Today's Devotions

Showcase: Forgiveness

  • Total Forgiveness, RT Kendall +

    This was a valuable resource for me in a time of hurt from a brother in Christ. I could not Read More
  • Forgiveness: Desmond Tutu +

    Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu explains how love and forgiveness kept post-apartheid South Africa from tumbling into anarchy. Read More
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Don  Carson

2 Samuel 3; 1 Corinthians 14; Ezekiel 12; Psalm 51

EVEN AFTER THE DEATH OF King Saul, David did not immediately become king of Israel.

At first David is anointed king over Judah (2 Sam. 2:1–7), and only Judah: even Benjamin, which remained with Judah following the division between "Israel" and "Judah" after the death of Solomon, at this point was allied with the other tribes (2 Sam. 2:9).

Abner, the commander of what was left of Saul's army, installed Ish-Bosheth, Saul's surviving son, as king of Israel (2 Sam. 2:8–9). Skirmishes multiplied between David's troops and those of Ish-Bosheth. Many battles in those days brought the opposing troops together in a fierce clash, followed by a running fight: one side ran away, and the other chased it. In one such clash, one of the three sons of Zeruiah—Asahel, from David's forces—is killed by Abner (2 Sam. 2:17–23). The killing was "clean," i.e., within the rules of warfare and not a murder. Nevertheless, this death precipitates some of the most important actions in 2 Samuel 3.

Bringing the different parts of the country together into united allegiance under David was a messy and sometimes ignoble business—a reminder that God sometimes uses the folly and evil of people to bring about his good purposes. Abner sleeps with one of Saul's former concubines (2 Sam. 3:6–7). This was not only a breach of moral law, but in the symbolism of the time Abner was claiming the right of royalty for himself. It was a major insult and reproach to Ish-Bosheth. Thus Abner's reasons for taking the eleven tribes over to David seem to have less to do with integrity and a desire to recognize God's calling than out of frustration with Ish-Bosheth and some lust for power himself. Then Abner is murdered by Joab and his men (2 Sam. 3:22–27), Joab being one of Asahel's brothers. But this really is murder, and a defiance of David's safe-conduct.

How David handles this crisis reflects both his great strengths and one of his greatest weaknesses—strengths and weaknesses that will show up again. Politically, David is very astute. He distances himself utterly from Joab's action, and insists that Joab and other leaders become part of the official mourning party of the slain Abner. "All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them" (2 Sam. 3:36). On the other hand, David does not bring Joab to account, fobbing off his responsibility by protesting that "these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me" (2 Sam. 3:39). In other words, he shirked his responsibility—as he would do later with his son Amnon (2 Sam. 13), the consequences of which triggered Absalom's revolt and almost cost David his throne. It is never God's way to abdicate biblically mandated responsibility.

Reflections to Consider

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Audio & Video

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  • Prayer by Alex Kirk, Chatham Community Church +

    What role does prayer play in our lives? What is prayer, anyway? Alex Kirk, pastor of Chatham Community Church, gives Read More
  • How to be Mary in a Martha world by Jim Abrahamson, Chatham Community Church +

    Jim Abrahamson spoke at Chatham Community Church on an essential of the Christian walk Who/what is our savior? What is Read More
  • Christ the King Sunday by Art Going (Holy Trinity Chatham) +

    A thoughtful discussion of how we function as colonizers for Christ the King.  Read More
  • MY STUPID MOUTH by Steve Tamayo of Chatham Community Church +

    Tremendous sermon on the liabilities of our tongue, both in what we say and don't say. Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • My Soul Cries Out in Worship +

    Over the past ten years, Vicki Yohe has written some of the most popular songs sung in churches. This song Read More
  • Worship Matters: A blog by Bob Kauflin +

    Worship Matters is a blog by Bob Kauflin. Good, inspired food for one's soul. Read More
  • Worship Wars in Bethany +

    Jim Abrahamson preached on the worship wars in Bethany in 2003. Read More
  • The Greatest Treasure Remains: Come, Now is the Time for Worship +

    Come, now is the time to worship Read More
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