This Week’s Sermon was preached by one of our Elders, Sam Knox.
2 Samuel 3:1-21
If you should visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, you will find an old, weathered door dating back to the year 1492. In the center of this door, you will notice that a section of the door is missing. One of the planks making up the door has a section that has been hacked out of it—about five inches wide and a foot or so high. So what’s the story behind the door? An inscription reads as follows: “In 1492, two great Irish families, the Butlers of Ormond and the Fitzgeralds of Kildare, were engaged in a bitter and bloody feud. Seeking sanctuary, Black James, nephew of the Earl of Ormond, and his men fled into the Chapter House. The Fitzgeralds followed in hot pursuit. “Their leader Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, realized that the fighting was out of control. Through the closed door he pleaded with Black James to accept a truce. Suspecting treachery, Black James refused to let Fitzgerald inside. Fitzgerald hacked a hole in the door and thrust his arm through as a pledge of his good faith. “This daring gesture was enough. The door opened and the two warring factions received one another in peace. Some believe that this event is the origin of the expression ‘to chance your arm,’ meaning, to take the initiative. The door has become known as the ‘Door of Reconciliation’.” In our text today will we see a similar story? Let us see!
We continue in our series in 2 Samuel last week Adam lead us through Civil war part one and today we pick up in chapter three for civil war part two. As you recall Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, had made Saul’s one remaining son, Ishbosheth, king over Israel with his headquarters at Mahanaim. A skirmish broke out between the two armies at Gibeon and Abner’s soldiers were defeated.This resulted in a footrace with Asahel, the brother of Joab, chasing Abner. Asahel was faster, but Abner had more experience and he was able to trick Asahel into impaling himself on his spear. Joab and Abishai continued the pursuit, but Abner was able to reconnect with his troops on a hill. And Abner managed to convince Joab to break off his pursuit and they both returned to their headquarters, Joab to Hebron and Abner to Mahanaim. Had Joab finished the job instead of being convinced by Abner to stop, he would have prevented what chapter 3 verse 1 calls a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. In this narrative of David becoming the King of Israel. This chapter is a tale of two kings, intrigue, sex, deceit, betrayal and murder. Or as Adam would say “this would make for a great movie.” Yet one thing is still sure when we come to the end of the chapter; God is still causing all things to work together for David’s good and to accomplish the plans of His Glory. God has a plan both for David and the Kingdom especially His kingdom.
Ultimately, God’s plan will be accomplished, but often sin distracts us from it. Man’s sin has real life consequences and in 2 Samuel 3 we see the plan of God to bring all of Israel under David amidst the painful reality of sin’s consequences. In life we must trust the sovereignty of God when we have to cope with pain of wrongdoing. In 2 Samuel 3, we see that God sovereignly uses ignorant men to advance his own purposes. Beloved throughout this chapter we can see God at work in the midst of human folly and sin to establish His kingdom and His King. There are three acts that I want you to see.
3:1 Hostility Between Houses
3:2-5 House of David Grows
3:6-21 Abner Joins David
3:1 Hostility Between Houses
1 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
So there is a long civil war going on between the North and the South. Israel has the Philistines to deal with, as well as the Amalekites, the Ammonites, and the Moabites, and at this time is engaged in a civil war that could very well destroy the nation. David is gaining power; Ish-bosheth is losing power.
Verse one gives us important background for the story. David and Ish-Bosheth (Saul’s son) are rival claimants to the throne who are engaged in a lengthy civil war. It is basically going on between the North and the South. The conflict was fundamentally between two families vying for undisputed control over one nation, not two nations at war with each other. 2 Samuel 3 is a critical advance in God’s redemptive story through which a descendant of David, the Messiah, would ultimately come. David was made king over the southern kingdom of Judah in 2 Samuel 2, but how would he claim the northern kingdom of Israel, which is loyal to Saul? Chapter 3 as we shall see will begin to answer that question. The war between the northern tribes, and, the southern tribe, was necessary because of the conflicting natures and aims of the contending parties. Ishbosheth, as Saul, sought to have authority over all of the tribes. David also was looking forward to the accomplishment of the purposes of God. And those promises that had been given to David were well known, as we see. Consequently was one of the grounds and reasons for the conflicts.
King Saul is dead and with him his house, which grows continually weaker. Saul’s legacy is in its death throes. However, David grows steadily stronger. The contrast is stark. This is the culmination of what God began in 1 Samuel 16 when He withdrew His Spirit from Saul and anointed David as His chosen king. In this chapter, we see the Lord’s purposes accomplished through the agency of the men in the narrative. Superficially, it may appear that each character acts solely based on his own agenda. However, when read from the context of redemptive history, it is clear that the Lord’s plan is ultimately fulfilled.
We can see that David is moving ever closer to being the sole ruler and King of Israel no matter how many people oppose and how unjustly people treat him he is going to be king. God through His sovereign will is going to make him king and we can see this already through the first few chapters of 2 Samuel. The Lord is with him and David will sit on the throne. So how is David growing Stronger lets look in verses 2-5. Lets see how the house of David grows.
3:2-5 House of David Grows
2 And sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam of Jezreel;3 and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 4 and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream, of Eglah, David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
The growth of David’s family was grounds for further strengthening of himself as a King. If you look at the individuals that he married, and if we knew all of the details of them, the chances are that we’d see that many of them were very, very useful for political purposes. For example, we read of Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. So, by his marriages, David was making relationships, which would ultimately strengthen his own kingdom. It’s not said that he did it for that purpose but, nevertheless, we read in the midst of the war, the house of David grew stronger and stronger and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
If you are familiar with the David story, as soon as we read that paragraph and see the list of sons, certain names immediately jump out because even though David has gone through very difficult times in the wilderness, the greatest moments of heartache and devastation that will come to David will come through the choices and actions of these sons. So there is significant trouble ahead for David. The point of the paragraph in our narrative, though, is to say David’s kingdom was expanding. David was growing in power and that’s contrasted with what’s happening in the kingdom of Ish-bosheth.
David had six sons by six different women. Yes–polygamy was a common custom in the Middle East. Yes–Kings consolidated power and formed alliances with neighboring kingdoms by marrying sons and daughters. But what is a common practice and an accepted custom in specific cultures is still not what God intended. Not to justify the actions of David or what kings did in that time God still sovereignly worked for His namesake and Kingdom. The Bible teaches that Kings were not to multiply wives to themselves. The Lord through Moses warned the people that one day they would have a king; and the king was not to multiply gold, horses or wives. “Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself” (Deut. 17:17). These things that were political strength were also the seeds of later trials and sins that King David was forced to undergo.
This is the anointed King of Israel, a man that God anointed to represent Him, a man that God said, “…would lead a kingdom that would have no end.” Out of that kingdom would come the promised Messiah. Now there are those who would say that God just permitted this polygamy in the Old Testament. Now David might have all sorts of good reasons for doing as he did: to secure a royal posterity and so on, but this was not according to God. To be convinced of this we need only trace the descendants of his wives. If David had only godly Abigail as his companion, would he have seen an Amnon bring shame and dishonor upon his house, an Absalom rebel against his own father, or an Adonijah try to seize control of the kingdom and ask for the Shunammite to be his wife? But it’s also helpful to note that wherever it happens in the Old Testament, it always leads to trouble. It would be fair to say that those that had multiple wives never really experienced the intimacy and shalom at home that God intended. It just created unnecessary chaos again, and again, and again.
Arthur Pink writes the following about the calamity that occurred in David’s life because of all of the wives that he multiplied to himself, “Few men have experienced such sore social and domestic trials as David did. Not only was he caused much trouble by political traitors in his kingdom, but what was far more painful, the members of his own family brought down heavy grief upon him. His favorite wife turned against him (6:20-22), his daughter Tamar was raped by her half brother (13:14), his son Ammon was murdered (13:28,29). His favorite son Absalom sought to wrest the kingdom from him, and then he was murdered (18:14). Before his death, another of his sons, Adonijah, sought to obtain the throne (1 Kings 1:5), and he too was murdered (1 Kings 2:24,25).” Yes even through heartache, mistakes and shame. God still sovereignly works to bring about his redemptive plan always pointing us towards the Greater King! Let us see what happens next.
3:6-21 Abner Joins David
As the civil war progressed, Abner cemented his influence and place in the Ish-Bosheth camp. Ish-Bosheth, being Saul’s son, is the head of “Saul’s house. Even though as it became apparent that he was fighting for the losing side. He was General of the armies of Saul (and now Ishbosheth). It would appear Abner was the real power behind the throne. I would say Abner was the true ruler of the throne in the house of saul. Abner was the son of Ner, who was the brother of Kish; the father of Saul. Abner like Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. Abner focused on his own personal ambition. If You will recall that when David killed Goliath, Saul asked Abner, “who is this kid?” Abner pretended like he didn’t even know David, even though they grew up in the same area. When David was elevated to the position of general in the army; David threatened Abner’s job. Abner would replace David when David was running from Saul. It was Abner who took an army of 3,000 men and hunted David in the wilderness. Abner had made every effort to keep David from being king. At some point along the way, Ish-Bosheth accused Abner of sleeping with Rizpah, Saul’s concubine. In response, Abner takes great offense to being accused, arguing that he has been a loyal subject. As we pick up in verse 6 we read.
“While there was a war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul.” At this point we are told about a major falling out between Abner and Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, who he had anointed as king. Abner is acquiring power in the house of Saul. Now, notice what the words are here, Notice It doesn’t say that Abner was doing everything he could to make the house of Saul strong. Get what the words are here, Abner was all about Abner. Abner was a political player. He was looking for an edge; he was looking for personal power, and Ish-bosheth was a weak king, and Abner was consolidating power in that kingdom.
7 Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. And Ish-bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?”Abner supposedly sleeps with one of Saul’s concubines. Who is Rizpah you might ask. Rizpah was the daughter of Aiah–she may be from a clan of Edomite people. She was a concubine of Saul. In ancient times it was not unusual for the son to “inherit” his father’s concubines. In the not too distant future a similar scenario. Absalom will initiate a civil war by publicly humiliating one of David’s concubines (he will have sex with her out in the open; in public rebellion; to commit an act so wicked; to make a public break from his father. we will see this when we get to 2 Samuel 16.
Now there are some who think that what Abner did was a false accusation but the way the text reads it seems unlikely. In the ancient world, to sleep with the previous king’s wives or concubines was in essence to say, I am the new king. It was a very open and public statement that you were taking over. In ancient culture was a very public way of laying claim to the throne. So this isn’t just Abner having a little flirt relationship with Saul’s concubine and then having some sort of a relationship with her. This is a very deliberate move to say either, “I’m taking over the kingdom,” or for all practical purposes, “I am in charge here.” If Abner were trying to strengthen his position in the house of Saul, then taking Saul’s concubine would help his cause. What happens next?
Ish-bosheth challenged him: “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine” (2 Samuel 3:7)? Ish-bosheth then calls him out on it, and Abner is deeply offended. 8 Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, “Am I a dog’s head of Judah? To this day I keep showing steadfast love to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David. And yet you charge me today with a fault concerning a woman. Abner basically says, After all I’ve done for you, “To this day I keep showing steadfast love to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David.” and if it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t have anything. Well then he says, As a result of this, I have no alternative but to turn the kingdom over to David. Now there are a lot of commentators that think Abner had relations with Saul’s concubine in order to elicit this response from Ish-bosheth, in order to create a legitimate reason why he’s changing teams—and I think there’s a lot of merit to that view. But Abner was in it for him self and his motivations. He was an opportunist and he understands Ish-bosheth and his kingdom are going down. David’s going to win; he wants to be part of the winning team, so he seizes this moment to change sides. In the end, not very much hinges on how we understand what exactly happened between Abner and Ish-Bosheth. The important thing is that, whatever happened, a rift was created between Ish-Bosheth and the commander of his army. In anger Abner continues on in verse 9.
9 God do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David what the Lord has sworn to him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 And Ish-bosheth could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him. Here we see the extent of Abner’s influence over Ish-Botheth’s camp. In the previous section he implied that he had the power to hand Ish-Bosheth over to David (v. 8). Now, in light of the rift between Ish-Bosheth and himself, Abner decides to do just that. Note here that Abner is aware that David had a divine (though not a blood) claim to the throne. This was public knowledge, and it seems that his disagreement with Ish-Bosheth pushed Abner over to David’s side. In response, Ish-Bosheth remains silent due to fear. His only motives were to himself. He knew that war with Judah was inevitable, and when the fighting was over, he wanted to be on the winning side. Abner was in it to win and for himself. Saul’s son the poor pathetic king with no strength to reply can only tremble before his threats. But in all this beloved I want you to see a divine providence, which, hidden beneath men’s passions and even working through them, is preparing the path of His anointed king.
Notice Abner’s motives were not driven because David was Yahweh’s chosen king even if he knew that. Abner wanted to expand David’s kingdom for his advantages. Remember God has promised to David that he will be king and that he will reign. And in a covenant made with David, “As the Lord has sworn to him, to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah from Dan to Beersheba.” How is God going to fulfill His promise? God is sovereignly working through Abners motives. The one who is maybe having an affair with Saul’s concubine? Yes the selfish one who is now mad because has been accused and now he’s saying revengefully to Ish-bosheth, “I’m going to deliver Israel to David.” That’s how God is fulfilling His promise. God did not prevent Abner from working against David, but He used the opposition to consolidate the people of Judah behind their newly appointed king. Abner may think he is a mighty ruler but He is just a servant of the one all-powerful ruler. God is the one who is in control. God is the one who makes nations rise and fall. God is the one who sets up kings and tears them down. God is the one who will unite His kingdom under David. God in His sovereign providence uses people like that. Out of complete messes like this, out of selfish corruption like that we have read, God fulfills His purpose.
God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ. People rule in this world with the advice and consent of God. Rulers come and go by the permissions that God has ordained. David knew that God had entrusted him with the throne, and it was only a matter of time! It is God who promotes. Beloved you and I would do well as Christians to remember God appoints, enthrones, and dethrones. God is not in heaven freaked out over who governs our nation.
John Piper says “Sometimes we need to plunge our minds into the ocean of God’s sovereignty. We need to feel the weight of it, like deep and heavy water pressing in against every pore, the deeper we go. A billion rivers of providence pour into this ocean. And God himself gathers up all his countless deeds — from eternity to eternity — and pours them into the currents of his infallible revelation. He speaks, and explains, and promises, and makes his awesome, sovereign providence the place we feel most reverent, most secure, and most free. Sometimes we need to be reminded by God himself that there are no limits to his rule. We need to hear from him that he is sovereign over the whole world, and everything that happens in it. We need his own reminder that he is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss.”
Though Abner does not have a genuine faith in God, he is finally forced by the providence of God to insist on implementing God’s desires. That’s exactly what verses 9-10 say. God has done this over and over again in history. We can see this in Scripture. He has used a pagan Nebuchadnezzar to protect Daniel, Shadrack, Mesheck, and Abednego, and not only protect them, but to promote their faith. He has used Cyruses to protect the church. He has used Artaxerxes to threaten lower magistrates who were conspiring against Ezra, and to tell those lower magistrates to smarten up or he will squash them. He has used Ahasueruses to protect His people from annihilation in the book of Esther. God can make Satan’s kingdom to be divided against itself. God’s providence can work through conflict and sin. “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:15) “He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.” (Job 12:23) “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;” (Daniel 2:21) “Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.” (Psalm 135:6) Beloved God will do whatever He pleases for the sake of His name and Glory.
Joel Beeke puts it this way “It was God’s purpose for David to reign over Israel. Divine providence assured that the divine will would happen. As God is able to turn the hearts of kings, so He turned the heart of Abner, the chief leader in Saul’s house, to become a principal agent in uniting the nation under David, regardless of Abner”s motives, selfish or otherwise, God used him to accomplish the divine will. We can be confident that God’s power to control circumstances and people has never diminished.” Beloved God is on His throne. Our hope and trust is not in the president or rulers of this world. It should be in the one true King who is reigning over all. Earthly rulers are just servants of the Most High who will one day be on there knees before Him. “For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11) “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. (Philippians 2:9-11)
Next Abner reaches out to David via messengers. This is a smart move considering he is one of David’s primary enemies! David agrees to “make covenant” with Abner, meaning that he will enter into a binding agreement with him. David requires one concession before proceeding, however. Before he will meet with Abner in person, David requires that Michal, the daughter of Saul (to whom he was married), be returned to him. The text continues in verse 12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf,[a] saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you.” 13 And he said, “Good; I will make a covenant with you.” So Abner sends a delegation to David and he offers to give the land. When he asks the question, “Whose land is this?” there are different opinions as to what he actually saying . But I think the most logical conclusion is he meant the land belongs to him. In other words, why would King David cut a covenant with Abner? Abner’s not the king, but for all practical purposes, Abner was in charge. He is pretty much saying, “It’s not really the king’s land; it’s my land. I’ll cut a deal with you.” Literally the language is cut a covenant. Now David responds by saying, “Good; I will make a covenant with you.” Now think about this if you are in David’s shoes: Being King he has some difficult and complex decisions to make. There’s a history between David and Abner. Abner is kind of a tricky guy; is he up to something? David’s is winning; Abner’s is losing. There’s no need for this. Should he just react, take him out, and be done with it? But David realizes there are thousands of lives of men, women, and children at stake, so rather than just reacting out because of some of their past history, he’s thoughtful; he’s careful; he’s skillful. David wants to pull this off without any more bloodshed, which is in everyone’s best interest. David wants peace and I think even selfish Abner wants it too.
Before he will meet with Abner in person, David requires that Michal, the daughter of Saul (to whom he was married), be returned to him. “But one thing I require of you; that is, you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, for whom I paid the bridal price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 And Ish-bosheth sent and took her from her husband Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return.” And he returned. Question Why in the world does David want Michal? Doesn’t he have like six wives. I have one wife and she is plenty. Do you remember how this story goes. Saul promised his daughter—his oldest daughter, Merab—to whoever defeats Goliath. David defeats Goliath and Saul gives Merab to someone else. So then Michal, his next daughter, falls in love with David and Saul says, I tell you what. I’ll give you Michal if you first go out and kill a hundred Philistines, and bring back a hundred Philistine foreskins, and we’ve got a deal. David brings back two hundred. Saul was sure David would die but David comes back victorious so he gives David Michal, his daughter. But very soon after that he basically declares David Public Enemy Number 1. David flees as a fugitive; Saul gives Michal to someone else. So now here you are and David is asking for Michal back. We had a deal; I kept my part of the deal she belongs to me. Now husbands not many of you can say we paid a bridal price for our wife , yet alone slayed a hundred philistines and paid with their foreskins. I mean I proposed to my wife with a ring in an altoid box.
Now, again the complexities of this are great. You see this sad, pathetic scene where poor Paltiel, who genuinely seems to love her—I’m sure they had children; they had a family—and he’s devastated; he’s brokenhearted. The king has just come in, taken his wife, and is giving her away. This doesn’t come off as being very compassionate and thoughtful and kind but this isn’t an act out of David’s emotion. But to be honest Paltiel relationship with her was adulteress from the start. She was really Davids. David has a carefully thought-out strategy, because David understands that Michal, as Saul’s daughter, makes him Saul’s son-in-law, which gives him a rightful claim to the throne in the eyes of the Benjamites and the Israelites. In other words, this is the basis by which they’re going to accept David’s right to the throne—to somehow end the civil war and bring about peace. David understands this is the route, and so this is about strategically thinking through what is at stake. And how do we make this happen? The scene with Paltiel is sad, but again you are talking about the lives of thousands of men, women, and children at stake in these decisions, and David’s trying to figure out: how do we bring Israel and Judah together without more bloodshed in a way that they can come together as one nation and move forward?
17 And Abner conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. 18 Now then bring it about, for the Lord has promised David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke to Benjamin. And then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin thought good to do.
It appears from what we read in verse 17 that many of the elders of Israel had previously wanted to David to lead them. Maybe Abner had persuaded them to follow and fight for Ish-bosheth instead. That’s unclear. And it’s unclear how many tribes were even loyal to Ish-bosheth. But here, Abner is persuading them to go with their ‘first instincts’. Verse 19 tells us that Abner even made a special trip to Benjamin, which was his own tribe, and Saul’s tribe, and therefore required more diplomacy because of their loyalties. David was known throughout the land, his victories were legendary and he was the kind of king the people desired. It was also mentioned that David was chosen by the LORD to be the next king and would be used to deliver the people from their enemies. He challenged them with a good question, why fight against what God has already determined? Abner also addressed the tribe of Benjamin, Saul’s tribe, knowing with their recommendation David would certainly be accepted as king.
20 When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 And Abner said to David, “I will arise and go and will gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace. So He meets with David; David’s on board, so they all come together. They have a meal that would be symbolic that the covenant has been cut—everybody’s in. This is the beginning of a new day in Israel. As a matter of fact, there is this repeated statement that it ends “in peace” David, with great skill, has brought the nation from civil war and the devastation they’ve experienced to the possibility of coming together, North and South, with no more bloodshed—together in peace to usher in a new day. The people in this story have no idea of the peace and the prosperity that lies ahead for them because of this king, which then reminds us that David is a shadow or a type of a Son of David that would come a thousand years later—the long awaited, promised Son of David, the Messiah, who would come to usher in a new kingdom unlike anything the people had ever known.
We will soon see that God does not wish David to receive the kingdom from any hand other than His own. No one is to boast of having established the Lord’s anointed on the throne. And what is more, how could He permit the pride of man’s heart to carve out the steps by which David rises to power? Something not so peaceful and tragic will happen next. Yet God is able to turn man’s very worst iniquities to fulfill His designs. We will see in the future that he uses Joab’s infamous act to cut off the man in whom David had already placed his confidence.
Though it’s hard for us to understand, this is not a moment in biblical history that has fallen out of control. God is sovereign over the whole world, and everything that happens in it. He is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss. God’s, sovereign providence is the place where we will feel, safe and secure. We know this if we are in Christ. True freedom is knowing He is in control and that you are not!
A greater David would enter a violent, bloody world, a world dominated by religious legalism and oppression, a world dominated by Roman oppression and bloodshed. But This greater king the one that this story points to would enter that world with such character, integrity, kindness, compassion and love, He would ultimately step into the darkness and call the people to a new kingdom—the kingdom that their souls longed for, a kingdom that would be made possible through His death, burial, and resurrection. He would bring true and everlasting peace. And then He would take this magnificent message of hope, of a new kingdom and a new day, and he would place it in the hands of His followers called the Church, and He would call them to be stewards of this message in the darkness and the violence and the trouble and the bloodshed and the struggles in the world to come.
The most evil thing ever done that has brought God most glory and good to us was by the cross of Jesus Christ. It was the Trinitarian plan of redemption. The whole story of redemption laid out in the entirety of scripture. It was God’s foreordained plan; a work of His own sovereign will that Christ would die. It was a travesty of justice, a murder of the spotless perfect lamb. Could there be anything more evil than that? But God was in all of that for His glory, working His plan for our redemption.
This story of David is a story of how God is going to fulfill His promise to send a Savior, Jesus. Beloved Jesus comes from this story. Out of this mess and everything that happens to David has something to do with Jesus, the Promised Seed of the woman, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Prophet, Priest, and King.
We can see that God is sovereignly using all of this political drama, all of the evil intentions of these men to advance His purpose. At the end of all of this, David will be stronger, and the people of Israel are for the king more than they ever had been. This does not make God evil. God is Holy, Holy, Holy. Evil and sin and the failure of man does not determine Gods sovereign will. Beloved God is sovereign over all and through all. Nothing is going to withhold God from getting His glory. God is zealous for His own glory; He’s zealous for the accomplishment of His plans.
We should leave this morning knowing that you and I do not know better. Sin makes us fools. Every day I am confronted with how my selfish ambition makes me a fool. When I do not love my wife well like I ought to. When I think that I am always right and know what is best. I am not always right and foolishly I’ve made mistakes. If I was more selfless it could have lead to a lot less arguments. Husband you are not always right? Take it from me you can love your wives better. This resonates in all of our relationships and life. Beloved we can have more compassion and mercy to the people that God has placed in our lives.
Reading about this in 2 Samuel points us one place; It points us to Christ. The One who doesn’t just know wisdom, the One who is our wisdom, suffered and died to deliver us from our own foolishness so that we could live free from our slavery to us, free in the true wisdom that only He can give. He delivers us from us so that we can know the freedom of slavery to Him. He alone is worthy of our trust. We should leave this morning trusting in the sovereignty of God not in mans foolish wisdom. Our sin and selfishness makes us look like fools. We need to cling and trust in Christ who is our wisdom. He is the one who is in control. Knowing this speaks into our suffering and adversity. Knowing this gives us hope in sharing the Gospel to a fallen and broken world.
Beloved this story points us to the greatest peace you and I will ever know and it is knowing Christ and through knowing Him we are no longer enemies of God. We can see this at the table, Christ Body was broken and his blood was shed. That we may have peace and be reconciled to God. So that “through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,” You want peace and freedom look and trust in the finished work of Christ. Before you come to the table think on these things. Are you harboring any sin or bitterness toward another believer? Go and reconcile! Brothers and sisters: if you are in a feud with a fellow believer, I would chance you arm as Kildare did at the door of reconciliation. Are you living in unrepentant sin? Beloved confess your sin and repent. There is mercy and grace this morning!