A Heart for God: David.
Readings: 2Sam 1:17-27
Sermon: Sun 18th October 2015
Setting the scene:
Having spared Saul’s life once, David remains a fugitive. He acts wisely against Nabal (chapter 25) and marries his wife, Abigail, after Nabal dies. David then chooses to spare Saul’s life for a second time (chapter 26) and settles in Achish.
In these turbulent times, David fights the Amalekites but a raiding party destroys his
camp and takes all the women and children as prisoners. David pursues the raiders
and recovers everyone and everything, attributing his success to God (29:23-31) and
then acts wisely with the spoils of war.
The Philistines attack Israel and Saul chooses to consult a medium (chapter 28) instead of God. The dead prophet Samuel appears and informs Saul of his and Israel’s demise in battle the next day (28:16-20) due to his disobedience. Samuel also tells him that despite his plans, David will succeed him as King.
As prophesied, the next day, the Philistines defeat Israel in battle. Three of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, are killed. Defeated and a broken man, Saul commits suicide. (Chapter 31)
Immediately before our passage, David learns of the death of Jonathan and Saul from a survivor of the battle. The bearer of this news, an Amalekite, embellishes the story of Saul’s’ death, claiming that he delivered the coup de grace. He also brings Saul’s’ crown to David.
It’s worth acknowledging that this latest chapter in the life of Saul and David raises a number of slightly uncomfortable questions. For example, the ‘re-awakening’ of Samuel the Prophet seems to be at odds with Jesus parable about the Rich Man and Lazarus – it’s theologically tricky for us. Secondly the incident with the young man who comes to tell David of Sauls death. For sure the young man made a dishonest claim that it was he who helped Saul to take his own life, hopeful that this might help him find favour in David’s eyes, but David’s response of ordering the young man’s death seems harsh in the extreme. Perhaps another reminder of the distance in culture between us and David, and the need to be alert to imposing on the text a developed western ethic.
Have you received unexpected news? How did this affect you?
(See Helpful Hints)
A) Understanding David:
Read 2 Samuel 1: 1-16
1. Are you surprised by David’s response to hearing the news from the Amalekite?
2. (verse 15) What do you think of David’s decision? Why do you think he gave this order?
Read 2 Samuel 1: 17-27
3. What does this lament reveal about the heart of David?
B) Learning from David
4. a) Given the example of David, do you think we can truly forgive anyone?
b) What are the barriers to offering forgiveness?
c) How can these be overcome?
C) Praying with David
Read Psalm 51:10.
Consider taking some time to ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and pray into any person(s) /situations that the Holy Spirit brings to mind.
A) Understanding David:
2. The Amalekite is put to death for daring to have done (or more accurately claiming to have done) what David refused to do – raising his hand against the King anointed by God. In David’s mind, he was administering justice which for David was the preserve of God alone and the King as his surrogate.