Dec 6, 2020. II Samuel 3:12-21

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ABNER MAKES A DEAL. II Samuel 3:12-21. 12/06/20. #07.

II Samuel 3:12-21 [New King James Version]

12 Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to David, saying, “Whose is the land?” saying also, “Make your covenant with me, and indeed my hand shall be with you to bring all Israel to you.” 13 And David said, “Good, I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you: you shall not see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” 14 So David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 And Ishbosheth sent and took her from her husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish. 16 Then her husband went along with her to Bahurim, weeping behind her. So Abner said to him, “Go, return!” And he returned. 17 Now Abner had communicated with the elders of Israel, saying, “In time past you were seeking for David to be king over you. 18 Now then, do it! For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David, I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and the hand of all their enemies.’ ” 19 And Abner also spoke in the hearing of Benjamin. Then Abner also went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and the whole house of Benjamin. 20 So Abner and twenty men with him came to David at Hebron. And David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 Then Abner said to David, “I will arise and go, and gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.

  • Abner’s betrayal
    • Four basic types of betrayal:
      • PURPOSEFUL – a spy from another country or group infiltrates another entity in order to betray them (Hushai; Mati Hiri, Nathan Hale)
      • REACTIVE – (an offended party takes revenge by betraying his sworn cause – Abner, Ahithophel, Benedict Arnold)
      • JUDICIAL – (when a state or entity violates its sworn purpose, the faithful often oppose that entity – John the Baptist, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Am. Revolution)
      • COVETOUS – (seeking one’s own gain – Judas, Balaam, Jezebel/Naboth)
    • Abner was offended at being accused, so he switched sides
      • Many in Israel were already pro-David
      • David had been popular with army and people
      • Ishbosheth was not an inspiring man
    • Abner proposes a meeting with David to give him Israel
  • David agrees to meet with Abner
    • David is thrilled Abner’s proposal
      • David agrees to meet with Abner if he would bring his wife, Michal, back to him
      • David send Ishbosheth a messenger demanding that Michal be sent to him
    • Michal was a woman between two worlds
      • She love David and was loyal to him
      • She was given to David after David brought back 200 Philistine foreskins from battle
      • She saved David’s life when Saul sought to kill him
      • In anger, Saul took Michal from David and gave her to Paltiel (a young nobleman who supported Saul)
        • Michal had no say in the matter (no choice)
        • Michal still loved David, but had to perform the duties of a wife to Paltiel
      • Now, she was happily going back to David
      • The men in her life caused her to be adulterous, spiritually polluted, and disgraced (Dt. 24, Rm. 7:1-4)
    • David wanted his wife back
      • He had earned the honor of marrying her through dangerous heroic deeds
      • Being Saul’s daughter, she provided a means to legitimize his claim to the throne
      • David truly loved Michal
    • Abner fetches Michal from Paltiel’s house
      • Paltiel follows after her, weeping and pleading, until Abner orders him to go home
      • Michal is obviously a very desirable woman
  • Abner seals the deal
    • Abner secures the transfer of power through lobbying the elders and leaders of Israel to accept transfer of the kingdom to David
      • His main difficulty would be to convince the tribe of Benjamin to agree to this arrangement, since Saul was from their tribe (only about a century after the tribe was decimated at the end of Judges)
      • After Benjamin realized that the rest of Israel was agreeable to have David as their king
    • David puts on a feast for Abner and receives him as a royal guest
      • After the feast Abner goes, promising to deliver Israel to David
      • It seems that God’s promise to David was being fulfilled
    • All things are not always what they seem to be
      • Abner had not delivered Israel yet
      • Abner had earned a bitter enemy in Joab when he killed his brother
      • We can never predict the paths the Lord will take us
        • Often, God teaches us lessons by not doing what we anticipate him doing
        • Important to not depend on what we think should happen and be alert to follow God’s lead

Nov. 29, 2020. Philippians 2:19-24

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A MAN NAMED TIMOTHY  Philippians 2:19-24. 11/29/2020. #11.

Philippians 2:19-24 [New King James Version]

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

  • Faithful Timothy
    • Paul had gathered a number of helpers around him (Luke, Titus, Aristarchus, Silas…), but none were as faithful as Timothy)
    • Timothy became Paul’s favorite companion
      • Paul considered himself Timothy’s spiritual son
      • Paul mentions Timothy more than other co-workers
      • Timothy = Honoring God
      • Timothy was the son of a pagan Greek father and a devout Jewish mother (Acts 16:1), named Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5) from Lystra (even grandma Lois was a faithful believer)
    • Timothy joined the second missionary journey with Silas
      • Paul had Timothy circumcised (so not the offend the Jews – Jesus paid taxes not to offend Jews)
      • I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6 Paul then participated in the laying on of hands, ordaining Timothy to ministry (I Timothy 4:1-16)
    • Timothy accompanied Paul into Europe
      • When Paul was expelled from Thessalonica after only three weeks, Paul sent Timothy back to strengthen them
      • Timothy was with Paul in Ephesus, Macedonia, and Corinth
      • Paul now sent Timothy to check on the Php. Church while he waited for him at Troas
      • Timothy was in Ephesus at the time of Paul’s death
  • Rare Timothy
    • Paul paid Timothy his greatest tribute: no one else is as like-minded (as Paul) who will care for the Philippians’ needs
      • This included Titus, Luke, Silas…
      • Timothy approached ministry the way Paul wanted him to do so (Paul counted on him to be diligent and to minister in the correct manner)
      • Timothy did not have the same bold persona as Paul, so Paul had to encourage him to be bold and courageous (II Timothy 1:7)
      • “For all seek their own, not the things of Christ Jesus”
    • A most profound observation
    • Most people, even believers seek their own will
      • There are pastors who treat their churches as their own private fiefdoms
      • It is rare to find believers consistently seeking and doing the will of the Lord
    • Even those who worked with Paul had a tendency to seek their own will and not God’s
    • A whole litany of believers seeking their own way: Moses resisting going to Egypt, Jonah left for Joppa, David lusted after Bathsheba, Jeremiah refused to speak, Paul went to Jerusalem, Peter backed away from the Galatian saints…
    • Timothy’s character was so stellar that it was proven
      • He was consistent in faith, service, and dedication
      • Timothy did not struggle with obedience, but he did wrestle with his own fears
    • Timothy proves that absolute dedication is possible, even for believers who wrestle with personal limitations
  • We need more Timothy people
    • All believers have the potential to be like Timothy in devotion, service, consistency, attitude, and perseverance
    • Those who fail to live up to Timothy’s example do so because “they seek their own way and not that of Christ Jesus”
      • Failure to obey is a victory for pride and rebellion
      • Two aspects: What do you seek? Who do you serve?
    • Timothy’s testimony was not in what he did, but being dedicated to what he was called to be (no let down or deviation)

Key Verse:

1 Timothy 4 [New King James Version]

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Nov. 29, 2020. II Samuel 3:6-11

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SHOWDOWN IN SAMARIA. II Samuel 3:6-11. 11/29/2020. #6.

II Samuel 3:6-11 [New King James Version]

6 Now it was so, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner was strengthening his hold on the house of Saul. 7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. So Ishbosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” 8 Then Abner became very angry at the words of Ishbosheth, and said, “Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show loyalty to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David; and you charge me today with a fault concerning this woman? 9 May God do so to Abner, and more also, if I do not do for David as the Lord has sworn to him— 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 And he could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.

  • Abner, the king maker
    • Abner kept growing stronger in Israel
      • Ishbosheth was very weak
      • Ishbosheth would not have been on the throne had it not been for Abner, who needed one of Saul’s sons to legitimately to reign
    • Abner had become the power behind the throne
      • He could do whatever he wanted to do
      • Without Abner propping him up, Ishbosheth would fall
  • The accusation
    • After Saul’s death, all of his wives and concubines would have been put in seclusion in the palace or near it
    • One of Saul’s concubines was Rizpah
      • Later, when David gave seven sons for execution to the Gibeonites to atone for Saul’s attack on them, file came from Princess Merab and two from Rizpah
      • Rizpah spent three days keeping birds away from the corpses of her sons until David had them properly buried
    • Ishbosheth accused Abner of being intimate with Rizpah
      • Abner vehemently denied the accusation
      • Abner may have committed the offense
        • It is unlikely that timid Ishbosheth would challenge the general with a false accusation
        • Abner controlled the house of Saul
        • Abner doesn’t directly deny the charge
    • Abner seemed to be more offended that Ishbosheth dared to challenge him (Abner was the power behind the throne & Ishbosheth was to obey and stay quiet)
  • The remedy
    • The accusation against Abner was a turning point in the history of Israel
      • Abner decides to seek revenge for his wounded honor by seeking revenge on Ishbosheth
      • Abner will now support David over Saul’s house
    • Abner recognizes God’s blessing on David
      • Abner states that his loyalty to Saul & his household is repaid with a scurrilous accusation
      • Abner will not support David, to whom the Lord had sworn to give the throne of Israel (the promise to David must have been generally known)
    • Abner had the power to transfer Israel to David
      • Much of the army would follow Abner
      • Without a strong military leader, Ishbosheth was doomed
    • Ishbosheth was cowered into silence, for he feared Abner
  • God superintends history
    • God both manages events & uses events to accomplish his will, even though men do not recognize his providence
      • Abner had planned to continue to prop up Ishbosheth
      • A wound to his pride (perhaps, because he was found out), changes the dynamic of the situation
      • Had Abner been dedicated to the house of Saul, this personal affront would not change his loyalty
      • Abner may have enjoyed his position of power
    • God uses this event to move Israel to unite under David
    • God’s will cannot be thwarted, no matter what man does
      • Abner couldn’t maintain Saul’s legacy against God
      • If we know God’s will, we need to submit to it

Nov 22, 2020. Philippians 2:17-18

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LIFE OFFERING ON GOD’S ALTAR. Philippians 2:17-18. 11/22/20. #10.

Philippians 2:17-18 [New King James Version]

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

  • Not my own
    • Major theological concept: Our lives do not belong to us
      • Genesis 2:7 God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26-28)
      • Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 all spirits return to God who gave them
    • Believers owe service to God and not to self
      • I Corinthians 6:19-20 our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we do not belong to ourselves
      • Hebrews 9:27 everyone will give an account before God
    • Freewill was given to us so that we could freely choose to worship and submit to God
      • Genesis 3 Adam used his freewill to rebel against God
      • I Corinthians 3:12-15 those who use their freewill to serve him he rewards them for choosing to do so
    • The list of the rebellious in the Bible is nearly interminable: Adam, Cain, Nimrod, Saul, Ahab, Samson, Solomon, Jeroboam…
  • A living sacrifice
    • Romans 12:1-3 Paul saw himself as a living sacrifice for God
      • His life was to given over to the Lord for whatever purpose God would have for him
      • II Timothy 2:1-10 at the end of his life, Paul declared that he had fought the good fight and endured all things for the sake of God’s church
    • Paul realized that he had to lay his plans aside to follow the will of God
      • When Paul disobeyed God to go to Jerusalem, the results were disastrous
      • When Paul argued with Barnabas over taking John Mark with them, he later had to acknowledge that Mark was “profitable to me for the ministry”
    • Paul described himself as a “drink offering”
      • His life was poured out on God’s altar for service
      • A drink offering was used to offer dedication to the Lord (a solemn vow to serve and obey)
      • II Timothy 4:6 Paul moves from “am being poured out” to “already being poured out”, referring to his sacrificial death as a martyr (pouring is complete)
    • Paul’s life was poured out with purpose (well spent)
      • He performed the Lord’s will
      • The object of his offering was serving the Philippian believers and believers in other churches
      • Paul’s entire life was dedicated to serving others for the cause of Christ
    • What we want and what God calls us to do are often radically different (Moses, Jonah, Jeremiah, Job, Elijah…)
    • Often God allows us to live comfortable lives and does not demand the extreme sacrifice of a Paul, Jeremiah, or Elijah
      • Luke 16:10 do we even do what small amounts that he asks us to do (Romans 8:18)?
      • Are we willing and ready to follow his lead no matter what he calls upon us to do?
  • A time for rejoicing
    • Paul was not bitter, sad, or disappointed in his life
      • He counted the sacrifices as minor inconveniences compared to bringing people to Christ
      • Romans 8 as Christ counted it a joy to sacrifice himself to bring many people to glory (Hebrews 2:10; 2:12), so Paul = glad + rejoiced for being poured out for church
    • Many have poured out their lives for themselves to a miserable end (Abiram, Pharaoh, Solomon, Judas, Demus, Ahab…)
      • The rich man enjoyed his life until judgment
      • Many carnal saints suffer loss of rewards (I Chronicles 3)
    • Paul wanted the Php. to be glad and rejoice with him
      • Even though suffering and death are times of grief, they yield the fruit of salvation and reward for faithful
      • Paul is not asking Php. to rejoice in his suffering, but to rejoice in the fruit of his suffering = their gain
    • The faithful are called upon to rejoice while also suffering

Key verse:

2 Timothy 2:1-10 ]New King James Version]

1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Nov 22, 2020. II Samuel 3:1-5

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DAVID’S WOMEN. II Samuel 3:1-5. 11/22/20. #5.

1 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker. 2 Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3 his second, [a]Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; 4 the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.

  • Long war
    • Much of biblical history is just a summary
      • Many details in lives of biblical characters are not recorded (we just have tidbits of pertinent events)
      • Some people we do not even have their names (Manoah’s wife, Mrs. Naaman’s slave girl, the I Kings 13 prophet, Jonathan’s armor bearer…)
    • A summary statement: long war between house of Saul & house of David
      • Even though Israel had a larger population, Judah piled up victories due to God’s blessing on them
      • David slowly gained the upper hand
        • God did not allow David to take all at once
        • Israel began to understand that God was with David & not Ishbosheth
  • The original order
    • What became the norm was not the original divine plan
    • God’s order in Genesis 1-2
      • Mankind was to have dominion over the earth (resources, plants, animals, & sea life)
      • Adam was to tend the garden, but was given freedom of movement & action
      • Adam had only one restriction: not to eat from one tree
      • Adam was given a wife & instructions that each man was to cling to his one wife
    • When these norms were broken after the fall, chaos, death, destruction, & lust for forbidden things resulted
  • Multiple wives
    • Starting with Lamech, men began to take more than 1 wife
      • Polygamy made move complicated an already complex dynamic in human relationships
      • Abraham & Hagar, Jacob marrying 2 sisters, Elkanah’s 2 wives, Solomon’s wives…all became issues that led to snares
    • Six of David’s seven wives are listed here (Michal is still with Palti in Israel)
      • Ahinoam apparently was David’s favorite wife since she is usually listed first
      • Abigail was the wise widow of Nabol, who had interceded to spare the lives of her family
      • Maacah was a princess (often political marriages were arranged to form alliances)
    • Several observations about multiple wives:
      • Adding more wives does not solve the lust issue in men (David kept adding more wives)
      • Even with 7 beautiful wives, David went after Uriah’s wife (lust does not end at the marriage altar)
      • Opportunistic illicit affairs catch even the most vigilant off-guard if they do not stay alert
        • It only takes a moment to fall
        • Always praying & being on guard
      • Multiple wives lead to multiple problems: Hannah’s conflict, David’s family, Solomon’s wives turn him
  • Doing it God’s way
    • When God’s principles are compromise, there is loss
    • Stay focus on purity; choose to honor spouse; keep self away from compromising situations; be diligent always
    • Ephesians 6:11-18 all of life is spiritual warfare

Nov 15, 2020. Philippians 2:14-16

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SEETHING SAINTS. Philippians 2:14-16. 11/15/20. #9.

Philippians 2:14-16 [New King James Version]

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

  • Complaint is the natural response to adversity
    • This is one of the most difficult commandments to obey
      • We tend to grumble when under duress
      • Many of us have prickly personalities
      • Disappointments, challenges, pain, opposition, ingratitude, and desires lead to fussing and dispute
    • Many complainers in Bible: Cain, childless Abraham and Sarah, Jacob (days few and troubled), Moses (did I birth all these children?), Job (“I will take my complaint to the Lord”), Jonah, Elijah (“I’m the only one left”), Habakkuk, David (how long, Lord, until you avenge me?), Peter (what will you have John do?), Hezekiah (I will die before my time), Jeremiah (you have tricked me, Lord)…
    • Grumbling is a function of reacting negatively to what adversely impacts us
      • Complaint is self and time focused
      • Complaint tends to result from a sense that we have been unjustly or unfairly (feeling based)
  • Grumble is not humble
    • The word grumble or murmur means to mutter in a low tone (Greek: gonguzo; English word for “gong”)
      • Used of complaint, astonishment, or talking to self
      • Usually, refers to complaining or disapproval
      • Closely related to grudge and expressing opposition
    • Denying one is complaining does not change matters
    • Dispute [dialogismos = dia (through) + logos (reason, to rationalize, or consider)] means to deliberate, question, challenge, doubting, debate within, or willfully resist
    • Paul is not saying to never doubt or challenge anything
      • Paul debated with philosophers and Pharisees
      • Acts 17:11 Paul commended the Bereans for making sure what he said was Scriptural
    • Three areas where we sinfully debate God and his will:
      • Circumstances of life (trials and tribulation)
      • Resisting obeying God’s will by Word and leading
      • Not overcoming our own snarky personalities
    • We will never overcome a complaining spirit if we feel justified in our complaints and are self-focused
      • Grumbling shows a lack of faith on our part
      • To complain against circumstances is to grumble against God (Jonah 4)
    • World’s first complaint: “This woman you made for me…”
    • To follow feelings is to fuss and fume about almost everything
      • Rain is a pain, hot is rot, my spouse is a louse…
      • Nothing is ever going to be perfect and to our liking
  • Faith is a greater issue than our comfort
    • Paul indicates that if we grumble, we are like the world
      • Our testimony requires fortitude in face of trials
      • Reactions of faith requires joy of our spirit
    • Faith response transcends temporal discomfort:
      • Philippians 4:4 rejoice evermore; again I say, rejoice
      • 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22  Paul urges Thessalonians to always rejoice and in everything give thanks
    • Our testimony often hinges on our joy in the Lord (John 15)
    • Paul acknowledges that the fallen world is unpleasant
      • A crooked and perverse generation
      • The world is full of pain, sorrow, trials, and evil
    • Paul gives several reasons for our transcending joy:
      • We are children of God (the world can’t subdue us)
      • We’ve been sent as light to shine in the darkness
      • We are called to hold fast to Word of Life (obey attitude and response commands as moral commands)
    • No greater battle than subduing fleshly responses (focus)
    • Not stoicism, but faithful obedience to Lord (relational)

Key verse: I Thessalonians 5:12-22 [New King James Version]

12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

Nov 15, 2020. II Samuel 2:8-31

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A DIVIDED LAND. II Samuel 2:8-31. 11/15/2020. #4.

2 Samuel 2:8-31 [New King James Version]

8 But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim; 9 and he made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10 Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. Only the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. 12 Now Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out and met them by the pool of Gibeon. So they sat down, one on one side of the pool and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men now arise and compete before us.” 15 So they arose and went over by number, twelve from Benjamin, followers of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve from the servants of David. 16 And each one grasped his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called the Field of Sharp Swords, which is in Gibeon. 17 So there was a very fierce battle that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David. 18 Now the three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab and Abishai and Asahel. And Asahel was as fleet of foot as a wild gazelle. 19 So Asahel pursued Abner, and in going he did not turn to the right hand or to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Are you Asahel?” He answered, “I am.” 21 And Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and lay hold on one of the young men and take his armor for yourself.” But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. 22 So Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I face your brother Joab?” 23 However, he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him in the stomach with the blunt end of the spear, so that the spear came out of his back; and he fell down there and died on the spot. So it was that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died, stood still. 24 Joab and Abishai also pursued Abner. And the sun was going down when they came to the hill of Ammah, which is before Giah by the road to the Wilderness of Gibeon. 25 Now the children of Benjamin gathered together behind Abner and became a unit, and took their stand on top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the latter end? How long will it be then until you tell the people to return from pursuing their brethren?” 27 And Joab said, “As God lives, unless you had spoken, surely then by morning all the people would have given up pursuing their brethren.” 28 So Joab blew a trumpet; and all the people stood still and did not pursue Israel anymore, nor did they fight anymore. 29 Then Abner and his men went on all that night through the plain, crossed over the Jordan, and went through all Bithron; and they came to Mahanaim. 30 So Joab returned from pursuing Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had struck down, of Benjamin and Abner’s men, three hundred and sixty men who died.

  • A divided house
    • After David is crowned King of Judah, General Abner crowns Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, King over Israel in north
      • Judah did not recognize Ishbosheth’s rule
      • Saul’s son will rule for 2 years (a weak king)
    • David had sent to Jabesh Gilead a note of gratitude and implied that he would reward them as their king
    • Abner quickly moves to establish Ishbosheth’s kingdom over Jabesh Gilead by moving his capital to Manhaim across the Jordan River
    • Ishbosheth controls the northern kingdom minus the conquered area held by the Philistines + Jabesh Gilead Gilead
    • Conflict between the 2 kingdoms was inevitable
      • Abner tried to keep Saul’s line going by putting one of Saul’s sons on the throne
      • God had anointed David to take Saul’s place (not many probably knew of this event)
      • Judah had chosen David, but the northern tribes and Jabesh Gilead Gil. remained loyal to Saul’s line
      • Only war would decide who would rule Israel
  • First blood
    • Abner’s forces met Joab’s forces in battle
      • They first watched young soldiers battle each other (killed each other)
      • The battle ensues all day long
    • The battle events favored David and Judah
      • Judah chases Abner’s forces to a hilltop
      • Abner kills Asahel, brother of Joab (Joab will eventually avenge the death of his brother)
      • Abner stops with his troops at the hill
        • He calls out to Joab and asks how long the bloodshed would continue
        • Joab calls back, that had Abner not spoken, they would have pursued Israel throughout the night
      • 20 Judean soldiers died, while 360 Israelites died
  • What now?
    • Several lessons our learned from this conflict
      • The two sides are not likely to settle this peacefully
      • There is no indication that the Lord was consulted
      • Abner is the force behind the throne in the north
        • Abner was obviously loyal to Saul
        • Abner sees Saul’s line as the legitimate ruler of all of Israel
      • The Lord’s favor rests upon David’s forces
    • The status quo is maintained for two years
      • God held the Philistines back from taking advantage of the division in Israel
      • David strengthens his hold in south and bides time
        • God did not give kingdom to David all at once (must be patient in God’s plan)
        • There is a purpose in how God does things
    • Many Bible characters waited for God to fulfill promises: Abraham and Sarah waited for a son, Joseph waited for his visions to come true, Israel waited for deliverance, Hab. waited for God to judge Judah, David waited for vengeance
    • God doesn’t reveal why he acts, but expects faith (Job)

Nov 8, 2020. Philippians 2:12-13

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THE PATH OF THE SAVED.  Philippians 2:12-13. 11/08/20. #8.

Philippians 2:12-13 [New King James Version]

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

  • Not works salvation
    • “Working out your salvation” is not “working to be saved”
      • James 2:14-26  Abraham “being justified by works” is not a contradiction to Rm. 4 where Paul states that Abraham was justified by faith
      • Faith without the works demonstrating faith is both useless to others and questionable in fact
    • Believers who act like the unsaved give reason to question whether their faith is real
      • Saul, Samson, Solomon, Jacob, and even David committed acts that were counter to faith
      • II Corinthians 13:5 Paul eventually questioned the genuineness of the Cor. faith (I Corinthians 3)
    • Even though salvation is not be works, salvation does work
    • Several parables demonstrate confusion in being able to discern by actions if someone is saved or not
      • Parable of the wheat and tares
      • Parable of the 10 virgins
      • Parable of the 4 types of soils
      • Parable of the vine
  • Salvation within should be seen worked out
    • There should be little doubt that we are saved by our speech, attitude, and actions
      • Joseph, Daniel, Noah, Abraham, Paul, John…
      • When speech and acts align it is genuine
    • Paul is stating that salvation should blossom forth into full-fledged discipleship (Colossians 1:28)
    • There is a maturing process for faithful believers
      • What the Lord pours into a believer should come out of a believer in the form of righteous works
      • The exercise of growing in the Word, worshiping God, seeking his will, testifying of Christ, and obedience demonstrates faith within
    • There is no way to tell whether a carnal believer is saved or not (Demus, Diotrephes, Judah, Simon Magnus…)
    • Working out of our salvation covers several aspects
      • II Peter 1:10 faithful living erases doubts (make certain that your election is sure)
      • Be faithful always, even when no one is watching
        • Paul commended the Php. for obedience whether he was present or not
        • Faithfulness is tested in your private life
        • Jesus chastised Pharisees for hypocrisy
        • II Corinthians 11 Paul dealt with many false saints
      • Fear and trembling = without a dreadful reverence for the Lord, there will be no faithfulness (Hebrews 10:31)
      • Seeking the will of the Lord to do his good pleasure
        • The enemy of faith is prideful willfulness
        • The phony believer is an abhorrence to the Lord (Matthew 15:8,9; Revelation 3:14-22)
  • What you truly believe is what you really do
    • If Jesus is the most important aspect of your life, your speech, attitude, and deeds will show it
    • There are several stumbling blocks to effective faithfulness
      • James 1:8 doublemindedness (world + Christ = 0)
      • Matthew 23:12 pride (seeking own will)
      • I Corinthians 3 carnality (seeking pleasure)
      • Proverbs 26:14-16 laziness (lack of motivation and fortitude)
      • Matthew 25:41-46 apathy (lack of caring and desire)
    • Few believers consistently care forth their faith, are diligent in study of Word of God, and are passionate about serving Lord
    • Working out our salvation is our primary calling

Key verse James 2:14-26

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Nov 8, 2020. II Samuel 2:1-7

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DAVID ANOINTED KING. II Samuel 2:1-7. 11/08/20. #3

2 Samuel 2:1-7 [New King James Version]

1 It happened after this that David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.”  David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.” 2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 And David brought up the men who were with him, every man with his household. So they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. 4 Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, “The men of Jabesh Gilead were the ones who buried Saul.” 5 So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, “You are blessed of the Lord, for you have shown this kindness to your lord, to Saul, and have buried him. 6 And now may the Lord show kindness and truth to you. I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing. 7 Now therefore, let your hands be strengthened, and be valiant; for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

  • Now what?
    • After the death of Saul and defeat of Israel, David did not know what to do next
      • A descendent of Saul’s would normally reign
      • David was anointed king, but was now the time
      • No one from Israel had approached David yet
      • David need to move from Ziklag to reenter the political life of Israel
    • David inquired of the Lord as to the next move
      • This was a wise move: as long as we seek and submit to the Lord’s will, we avoid sin and waste
      • When we lose our sense of dependency on the Lord, we are sure to fall into sin
    • God tells David to go back to Judah and settle around Hebron
      • Hebron is 20 miles SW of Jerusalem on the road to Beersheba (one of oldest cities on earth)
      • Hebron is the major city of south Judah
    • David takes all his men and their families with him to Hebron
      • His men have stayed loyal to David through exile
      • Now, David is back in Judah and no longer pursued
  • David takes office
    • With David in Judah, he is where God needs him to be
      • David waits upon Lord and doesn’t try to scheme
      • Many faltered by running ahead of Lord
        • Abraham took Hagar as his concubine
        • Joshua prematurely attacked Ai
        • Paul went to Jerusalem against God’s will
    • The men of Judah came to David to anoint him as king
      • Not wait for Saul’s successor to be crowned
      • David had positioned himself for leadership
        • He had defeated Goliath
        • He had become a renowned warrior
        • He was from the tribe of Judah
        • He had returned to Judah the booty stolen by the Amalekites
      • The kingdom now is split
        • Only under three kings was the kingdom whole:  Saul, David, and Solomon
        • For seven years David would rule over Judah
      • Judah was a separate entity in southern Israel
        • The northern tribes were collectively, Israel
        • Ephraim was the main tribe in the north
  • Gratitude and concord
    • The men of Judah knew of David’s lament for Saul
      • They inform David that the men of Jabesh Gilead respectfully buried Saul and Jonathan’s bodies
      • David shows gratitude to the men of Jabesh Gilead and obvious forgiveness for those who had betrayed him to Saul when David was fleeing for his life
    • David sends a message of gratefulness to the men of Jabesh Gilead
      • He commends and blesses them for their kindness
      • He doesn’t disparage Saul, even though Saul tried to kill David
        • By showing grace to their former king, David endears himself to Jabesh Gilead
        • Securing the east side of Jordan R. will be important in establishing David’s reign
    • Wisdom in leadership demands that respect, honor, and trust be fostered among those under your leadership
    • David shows the finesse needed to build loyalty of subjects

Nov 2, 2020. Ephesians 5:8-14

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THE CHRISTIAN CITIZEN.  Ephesians 5:8-14. FOR NOVEMBER 4th 2020

Ephesians 5:8-14 [New King James Version]

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

  • The Christian in the political arena
    • We don’t stop being Christians at the church door
      • The world wants to limit our faith to our homes and church buildings
      • The world wants to criminalize teaching faith to your children or sharing it at work and in public
    • Several factors concerning the American Christian:
      • For 18 centuries the church was under monarchs
      • Am. believers are under a republic
      • I Corinthians 10:31 believers are to witness in all arenas of life, not just in church assemblies
    • Examples of faithful giving witness in the political arena:
      • Genesis 47 Jacob gave testimony before Pharaoh
      • Exodus 4 Moses rebuked Pharaoh and demanded the release of Israel to worship their God
      • Elijah, Elisha, and Jeremiah all confronted kings
      • Daniel 2 the 3 Hebrews captives refused to obey Nebuchadnezzar’s command to worship his idol
      • Daniel 6 Daniel refused to stop worshipping God in his usual manner at the king’s decree
      • Matthew 6. John the Baptist was executed because he rebuked King Herod for stealing his brother’s wife
      • Acts 4 and 5 Peter and John refused to stop witnessing for Christ, even when commanded to do so
      • Acts 7 Stephen was martyred for his witness
      • Acts 12 James was beheaded by Herod for his testimony (Peter was jailed with him)
      • Acts 16 Paul was beaten and jailed by magistrates
      • II Timothy 4:16 Paul stood alone to testify before Nero
    • Believers have been involved in politics from the beginning of faith (Abraham and Melchizedek, Joseph and Pharaoh, Nehemiah, Esther, Peter, Paul…) and none thought it inappropriate
  • Political potpourri
    • Several key principles of the believer and his government
      • Romans 13:1-7 the gov. is designed by God to be his representative to promote good and punish evil
      • In USA, the people determine the government
      • James 4:18 to shun our duty as citizens to promote the good and expose the evil is to be a part of the evil that we allow to go unchallenged (Leviticus 5:1)
      • I Chronicles 12:32 as the men of Issachar did, we need to be informed and understand what to do
    • Most leaders will not be faithful believers, but we need to look for wise, moral, competent leaders to govern
      • Isaiah 1:16-20 promotes justice, integrity, and equity
      • II Chronicles 7:14 one whom God will use for good
      • Exodus 23:8 one who is not looking to enrich self
      • Deuteronomy 1:13 one who is wise and discerning to govern
      • Deuteronomy 27:19 one who doesn’t favor the rich and powerful at the expense of the weak and poor
      • Exodus 21:22-25 one who respects all life
      • Proverbs 24:23-26 one who is compassionate and just
      • Exodus 22:21-24 one who promotes freedom and not oppression (Psalm 119:134; Jeremiah 21:12; Ezekiel 45:9)
  • Questions to ask when voting
    • Which candidates best uphold justice, freedom, and mercy?
    • Which candidate support life, respect, wisdom, and faith?
    • Which candidate shun injustice, corruption, murder, and perversion?

Key verse: Romans 13:1-7

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.