Friday, October 22, 2021

2021.10.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 23:8–39

Read 2 Samuel 23:8–39

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose names are these (2 Samuel 23:8)? Who is chief among the captains (2 Samuel 23:2)? What was he called and why? Who was second among them (2 Samuel 23:9)? What had his group of three done with whom? What had Israel done? What did he do in 2 Samuel 23:10? Until what? Who gave him victory? What did the people finally return to do? Who was the third (2 Samuel 23:11)? Again, who were they battling, and what had the people done? But what did he do (2 Samuel 23:12)? And who brought victory? What kind? Whom does 2 Samuel 23:13 describe? Where had they come to whom? Who else was encamped where? Where was David, and where were the Philistines (2 Samuel 23:14)? What had David said (2 Samuel 23:15)? What did the three mighty men do (2 Samuel 23:16)? But what did David do? Why was it too valuable to drink and to be used for worship instead (2 Samuel 23:17)? Who was chief of what in 2 Samuel 23:18? How did he win this name? What place did he have among this three (2 Samuel 23:19)? To what did he not attain? Who was second of this second three (2 Samuel 23:20)? Who and what had he killed? Whom else in 2 Samuel 23:21? What was this Egyptian like? More than whom was he honored (2 Samuel 23:23)? To what did he not attain? What appointment did David give him? How many are listed in 2 Samuel 23:24-39? How many does this make in all (2 Samuel 23:39)? With whom does the list climax (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:10–47)? 

The Lord, our Hero, 2 Samuel 23:8-12. We’re tempted to read this as a list of heroes, plural. But it’s really a list of Hero, singular. David had mighty men (2 Samuel 23:8), who fought when everyone else ran (2 Samuel 23:92 Samuel 23:11). But, even with these mightiest of the mighty in the big three, it wasn’t they who brought about a great victory; it was Yahweh (2 Samuel 23:102 Samuel 23:12). Very few men ever rise to such greatness as David’s top three. But, if the Lord Himself is the true Hero, this gives to every single believer the privilege of participation in the greatest heroics. They’re just His heroics, through whatever duty He has assigned to us. 

The Lord, our Honoree, 2 Samuel 23:13-17. There’s more heroics with the second three, and “The Bethlehem Water Raid” is the kind of caper that lives on in lore. But the three warriors’ action is not the story here so much as David’s reaction. At first, we might think, “what a waste! 

After what they had just risked, isn’t it worse for him just to dump the water out than to drink it? Not if you understand the act of pouring. This is what’s called a drink offering. It’s an act of worship. After what these second three had done, the water was to valuable to use just for slaking thirst. There was only one activity to do with it that would appropriately reflect its value: worship. David recognized that men of loyalty like this, and courage like this, were not independent agents. They were the heroic gifts of his Lord. And therefore the water they brought was best used for honoring Him.

The Lord, our Honorer, 2 Samuel 23:18-382 Samuel 23:19 and 2 Samuel 23:23 tell us the main thing about Abishai and Benaiah as members of the thirty. It wasn’t so much their exploits themselves. It was the honor they gained thereby. Thirty men from a wide variety of parents and places, but all of them enabled by God unto an honor that He gave them. Yes, believers are to do all for the honor of God. But they are also to recognize that God is also pleased to give them honor. This is true on a macro-scale. The Scripture speaks in several places about God welcoming His saints into glory, giving them reward, giving them honor. 

The Lord, our Hope2 Samuel 23:39. In the other list, Uriah the Hittite appears somewhere in the middle (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:41), but it’s not difficult to recognize the events behind his appearing at the conclusion/climax of this list. David’s sins against him were immense. But David’s story as a whole has not been the story of his sin. Rather, the story has been one of God’s grace to a sinner, and through him to other sinners. And that becomes especially apparent when we remember that the story of David is really just beginning, because its climax is in Christ, and it has no conclusion, for it continues in His forever-kingdom.

Those who are familiar with all the Scriptures (cf. John 5:39–40) will not be surprised to learn that a passage about might men isn’t so much about those mighty men as it is about the Lord.

In what ways do you catch yourself trying to be the hero of your story? Who is its real hero? What is the most significant way that you can spend yourself? What Christian duties will lead to being honored at the last day (cf. Matthew 25:23)? How is your story ultimately not a story of your accomplishments; what is it a story of?

Sample prayer:  Our glorious, triune God, we praise and adore You, Who give us all good things and Who deliver us from every trouble unto everlasting blessedness. Our whole lives ought to be sacrifices unto You, which is our logical response of worship. Yet, You are pleased to reward and honor us, even for the good that is done only by the grace of Christ. The story of our lives would have been stories of great sin like that of Uriah, but You have made them stories of your great grace to us in forgiveness and through us in service to Your people. So, forgive us and use us we pray, in Jesus, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH447 “Christ, of All MY Hopes the Ground”

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