Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Part 2 Friday Night's Lesson
David's Last Words, 2 Samuel 23:1-7
(1) "Now these are the last words of David: 'The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel."
- Definition of "oracle:" An authoritative or wise statement or prediction; A command or revelation from God; In the Bible, the sanctuary of the Temple.
- David wanted the remembrance of him to be an uplifting and encouraging thing. He didn't want people to remember his shortcomings or his failure. While we still study David's sins and the deterioration of his family as a message on consequences, and while we understand that David was in no way perfect, but human like the rest of us, he is still most commonly described as "a man after God's own heart." (Acts 13:22)
- How do we want others to describe us when we aren't there? or after we are gone? Can you think of a person or a verse that signifies the impression you wish to leave behind?
- Mine is Matthew 14:29. Despite the fact that we rag on Peter a lot, as the disciple with his foot in his mouth or the irrational one who, when he didn't know what to say, he spoke. But there are also incredible things Peter teaches us through example. Such as the denial. How many of us can say that when we sin, we only make that mistake three times, and then we learn? Rather, we struggle every day of our lives with this or that. In this particular passage in Matthew 14, a mind blowing miracle occurs. Not only does Jesus, the son of God, defy the laws of Physics by walking on water in the midst of the Sea of Galilee, but Peter, just a man, but a wholehearted, believing man, does the same. Christ's disciple is empowered to work wonders because he has the courage to step out of his comfort zone (where is a fisherman more comfortable than in his boat?), and into what would appear to be a certain drowning. When all is said and done, I want people to say that I was brave enough to, when Jesus said "Come," get out of the boat without a backwards glance. I want others to say that my faith inspired them to do the same, to step out.
(2-4) "The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; His word is on my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me; When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that make grass to sprout from the earth."
- David constantly heard the voice of God. In every (I think. Absolutes can be tricky.) situation David sought out the word of the Lord. When he sought to build the temple he went first to Nathan, God's prophet. In his trials, he cried out to the Lord. The Lord was always faithful to answer. how sad to think of King Saul, forsaken by the presence of the Lord, because he did not seek the Lord's voice. But the Lord was always with David, and David was in the Lord. Can the same be said about our relationship with God? Is it both give and take? Do we sit and wait for God to swoop in and fix our problems? Or in everything to seek his face? Do we crave that fellowship? It isn't always asking forgiveness rather than permission. We should seek the Lord's guidance in every word and every action.
- David also had quite an effect on his nation. His reputation preceded him. Even when he was young and Saul was still king, the people said, "Saul has struck down his thousands and David his tens of thousands." (1 Samuel 18:7) Even kings of other nations knew of his grace and integrity. The imagery of sun and grass echoes the common mindset among monarchies through out the years that the worth of the ruling monarch will be reflected in the physical state of the kingdom. Think Lion King, when Simba comes back to the wasteland Scar has created out of Pride Rock, or the deteriorating state of the kingdom under Macbeth's rule in Shakespeare's Scottish play. (Sorry guys. English major. I can't help myself.)
- In that same way, think about the effect you have on the people around you. What happens when you walk into a room? Are there brighter faces and wider smiles? Or does the atmosphere wilt as your own poor attitude spreads? God's goodness should shine through us as it ultimately did through David.
(5-7) "For does not my house stand so with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken with the hand; but the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire."
- The beginning of this passage describes it as an oracle. In this description, I see David's confidence in God's promises. One definition, as stated at the beginning of the post, is a prediction. This leaves no room for David to doubt God's faithfulness. Do we have the same confidence? I know the things God has promised me for the time being. I even know some things he has promised for the long run. Never do I doubt their certainty. For example, I know the work God has laid ahead of me for my life. Others raise such questions as finances, location, stability, credibility of my field, etc. But their doubts can't rob me of the promise I have for my life. Are you equally confident in the covenant God has made with you?
- Finally, are we men and women after God's own heart, or are we worthless? You know those people that you just know are not touchy feely people? Or who make it obvious when they are "not in the mood?" You wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole if there were a crocodile strapped to the other end. Similarly, David describes worthless men as unapproachable. You almost have to bring a shield with you, just to ask them to borrow a pencil. They can't be helped or guided in their struggles, let alone can they offer you any encouragement or assistance. Not only should we steer clear of people like this, who drag us down, but we should be very careful not to become one. What are you worth to people around you? Are you approachable when someone is in need? Others could approach David as a wise and compassionate ruler.
How do David's chosen words reflect our desires and our attitudes towards God and others around us? Where on the scale along with David do you fall?