate (2 Samuel 3:33-34), and hosts not the inaugural ball but the inaugural fast (2 Samuel 3:35). All of this has the earthly appearance of weakness, and indeed David feels it (cf. 2 Samuel 3:38-39). But when God’s grace is your main program, He often conspires to be your Strength in the midst of your weakness (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:8–10), and He gives David the hearts of all the people (2 Samuel 3:36) such that lamentation leadership becomes a great galvanizing event in the newly united kingdom (2 Samuel 3:36-37).

Our forever-King, the Lord Jesus, is the ultimate guiltless One (cf. 2 Samuel 3:28), but He Himself has borne (and eliminated!) upon His cross our dreadful curse (much worse than 2 Samuel 3:29). And He perfectly leads us in lament (cf. much of the Psalms) and every other right response before God. Yahweh has sworn to Him (cf. 2 Samuel 3:18) that He will save us with a great and complete salvation, and that the nations and the ends of the earth will be His kingdom forever (cf. Psalm 2:7–8). Hail, God’s anointed King! 

What is an example of an earthly way of getting power in your social/work/political circles that you should reject?

Suggested songs: ARP7B “God Is My Shield” or TPH46A “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength”

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