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Feb 25, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 56

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

The reign of Israel’s greatest king, the one who was called “a man after [God’s] own heart” in 1 Sam 13:14, comes to an end at the close of 2 Samuel.  The final incident recorded in chapter 24 provides a final example of David’s heart before God.  It appears that he ordered the census out of pride in his own might.  His reaction during the ensuing punishment reveals a great deal about his character and about God.

You may be aware that many of the Psalms are attributed to David.  2 Samuel 22 is a great song of praise by David that also is recorded in Psalm 18.  In it, David magnifies God for His steadfast love toward the anointed king of Israel.

Today’s Reading

2 Samuel 21-24

Today’s Question

Read David’s “last words” in 23:1-7.  What is the main point of this oracle?

Join the discussion below!

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  • The main point seems to be that when we work with God, trust Him, and do His will, things go well. Things that are not part of or against God’s will are worthless and painful and will not last.

  • “Is like the light at sunrise

    on a cloudless morning,

    making the land’s vegetation glisten after rain.”

    The main point urges us all to be one with God and put all of our trust and faith in him. The light at sunrise envelopes us and shines on the waters of our baptism and helps us to glisten in the light of Christ. Let us all make sure that we keep ourselves drenched and drench those around us with our love and service that is rooted in God’s way. If we do that, if we never let our spirits dry up, we will guarantee to go our of our lives with confidence, just like David.

    • Wow! Well said Mark, to reiterate, “Let us all make sure that we keep ourselves drenched and drench those around us with our love and service that is rooted in God’s way” . So profound. We need to do this in our secular environment today. Amen.

  • These first verses of chapter 23 speak to me of just, fruitful, effective leadership – the source of which must come from God. Man is too weak and subject to the temptations of pride and greed if left to our own devices. Any success we have must be attributed to God’s good providence.
    And we don’t always see this, especially as we gain power and authority. At some point, we fall back on our own arrogant faulty and misguided wisdom, due to the sin of pride. I am struck by the last words of David in chapter 24 – verse 24: “No, I will buy it from you at the proper price, for I cannot sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
    Sacrifice is not sacrifice, but empty words and actions, if it costs us nothing. David learned this the hard way from the times he failed to lean on the Lord for true Wisdom; failed to sacrifice his earthly desires for the greater good; considered the people his subjects to exploit instead of God’s children to protect and provide for (final census). Convicted of his final sin through the great suffering it caused others, these final words indicate David did learn what true sacrifice is, acknowledged and sought to atone for his sin.

    • I wish to add Kerry, that among the 3 alternative choices of chastisement to Israel’s which is directly caused by David, he opted plague, thus Gad, the prophet ordered David to build an altar to make sacrifice. The sacrifice offered free is unacceptable to David without cost due to his love and mercy to his people not so suffer further death to be added to 70,000 death caused by him, for what we do not know David’s ulterior motive to order the census.

  • I like the way David started his last words “Thus speaks David son of Jesse” 2Sam 23:1
    by the very words Sheba sought to humiliate him with. “son of Jesse” 2Sam 20:1. He did not forget his humble beginnings – son of a farmer. We see the comparison between David and Jesus Christ. Jesus’ humble beginnings – son of a carpenter. In short, his last words tell me how God exalts
    the lowly and humbles the proud. Our relationship with God is a life-long journey – just like David’s, ups and plenty downs, when challenges come our way – embrace them just like Jesus embraced his cross, but also to remain forever faithful. Thank you Jesus for your Sacraments that helps us to
    grow in grace and get closer to you. Amen.

  • David’s last words speaks volumes about his relationship with God “the spirit of the Lord speaks by me; his word is upon my tongue.” He basically is stating that everything he accomplished was because God helped him. He didn’t win all those battles because he was so great, but because he was aided and guided by God. He could have easily just talked about himself, how wonderful his reign was, or how many men he killed, etc., but he doesn’t. Then he ends the oracle by reminding us that “godless men are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken by the hand.” He may have been referring to Saul who was obsessed with murder, and unable to see/ do what was right. Also Absalom, his son who went astray and tried to take his away his kingdom grew further and further from God. Both Saul and Absalom could not be “taken by the hand” but instead were sinful and ultimately “thrown away” or rather killed.

    David reflects over his life (which was not an easy one!) and instead of complaining about all his hardships he provides us with some wisdom that he has learned. He reminds us to live in reverence and have utmost faith in God so that we too can be blessed with light shining brightly over us. In retrospect, how clear this must have been for him to see. Had he not sinned with Bathsheba for example, how different his family life would have been! Every single line of his Last Words had a reference to God, and towards the end of his oracle he specifically talks about the lack of God in one’s life.

    • As David reflects his life, he humbly acknowledge his weaknesses and as being protected by God. I may add also that believers shall for ever enjoy covenant blessings; and God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, shall be for ever glorified in their
      salvation. Thus pardon, righteousness, grace, and eternal life, are secured as the gift of God through Jesus Christ. There is an infinite fulness of grace and all blessings treasured up in Christ, for those who seek his salvation. This covenant was all David’s salvation, he so well knew the holy law of God and the extent of his own sinfulness, that he perceived what was needful for his own case in this salvation. It was therefore all his desire. In comparison, all earthly objects lost their attractions; he was willing to give them up, or to die and leave them

  • I read David’s last words as focusing on God, a song of love to God and an acknowledgement that all that is good and beautiful comes from Him and that all that David has achieved is through the blessings and gifts of God. He offers warning to be careful of the wicked – “One wishing to touch them must be armed with iron or the shaft of a spear. They must be utterly consumed by fire.”

    Thinking about those words and the world today, I would like the wicked to be touched by the shaft of a spear made of prayer, love, compassion, trust in God and selflessness. I then thought that I would like to see them consumed with fire, not man-made fire, but utterly consumed with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Maybe I am off course (it’s been a challenging day and I am a bit tired).

  • My thoughts on this were is this an eulogy or is it a last testament. My conclusion was that is was both. Either way it is “all about God”. David had tried to do what is right. He failed as all of us do. He was able to repent and face his failures with courage

  • In Chapter 21, on the 3 years famine, David didn’t see a spiritual reason in every problem but he did not shut his eyes to the hand of God in circumstances. The first and second year he might look upon it as a punishment laid upon them for the common sins of the land: but when he saw it continuing a third year also, he thought there was something in it more than ordinary, and therefore, although he well knew the natural cause to be drought, yet he inquired after the supernatural, as wise men should do.This massacre isn’t recorded in 1 Samuel, but David didn’t question that it happened. Apparently at some time during his reign Saul attacked and killed many of the Gibeonites. The whole people suffered for Saul’s sin; either because they approved it, or at least bewailed it not; neither did what they could to hinder it; whereby they became accessory.

    In our lives we also get problems that just sprout that happened beyond our control, that we become accomplice to it. My profession as public accountant, now retired, was very prone to temptation for corrupt practices, that by our expertise in paperwork, we are tempted to allow them or hide them. I could have been rich man by now if I got involved in those ill practices or the most is on jail. The truth is Before I became a CPA, I ask God to be in control of me not to pass the CPA Board if it would not be use for good purpose only.

  • In chapter 24, David ordered a Census, but census not ordered by God is a very grave sin, since census can only made by owners over his belongings and Israel doesn’t belong to David but belong to God.

    I believed the following is important for us to remember so I reiterated it here and verbatimly copied from the end of the chapter: [24:10] The narrative supposes that since the people belonged to the Lord rather than to the king, only the Lord should know their exact number. Further, since such an exact numbering of the people would make it possible for the king to exercise centralized power, imposing taxation, conscription, and expropriation upon Israel, the story shares the view of monarchy found in 1 Sm 8:4–18. See also Nm :44–51, where census taking requires an apotropaic offering. End of copy.

  • When I was reading, (one of the times) I became confused when I started with 1Sam 24:1. I misread it, thinking that God incited David to order the Census. Finally reading the whole account again in 1Chr 21:1 where the author used different words to describe the same event, I realized my error. (Thankful for Footnotes!!!)

  • The main point is that It sums up David’s confidence that Yahweh will keep his promise of an eternal covenant with the house of David. This writing describes the ideal king, his reign, and the fate of his enemies. Such a king was to be a channel of blessing and an administrator of justice, and describe the effect that his righteousness has on his kingdom. An upright king brings hope and prosperity to his subjects. The connection with Jacob adds monumental significance to David’s career; Jacob founded a nation, and David founded its dynasty.The text attributes honor to David’s lineage. By identifying David as a son of Jesse, the writing distinguishes him as a Judahite, to whom the monarchy rightly belonged (see Gen 49:10).

  • I was confused by the beginning of Ch 24-1, and understood it was God’s request a Census be taken. Yet, when David admitted to the Lord he gravely sinned, I mistook that to be for all his previous sins and not for taking a census. I was glad to read Anthony & Kevin’s notes to understand what the actual sin was. The Lord was just in offering 3 choices to David for his penance, and David understood God’s mercy that it was better to fall into the hand of the Lord, but not fall into the hand of man. David always accepted the consequences of his sins, and loved the Lord more for the discipline. As a child loves a parent for strict discipline as long as it teaches the child to be a better person. Humility is the key to following the way of the Lord.

  • I, like Kevin, read 2 Samuel 24:1 as the Lord sending David out to do the census, “Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.'” As we all know the many bibles are often worded slightly different in any given passage. To add to the confusion, 2 Samuel 24:10 says, “But David’s heart struck him after he numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done….'” This follow-up quote would indicate that the numbering of the people was indeed David’s idea.

  • David is a work in progress. His prayer is intimate and humble, giving God all the glory for his achievements. The speech is a beautiful prayer of praise for God’s protection. He is our stronghold, our refugee, our rock, our shield, our horn of salvation. He is worthy to be praised, he is our Savior,

  • Reading/studying the Old Testament for me is becoming quite enlightening/comforting, in that I am seeing that people, even of the Caliber Moses and King David fell to temptation(s) of sin too!!! I guess we (I) should not beat ourselves up quite so much… Just “Jesus Up”, “Pay yer Consequences”(without bitterness!), “Learn yer Lesson”, and move on!!! (all much easier said than done)

    • The Psalms are attributed to King David and they show that he had highs and lows in his life. He always seems to rely upon the help of the Lord. And so too, the Psalms are very pertinent to us today, for man of all ages for we have similar problems and difficulties not unlike the Old Testament David. The Holy Spirit is alive and well in the world and here to strengthen us. We can be so thankful for the Holy Spirit and strive to during this Lent become closer to God. It is always good to pray to the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom.

  • Another point that comes to mind again, especially here in these recent chapters, is when really good people fall into sin, we have the temptation to really look down on them, and judge them for their recent sin.
    I fell into this exact reaction for a quite a bit after reading about King David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and to make it worse, essentially murdering her husband Uriah.

  • To really appreciate the wickedness of King David, you need look at the record of his last words in Kings 2:8-9:

    “And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”

    To paraphrase: “Solomon, you know that guy I swore to God I would never kill? Kill him.”

    And this wasn’t the only ‘hit’ he put out on his death bed. King David was closer to a Mafia Godfather than the Messiah of God.

  • “It is only through the poor we can offer anything to God, who also has need of the poor in order to ask anything of us” St. Francis of Assisi

    St. Francis of Assisi referred to poverty as “Lady Poverty.” He was the son of a prosperous merchant. He exchanged his wealth for a life of poverty so he could better serve the Lord. He describes his ministry to be one with the poor. He used imagery of a suitor’s pursuit of the woman with whom he wished to spend the rest of his life in marriage. That woman for St. Francis was Lady Poverty.

    Many artists caught this image of “Lady Poverty” in their imagination in their works. One of the best known renditions was created by Giotto di Bondone. He painted the marriage of St. Francis and Lady Poverty for the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.

    • Francis desired nothing in life but to live for God. He lived in poverty. In the end, he has the riches of God in heaven. And further, he not only gained heaven but he gained the “spiritual materialism” of this earth in a way that the People of God benefits from whenever they visit his tomb and church, his body rests in a magnificent basilica, beautiful and acclaimed by architects and artists with the lauds of paintings of the events of his life, statues galore but honored more for his “works and labors” that follow him.

  • I’m often guilty of stating the obvious and it’s the end of my tiring day, so here goes…
    God’s covenant with us is secure; he will never go back on His word. But we must live our lives for God and according to his Word. When we do, our world is made clearer…not necessarily easier…but clearer. God wants to give us our every desire when that desire is for His will in our lives. “The wicked are all like thorns…” (2Sam 23:6) Just as thorns pierce us when we try to destroy them by our hand, we cannot cast away the wicked on our own. We must have the help of God by putting on His armor for spiritual warfare. When the battle is won, the wicked will be consumed by the fires of Hell.

  • That as we move on our journey, through the will of God, even through our sufferings, is when our light within us is at its best. On the other hand, when we are choosing life without God is when darkness over cometh. David’s covenant with God is that of true amazement. God give us the strength to go against evil, protect us from all evil. Amen!

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