Day 123: David’s Eternal Throne

2 Samuel 23-24; Luke 21:1-19

Key Verses

Luke 21:5-6
And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

2 Samuel 23:5
“For does not my house stand so with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.”

2 Samuel ends in today’s reading. Chapter 23 begins with “David’s last words,” a poem reaffirming the Davidic covenant, the promise that his throne would be established forever.

The book ends with David purchasing the threshing floor on which the temple would one day be built…

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings (2 Samuel 24:24-25).

Fast forward to today’s reading in Luke – and there we find Jesus – in the temple – teaching the values of the Kingdom.

Jesus is the son of David standing in the city of David in the temple that was rebuilt on the very site that David sacrificed to the Lord. How amazing is that?

And what was Jesus teaching? That the temple would be destroyed. Consider this… What was the purpose of the temple? The temple was where the priests led the people in worship through the sacrificial system. And the temple was where the presence of God dwelled.

Can you see how Jesus’ final sacrifice and resurrection made the need for the temple obsolete? Do you think David could have imagined the future? The splendor of Solomon’s temple being destroyed and rebuilt and then desecrated by the moneychangers of Jesus’ day and then ultimately, David’s heir would sit on the eternal throne and because of His suffering and atoning death – open the way to the Holy of Holies to all people from all nations?

Never could David have imagined anything so terrible and wonderful! And neither can we imagine the wonder of the end of the age when Jesus will come again and make all things new!!! There will be no sun, for his glory will give light to the world. There will be no temple because the dwelling place of God will be with man. There will be one King – who will reign in peace forever!

Yes, David’s throne is established forever… in Jesus!!!!

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Day 122: A King’s Prayer

2 Samuel 21-22; Psalm 18

Key Verses

Psalm 18:46-50
The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
who delivered me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you rescued me from the man of violence.
For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.

Psalm 18 is adapted from David’s personal prayer recorded in 2 Samuel 22. Therefore, the two chapters are almost identical.

David’s prayer reveals both a deep personal relationship with God as well as an understanding of God’s character and ways. It is encouraging to note that despite David’s great sin, his repentance and dependence on God have kept him close to the Almighty.

God is merciful and will accept the penitent sinner who calls on Him in faith…just as He accepted David.

David understood that the Kingship was an undeserved gift of God. He was absolutely dependent on God for deliverance from his enemies, and he gave God all the credit for his victories.

David knew that he experienced all of life directly from the hand of God. We are no different. We also must depend on God for all of our earthly successes – and for the will to persevere through our failures. Ultimately, we should cry out with David…

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies (Psalm 18:1-3).

Day 121: An Eternal Hope

2 Samuel 19-20; Luke 20:27-47

Key Verses

2 Samuel 19:1-4
It was told Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, for the people heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

The bible is definitely not escape literature! On the contrary, it painstakingly characterizes the dark and light of real life… 2 Samuel is real life at its grittiest. We see David go from valiant to broken and his kingdom go from strong to divided. Today’s reading starts with an undercurrent of rivalry between Israel (the northern tribes) and Judah to the south… and ends with the gory details of Joab murdering Amasa.

This is the world we live in. A world filled with terrorist bombers and extreme poverty. A world where governments murder refugees and starvation abounds. It’s ugly. The bible doesn’t ignore the harsh reality of life in this world.

But in the midst of the ugliness, Jesus offers hope.

Today’s reading from Luke 20 finds Jesus in the middle of Passion Week. The religious leaders are trying to trap him into incriminating himself. They think they are so clever, but it’s impossible to outwit Jesus! And right in the middle of Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees is a nugget of hope!

Jesus teaches that the Patriarchs of the faith – Abraham, Isaac, and David – are not dead – but alive with God, “for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection (Luke 20:36).

This world is not our final destination! Just like Abraham, Isaac, and David, we are bound for resurrection after death – so that we might live in the new heaven and the new earth in perfect communion with God.

In other words, we need an eternal perspective to persevere through the mire of this life. Our eyes must be focused on the future – where there will be no more pain and no more sorrow and no more death… only life eternal that will never be marred by sin!

Day 120: Our Only Hope

2 Samuel 17-18; Psalm 63

Key Verses

Psalm 63:1
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you.

Psalm 63:6-8
…when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

There are times in life when it is so hard and the pain is so overwhelming, that God is the only sure hope in your life. When David wrote Psalm 63, he needed relief from the relentlessness of his circumstances. Many scholars believe he wrote this Psalm in the midst of fleeing from Absalom. Whether or not this is the case, Psalm 63 depicts a desperateness that would have characterized David during this time in his life.

These chapters in 2 Samuel illustrate God’s gracious provision for David. David was so broken that he truly did not have the means to help himself. God provided a spy network of faithful allies to warn David of Absalom’s plans. And God strengthened David’s army’s resolve to protect him from being killed in battle. Even Joab, David’s commander, understood better than David, the threat that Absalom posed and killed Absalom in spite of David’s fatherly wishes.

Do you see David’s complete brokenness? I sense that he knows that his sin has caused all of this turmoil – and the weight of the burden has become too much. David’s grief at the end of Chapter 18 is magnified by the unresolved nature of his relationship with Absalom. David had no chance to make things right with his son. The regret is all-consuming.

Even in such dark and difficult circumstances, we have a hope to which we can cling. David knew this Hope and I believe this Hope carried him through his darkest nights.

Day 119: No Escape

2 Samuel 15-16; Psalm 3

Key Verses

Psalm 3:5-6
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.

David has become a broken man. He is broken by his own sin and the turmoil of his family. He is broken by the treachery of his son, Absalom. His brokenness has made him tired, and he doesn’t fight against his circumstances but accepts them from God’s hand.

At the end of today’s reading, we see Nathan’s prophesy fulfilled as Absalom sets up a tent on the roof of David’s house and sleeps with David’s concubines. You never know… it might have been the same roof from which David lusted over Bathsheba. Prophesy is always understood best through the eyes of hindsight. Read again Nathan’s prophesy to David from 2 Samuel 12. God’s word is powerful and true!

Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” (2 Samuel 12:9-12)

What do we learn about God from this portion of Scripture?

In spite of our sin, God is gracious. God does not take the kingship away from David and continues to work on his behalf. God even chooses Solomon, the son of Bathsheba, to succeed David as King – preserving David’s family line in the kingship of Israel.

But. David can not escape from the consequences of his sin. These consequences are severe and it is hard to read about the mighty David being so defeated by the far-reaching effects of his sin.

Sin is serious. Deadly serious, in fact. We need to be rescued from its grasp. We need Jesus.

Day 118: The Odious Heart

2 Samuel 13-14; Luke 20:1-26

Key Verses

Luke 20:11-15
“And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”

In today’s reading from 2nd Samuel, we see Nathan’s prophecy of division within David’s house unfold. What strikes me as most odious from these chapters is not the incest, rape, and murder… And those things are odious! But it is David’s gross lack of judgment.

  • A wise father should have known better than to send Tamar to her half-brother’s house.
  • A just leader should have punished the eldest son’s crimes of rape and incest instead of showing favoritism by doing nothing.
  • And the King of Israel should have either executed or pardoned Absalom for murder. David’s half-hearted treatment of Absalom allows the ugliness to fester… as we’ll see in tomorrow’s reading.

David’s spiritual apathy is disheartening. Especially considering how closely he walked with God in his wilderness days. This description of David’s family combined with Jesus’ teaching from Luke 20… well, they remind me that the human heart is desperate and needs rescuing  Whether we are actively rebellious or just apathetically indifferent toward God – both are despicable. And both require a Savior. Jesus has opened the door to mercy – but only the penitent may enter.

O God, help me to be humbly reliant upon your grace – and show mercy to this sinful heart.

Day 117: Sin, Repentance and Grace

2 Samuel 10-12; Psalm 51

Key Verses

2 Samuel 11:13-15
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house.

Psalm 51:3-4
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight (Psalm 51:3-4).

Chapter 10 begins the war against the Ammonites. And nestled in this story of war… is David’s great sin.

It is obvious from 11:1 that David was lounging at home when he should have been at war with Joab (the commander of his army). Verse 2 even begins, “David arose from his couch…” This is a very different David than the one that was fleeing from Saul and scrounging for food with his vagabond army in the wilderness. David has grown accustomed to leisure and luxury. Not only has he become lazy physically, but the ease of his life has lulled him to sleep spiritually as well.

This is the only explanation for how David, a man after God’s own heart, could have slipped so far away from God’s ways that he would covet, commit adultery, and then cover it all up with murder.

When Nathan confronts David with his gross sin, David repents. Psalm 51 is David’s cry for mercy…

God is gracious to David and spares his life. But there will be consequences. Horrible consequences that we will read over the next few days.

Mysteriously, God brings good out of the ashes… through Solomon – son of Bathsheba and in the family line of Christ – he will be the King of Israel at its height!

Day 116: The Glory Days!

2 Samuel 7-9; Psalm 60

Key Verses

2 Samuel 7:8-10; 12-13; 16
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. …I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.

The Davidic Covenant. It is the promise that God will establish David’s throne forever. It does not replace the Abrahamic covenant – but only clarifies it!

David’s response to God’s promises was overwhelming gratitude. David’s prayer recorded in the last half of Chapter 7 is a model of humility and praise. And then we read of the glory of David’s reign…. Chapter 8 chronicles his victories in battle (and we surmise from Psalm 60 that David never presumed upon the Lord’s blessing – but stayed humble and dependent on His help). Chapter 9 describes his respect for Saul’s house as he treats Jonathan’s son as his own.

This is the epitome of godly leadership. David’s attributes of complete dependence on God plus true humility somehow combine to create a fierce warrior and a just leader. His person has been remarkable so far, but, unfortunately, we are about to see a sad turn in David.

Remember how God used the crucible of hardship to mold David’s character? Now that David is enjoying the benefits of blessing, he will be tempted to fall – and fall he does. But we’ll talk about that tomorrow!

Day 115: The Triumphant Entries!

2 Samuel 4-6; Luke 19:28-48

Key Verses

2 Samuel 5:12
And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

Luke 19:37-38
As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Today’s reading contains two triumphant entries…

David, the King of Israel, bringing the ark of God and the blessing of God’s presence into Jerusalem.
Jesus, the King, arriving on a colt… God, in human form, coming to Jerusalem.

David, leading the celebration and Michal disdaining him.
The disciples rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice and the Pharisees rebuking them.

What does David say to Michal? “It was before the Lord… I will celebrate before the Lord.”
And what was Jesus’ response to the Pharisees? “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

The Jerusalem that Jesus comes to is very different from David’s new Jerusalem. It is worn and has lost its first love. Jesus weeps over the blindness of his people and purges the temple of its atrocities.

But.

There will be a third triumphant entry. I believe the former two will pale in comparison… as the sky is filled with his glory and we see Jesus on a white horse brandishing his sword – and we will fall – and worship – and know the depth of his grace toward us, we sinners.

Day 114: The Patience to Wait Wisely

2 Samuel 1-3; Luke 19:1-27

Key Verses

2 Samuel 2:4
And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

Luke 19:9-10
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

If I were living in David’s story, I think I would have expected to be anointed king over all of Israel after Saul’s death. Wouldn’t you? But no… The commander of Saul’s army, Abner, anoints Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, and made him king of every part of Israel- except Judah.

But thankfully, David isn’t me! Instead of presuming, he inquires of the Lord. And the Lord directs him and his family to Hebron. There, he is anointed King of Judah – and must wait (again) to inherit the throne over all of Israel.

In today’s New Testament reading, Luke records Jesus’ last parables before he enters Jerusalem. Interestingly, Jesus teaches that the Kingdom will not come quickly – but that we will have to wait for His return and subsequent establishing of His Kingdom. In the interim, we are to be wise stewards of the resources and gifts God gives to us. In other words, we need to inquire of the Lord for every decision!

We have much to learn from David’s patience as he waits for God’s promises to be fulfilled. He is wise with God’s gifts and he never moves without asking the Lord what he should do. I long to be as faithful as David!

Lord, help me to follow you carefully with a whole heart – not wanting to move without your help and guidance. Give me patience and encouragement as I wait for your Kingdom. Amen.