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Feb 23, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 54

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Royal Kingdom

You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne: Establish your kingdom in our midst.

Reflection

David’s sin with Bathsheba and Uriah has major repercussions (chapters 11-20) but God is true to His promise and will not take the kingdom from him.  One major repercussion you will read about in these chapters:  David’s son Absolom rises against him, even going “in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel” – which is a direct challenge and play for the throne.

Today’s Reading

2 Samuel 13-16

Today’s Question

Why do you think God allowed David to keep the kingdom after his sin with Bathsheba, but tore it from Saul after he disobeyed?

Join the discussion below!

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  • This is only guess-work but it seems to me that although both men disobeyed God, their sins were different. Saul did not completely destroy Amalek, he kept the best livestock, kept Agag alive and then built a monument in his own honour. When Samuel put him straight he said he had sinned, asked Samuel to forgive his sin and then later in the conversation Saul said “I have sinned, yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Return with me that I may worship the LORD your God”. Saul is all about himself, he expects to be forgiven without repenting, tearing down his monument or humbling himself before God and his people, even though he committed a public sin i.e. publicly disobeying God.

    David committed adultery and although it was not public, it led to the death of an innocent Uriah. Like Saul, David needed to be put straight but unlike Saul, he repented, sought forgiveness from God and unlike Saul, he accepted his punishment. I think that God may have been more merciful because David genuinely repented and although he didn’t like the punishment, he obediently accepted it. Just my thoughts – looking forward to seeing more insights.

    On a final note, having squirmed through the first reading at mass in the UK it was still Leviticus 19 but v17-18 read “You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart, You must openly tell him, your neighbour, of his offence; this way you will not take a sin upon yourself. You must not extract vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord.” This brought home the difficulty I am having and I had hoped to tackle it last week but strangely did not have the opportunity (even though I prayed very hard). Now reading about Amnon’s sin, I noted that Amnon did not take responsibility, Absalom bore a grudge and David shirked responsibility as a father and king. More importantly, no one repented and sought help from God. Thanks to God, I now get it i.e. I need to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, pray and then God will be able to help with my difficulty. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so dense and slow when it comes to faith and spiritual matters, but perhaps it is better to be slow than closed?

    • Prayers for peace and affirmation on this leg of your journey, Liz. Absolutely better to be slow than closed. In retrospect, I bet you will see the timing is perfect!

    • Patience, patience and more patience, that was my prayer to God last year while I was on a silent retreat. His answer to me was perseverance. Just continue to do the things that you are doing – the hope is – he is preparing you for great things.

  • I believe God allowed David to keep his kingdom because of his true remorse and request for forgiveness. He did not want to sin again and Psalm 51 indicates he learned form his mistake. He ask God to teach himHis wisdom & wanted to teach others so to avoid sin. Also, as Liz said, Saul was still more concerned about himself after many transgressions. David still thought of others and listened to God.

    God had a plan for David….Jesus was to be his descendant. Thankfully, David, God’s servant, repented and heard God with his heart and continued his works and kingdom.

    It reminds me that it is never too late for us….God will always forgive if we are truly contrite and open our hearts to hear him and obey.

    • I like your thread – it helps me recall how God works so powerfully even through the weakest people. This is humbling, and frightening, honestly, because I have to wonder what He could possibly want from a sinner such as me? I need to work on the trust and hope thing….

  • David was a murderer and an adulterer, as well as a liar and poor father. Polygamy aside, his family life was a catastrophic train crash matched only by the debacle in 2 Samuel 11.David’s life had become so broken and desperate that attacks and coups may very well signs of the Lord’s displeasure with his sin.

    Nevertheless, David was a man after God’s own heart. because he repented of his sin. When confronted by Nathan, David broke. He gave up pretense and pompousness. David’s son inherited the throne. Why? Does that say something about God not hating David’s sin? Not really, because way before Uriah was murdered; God had promised David that his
    kingdom would endure forever. This was an unconditional covenant, and not dependent upon anything David would or would not do. So David’s endurance speaks to the promise of the Messiah, not restoration of adulterer.

    • I agree, Jose – God will work all things for His glory, despite our best efforts to muck things up. Thank you, Lord, for your constant faithfulness. Forgive us when our sinfulness makes the journey harder.

    • Thank you for this Jose, I was struggling with this. I think David was a very impulsive man. I am amazed how God works with flawed people as long as they seek strength from Him. I love David’s impulsiveness for God when he danced behind the Ark of the Lord.

      • You’re welcome, Liza. I noted this is your first post. Please keep on and you could also go back to those days you missed, they were still open. May God bless you and your whole family.

  • As has been said….David was truly sorry for his sin…he told God so…Saul though sorry asked Samuel to seek forgiveness for him…he didn’t seek the one to one relationship with God David did. This is what God wants of us…one to one relationship. He know us well and that we will sin..but can we be people who will approach him and ask to be forgiven? I hope so…This is what pleases him so.

  • God is omniscient, omnipotent, omni-present. He knows our inmost thoughts and our hearts. David was truly remorseful and willing to bear the consequences; he cared first about his relationship with God. Saul was not remorseful concerning the sin, he was worried more about the consequences and losing face/power among the people.
    A family member once did something illegal at work and caused another family member some trouble because he had given the perpetrator the job to begin with. The perpetrator said, “I’m sorry I got caught.” This is very different than saying, “I am sorry I did it.”

    • Not to forget like Mary a chosen one can protect occasion of sin, and David by God’s chosen for Covenential protection for rein of Kingdom made before sins of lust and murder, he was restored..

    • Very well said, Kerry. May I add one more scenario… the person who says, “I’m sorry if I hurt you”. Not that they’ve hurt you or they’ve done wrong, but that YOU think they hurt you and that YOU think it was wrong.

      David readily admits his sins to the Lord. Saul pretends he is righteous but his heart is full of deceit. There are many forms of deception. The sad part is when we are so completely deceived ourselves that we believe in our own righteousness. When we do something that is illegal or immoral, it is deception. When we don’t own up to the truth, it is deception.

      It could be, like Saul, blaming others for our own actions. Or even the opposite… taking credit for something that is not of our own doing. This may seem like a “harmless” thing to do, but God peers into our hearts and sees what our fellow man does not see. Just because you “didn’t get caught” doesn’t mean that you didn’t do wrong.

      “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away… Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:1-2, 7)

      “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

      “For the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

      • Thanks, Marianne. I love book ending Scripture with scenarios/meditation. These are all helpful. This family member did come to understand how his wrong hurt others AND himself and has worked hard to atone – to God and those he hurt. It takes time and pain ( in his case, and for many of us I suspect) to come to grips with our weaknesses.

      • Hello Marianne, I am ST I’LL “on my way” enjoying these studies and great comments.
        “Didn’t get caught – didn’t do wrong”…..if I know I DID do wrong even w/o get caugh, what is my situation? It’a steady “burden” on my shoulder, having had Reconciliation and STILL feeling the weight means (I think) something is wrong, isn’t it?.

        Another topic, talking with people from another Christian denomination, I was surprised to hear “soul and spirit ” were two different things, now I see in your comment (Hebrews 4:12) it’s the same to Catholics too. Could you clarify this for me?

        Thanks.

        • That’s a very good question, Guillermo! I think that the spirit resides within us but it comes from God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and connects us to God, whereas the soul is unique to our own individual humanness and moral character. I think that’s why the Word of God can pierce and divide our soul and spirit. If our souls are not pure, it separates us from a relationship with God. This is my interpretation.

          However, I dug a little deeper and consulted the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). Hope this helps:

          St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ. . . The first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. (CCC 359)
          In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man. (CCC 363)
          The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit. (CCC 364)
          Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people “wholly”, with “spirit and soul and body” kept sound and blameless at the Lord’s coming. The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul. “Spirit” signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God. (CCC 367)
          The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one’s being, where the person decides for or against God. (CCC 368)

      • “Didn’t get caught – didn’t do wrong”…..if I know I DID do wrong even w/o get caugh, what is my situation? It’a steady “burden” on my shoulder, having had Reconciliation and STILL feeling the weight means (I think) something is wrong, isn’t it?.

        • I’m not clear on this question, Guillermo. If you know you did wrong even though you didn’t get caught, then your mind and heart WILL feel the heaviness of sin. Just because you weren’t “caught” by another human, God sees all and knows all. You can’t hide from God!
          But if you still feel the weight even after reconciliation? Then it sounds like you don’t recognize God’s forgiveness, even though you were absolved of your sin.

          • Thanks Marianne for answering. Right! I can not doubt God’s forgiveness otherwise it would turn in a “worse” sin.

  • David was divinely chosen 1Sam:16:13. He was by no means perfect. But he was a man of
    God – a faithful servant and one who believed in the eternal kingdom. Saul’s home was an earthly one. He disobeyed God and was not remorseful. He hated David and hunted him down. He further sought the help of mediums. I think that was his downfall – Saul seeking the help of Satan. His throne was taken away from him.

    David on the other hand, embraced his enemies eg King Saul and Absalom who sought to
    destroy him and it broke his heart when they were killed. He offended God deeply with the adulteress relationship with Bathsheba and the killing of her husband Uriah but he was repentant and cried out to God for forgiveness and mercy. He, however, went through a great deal of suffering for his sins, through his children, eg loss of first son from Bathsheba, the disgrace of Ammon, Tamar and Absalom. God allowed David to keep his kingdom because David loved God despite his sinfulness but he desired to see the Glory of God. God therefore made a covenant with David through Nathan, 2Sam 7:8-16 …”but my faithful love will never be withdrawn from him as I withdrew it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your dynasty and your sovereignty will ever stand firm before me and your throne be forever secure”. Almighty and eternal Father, help us always to seek you first, and not false Gods. Amen.

      • This is all the more reason why Saul shouldn’t have listened to the medium who
        invoked Samuel’s spirit. God keeps true to his word. ”If anyone should recourse
        to the spirits of the dead or to magicians, to prostitute himself by following them, I shall set my face against him and outlaw him from his people”. Leviticus 20:6.

        • So true Saul only dug the pit deeper when he realized his mistake of not listening to Samuel when Samuel was alive he resorted to magic rather than God.

  • Great answers and very thorough. Only to add further considerations about the great King David, it is interesting to realize he never prayed about taking Jerusalem for HIS capital. God told him to go the Hebron, yet Jerusalem was his move. 2 Samuel 5, especially verses 6-8 are somewhat prophetical in that David ended up blind and lame and resorted to escape the city near the end. Throughout Scripture, especially notable in the Prophets we read God’s ideal capital “Zion” and King David’s city “Jerusalem” almost interchanged. A close analogy “may” be the way Israel and Jacob are interchanged beyond Jacob’s wrestling scene. The end of our story (Revelations) depicts Jerusalem coming down from heaven, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; 3 and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”. I was curious if anyone else had any thoughts on this? As many below mention, God uses man’s foibles and turns them for the greater good and His Glory for men,”(Rev 21:2-4). Curious if anyone knows more about this? Great answers!

    Notes: (from Jewish Virtual Library, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Archaeology/canaan.html) Jerusalem was chosen by King David to be the capital mainly because the city, although part of the territory of the tribe of Benjamin, had not yet been conquered by the Israelites, and was not tied specifically to any of the twelve tribes.

    For David, this was of great significance, because this enabled him to conquer the city with royal forces, and, as was customary at the time, retain it as royal property. He could use Jerusalem as the symbol for a united Israel. In order to emphasize the uniqueness and importance of Jerusalem, David brought the Holy Ark of the Covenant there and turned the city into the religious center of the People of Israel. He bought the threshing floor of Aravna the Jebusite and built an altar there to the Lord (Samuel II 24;21-25). Being a warrior, he was not permitted to build the Holy Temple himself. Therefore, he designated Solomon, his son and heir, to build the Temple after his passing.

    • Excellent points. However you stated: “2 Samuel 5, especially
      verses 6-8 are somewhat prophetical in that David ended up blind and lame and
      resorted to escape the city near the end.”

      In the bible RSV-CE, the footnotes read the meaning of “the blind and the lame” is that the place (i.e. Zion/ Jerusalem) was so strong that it could be defended even by the blind and the lame; This city was so strong, however what did David do, did he flee, no, he took the city and made it the capital of his kingdom.

  • I believe it comes down to both how David chose to repent as well as the nature of the sins. David’s were much more personal sins where Saul’s were much more public. David was able to repent and take care of it “between him and God” . The repercussions he endures is not a punishment, per se, but allows David to view his sinning as it happens around him and to others. How eye opening! It is with this that David can go forth and truly understand the love God has for him as well as how he needs to continually be cognizant of his actions and the commandments that God has laid forth in his kingdom.

  • Can anyone question the LORD for his actions? The LORD knows us all. He knew the difference between Saul and David. After all the LORD judges us for our thoughts and plans. I feel it is simply that David was GOD’s ultimate choice as a King for his people.

    • I think you are right, Mark. It does occur to me that, living outside time as we know it, God knows all things; He ordained the lineage from Adam through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and on through David from whence the Savior came. We can do things the hard way (act out against God’s will; sin; etc.) or the easy way (God’s way). Though at the time, God’s way may not seem easier, it retrospect it always is and bears good fruit. Either way, God has won the war; we are just called to face the daily battles to achieve salvation.

  • Short answer David is repentant and Saul is not.
    Saul’s sins are direct arrogant defiance of God’s instructions and he lead others into sin by his actions. In Psalm 51 David promises to teach other sinners. Saul doesn’t even seem to admit his sin. Saul continues on his sinful road. David at least so far seems to try to sin no more.

  • God chooses the person but does not choose for that person how they will respond to future temptations and how repentant they will be if (when) they sin. God expects us to stay the course.

  • The Catholic Campaign for Human Development says that 46 million Americans live in poverty, which is about 15 percent of the U.S. population. Mississippi ranks as the 51st poorest state. Washington DC has an overall poverty rate of about 24 percent as Washington DC is included in the survey too making the total 51.

    2012 statistics says that the poverty rate was 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2007 which is the year before the 2008 recession.

    The number of people living in poverty is the largest number seen in the 54 years for which poverty estimates have been published.

    Bishop Ken Untener issued a decree at the annul Chrism Mass one Lent many years ago–“For the next three months, any meeting held in the diocese, no matter how large or how small, should begin with the question–‘How will what we are about to do affect the poor?’ ”
    This decree was in effect for 97 days. The bishop was talking about the “poor” poor

    “Some are poor who do not have friends” was said at a meeting. He said that is true but “I am talking about the “poor” poor, even though what you said is true

  • The sin of Saul was against God directly by disobedience of what God required; Saul put himself as an equal to God, this was unforgiveable. Additionally, Saul never asked for forgiveness. David on the other hand did not place himself as an equal with God but committed a sin of the flesh – human weakness – and could be forgiven by God when David was truly sorry, admitted his transgression and asked for God’s mercy.

  • There was a big difference between Saul and David. According to the Law, the consequence for David’s sin was death. However, rather than killing the king (which would destroy the nation) God requires the life of the child. Since Saul’s son’s would not inherit the kingship this would be unnecessary. However, God initiates a threefold judgment against David. David indeed was different as shown when David’s response is astonishing and pious—though it was God who had demanded the life of his child, David still worships Him. David grieved over his sin and the punishment against his child. He demonstrated his remorse and repentance to God, whereas Saul never did. God never breaks his promises, for the Lord blessed him and not only favored all his undertakings, but promised him that one of his descendants should rule the whole world and sit upon a throne more lasting than the heavens.

  • God heard David’s sorrowful repentance and in return had faith of his sincerity and softness of his heart. He learned of his son Absalom’s plan to destroy him, but made the decision to stay away from him and not confront him with a vengeful heart. In God’s eyes David remained a loyal King for the Lord and the people of Israel. Saul on the other hand never repented to the Lord with sincere sorrow, and had a black and vengeful heart to kill David by constantly pursuing after him. He was not a leader for the people of Israel but a man with a hunger for power with paranoia in his heart. .

  • God sees the heart and saw that David repented whereas Saul did not repent but went further away from the Lord in his heart-following idols.

  • I struggle each day to participate in these discussions…to offer something that those before me haven’t already contributed so as not to be redundant. This is a testament to all of you who have gone before in this challenge and have grown in your knowledge of the Word and your faith. Thank you for your insights that help we who are novices begin to grow and learn, as well. God bless you, one and all!

  • The two Saul and David both were each given a gift to carry out for the Lord. As we all are given a gift as well. Although Saul let it get to him and ended up moving away from God there toward the end. David when he knew he did wrong came and asked God to strip him from his evil way and bring him back to his true purpose and reason for life. It is the true repentance to strip oneself from doing wrong and seek the life of God always, but most especially when we distance oneself from him.

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