2 Samuel 7:1-17

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After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.” But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’”

17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

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My Thoughts

This promise that the Lord makes to David starts like this…  “I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you”. Looking back at some of the roads that David needed to travel to get to this place it is easy to wonder what happened to God. Why does God anoint a shepherd boy as king and then leave him to be persecuted for so many years. Here is the answer… God has been with him all this time, protecting him from all his enemies (including himself). When we think about our lives we can easily start to ask the same questions, where is God? When will these words or prophesies come true? Did I even hear God? I have asked these questions many times when things are not going my way but somehow I always seem to get through, even some of the most challenging times. It’s almost as if God has always been there, keeping me safe from my enemies, encouraging me and giving me strength to keep going. Where is God in your story today? If you stop long enough to ask, to draw close to Him, He will allow you to see that He is with you wherever you are. Thank you Father.

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2 Samuel 6:12-23

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12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”

21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honour.”

23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.

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My Thoughts

This is one of the stories that David is most famous for, extravagantly worshipping God in such a way that he does not care what anybody else thinks of him.  I sometimes think that we are so far on the other end of this scale.  We are so busy wondering what the “Michal’s” of this world would think of us that we don’t allow ourselves to fully worship God.  We are able to fully worship our rugby team, our work or our children because these things are somehow acceptable… but worshipping God with true abandon is seen as uncool or unholy.  However, if we look at this phrase; to be humiliated in his own eyes comes from the same root as the word humble… To be able to worship God with true abandon is to be truly humble, to not put your pride in the way of worshipping God.  Wow I feel challenged but liberated by that at the same time.  Have a great freedom day weekend.

2 Samuel 6:1-11

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David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebratingwith all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.
6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.
8 Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
9 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.11 The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household.

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My Thoughts
This is an interesting piece of scripture; the people are singing, rejoicing and worshipping God in one moment then God strikes down a man who touches the Ark of God. It is a lesson that sometimes I forget. This action drives fear into the heart of David so instead of continuing his plan he leaves the ark with somebody else. Here is the interesting part; the blessings of God are poured out on the family that are forced to look after the ark. God is Holy and worthy of our praise and worship, He is also the creator of the universe the one who maintains/sustains life… at the same time He is a loving father who likes to give good gifts to His children. Sometimes I forget what an absolute privilege it is to sit on this side of the cross, I come into Gods presence without even considering what people had to go through before Christ for that same privilege. Let’s take the time to consider the grace that has been given to us so that we can fully understand how truly amazing our Father is. Thank you Father.

Psalm 18:1-19

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1 I love you, Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. 7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. 14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me

Thankful today
My Thoughts
David is back and his heart to worship God has returned. He writes this Psalm to remember what God has done for him. He went out to battle against the Philistines that were too strong for him but God said that he should wait until he sees the Lord go ahead of him. David is now king over all of Israel and the Philistines have been defeated in a battle that clearly demonstrates that it is because of God that Israel was victorious.
It is a good space to be in when we can look back on the difficulties of our lives and proclaim that we love God because He is a good father. We look back to the times when we thought there was no way out of our difficulties whether they are relational, financial or work related. But somehow we now sit on the other side of that impossible situation unsure of why we thought it was so impossible. In this space we need to be like David… I love you Lord, I am not sure how you saved me but I know that I called out to you and you rescued me because you are a loving father. Have a great week.

2 Samuel 5:11-25

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11 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. 12 Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him.14 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.

17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold.18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim.21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.

22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

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My Thoughts

Welcome back David… It seems to me like David has returned, he remembers who he is and he now believes that God has established him as king.  He starts to receive favor from other kingdoms and is leading Israel to victory in battle against the Philistines.  The question that goes through my mind at this point is: Did God remove His favor from David when he was in exile or did David turn his back on the Lords favor?  I have heard people speak about this concept both ways when referring to their own lives but I wonder if we ever stop to think about what we are saying.

You may notice that I started my thoughts with a welcome back David… not welcome back God. If we believe that God withdraws His favor then we are saying that God is temperamental, prone to mood swings… quite human in His approach to us.  I believe that God is the stable one in our relationship, He is always present, His grace is always sufficient… it is so sufficient that He pours out His grace on the wicked as well as the righteous according to Paul.  It is important that we understand this about God…our loving Father.  If you are feeling like God is distant today you don’t have to try harder to make Him come back to you.  It is as simple as acknowledging that you have distanced yourself, hardened your heart towards Him.  If that is you – simple turn back, open your heart and let Him embrace you again.  Have a great week.

2 Samuel 5:1-10

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 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.

David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.

On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.”

David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.

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My Thoughts

David was 15 when he was anointed King of Israel by Samuel; he was 30 years old when he became king of Judah and 37 years old when he finally became king over all Israel.  A lot has happened between the initial anointing and actually becoming king 22 years later. We can look at this story and wonder how it went so wrong for so long, but that is not how I see it.  I see a boy anointed king and as this boy grows up he is faced with all the challenges of life and more.  The way he deals with these challenges is the important part.  Does he draw close to God and live according to who God says he is… or does he live in response to his life circumstances.  Is he defined by those around him and the difficulties he faces or does he respond as one chosen by God to lead a nation.  In the beginning David remembered who he was and we see that things worked out in David’s favour because the Lord was with him.  It seems like king David is starting to come back to this place.

This is life…the life we live.  God has spoken destiny over our lives and has given us freedom to live according to that destiny.  Like David, we face so many challenges along the way that it is easy to lose sight of who we are… who God says we are. We can forget to live like sons and daughters, forget that we are heirs and royalty. Instead we are reduced to act like beggars, thieves or slaves to try and make sense of a world that should not be.  It may seem like God called you to something so long ago that it can’t be true anymore… but kingdom royalty is an internal characteristic and seems to be more important than living in a palace with wealth and influence.  Remember who you are today…take a moment and let God remind you.

2 Samuel 4

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When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed. 2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Rekab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin—Beerothis considered part of Benjamin, 3 because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have resided there as foreigners to this day.
4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)
5 Now Rekab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest.6 They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rekab and his brother Baanah slipped away.
7 They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they travelled all night by way of the Arabah. 8 They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.”
9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”
12 So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron.

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My Thoughts
David answered … “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble…” Ish-Bosheth is dead but David is not pleased by the news. David can finally be the king of Israel but he is not excited about the news. The above phrase helps me understand what is going on, David’s faith in God is returning. He is saying that God would have delivered David out of his troubles with the house of Saul. It was not for these men to take the matter into their own hands and kill an innocent man while he sleeps.
There is also a piece of this scripture that seems out of place. The story is about the murder of Ish-Bosheth but verse 4 randomly tells us about Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan. Why? I read on a bit and can’t seem to find the link. The only thing I can think of is that when David confronted Saul outside the cave, David promised not to harm anybody from the house of Saul when he became king. It seems like this Mephibosheth is now one of the few surviving men from Saul’s line. I am encouraged to believe that in a difficult space David is starting to remember where his help comes from and that he is still able to honour commitments he made to his enemy.
We live in such a privileged time by comparison. We know that no matter how poor our choices have been this day or this week. We are able to freely turn away from those poor choices and come into Gods presence because of what Jesus did. Let’s be those who know how to live fully in the advantage of the era we live in. We don’t have to wonder around in the wilderness for 40 years before finding our way back. Right here, right now we can turn back to our Father… into His loving embrace and continue to be built up from strength to strength. Thank you Jesus.