Thursday, August 12, 2021

2021.08.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 19:9–43

Read 2 Samuel 19:9–43

Questions from the Scripture text: Who were in a dispute over what (2 Samuel 19:9)? Why didn’t they think that David was still king? Who had anointed whom instead (2 Samuel 19:10)? But what had happened to him? Whom did they think should do what? Whom does David send to whom in 2 Samuel 19:11? What does he challenge them about? What does he call them, to reinforce this challenge, in 2 Samuel 19:12? Whom does he specifically address in 2 Samuel 19:13 (cf. 2 Samuel 17:25)? What possible objection from Amasa does David attempt to remove here? What effect do David’s words have upon the men of Judah (2 Samuel 19:14)? What word do they send back? How far has the king come in 2 Samuel 19:15? Who meet him there to do what? Who else meets him there (2 Samuel 19:16, cf. 2 Samuel 16:5–13)? Whom did he bring with him (2 Samuel 19:17, cf. 2 Samuel 9:10, 2 Samuel 16:1–4)? How does Shimei now act (2 Samuel 19:18)? How does he speak about his former actions (2 Samuel 19:19-20)? Who picks up his previous line of reasoning in 2 Samuel 19:21 (cf. 2 Samuel 16:9)? How does David answer (2 Samuel 19:22, cf. 2 Samuel 16:10)? What is David’s response in 2 Samuel 19:23? Who arrives in 2 Samuel 19:24? What does he look like at this point? What does David ask in 2 Samuel 19:25? What had Ziba said to him (2 Samuel 19:26)? But what had Ziba done instead (2 Samuel 19:27, cf. 2 Samuel 16:1–4)? What does Mephibosheth propose? Why (2 Samuel 19:28)? What does David decide (2 Samuel 19:29)? What does Mephibosheth counter-propose (2 Samuel 19:30)? Who appears in 2 Samuel 19:31 (cf. 2 Samuel 17:27–29)? What more do we learn about him in 2 Samuel 19:32? What does David invite him to do (2 Samuel 19:33)? Why does Barzillai object (2 Samuel 19:34-36)? What does he ask for instead (2 Samuel 19:37)? How does David respond (2 Samuel 19:38)? What does he do to Barzillai after they cross (2 Samuel 19:39)? Who are with the king now (2 Samuel 19:40)? Who else come, and what to they do, in 2 Samuel 19:41? How do the men of Judah answer (2 Samuel 19:42)? Then how do the men of Israel answer (2 Samuel 19:43)? What claims do they make? What ends up outweighing these claims?

Now that the Absalom threat has been eliminated, what is the restored kingdom like? In a word, it’s messy. The passage begins with uncertainty about acknowledging David as king (2 Samuel 19:9-10) and ends with a near-war over who acknowledges him first or most (2 Samuel 19:43). And this is the “stable” version of the kingdom at this point!

The unrest on the macro scale is reflected in multiple situations and details on the micro scale. The encounters with Shimei, Mephibosheth, and Barzillai demonstrate that “back to normal” for David and the kingdom does not mean “back to simple” for David and the kingdom. Whether with the church in general, in a believer’s life specifically, it seems that Providence is continually underlining our need of depending upon grace.

First, on the macro scale, David knows that he must get Judah back, but a bunch of Judah has been led by Amasa under Abasalom. So, David sways their hearts by pointing out that they’re in danger missing their chance to take the lead here, too, under the same chain of command (2 Samuel 19:11-14).

Once the royal procession is in place, Shimei (2 Samuel 19:16) shows up, of stone-and-curse-hurling fame (cf. 2 Samuel 16:5–13). So much for Ziba’s professed loyalty (cf. 2 Samuel 16:1–4). When Shimei rounds up a thousand formerly Absalom-supporting Benjamites as a peace offering, 3.6% of them are Ziba and his household (2 Samuel 19:17). Abishai continues to fiercely support the king (2 Samuel 19:21, cf. 2 Samuel 16:9), which continues to be a thorn in David’s side (2 Samuel 19:22, cf. 2 Samuel 16:10). Confession is made (2 Samuel 19:19-20), conflict is averted (2 Samuel 19:23), and a thousand Benjamites are added to the fold.

Mephibosheth is able to get there this time, with the kind of grooming faux-pas that can’t be reproduced in a hurry (2 Samuel 19:24), exposing David’s previously hasty judgment in giving treacherous Ziba his possessions. Unjust redistribution of wealth is a governmental hallmark among fallible men! It continues to be so for David, who only gives Mephibosheth back half in 2 Samuel 19:29.

But it is exactly against the backdrop of all the mess that the grace of God in His people shines most brightly. Mephibosheth gives his half back (2 Samuel 19:30). His needs are taken care of at David’s table (cf. 2 Samuel 9:13), and his desire and delight are fulfilled in David’s restoration (2 Samuel 19:30). And while others are jostling for a piece of the restored king (2 Samuel 19:43a), Barzillai is content to see the king restored (2 Samuel 19:31) and go home in peace (2 Samuel 19:372 Samuel 19:39). When God raises for us reminders of what we would be like apart from grace, every little bit of commitment to Him and contentment in Him becomes a reminder of His amazing grace to us and in us.

And that’s the real story on the macro level as well. Absalom has been put down, but the kingdom can’t operate on auto-pilot. It needs constant protection and preservation by the grace of God. One day, the forever-King will return, and the last vestiges of even His people’s internal sinfulness will have been eliminated. But until then, we must continually look to Him for grace, depend upon Him for grace, and praise Him for that grace (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:8–10).

In what ways has your own life, or the life of the church, recently demonstrated the need for protecting and preserving grace? In what ways have commitment or contentment shown through to demonstrate that God is continually giving that grace? How have you thanked Him for it?

Sample prayer: Our gracious God and heavenly Father, although You have already defeated the devil, his opposition remains strong in the world, and even in many ways from within the church and from the remaining sinfulness in our own hearts. But Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory! Thy kingdom come in our hearts and lives. Thy kingdom come in Your church. Thy kindgom come in the entire world! Give us grace to be so content with You that You by Yourself are enough for our peace and joy. And, wherever we see such contentment in ourselves and others, make us to praise Your grace for it, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested Songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72A “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”

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