2 Samuel 3:22-39
Joshua 8:24-35 – Destruction of AI. Ai was completely destroyed leaving nothing and no one alive. This would be one of the very few places that the Lord allowed the nation to take the treasures and livestock as spoil. The reason Joshua was so successful and loved by the nation was that he was obedient to the Lord he served. Because he obeyed all of the laws of Moses, the people followed suit. Obedience and faithfulness are learned from our leaders just like disobedience and unfaithfulness. Joshua had learned them at the feet of Moses and in the tent of meeting. The heap of rocks that Joshua built were from the walls of the kingdom of AI and were an epitaph of the proud kingdom. Those who when coming upon the rocks would see and understand the outcome of disobedience. Shechem, which is located between the two mountains Gerizim and Ebal was the place where their ancestor Abram had made a covenant with the Lord. Gerizim and Ebal are polar opposites just as the law has two pathways. The curses are the opposite of obedience and there is no third alternative. The Law is an uninterested third party because it is a plumb line. Those who apply the law to their lives will be blessed. Those who misapply the law inherit the curses that lead to their demise (Gerizim_Ebal). In time, the nation would collapse in sin partly they did not read the law and apply it to their lives and partly because of failed leadership which would cause the nation to be seen differently in the eyes of the court of Public Opinion (Jeremiah 13:21-22).
Psalms 67 – Make Your Face Shine Upon Us. For the Lord’s face to shine upon us, we must first turn our face to him. Consider how the sun cannot shine on the area under a boulder. When the boulder is moved, the ground beneath gets the water, light, and oxygen which causes any of the plants left dormant below it to grow. For the nations to come to the light, they must first see healthy fruit from it or all they’ll see is a boulder with famous scriptural verses. In times of trouble and fears for what the future holds, the people will come to the boulders to seek refuge and then walk away when the trouble has passed. The Lord G-d wants more from us than to be a sounding board and a crutch to hold people up, He wants us to be a source of life-giving water that produces tangible fruit.
Proverbs 25:1-14 – Solomon’s Proverbs. When we walk with the Lord, we must understand that the Lord does not reach down and tell us step-by-step what to do. He does, however, provide us the laws to live by and to form our decisions. There are things that we learn along the way that either build us up or become just another “crumbling brick” that leads to our demise. For the king to build an enduring kingdom, he would need to carefully select the people who would counsel him. While the book speaks to the future kings of Israel and Judah, it also applies to the people who live under his banner. When we use our words with the intention of uplifting people and bringing forth life-giving fruit, people come to know the Lord we serve. Conversely, when we speak like the scribes and Pharisees of old, the people will listen for a little while and then turn away because our words will be empty and a mere sounding board.
Isaiah 4 – The Branch of the Lord Glorified. The nation Israel was about to suffer in ways they never knew possible. At this juncture, the nation was old and established but was not the same nation that crossed the river Jordan in Joshua’s time. Its kings and priests had sold the nation down the river into slavery. Its young men were killed in battle until one man was chased by seven women which most men wouldn’t object to (1). Sadly it is only when we have nothing to cling to and no hope to speak about that we call on the Lord. It is said, “you will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have” (Pastor Tim Keller). This scripture, like many from Isaiah, points to the Messiah who would not come for another 600 some years. The remnant who would come through the storms and fierce trials would return to Jerusalem rejoicing in the Lord. When the remnant rebuilt the Temple and walls the shekinah glory of G-d would shine on them and protect them.
2 Samuel 3:22-39 – Joab Murders Abner in Revenge. The difference between Asahel and Abner’s death lies in the concept of “battle”. Abner came in peace which effectively ended the battle between the two kingdoms. There is an ancient proverb that says, “Revenge is a dish best served cold” (Unknown). Joab waited until an opportune time to avenge Asahel’s death. The problem Joab had was that he did not seek answers as to what happened in the woods and he really didn’t care. For King David, this was a defining moment in his life because his kingdom hung in the balance of the decisions he made. By mourning Abner’s death, the people who served him knew he was innocent of Abner’s blood. For Joab though, it was a knife to his soul something that would go deeper with time. Joab’s descendants would pay the ultimate price for his actions by their quality of life.