There was a moral inconsistency in the later part of David’s reign, Part 4 –

2 Samuel 20:23-26Despite the positive outcome to the narrative in 2 Samuel 20, the book continues to show, how David’s sin had hampered his ability to rule. Vv.23-26 give a list of key leaders in David’s restored administration to show that David’s reign had stabilized. This list revises an almost identical list found in 8:15-18.

The list of chapter 20, has the following changes: [1] David’s sons are no longer listed as chief ministers [contrast 8:18]. [2] The later list has a new office, the commander of “forced labor” [20:24]. [3] David’s name is omitted. In 8:15, David is first on the list, and he is said to have ruled with “justice and righteousness.” There is none of this in the later list.

The most surprising change between the two lists is the omission of David’s name and of a positive evaluation of his reign. This may mean that David was no longer fully in charge and that his actions were no longer consistently wise and just.

 In an age of moral confusion and political polarization, why is it important to show wisdom, restraint, and the ability to compromise in the face of a crisis, but without compromising on biblical principles & core values? 

 There is a relationship between a widespread decline in moral integrity and political polarization? What can Disciples do about the decline in moral integrity?

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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The antagonists-villains or protagonists-heroes of 2 Samuel 20 and today, Part 3

2 Samuel 20 is a narrative with 4 main characters; David, Joab, Amasa, and Sheba. It is clear that Sheba is an antagonist but less clear with a historical context about the other three.

Joab was a nephew of David. [1 Chronicles 2:13-16] [2 Samuel 2:18-23, 3:27-34] Did Joab’s family relationship with David protect him from correction or was David afraid of Joab or did he think there was no replacement?

Was Joab acting as a faithful servant of David in killing Abner, Uriah, Absalom, Amasa, and Sheba? Did Joab have incriminating evidence against David that kept David from correcting Joab? An example could be David ordering Joab to murder Uriah [2 Samuel 11:14-25]. Later, David told Solomon that in his wisdom he should take care of Joab as a traitor and Solomon had him killed when he became king [1 Kings 2:5-6, 28-35].

Did David set up Amasa by asking him to recruit an army in 3 days knowing he would fail so he did not have to replace Joab?

It is possible that Joab was acting as a faithful servant of the king just as Hushai was. He might have sincerely believed that Abner, Absalom, and Amasa had taken advantage of David and they could not be trusted. However, he assumed authority that was not his and murdered them.  Joab was sometimes a protagonist-hero and other times he was an antagonist-villain.

It is difficult to tell whether Amasa was whether a protagonist or antagonist because he defected to Absalom, but after Absalom was killed he agreed to support King David. We cannot know his motives or reasons for not coming back with an army in three days as required by David. He did join Joab’s army, yet he was killed by Joab. He reminds us of some Disciples today, we may be not sure where they stand. See Part 6 for the answer to this question for David!

In today’s times of great disunity are you living in unity within the church and revealing the glory and love of Jesus to those outside? As a Disciple, today, are you a protagonist-hero for King Jesus or an antagonist-villain?

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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 Prayer for the declining church!

I have been in prayer since 1998 about the many problems facing the church as Christians attempt to stop the decline and return the church to increase. Robert Coleman wrote about the decline of the church in 1963 and John Dickinson in 2013. I first wrote about this in 2013 after reading both books; for link click here.

The problems seem impossible to overcome. Just to name a few perceived or not: [1] the increasing anti-God movement in the USA and world, [2] losing young people, [3] turning inward rather than outward to the community and world, [4] necessity to remain true to our core biblical values out of love for Jesus about: creation of the universe by God, the virgin birth, the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the inerrancy of the Bible, abstinence from alcoholic beverages, the sanctity of marriage, prolife, life begins at conception and other biblical doctrines and commandments, [5] conflict over music styles, [6] disunity over a variety of other issues, [7] aging congregations, and [8] strong preaching from the Bible that calls for Jesus-centered lives, evangelizing, Discipleship teaching, serving Jesus and others, living in unity in community of believers, etc.

Today I was convicted as I prayed from; “In A Pit With A Lion–How to survive and thrive when opportunity roars” – A week of Supplication Prayers

The prayer for 7/28/2018 was: “Saturday – 7. Looking Foolish-
-Peter walking on water Matthew 14:22-33;
-Noah building the ark for 120 years when it was not raining Genesis 5:32-9:29;
-David and Goliath 1 Samuel 17:1-50
-Joshua Battle plan for walls of Jericho Joshua 5:13-6:27;”

All of these were impossible or improbable yet neither Peter, Noah, David, nor Joshua let that discourage or stop them from trying; trusting God for the outcome. As I prayed I thought of these verses; Jeremiah 32:17 “Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power…! Nothing is too difficult for You,”

Luke 1:35-38…35 The angel…said to her,…37  For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” 

Revelation 4:8b,11… 8b Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come”.  11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.

The God Who created this vast universe can solve the problems in the church if His people faithfully call on Him in prayer and are obedient to His will and commandments.

I call on each of His children to pray diligently for unity and revival in the true church in the USA while serving with faith and trust in Creator God!

 Use this to pray every day for your church; 31 Days of Prayer in Supplication & Commitments for a church that is not growing or in decline!

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click herehow to have peace of God click hereand how to disciple others click here.

 

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The Grammatical-Historical Context of 2 Samuel 20 – Part 2

In terms of grammatical structure, it is important to note that 2 Samuel 20 is a narrative with common elements. These include characters, plot structure, protagonists-heroes and antagonists-villains, an introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion, imagery, etc. Everyone has a historical story that impacts their life. Who are the heroes and villains in this story and in your story?

In historical context, Absalom’s death did not end the tribal tensions within Israel [19:40-43]. David’s return to Jerusalem caused Sheba, to call for a revolt. Sheba was from the tribe of Benjamin; the same tribe as Saul.  Many Israelites A joined Sheba in the rebellion, while the men of Judah remained loyal to their tribe member David [vv.1-2].

Absalom had set Amasa over his army [17:25], but after Absalom was slain, David offered to make Amasa commander of the army in place of his long-term commander Joab [19:13].  After returning to his palace in Jerusalem, David instructed Amasa to recruit an army from the men of Judah within three days and report back to David [vv.4-5].

Amasa failed to return within three days with soldiers, possibly because of distrust in Judah over his previous defection to Absalom. David then ordered Abishai and Joab and Ittai to proceed with men they recruited. Amasa joined the group, but Joab used the opportunity to kill Amasa, either because he considered him an enemy or a competitor or both [vv.5-13]. Joab had murdered Abner about 15 years before [2 Samuel 3] [to the embarrassment of David], Uriah [at David’s request], Absalom [David mourned his death] and now Amasa.

Which of the four main characters are the antagonists-villains or protagonists-heroes?  Why do you think Joab killed Amasa? What is the message for you today?

Notes: A- “Israel” is used in three ways: [1] for the 12 tribes of Israel that were united under Joshua, David and Solomon, [2] for what is known as the northern tribes without Judah and sometimes Benjamin and [3] the area occupied by the people returning from captivity by Babylon and Persia and the government formed in May 1948. For Tribal map of Israel in time of Joshua click here; and David and Solomon click here, the timeline in the upper left corner is very badly off.

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

 

 

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Unity helpful for Israel to be kingdom of priests to the nations and for Disciples to go making Disciples in the nations today, Part 1-

John 17:22-24 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; Jesus continues saying this unity will reveal His love for the people of the world.

 2 Samuel is a story of disunity that interfered with Israel A being a kingdom of priests. Chapter 20 is filled with drama that requires some background. Look for these main characters: David, Joab, Abishai, Amasa, and Sheba. Who were the antagonists-villains or protagonists-heroes?

1010 BC David made King over Judah after death of Saul and Jonathan. Joab was           David’s commander, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel, brothers, were David’s nephews.  [1 Chronicles 2:13-16].

Abner was both the cousin of Israel’s first king, Saul, and the commander of Saul ’s army (1 Samuel 14:50). After Saul’s death, Abner was the strong man in Israel.

1008 BC There was a civil war between Joab and Abner. Abner kills Asahel, Joab’s brother.

1005 BC David agrees to cooperate with Abner to unite tribes, but Joab murders           Abner [2 Samuel 2:18-23, 3:27-34]

1003 BC Tribes finally united David reigns over all 12 tribes of Israel

993 BC David seduces Bathsheba, has Joab murder her husband, Uriah the Hittite one of David’s 37 mighty men, and marries her. Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s grandfather.

991 BC God forgave David but promised “the sword shall never depart from your house”           2 Samuel 12:10a

986 BC Amnon, Davids son, rapes his half-sister Tamar and Absalom kills his half-brother Amnon.  2 Samuel 13

976 BC Absalom conspires to take the kingdom from David 2 Samuel 15.           Ahithophel betrays David and joins Absalom.  Amasa also betrays David and becomes commander of Absalom’s army; he was a nephew of David, and cousin of Joab, as well as a cousin of Absalom, David’s son. David leaves Jerusalem in humility trusting God for the outcome good or bad.

972 BC the spy Hushai’s warning saves David and his army; Ahithophel commits           suicide, Joab, Abishai & Ittai share command of the troops for David, Joab kills Absalom; 20,000 troops killed and David returns to Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 17-19

Wow; when I write this web of family intrigue and betrayal it is sobering. Certainly the sword never left David’s house over 19 years from 991BC, there is a consequence even to confessed sin.  

There was so much disunity the focus was inward to Israel rather than outward as a kingdom of priests to other nations. However, David’s humility set the example for us and also his personally attracting non-Israelites like Ittai!

Notes: A- “Israel” is used in three ways: [1] for the 12 tribes of Israel that were united under Joshua, David and Solomon, [2] for what is known as the northern tribes without Judah and sometimes Benjamin and [3] the area occupied by the people returning from captivity by Babylon and Persia and the government formed in May 1948. For Tribal map of Israel in time of Joshua click here; and David and Solomon click here, the timeline in the upper left corner is very badly off.

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“Life Together”, 4 sermons – by Dr. Heath Lambert – Pastor FBC Jacksonville, Florida

 

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Tribulations increase the disciples hope for the future with Jesus

Romans 5:3-5…And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations,

 Vv.1-2 include all three parts of a Disciples walk with Jesus: [1] salvation by faith and peace with God, [2] by faith in the grace we stand as disciples growing in His image and [3] the hope of glory–heaven with Jesus for eternity.

Because of these steps, the Disciple can exalt in trouble. Dealing with troubles trusting Jesus produces perseverance and the character to trust Jesus for all future events good or bad in the Disciples life in step 2. As you continue to repeat the perseverance-character cycle living a Jesus-centered life your hope or certainty of eternal life with Jesus grows step 3.

So in reality troubles increases our hope for the future. The Disciples body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit guarantees our resurrection bodies. A When we purchase a house we provide a down payment to guarantee the transaction will be finalized. The Holy Spirit is a much better than a mere money downpayment.

When the first Disciples saw the reality of the resurrection, ascension of Jesus and received the Holy Spirit they no longer feared what man could do them. They became fearless in sharing the truth of the gospel. They lost their fear of circumstances and earthly death.

 The Jesus-centered Disciple can exult in tribulations and serve Jesus and others fearlessly!

Notes: A- 1 Corinthians 3:16,  Ephesians 1:13-14;

Henry Luke

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

 

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