Could it Happen to You?

If you wanted a study of character, nobility, wisdom, courage, and devotion; you could not find a better man than David. The Bible calls him, “… a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22).

Yet there was a dark chapter in David’s life. Even though he was a great man and lover of God, David committed a horrible sin against God and others. He entered into an adulterous relationship with another man’s wife, Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3, 4). Then, in an attempt to cover his sin, he arranged to have her husband, Uriah, killed (2 Samuel 11:6, 15).

We need to be warned! If it could happen to David, it can happen to us. First Corinthians 10:12 says, “…let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” So, we need to see how and why this happened in David’s life to help it not happen to us.

Second Samuel 11:1-2 says, “In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.”

The Sin of Casualness:
What was David’s sin? In the beginning, it was simply the sin of casualness. The harvest time was over, and there were battles to be fought; yet David remained at home. He did not do anything wrong in itself; he just failed to do what was right. He was a king, but he lay around in bed all day while others fought.

Maybe the battle-scarred veteran thought, “I’ve done my time on the battlefield; I need a little rest and relaxation.” Don’t ever think you have done your service to Jesus and you can quit.

The Sin of dis-Connectedness:

I think David was also alone; he did not have another man to keep him accountable or faithful. A man who is disconnected will fall for lack of focus and counsel. Life unchecked will often lead to ruin. Had David been in an accountability relationship, perhaps this whole scenario could have been avoided. Every man needs to be connected to other men, or he will be led astray by his own desires, passions and weaknesses.

The Sin of Carelessness:
It was also a sin of carelessness. David had failed to keep up his guard. How different David was from Joseph. When tempted by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph immediately fled (see Genesis 39:11-13). He obeyed what later would be an imperative by the apostle Paul, “Flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Jesus also warned the apostles in Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation.”

You will have times in your life when everything is going just fine and you don’t feel any unusual temptation, but watch out for the sin of carelessness.

The Sin of Compulsiveness:
David’s sin was also a sin of compulsiveness. It has been said that sin is an undetected weakness, an unexpected opportunity, and an unprotected life. That was true in David’s life. He didn’t intend to sin; it just happened. He looked over the wall and there she was. He called his servants and said, “Get her for me” (2 Samuel 11:4).

You may say, “Well, that couldn’t happen to me.” David would have said the same thing before he compulsively fell into sin. There are three people seated in your seat right now: the person you are this very moment; the person you could be for God; and the person you could be for evil.

The Sin of Callousness:
The sin of David doesn’t end with Bathsheba. David became calloused and tried to cover his sin. When he found out Bathsheba was pregnant, he attempted to hide the fact that the baby was his. When that failed, he arranged for Bathsheba’s husband to be placed on the front line of battle and killed (see 2 Samuel11:5-17).

Can you imagine this is David doing such a thing? When he committed adultery with Bathsheba, that was bad enough; but it was a hot-blooded sin. Now, what he does to Uriah is cold-blooded murder. See where his carelessness led him. David had been hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

It Could Happen to You!
This is a sad story, and God was grieved by it (2 Samuel 11:27). David also grieved over his sin and finally cried out to God for mercy. And as we read about the rest of his life (2 Samuel 12 through 1 Kings 2), we see that the consequences of David’s sin followed him; but David received forgiveness from God.

You very well might say, “That’s an interesting story; maybe I can pass it on to somebody else who needs it.” Then you missed the point. David got into trouble with the sin of casualness. He didn’t go roaring into sin. Don’t ever think it couldn’t happen to you. Is your heart cold? Get it warm. Have you been lazy? Go to work. Have you been careless? Keep the fire burning for Christ and His mission.

Don’t take that first step toward sin. It will cost you more than you want to pay.

Avoiding Conflict

Not too many men enjoy conflict, especially with their wives. Women are on a different level of thinking, emotion and we give up too soon when we need to get things straightened out. My Bible study class just finished a series on the life of David, and this is a story that may hit us where we live.

Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. But the king said, “He must go to his own house; he must not see my face.” So Absalom went to his own house and did not see the face of the king (2 Samuel 14:23-24).

Taking a path that avoids conflict will only lead to later hardship. Such was the case for Absalom and his father King David. For a little background, remember this:

Amnon, also a son of David, raped his half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:4, 11, 14), who was Absalom’s full sister. When this happened, David was furious but he did not punish Amnon for his actions (2 Samuel 13:21). Absalom saw this as a terrible injustice for his sister and assured her that he would take care of it (2 Samuel 13:20, 22). So, Absalom plotted to kill Amnon at the right time. He patiently waited for two years before he set up a situation to have him killed (2 Samuel 13:23, 28).

David was heartbroken over the death of Amnon and held Absalom responsible. At the same time, David still wanted to have a relationship with Absalom, but because he failed to address the situation with Amnon, when it happened, it led to more serious consequences in the family (2 Samuel 14:23-24, 28). Absalom was banished for three years because of David’s anger towards him which allowed seeds of resentment to grown in his heart (2 Samuel 15:1-23). Absalom then conspired to overthrow David’s kingdom.

It is tremendously important to confront problems when they arise no matter how uncomfortable it might be. Believers are called to speak the truth in love. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15-16). Failure to confront in love allows the enemy to sow greater seeds of conflict. Peace in the home will only come as we confront one another in love.

Is there someone else in your life that you need to confront in love, or resolve a conflict? Make plans now to get with this person and work through the issues that divide you.

Unrelenting Battles and Unfinished Business

Absalom is dead, David is being taken across the River Jordan, the land has just been through civil war, but feelings of jealousy are strong between Israel and Judah.

Unrelenting Battles:

In chapter 19 we smelled the smoke of trouble and now we see the fire. As the people begin to bicker (2 Samuel 19:41, 42, 43), they provide an opportunity for a worthless fellow, a slick troublemaker, to rise up (2 Samuel 20:1).

When Amasa, David’s new commander of the army, returned, Joab was waiting for him (2 Samuel 20:5, 8, 10). Joab just won’t clean out his desk and fade into the background. Power was so important to him that he would kill his own relatives (Amasa was Joab’s cousin – 1 Chronicles 2:16-17, and also David’s cousin – 2 Samuel 17:25).

  • What in the previous chapter fuels the fire of Sheba’s revolt? (2 Samuel 20:1, 19:41-43)
  • Why does David treat these concubines the way he does? (2 Samuel 20:3, 16:21-22)
  • Why does David bypass Joab (twice)? First with Amasa and then with Abishai? (2 Samuel 20:4-6)
  • What is it that galls Joab about Amasa’s appointment? (2 Samuel 17:25, 19:13)
  • From where comes the phrase, “I’ve got you by the hair of your chinny-chin-chin?” (2 Samuel 20:9, 10)
  • Here we find the first reference to rubber-necking in the Bible. (2 Samuel 20:12)
  • How does this unnamed wise woman bring peace and spare the city? (2 Samuel 20:16-22)

Personal Questions:

  1. Who do you know who risked everything by getting involved and it made a difference?
  2. At what point in your life have you ever felt the desire to revolt against your King?
  3. What kept you from going AWOL?
  4. When your status or authority is diminished or given to someone else, how does that make you feel?
  5. When resentment builds up, how do you keep that in check? Where might resentment be building in you right now?

Unfinished Business:

These events in chapters 21-24 are non-chronological, but they tie up the book as an appendix, taken from events earlier in David’s reign. There is a three-year famine in the land because of a broken vows made to God (2 Samuel 21:1). The Gibeonites were a sneaky bunch (Joshua 9) and eventually received protection from God’s people. An oath was made and God was holding them to it. Saul sought to destroy the Gibeonites and he and his sons paid the price for the father’s sins.

  • What caused this severe famine in the land? (2 Samuel 21:1, 2, Joshua 9:3-4, 9, 14, 15, 19, 20-23)
  • Saul whips the Gibeonites in his zeal but David seeks to uphold the vow, how does this show the difference between the two men? (2 Samuel 21:1, 2, 3)
  • How serious are we to take the vows we take? (2 Samuel 21:4, 7) How serious does God take a vow? Why would it please God to see Saul’s descendents executed? (2 Samuel 21:14) The sheer horror of what the Gibeonites do should help us see how serious God takes a vow (2 Samuel 21:9, 14).
  • Why does David spare Jonathan’s son yet allow the Gibeonites to kill the rest of the house of Saul? (2 Samuel 21:5, 7, 9)
  • Rizpah pulls several “all-nighters” (April to October), but what does she hope to achieve?

Personal Questions:

  1. How do we see natural disasters in the land today? Do we ever see them as God’s judgment?
  2. How are we to react when treaty rights are violated?
  3. How casually does our society take making a vow or an oath? (True Love Waits, marriage, promises, an oath of office)
  4. When times get bad, how long does it take for you to seek the Lord? (2 Samuel 21:1)

Rather than continue in disobedience, God would have us repent and recommit. After David sought the Lord and dealt with the Gibeonites, so times of refreshing may come (2 Samuel 21:14). Regarding the bodies of Jonathan and Saul, the king had some unfinished business. They needed a proper burial (2 Samuel 21:11, 12, 13, 14).

What unfinished business do you have in your life? What old scores need to be settled in a Christ like manner? God’s weapons of love, mercy and forgiveness are more effective that guns and tanks. Who needs your forgiveness, acceptance, release? We will suffer as we allow unsettled issues to fester. It’s time for some battles to end. Rebellion leads to famine in our relationship with God.

Return of the King

Absalom is dead, David is back in charge, and he needs to make his way back to Jerusalem. Today we need to take a look at forgiveness, starting over, getting back to where you belong, and rewards for faithfulness in 2 Samuel 19.

  • When have you felt motivated to ask for someone else’s forgiveness? Or to grant forgiveness?
  • Over the past year, have you received more favors or granted more favors?
  • In politics and sporting events, do you tend to support:
    • Whoever is ahead at the start?
    • Whoever is behind at the end?
    • Whoever’s victory favors you the most?
    • Whoever wins, that person was your choice all along?

Let’s dig into the text for today:

  1. If you had previously backed Absalom, why would you now reconfirm David as king? (2 Samuel 19:8-10) Notice that the king was once more accessible to the people (2 Samuel 19:8)
  2. What was the quarreling about? (2 Samuel 19:9, 10) Judah was hesitant about David’s return, perhaps because of the part they played in Absalom’s insurrection (2 Samuel 15:10-11)
  3. What is it about David’s appeal (2 Samuel 19:11-13) that secures your vote of confidence? What major change is listed in 2 Samuel 19:13? (David hopes to secure allegiance of those who followed Absalom and Amasa, especially Judah, but also the animosity of Joab for taking his position, 2 Samuel 20:8-10).
  4. Why did the men of Judah come to Gilgal? (2 Samuel 19:15)
  5. Why do you think Shemei behaves the way he does? 2 Samuel 19:16-20; 16:5-14
  6. Compare 2 Samuel 19:21 and 2 Samuel 16: 9. Abishai, Joab’s brother, was looking for a way to kill Shemei for what he did (2 Samuel 16:5-8).
  7. Shemei confessed his sin and is spared (2 Samuel 19:16) What eventually happens to him? (1 Kings 2:8, 9, 36-46)
  8. How and why does David’s response vary from Abishai’s? (2 Samuel 19:21-23, 16:9-12) What did David mean by his remark in 2 Samuel 19:22?
  9. How does Mephibosheth’s story line up with what Ziba’s (2 Samuel 19:24-30, 16:3)
  10. Who do you find more credible, Mephibosheth or Ziba? Who does David believe, or does it matter? Name a time when you were totally misunderstood, or misrepresented.
  11. Why does David seek to reward Barzillai, to stay with David in Jerusalem? (2 Samuel 19:24-30) Why is that offer refused? (2 Samuel 19:34-37)
  12. What face-saving alternative is then proposed and accepted? (2 Samuel 19:38)
  13. As Chimham is singled out for a special favor, how would you feel toward your two benefactors? Who was this guy? (1 Kings 2:7, Jeremiah 41:17)
  14. Why are the men of Israel so upset? (2 Samuel 19:41-43) What’s at stake besides hurt pride? What is the problem between Israel and Judah? (Israel complained that Judah had kidnapped David from them. This hostility leads to the rebellion of Sheba and eventually the division of the kingdom (1 Kings 12:1-24).

Returning to a former relationship is not always easy. Switching to another side is not easy either. Going home isn’t always fun when infighting awaits you. David is still God’s chosen leader; he’s back in the Promised Land, and doing the right thing is not always the easy thing. Next week we will look at some unfinished business.

Counselors and Friends

In 2 Samuel 14, there seems to be a deep dissatisfaction about Absalom’s encounter with his father, and seemed to fuel a lot of bitterness. Beth Moore points out the fact that reuniting and reconciliation are two different things. Let’s take a look at 2 Samuel 15, where things go from bad to worse. David is no longer the courageous and confident that he once was.

  1. It helps to know people in high places… who do you know who is in a high place?
  2. What is your favorite conspiracy theory? Absalom will be conspiring a lot in this section.
  3. What do “chariots, horses and 50 men” signal of Absalom’s ambitions? (2 Samuel 15:1, 1 Samuel 8:11) What goal do you see behind Absalom’s behavior?
  4. As a victim of injustice, what would you make of Absalom’s two decrees? (2 Samuel 15:3-4) How about his greeting? (2 Samuel 15:5)
  5. Why do you think Absalom waited four years to carry out his plot? (2 Samuel 15:7) When else has he waited patiently in devising evil plans? (2 Samuel 13:23, 13:38, 14:28)
  6. How can David be so gullible? (2 Samuel 15:7-9) What do you know about the significant about Hebron? (2 Samuel 2:1, 4)
  7. How did David respond to the news that “the hearts of the people are with Absalom”? (2 Samuel 15:13, 14)
  8. What was David thinking at this point? What was he feeling? How could he run away since God had anointed him to be on the throne?
  9. What was the significance of the ark? (2 Samuel 15:24, 29)
  10. Where did David go? (2 Samuel 15:30) How would a reporter describe the mood and the scene this day?
  11. What is the significance of this one key verse? (2 Samuel 15:31)
  12. What special assignment did David have for Hushai? (2 Samuel 15:34) Skip ahead to the beginning of chapter 17. How did this work out?

A few questions for your consideration:

  1. How did they all get to this point?
  2. What do you do when someone you love is out of control?
  3. When could this have been nipped in the bud?
  4. This story makes an interesting point: we all need friends we can be sure are on our side when difficult times come. Who did David have on his side?
  5. How can we develop the kind of relationships so that we know we have some friends on our side when the storm comes? How do you determine who is your friend?
  6. What is the difference between an advisor or counselor and a friend? (1 Chronicles 27:33)
  7. In your darkest times, is prayer and church your usual course of action? (2 Samuel 15:31, 32) How does God fit into your crisis resolution plan?

Take a look at Psalm 3… I’ll have some other insights on Sunday.