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Sunday, May 04, 2014

[Matt's Messages] "The Rule of King David"

“The Rule of King David”
The LORD Is My Rock: The Message of 2 Samuel
May 4, 2014 :: 2 Samuel 8:1-10:19

The reason why I’m calling these 3 chapters, “The Rule of King David” is not because they say everything there is to know about David’s rule, but I do think they are placed here in the story to give us a big picture look at what the kingdom of David was like.

What was it like to live in the kingdom that was ruled by David?

Starting in chapter 11, we’re going to learn some unhappy parts of David’s story.  It’s kind of like the third act in the a play or a movie.  The first act was the ascendancy of David, David on the rise. And that was a long part of the story because it took him a long time to reach the top.

And chapters 2-10, I think tell the story of the top–David establishing his rule.

And the last 3 chapters of that section, what we’re going to look at today, give us a glimpse of what his rule was characterized by.

We saw before in chapter 5 a bit of what his kingdom was like, but here I think we get a glimpse of what kind of a ruler the king himself was.

...Before that regrettable error he made with Bathsheba.

“The Rule of King David.”

But, of course, there is something even more important in these chapters of Scripture than to see what kind of a ruler David was.

Because David is not the main character of 2 Samuel.

The LORD is the main character of 2 Samuel, and we’re going to highlight at 3 things that we can learn here about Him.  And those will apply to our lives today because the He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The first thing we’re going to see about the rule of King David is that he is consistently victorious, and he is also righteous, wise, and just.

As a ruler, at this point in his rule, David is ideal. Ideal.

Chapter 8 is a great big summary of David’s victories, his successes in battle.

But the most important thing to realize about all of these victories is where they come from. V.6 and v.14 will make it abundantly clear that these victories are a gift from the LORD.

And that is because He is (point #1 of 3 today)...

#1. A PROMISE-KEEPING GOD.

Let’s read it, and I’ll show you what I mean. Chapter 8, verse 1.

“In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.”

Now, that sentence seems pretty normal, but if we’ve been paying attention, then all kinds of bells and whistles should be going off.

What has happened?

David has defeated the Philistines!

When was growing up the Philistines were the big baddies. They controlled everything, including who could own a sword.

And it seemed like the new king, Saul, was going to do something about it.

But he didn’t.

And then there was a promise made by God that the next king, King David, would defeat the Philistines.

And here it is!

“In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.”

God is a promise-keeping God, and David is a victorious king. V.2

“David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute.”

Now, we’re not sure why Moab needed subdued. They had been friendly with David, and he shared some Moabite blood.

But apparently their peace didn’t last, and David had to defeat them, execute a good number of them and subdue them.

And all of this is a fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.  Remember last week we read 2 Samuel 7 and saw the amazing promises that God was giving to David and His people?

One of the big ones was that David would have rest from his enemies. ... V.3

“Moreover, David fought Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when he went to restore his control along the Euphrates River. David captured a thousand of his chariots, seven thousand charioteers and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He hamstrung all but a hundred of the chariot horses.

When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down twenty-two thousand of them. He put garrisons in the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought tribute. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.

[And David gave the LORD the glory.]

David took the gold shields that belonged to the officers of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. From Tebah and Berothai, towns that belonged to Hadadezer, King David took a great quantity of bronze. When Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, he sent his son Joram to King David to greet him and congratulate him on his victory in battle over Hadadezer, who had been at war with Tou. Joram brought with him articles of silver and gold and bronze.  King David dedicated these articles to the LORD, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued: Edom and Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, and Amalek. He also dedicated the plunder taken from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.

And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. [We saw last week that his name would become great. It’s a promise!]

He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.

Is that because David was so great?

Well, David was a man after God’s own heart.

But, in and of himself, he wasn’t that great. He was great because God made him great.

The LORD gave David this victory wherever he went because God was keeping His promises.

He is a promise-keeping God.

Now, I know that I just said that last week.

And I know that I say it a lot.  “God always keeps His promises.”

You know, we are so used to that, it seems normal and blase.

But it’s amazing when you think about it.

Who do you know that has always kept their promises?

All of them?

Every single one.

Nobody does that. Even for people try really hard and keep all the big ones.

We’re always making and breaking promises even to ourselves, aren’t we?

But God always, always, always keeps His promises.

Do you need to hear that today?

I know we just said it last week, but it’s one of the major lessons of the whole Old Testament, so we probably need to hear it every day.

The LORD is a promise-keeping God.

And David was a justice providing king.  V.15

“David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David's sons were royal advisers.”

A little bit of a who’s-who there of David’s court.

We’ll keep running into a number of them, and need ot keep our eyes on a few of them including that rascal Joab.

But the key verses is v.15.

“David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.”

That’s what the rule of King David was like–ideal.

Just.  Righteous.

Not perfect, I’m sure.

But ideal. David strove after justice for his people.

“David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.”

Isn’t that what we all long for in our leaders?

Well, whenever David is at his best, we see a glimpse of the King of Kings.  Our Lord Jesus does what is just and right 100% of the time! Doesn’t He?!

That’s because He is a promise-keeping God.

Now, how committed is God to His promises?

How committed is David to his promises?

How committed are you and I to our promises?

What about the ones that maybe we’d rather not keep?

Maybe because they might turn around and hurt us?

Or because we made it when we felt like it, but we don’t feel like it any more?

Chapter 9.

Here’s what the rule of King David is like – LOYAL and KIND.  V.1

“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?’”

Wow. Just stop there for a second.

That’s a great King!

Just think again about all of the water under the bridge in the relationship between David and Saul.

That’s been our whole school year!  Saul and David. David and Saul.

Saul was David’s enemy.

However ... David was never Saul’s enemy.  Was he?

And when he was tempted cut corners and lift his hand against Saul, , he repented of it and changed his mind.

And even now that Saul is dead and gone, David still desires to seek the good of Saul’s house.

But not for Saul per se.

For Saul’s son, David’s close friend, for Jonathan.

“ ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?’”

That’s loyalty. That’s love.

The word translated “kindness” in the NIV is that great Old Testament word “hesed.”

It’s hard to translate because it’s such a full word.

Kindness. Grace. Love. Covenant keeping.

Loyal love.

Remember, David had made promises to Jonathan.

Check out 1 Samuel 20 for a great example.

Jonathan said, “May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. But show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family–not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth.’ So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David ... Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.”

But times have changed. This could be up to two decades from that moment in 1 Samuel 20.

And maybe David wouldn’t feel like keeping these promises now.

But a righteous man swears to his hurt.

A godly man keeps his promises even when it hurts.

And so King David rules with loyal love and kindness. V.2

“Now there was a servant of Saul's household named Ziba. They called him to appear before David, and the king said to him, ‘Are you Ziba?’ ‘Your servant,’ he replied. The king asked, ‘Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?’

[Notice that! “God’s kindness! God’s hesed. God’s covenant keeping loyal love.]

 Ziba answered the king, ‘There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.’ [We met him back in chapter 4, verse 4 when we found out that he became crippled on the day  his daddy died.]

‘Where is he?’ the king asked. Ziba answered, ‘He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.’ [Doesn’t seem to have a house of his own any more. How the mighty family of Saul has fallen. ]

So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, ‘Mephibosheth!’ ‘Your servant,’ he replied.”

And he was probably quaking in his boots!

Because what do normally you do to the house of your enemy?

What did they do in these days the children of the former king to solidify your own position as the new king?

You eliminate them.

So, young, lame Mephibosheth is probably trembling with fear. And then he hears David say (v.7):

“‘Don't be afraid,’ David said to him, ‘for I will surely show you kindness [hesed again!] for the sake of your father Jonathan [I loved him. I’m loyal to him. I’m keeping my promises, too]. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.’

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’ [Sounds a bit like how David responded to the LORD last week, doesn’t it?  Grace has a way of going around and eliciting wonder!]

Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, ‘I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master's grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.’ (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. [And keep one eye on him. He’s turns out to be a rascal.])

Then Ziba said to the king, ‘Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.’ So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons.  Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and all the members of Ziba's household were servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet.”

Word has it that both the Crumrines and the Rowles are considering naming their next  sons “Mephibosheth.” Good idea!

That’s not true.

But it is true that Mephibosheth ate at the king’s table like one of the king’s sons.

Do you see how the author repeated that again and again?

David had once eaten at Saul’s table, but then Saul tried to kill him and drove him away.

Saul had become David’s enemy.

But look here, Mephibosheth now sits at David’s table.

That’s something we call grace.

It comes from hesed, from covenant love.

And it’s strong enough to serve the children of your enemy.

David is show Mephibosheth hesed because he promised Jonathan he would.

But he’s not just showing his own hesed. He’s showing (v.3), “God’s hesed.”

In 2 Samuel 9, we see a God who is

#2.  AN ENEMY-LOVING GOD.

That’s grace.

That Mephibosheth would sit at David’s table.

And remember whenever David is at his best, we get a glimpse of King Jesus, the King of Kings.

And He shows His own love for us in this–while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Hesed.

In chapter 10, David takes hesed to another level.

He shows it not to the son of his friend who was the grandson of his enemy.

But to his neighbor king.  Chapter 10, verse 1.

“In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. David thought, ‘I will show kindness [hesed] to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness [hesed] to me.’ So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.” Stop there for a second.

Now, this is interesting.  Nahash had been defeated in his aggression Israel by King Saul back in 1 Samuel chapter 11.

That’s when Saul was doing well and protecting his people.

So, either Nahash then entered into a subordinate treaty with Israel and has kept the faith in that treaty ever since Saul.

Or Nahash entered into a treaty later with David early in his rule.

Either way, Nahash has been keeping up his end of the bargain until now when his son Hanun takes over.

And Hanun is a stinker.  V.2 again.

“When David's men came to the land of the Ammonites, the Ammonite nobles said to Hanun their lord, ‘Do you think David is honoring your father by sending men to you to express sympathy? [Yeah right!] Hasn't David sent them to you to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?’

So Hanun seized David's men, shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away. [That’s shaming!]

When David was told about this [it was time to uphold the honor of his men and the glory of the LORD], he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, ‘Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.’

When the Ammonites realized that they had become a stench in David's nostrils [they went looking for help!], they hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maacah with a thousand men, and also twelve thousand men from Tob.

On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men.

[Who do you think is going to win?  We’ve heard enough today about the rule of King David  to have a pretty good guess! V.8]

The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance to their city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were by themselves in the open country.”

Uh oh.

Joab is a rascal and quite a general, but even he realizes that he’s trapped in pincer move.

Ammonites on one side and Arameans, and the men with Tob and Maacah on the other.

And here’s what Joab does and says.

Joab is a rascal a lot of the time, but this is Joab at his best. V.9

“Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites.

Joab said, ‘If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you.

Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.’”

[Best speech that Joab ever gave!]

Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him.

When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans were fleeing, they fled before Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab returned from fighting the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.

After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they regrouped.

Hadadezer had Arameans brought from beyond the River; they went to Helam, with Shobach the commander of Hadadezer's army leading them.

When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan and went to Helam. The Arameans formed their battle lines to meet David and fought against him.

But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also struck down Shobach the commander of their army, and he died there.

When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.”

David wins!

God wins!

The rule of King David was marked by victory.

David was a good neighbor to Nahash, but he conquered Hanun, and when the people in the neighboring nations saw his power, they made their peace with the king of Israel.

Reminds me of Psalm 2, when the psalmist says:

“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son [the king], lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Our God is a enemy-loving God for those who will turn and take refuge in Him.

But you don’t want Him to stay your enemy.

I want to go back to verse 12 and see the wisdom in what Joab says.

Remember, he’s between two armies and he divides his army into two to attack back.

It’s risky move, but it just might work.

And he says (v.12), “Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.”

Here’s number three of what we see of God in this story.

#3. A TRUST-WORTHY GOD.

He’s worth trusting.

Now, does Joab know that God will give them the victory?

No. He doesn’t. He knows that God is worth trusting to do what is right and best.

He knows that it’s worth a try to risk something big for God.

It’s like the time when Jonathan and his armor-bearer climbed up on the mountain, and he said, “Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6).

Joab doesn’t know what will happen. Perhaps it will be a disaster. Perhaps it will be a great victory.

EITHER WAY, Joab knows that God can be trusted to do what is best.

And that’s Joab at his best.

He knows that God is trustworthy.

That’s not the same thing as presuming he knows what God will do.

I think it’s a mistake for people to say that they believe God is going to give them a miracle when they don’t have a specific promise from God’s Word to back it up.

“I believe.”

What do you believe?

If you believe that God is trustworthy, no matter what, then I believe, as well.

But you just believe something that God has not promised, then you might just get your hopes dashed to pieces.

Because God has told us that in this world we will have troubles, but take heart Jesus has overcome the world.

The LORD is a trust-worthy God.

He is a covenant keeping God who makes good on all of His promises.
He is a hesed-acting God who is gracious to His former enemies.

He is a holy God who opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

I don’t know what God has planned, but I know that He can be trusted.

Do you have a situation right now where you need to be strong and fight bravely and trust that the LORD will do what is good in his sight?

I know I do. I have a long list of them.

He will do what is good in his sight.

Trust Him and be brave.

Messages in This Series
00. "How the Mighty Have Fallen!"
01. King David
02. David's Kingdom
03. The Right Way to Worship
05. The Rule of King David

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