2 Samuel 19

One of the main reasons I ended up at the seminary was because the Bible, especially the Old Testament, can be so perplexing at times.

We start this chapter with David weeping for his usurping son. Joab calls the king on his behavior (he’s acting like a dad and not a king). It reminds me of the Vietnam War and the way the veterans were treated when they returned home. They came home expecting to be treated as war heroes, but instead they were treated as rejects because the nation no longer supported the war. Here, David is weeping even though his soldiers won a great victory for him and restored his kingdom because his son was (rightfully) killed.

Thankfully, David listens to Joab and starts acting like a king again. He congratulates his troops, he forgives the rebels, and shows mercy to the people in his kingdom who opposed him. He did such a great job that all the tribes in Israel fought over who should be the ones to honor the king.

In reading this, I couldn’t help but think David would clean house and rid the kingdom of the traitors once he resumed his throne. If he’d done that, it is unlikely that the people would have rallied around him and fought over who got to honor him most. Is it any wonder that people would want a merciful king that gives second chances over one that kills anyone who makes mistakes? (Jesus) And aren’t you glad I’m not king?

What does this passage say about God, Jesus, and/or the Holy Spirit?

God told David that these things would happen to him. That his sons would rise up against him and sleep with his concubines in public. What David endured was a direct consequence of his adultery. Just because God forgives us of our sin, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to deal with the consequences. Just because we have to deal with the consequences, it doesn’t mean that we have to do it alone. God was still with David, and He is always with us as well. In the end, David trusted God to restore his kingdom, and because God is merciful, David dealt with his people mercifully.

What does this passage tell us about people, life, or faith?

People are fickle. The kingdom supported the younger, handsome Absalom over his father, the King’s anointed. When Absalom was dead, they fought over who should get to honor David the most. This fickleness is why it is so important not to follow after the crowd. Better to follow after the true king into exile than stay safe at home and worship the usurper.

Why did God put this passage in the Bible?

1 and 2 Chronicles parallel 1 and 2 Samuel, except that Chronicles leaves out the parts about David’s sin. It’s important for us to realize that no man is perfect, even a king like David, a “man after God’s own heart.” Only Christ was perfect.

How does this passage relate to my life?

The two things that stand out to me after working through this chapter are that I want to be the kind of person who follows David into exile instead of going along with the crowd. That means being a Christian even when the majority believe loving Jesus is wrong. The other thing that stands out is David’s dealings with people. That he said nothing when people didn’t help him or cursed him, yet instead of seeking revenge he gave them mercy.

How can I put this truth into practice?

Focus on Jesus. Be merciful to those who wrong me. That means be humble in my heart and spirit.

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