Category Archives: 2 Samuel

Psalm 127

Title: Unless the Lord…

Text: Psalm 127

Introduction: An incredible athlete. All-state football, basketball, and track. Mike played racquetball with a friend, a lineman. He first lost 21-1; then, 21-3; last game he lost 21-7. Mike said: Well, I’m getting better. His friend said: Sorry, that last game, I played you left handed. Don’t’ you hate when you find out you are not doing as well as you thought you were.

Today’s message is hard in that way: you find out that you’re not doing as well at this family thing as you thought. But that’s ok because, in the end, you learn it isn’t even about you. It’s all about God.

Read:

127 A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

        Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

        It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

        Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

        Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

        Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

I’d like to point out a couple of what I’ll call highlights this morning as we begin. I say highlights because there are words or phrases we’ll want to note in the text as we begin.

Psalm 127; A Psalm of Ascent; Of Solomon; So who wrote this? Solomon, and there is some very strong evidence to point to this… I just want to point them out to you now, but we’ll talk more about them when we get to those verses:

  1. Building the house (1a): 2 Samuel 7; David wanted to build God a house, but God said no. Instead, God built David a house;
  2. Vanity: 3x’s in v 1a, 1b, 2; Vanity, Vanity, all is vanity.
  3. His beloved (v2): Song of Solomon; 2 Sam 12.24-5: 24 Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him 25 and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord. There is a footnote there at the name Jedidiah which says that Jedidah means: beloved of the Lord.
  4. Wisdom Literature: this Ps. has characteristics of a Wisdom passage; a simile in v 4, Blessed is the man… in v 5;

I just want you to note these highlights and we’ll come back to them at the end of the message.

2nd, the author’s main idea for Psalm 127 is: God is sovereign over all affairs in one’s life. I think that is where he’s going. And, I hope you’ll feel the same way by the time I’m finished this morning. Let me show you what I mean:

  1. 1st he mentions building “the house” – not “a house”, not your house; also, in keeping with the context of the Psalms of Ascent, these folks were going up to God’s House: the Temple. So this gives it a religious context.
    1. House could mean a house, but I don’t think he’s talking about architecture.
    2. House could mean Israel. That doesn’t fit the flow of the passage, though.
    3. House could mean lineage. He could be talking about the messianic promise of the one to come. Hold on to that. Or family.
    4. Or, House could mean Seeing that this is in the POA, I think this is his focus.
    5. Caveat: Sometimes a passage has more than one meaning. And, I think this has multiple meanings, especially for those of us who live in the age of the Church.
  2. 2nd, he mentions watching over the city. The city is Jerusalem. This is where the house is Mt. Zion or the Temple and the city is Jerusalem. There is the idea of protection. Think about two weeks ago and the passage of the peaks that surround her.
  3. 3rd, he mentions work and rest. You work too hard and you don’t get the rest you need.
  4. 4th, he mentions the family. To be more specific, Solomon references Sons. (v3, 4, 5, them, being the relative pronoun of the antecedent, Sons).

So, let me go back to the main idea: God is sovereign over every aspect of one’s life. And, there are four areas Solomon mentions: Religious, Community, Vocational, and Family. Solomon is basically charging his people to Trust God in every aspect or every facet of their lives.

One last highlight: 3rd, I want you to see the flow of the Psalms around this particular Psalm in the POA.

  • In 125: We find that we can place our trust completely in the Lord because he is forever faithful. He alone brings stability and protection.
  • In 126: The Psalmist is calling upon God’s people to (1) sincerely pray for Yahweh to act once again as he has in the past and to (2) work through those prayers with labor and tears with the hope that God will restore their fortunes.
  • Here in 127: God alone is sovereign over Man’s affairs (religion; community; vocation; family). All else is ‘vanity’. Unless the Lord does this work, it will all be in vain.
  • In 128: This Ps. continues with the theme of the family. A man who walks in the fear and way of the Lord is blessed in the grandest of ways (his family, his work, his faith).
  • 129: Just the opposite – a man who doesn’t walk in the fear of the Lord will not be blessed.

So, what we see is this natural progression for the Israelites as they give themselves fully to trusting the Lord.

  • 125: God alone brings stability and protection to those who trust completely in God.
    • 126: Then, there is a call to do just that and to pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on them.
      • 127: God alone is sovereign over every aspect of Israel’s existence (religious, community, vocation, and family).
        • 128: This Psalm continues with the theme of the family and a declaration that the man who walks in the fear and way of the Lord is blessed in the grandest of ways.
          • 129: Presents just the opposite – the person who doesn’t fear God and walk in his ways will not be blessed.

Let’s zoom in closer to 127 and make our way through these four aspects of a person’s life and see what Solomon is saying to his readers and what it means for us. Let’s look at the 1st aspect: Religious aspect.

I.     Religious (1a)

exp.: rd 1a: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

ill.: The story of David wanting to build a house for God… 2 Samuel 7;

app.: now, for those readers, yes, they were thinking about the rebuilding of the Temple and the need to trust Yahweh in that endeavor. But for you and me… this is a definite reference to the Messiah and his lineage in 2 Samuel. With this in mind, the Church exists because of the Messiah. 2 Samuel isn’t about a Temple for God so much as it is about the Messiah. God’s Temple is the body of Christ. If you’re a Christian, that’s you and me.

ill.: last week a man was wearing a shirt that said: I don’t go to church. I wasn’t offended exactly but thought he was using his T-shirt to tell those of us who are Christians to leave him alone. That is until I saw the back of his shirt, which read: I am the church. That’s a good point. The church isn’t a building of wood, screws, and drywall. The church is the people. And that’s what we’re ‘building’… we’re building people.

ill.: there is something really interesting here beyond those two highlights, the building and the builder. 3rd, there is a play on those words that you’ll miss in the English but is evident in the Hebrew. In v 1, you see the word build? It is bonim in Hebrew. Do you see v 3, the word Sons (or maybe children)? It is the word banim. The writer is intentionally drawing the reader’s attention to his play on words… they kind of rhyme or sound very close to the same.

That is why I think there is this multiple meaning here. The Temple, The Messiah, this is the religious aspect of a person’s life. For us, that connection (building and sons) creates a thread that weaves its way through this song – it connects the beginning and the end to say that we’re building a building that isn’t a building!

t.s.: Ok, so Solomon goes from that broad aspect and narrows it down to community. And, that’s our 2nd aspect here…

II.    Community (1b)

exp.: rd 1b; Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. This Psalm was chosen because of its connection to the Temple and the City of Jerusalem. Those topics are found throughout other Psalms of Ascent. The city, Jerusalem, is not only where the Temple of God is, but it is also where the people of God are. The People of God are being challenged to trust God for their protection. Remember Ps. 125 where the Psalmist painted a picture of security with the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. And, how the Psalmist declared that those who Trust in Yahweh are like those mountains? He is saying here, once again, don’t trust in the people as much as you trust in the Lord to protect you. Because, if the Lord isn’t watching over you, then putting a man on the wall won’t do you any good!

ill.: There is something truly wonderful about community. Community – a place where you belong, a place where you feel safe, a place where you feel loved.

app.: Does that not describe the church? Again, I don’t mean this building or these facilities. I mean you and me, coming together and creating a safe place, a safe space for believers. A place to grow, a place to invest yourself.

t.s.: Religious Aspect, Community aspect, and 3rd, Solomon narrows this focus down to the individual – and keeping it within context, he’s talking to every single man.

III.   Vocational (2)

exp.: For men, this one hits so close to home. We define ourselves by what we do and who we are. I imagine it was the same for those men. Think about it. When men meet each other, what do they ask? What do you do for a living? Look at what Solomon is saying to these men: rd v 2: It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

It is vanity for the one who builds the Lord’s house without the Lord. It is vanity for the one who watches over his community without the Lord. It is vanity that a man works restlessly – long, hard hours to provide bread for his family. A man should work hard, but only while trusting in the Lord – not in what is produced by the work of his own hands. He needs to find time to rest. Resting is trusting.

ill.: do you know where we first read about rest? Gen 2 – when God rested. The 4th commandment is about rest. But, think about this for a moment. This rest isn’t about you. Maybe that’s why most men don’t obey that commandment. I don’t need to rest. That’s because you’re being selfish. You’re thinking about you. The commandment is: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it … holy. The passage continues: the 7th day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Resting isn’t so much about you.

app.: he blessed the 7th day. He made it holy. He rested on it as an example for you to follow. Then he commanded you to not work 7 days a week. Work is good. Hard work is good, but it isn’t everything. And for sure, it doesn’t define who you are – at least it shouldn’t. Think about this: if you’re working 7 days a week, then you’re not trusting God – you’re trusting yourself. And the whole point of v2 is about bringing glory to God through your work.

t.s.: your religion, your community, your work, and finally, your family.

IV.    Familial (3-5)

exp.: Obviously, the largest part of this passage focuses in on the family. I would say this about that: if you’re looking at building a house – that is, a line, a heritage (v1), then you’d start with the family. The family is the backbone from which these other aspects find meaning and purpose. If you’re wanting each of these other areas to be strong and healthy, consider the family first.

  • Dad, what are you without your family? Take me for instance: would you want me to still be your pastor if I abandoned my wife? If I abandoned my family? If I abandoned my work and ministry. If I abandoned the community?
  • What kind of employee are you if your family is falling apart? Boss, what kind of employee do you have if his family is falling apart? Don’t men focus in on their work better when the home fires are burning as they should?
  • Isn’t our community better and stronger when our families are better, healthier, and stronger? Show me a community where the average household is missing a father and I’ll show you a community with lots of crime and poverty. I’m not meaning to berate families missing fathers or be hateful or spiteful toward communities or demographic groups who have a higher percentage of single-parent homes. That’s not what I’m saying here. But, I am asking you to compare those communities with other communities where fathers are involved in the life of their family and in the life of their community. And, in the life of their church.

app.: Consider Solomon’s words: rd v3-5; Families are truly blessings upon every other aspect of our society. And can I be bold enough to add here – that it starts with dads, husbands?

t.s.: Do you remember the title, who wrote this Psalm? Yeah, Solomon.

Conclusion: Of Solomon. If you read his story though, He didn’t heed his own counsel. His lineage didn’t follow the Lord. More of his descendant kings rejected God than followed God. His marriages were not what God had designed and purposed for him. His foreign wives and concubines led his heart astray to chase after foreign gods. Here you have the wisest, richest man who ever lived and he didn’t follow his own teaching.

Do you know what is the difference between Wisdom and Foolishness? It is simply this: what one does with the information they have.

Application: This can be disappointing. You work hard at family, only to find out that life has been beating you and he’s been playing with his left hand! So, what would I have you take away with you today?

  1. Your family dynamic doesn’t mean so much as your family devotion. God is sovereign over every aspect of your life – even your failures. So don’t feel sorry for yourself for past mistakes or experiences. Don’t use yesterday as an excuse to not follow God today. Single parent, Single adult?
    1. Single parent. That’s ok, you still can teach your children to trust God.
    2. Single adult. Practice now what you know to be right and don’t surrender your principles and standards. And that goes for male or female.
  2. Vanity, Vanity, Vanity. Solomon is giving this warning so that we’ll work hard to do what is right. Listen, it can be so hard to begin trusting the Lord. But, it really does get easier the more you do it. Start today.
    1. It starts when you give your life to him.
    2. It continues as you trust and follow him.
    3. It grows as you repent of times you fail.
  3. Consider ways that you can bless your community. HOA? Community party/Block party;
  4. Are you getting the rest you need? Sure your business and your work are important. But take an honest assessment of yourself and your life. Remember, no one lays on their deathbed and wishes they had spent more time working.
  5. This should lead us to worship. We need the Lord. The understanding of our desperate need for God and our utter dependence on him should lead us to Worship.
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Filed under 2 Samuel, Family, Psalms, Psalms of Ascent, Scripture, Sermon

Psalm 125

Title: Faith’s Firm Foundation

Text: Psalm 125

Introduction: You guys know I spent my vacation camping and climbing mountains. I have to say I loved it – I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lisa camped with me and she was a real trouper. I had planned to put up a picture here of the view she had from her chair as she did her quilting and listened to music, but when I went to get it, I found I didn’t have it. It is on her phone. Anyway, she has some good pics of our campsite and the surrounding beauty of the mountains.

I did summit 10 14ers in 12 days – that is to say, I climbed to the top of 10 mountains that reach an elevation of over 14,000 ft and I did it in 12 days. I also summated one 13er. I have no idea how many miles I walked, but I’d say it was less than 100 miles – but not by much.

I saw some beautiful country and spent some time in prayer. I was afraid a couple of times. Well, more than a couple of times. I was only in danger – real danger that I know of, on Missouri Mountain. There is a certain kind of ‘fear’ I feel when I climb. Sometimes I think it has to do with the altitude more than a genuine fear. There are inherent risks one takes when climbing mountains. But, I want you to know that I do my best to carry everything I’ll need in case of an emergency. The army trained me well to be able to survive out in the wilderness if something were to go wrong. And I would hope that I could put that training to use if it were ever needed.

When climbing a mountain, you want to research everything as much as possible. The truth is that there are some mountains to climb that are harder than others. Each mountain has its own problems. When climbing there is instability. Sometimes footing is hard. Sometimes you have to use your hands for some extra stability. Sometimes, climbers take the mountain foolishly and end up getting hurt. Sometimes accidents happen. When I had finished my last mountain, I was dropping below the summit and came across a climber who had fallen and blown out his knee. He was lucky to have a person climbing that morning who was a part of a rescue squad and about 20 other people around willing to help. She knew just what to do. Later on, as I continued my descent, I videoed the helicopter making its way to the saddle, just below the summit to pick him up.

I want to talk with you this morning about a mountain where one can feel stable and secure.

Turn with me to Psalm 125. Let’s read the text together. I’ll read and you follow along in your copy of God’s Word. Let’s all stand together as we read the Word of the Lord together.

The Lord Surrounds His People

125 A Song of Ascents.

        Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

        As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

        For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.

        Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!

        But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers!

Peace be upon Israel!

Prayer; thank you, you may be seated.

Normally, the ESV gives some natural separation to the divisions in the text, making it easier for the reader to identify. But, as we see this morning in the text of Psalm 125 – there aren’t any. But I think there are – at least that is how I’ve divided the text up:

  1. A statement of Faith or Trust in the presence of Yahweh in one’s life and the security and stability His presence brings (v1-2).
  2. A warning of danger when wickedness is allowed into the presence of Yahweh’s People (v3).
  3. A prayer for Yahweh to keep his people and his place pure (v4-5).

Look at v 1 with me again: Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. What a statement!

You probably remember the context of these Psalms of Ascent. These were sung or chanted maybe by the pilgrims, as they would make their way to Jerusalem and around Jerusalem as they made their way to the Temple for Worship. Standing in Jerusalem you can see the other mountains around her. rd v 2; As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

Goldingay writes: There is a particular strength about Mount Zion, constituting as it does a thumb-shaped crest with steep slopes on three sides. But the Temple Mount isn’t the highest summit in the Jerusalem area. It’s probably the lowest. There are other summits that rise up around it.

Leslie Allen notes: Vivid reference is made to the ring of mountains surrounding Jerusalem. “Zion is… a modest hill. It’s top is not as high as the tops of the surrounding mountains: it lies 66 m below that of the Mount of Olives, 76 m below that of Mount Scopus, 33 m below that of the hill to its west… and 53 m below that of ras el-mekkaber”.

Standing on the mount in Jerusalem, which feels secure in itself, one can look to these surrounding mountains and feel even greater security and stability. Allen concludes: To the eye of faith these mountains became a symbol of Yahweh’s everlasting protection.

The language here in Psalm 125 is what we call a simile. Those who trust in God are ‘like’ Mount Zion.

The point the writer is making is that his trust isn’t in the mountain of God itself, but rather in Yahweh (see all caps, i.e., Lord).

And there is good reason for this. In 2 Samuel 5, the text tells us that David ruled at Hebron for 71/2 years and then moved the capital to Jerusalem. But, taking Jerusalem wasn’t easy. Even the inhabitants (the Jebusites) thought they were safe from David. Rd 2 Sam 5.6: And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.”

The inhabitants of Jerusalem felt so secure, that they believed they could post the blind and the lame as guards and still be safe! But guess what, Jerusalem fell to David, and of course, it became known as the City of David. David knew it was secure, not because of its position and situation in the midst of other mountains. It was secure because God made it secure. And the writer of Psalm 125 echoes that thought: Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

Something then happens in v3, which causes the reader to pause: For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong. Sometimes, people don’t put their faith in Yahweh. Sometimes, they put their faith in the government that rules them. Some trust in the scepter that rules over them. Here is a warning to those who would and a statement that God will not allow that to continue forever.

I think this is the principle being taught: if wickedness is allowed to rule over God’s people, then eventually God’s people will become wicked in their behavior.

Historically, and in context with the passage, from 600 BC onward, there is a foreign presence in Israel. It isn’t a Jewish King that rules – it isn’t someone from the House of David. And, foreigners in the land bring a presence of sin that permeates the people and influences their culture and their practices.

As an example, just look at the disciples. You have a variety of men who represent different aspects of their culture. Consider Levi or Matthew. What was his occupation? He worked for Rome – a tax collector. Many, who saw Roman occupation as evil, would have hated him. Consider John, who was close enough to the Chief priest and his family that he was able to get Peter into the inner court to see what was going on with Jesus on the night he was betrayed.

If wickedness is allowed to rule over God’s people, then eventually God’s people will become wicked in their behavior. That outside presence of wickedness eventually influences God’s people. But, the psalmist believes that God isn’t going to allow that to happen. And that is his prayer; rd v 4-5;

            Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts! But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers! Peace be upon Israel!

Some scholars see a type of poetic structure in these last three verses:

  • the wicked (3a)
    • the righteous (3b)
    • the righteous (4) – those who do good and are upright in their hearts.
  • the wicked (5)

This structure would be a smaller structure to the overall structure of an Emphasis on Yahweh, which has Yahweh in v1&2 and again in v4&5.

What is the Psalmist saying? What is his emphasis? It is the importance of faith and trust in God. His first sentence here would be a perfect thesis statement: Those who trust in the Lord (Yahweh) are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Placing your Trust in God brings stability and security. Allowing outside influences in your life will be destructive. So, pray. Pray that God will remove those who desire and practice wickedness. Pray that God would bless those whose lives have been changed by him: those who (internally) are upright in their hearts and (externally) practice holiness to the best of their ability.

But just how does that impact our lives? Is the Psalm 125, an OT passage, applicable to the church? Yes!

Here is how I would outline this passage for the church:

  1. Faith’s Firm Foundation brings Stability (1)
  2. Faith’s Firm Foundation brings Security (2)
  3. A lack of faith and a dependence on the world brings instability and wickedness (3)

 

A 4th point might be Pray! Pray for the Church (you see that in verses 4-5). But, I think I’ll make that my application.

Application: Pray!

  1. Pray for God’s people and that righteousness would possess them.
  2. Pray that God would protect the righteous and keep wickedness far from her.
  3. Pray for Unity and Peace in the Body.

After my vacation and visit to Colorado, I now have 27 summits. After all of the talk of mountains and hikes and storms and fears, you’d probably think that the mountains were my main motivation.

Can I show you a picture?

IMG_0547

You see, it isn’t really about the mountains for me. It’s about the relationship! And you know what, it isn’t about the mountain in Psalm 125. It’s all about the relationship.

If you don’t have a relationship with God through his Son Jesus, let me tell you how you can.

In a moment we’ll be dismissed. We’ll gather in the back for some coffee, cookies, and doughnuts. Come and talk with me or Duffey, or one of the elders. We’d love to visit with you about what it means to give your life to Christ – to know and have that security and that stability that comes through a relationship with him.

Maybe, you’ve got another decision on your heart:

  • You’re thinking of church membership
  • You feel God might be calling you to ministry or missions.
  • Maybe you just have questions about Christ. Come talk to us.

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Filed under 2 Samuel, Psalms, Psalms of Ascent, Scripture, Sermon

A King like the Promised King

Title: Kings: A King like the Promised King

Text: Joshua-2 Chronicles

Introduction: Open your Bible to the Table of Contents. I’m guessing in all your years of sermon listening, you’ve never had a preacher pick the Table of Contents to go to… The Table of Contents is at the very beginning of your Bible.

We began our journey in Genesis. See it there? The 1st book of the Bible!

Review: what got us here: This sermon series is entitled, “His Story”. My premise is that the Bible is one story: His Story. If you think about it, the story begins with him and it will end with him. He really is the main topic and focus throughout the Bible. I began with an introductory sermon on the subject.

1. Intro: His Story The Bible
2. Creation Genesis 1-3
3. The Fall Genesis 4-11
4. The Patriarchs Genesis 12-50
5. Israel: A New Nation Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
6. Kings Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles

Then, I opened the series on the Creation account. John 1 tells us that Jesus created everything – He simply spoke creation into existence. Nothing was created that has been created that was not created by him. Nothing. Colossians tells us: 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

We went from covering 3 chapters in our first message on creation to 8 chapters of Life in the Fall. There was perfection. Then, there was sin and all of creation was marred. The relationship between God and man was fractured – broken. Then, we covered 38 chapters when we looked at the Patriarchs. God was at work saving his people all along. You see this pattern emerge as you work your way through the texts.

  1. A desire to return to the garden’s perfection. There is always the promise of the land. For Israel, it is the land flowing with milk and honey.
  2. A promised man who would come and restore these things. Repeatedly, men would arise who would be types of this man. These men would be examples, patterns, illustrative of this promised man. But, none would be him. They would give us examples of the Promised One, but none was a perfect fit.

Well, last week we covered 5 books in one sermon: The Pentateuch. The story of the Pentateuch is basically how God took one man (Abraham) and made a nation. Today, we’ll go even bigger, still growing, to cover 8 books of the Bible in one sermon: from Joshua to 2 Chronicles.

The storyline flows from their conquest of the Promised Land to becoming a nation, possessing the land and experiencing the blessings as God had promised Abraham. Today we will see the pinnacle for this nation. It will reach its zenith and come closest to experiencing the promise of God. But that is it. It will quickly dissolve and come unraveled. They will become like Adam and Eve. They will fail to live up to their promise, their commitment to God.

But, in this moment, God will show them, and us, more of what this promised deliverer will look like.

At this point you might be asking if I’m planning to preach the whole Bible – covering every book. Well, yes and no. No in that I will not be covering every book. But yes, in that I am doing my best to show that this book called the Bible is really just one story. We’ll start in Joshua 24 and work through some of the texts in 1 & 2 Samuel. Turn to the Joshua passage… 24.

Transition: For our purposes today, I’d like to just summarize some of these books with the intent of offering direction. I want you to see the bigger picture here. Oh, there are wonderful stories that fill our storyline. These stories offer us teaching lessons – examples for us to follow or avert. And I may touch on one or two of these stories, but for now, let’s hit highlights. Let’s look at Joshua first.

I. Joshua: as we continue the story, the Nation of Israel did move into the land after their 40 years of wilderness wondering. It wasn’t easy. This is much of what the book of Joshua is all about – the conquest of the Promised Land. The really sad part about this story is that we find the people of Israel did not totally displace the previous inhabitants as God had commanded them. The Canaanites then became a constant source of trouble for Israel and were a real hindrance to them for their entire history.

ill.: I felt a bit of this as we traveled across Israel last summer. One can’t help but notice the tension as you enter into an Arab controlled area. There are these check points. Some places we didn’t go – not because we weren’t allowed, but because it wasn’t safe. There is a lot of land that Israel controls, but there is also a lot land in Israel where the Arabs are in control – very similar to what it was like over 3,000 years ago when they first settled the land. I have a couple of photos of Jericho, from miles away. I really would love to see Jericho and visit the ancient city with its walls knocked down. But you can’t at this time. It is too dangerous. I also have some pictures of a van. It has these cage like wire over the windows and dents all over the hood and fenders. We were told that it was a van of someone who lives in an Arab section of Israel. The people throw rocks at the van as it drives through the streets to work and also returns back home.

But more than dangerous, the religious practices of those people plagued Israel, too. They were a constant source of leading the people astray to worship the Baals and Ashteroths. They would build these images and offer sacrifices to the pagan gods of the people there in the land.

And even though the book of Joshua concludes with a renewal of the covenant – Joshua challenging them to follow God whole-heartedly; the people would fail in their commitment time and time again. Rd Joshua 24.14-26

II. Judges: so they move into the land, and are then led by Judges. That’s the next book: Judges. It is a relatively short time in their history. Judges is mostly recognized for the cycle of sin Israel finds itself in. they made the commitment to follow God, but they don’t put away their idols.

  • A Time of Blessing
  • A Warning of Failure
  • Sinful Rebellion
  • God Punishes their Rebellion
  • They Repent and Pray for Salvation
  • God sends a Savior, Deliverer

And the reason they fall into sin is because they are envious of their neighbors and want to be more like them. This leads to their ultimate rebellion against God – they reject him as their king and want a king of their own – a king to rule over them just like the other nations have. And that leads us to Samuel and his story…

III. Samuel: probably the most famous and most popular Judge is Samuel. In some respects, it is very understandable wanted a different leadership. Samuel leads them faithfully as a judge and prophet; however, his sons are evil and wicked. And it is during his time of leadership that the People of Israel ask for a King. Look with me in 1 Samuel 8. In 1 Sam 7.3ff you read the end of a cycle, then, they ask – not they demand a king like the people around them. rd 8.1-9; God tells Samuel that they’re not rejecting him, but rather, they’re rejecting God. They’re acting like they always do… they chase after the things they see – their hearts follow their eyes.

The irony in this to me is that God warns them through Samuel how bad it is going to be. But they don’t care.

ill.: have you seen those commercials where they promote some medication that is going to get you back out into life? And then they close with a few warnings: this medication has been known to cause anal leakage, uncontrolled drooling and hair to grow between your toes. Don’t take this medication if you are a male or a female or have been known to sleep at night or have at times grown hungry if you’ve not eaten in three days.

I see these commercials and think I don’t ever want to have to take that medication! It sounds like the side effects are worse than the ailment!

exp.: rd 8.10-19; He is going to make you his slaves… Oh, that’s ok… we want a king!

The truly most amazing part of all of this is that God was still so good to his people. Yeah, the first king blew it. And, to be honest they all blew it to some degree or another. Still, in their rejection of God… He never turned his back on them. Turn to 1 Samuel 12.

  1. In verses 1-5 Samuel defends his ministry and the integrity of heart before them.
  2. In verses 6-11 Samuel reminds them of their continued descent into sin in spite of God’s continued deliverance. He would save and they would run back to sin.
  3. In v 12-13, Samuel reminds them of their foolishness to ask for a king like the nations.
  4. In v 14-18, Samuel warns of their rebellion and give a demonstration, a sign of God’s great power.
  5. In v 19, the people acknowledge the sin, in fear of God’s great power. And they cry out in fear…

Follow with me in v20-22 and see the incredible mercy of God.

6. In v23-25, Samuel confirms his commitment to God’s people to love and pray                       for them.

God gives them what they ask for in a king and it turns out pretty bad. Saul’s story is one of selfishness and pride. It is one of impatience and a lack of faith. Saul’s story ends up as it had been foretold – just like the people were warned. It is all pretty sad and the people are no better off for it.

But God uses this moment with them to give them a little taste of what he wanted for them. 1 Samuel is all about this first king, Saul and his horrible failure as King. But then God chooses another man, David. This man – again, chosen by God – will be a type of King they’re to look for in the Promised King. He’s in 1 Samuel, but his reign as King begins in 2 Samuel.

We meet David when he’s pretty young. It would be so much fun to spend a lot of time on this man… David, but we just don’t have time this morning.

Can I pause for a moment this morning and say that having a king was never the problem. God had actually set up rules and regulations for a king for Israel in Deuteronomy 17. The problem wasn’t a king, per se. It was Israel’s rejection of God. It was their desire to be like the other nations around them and not to be distinct and different.

But that was all a part of the bigger story. For in this new King, God would show the people of Israel a little of what is to come. He would offer them hope in what they see. God demonstrates this by establishing his covenant with David.

The pattern of covenant is repeating itself in this story. There are many of the same elements as we’ve seen before with Abraham. Turn to 2 Samuel 7. In 2 Samuel 7 we find elements to the covenant promises God gave to Abraham. Rd 2 Sam 7.8-19

12 Now the Lord said to Abram,

  1. “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
  2. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
  3. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts,

  1. 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.
  2. 10 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. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

 

  • God took Abraham from Ur and placed him in a new land. He took David from shepherding sheep in the field to be a shepherd of God’s people.
  • God promises Abraham descendants – who he will build into a nation. He does the same for David – his house will be a dynasty and the promised one will come from this long line.
  • He promised this land to Abraham’s descendants. He promised David to establish and firmly root God’s people in this land.
  • He promised Abraham to make his name great. He does the same for David there in v 9.
  • God promised to bless the nations through Abraham and he does the same for David. You pick up on this in v 19.

Israel will reach its highest point of success under David and Solomon. Israel will experience that land flowing with milk and honey under David’s reign. But it will soon be lost.

IV. 1 & 2 Kings: The Kingdom is divided after Solomon. The Northern Kingdom will have 19 Kings over the next 200 years. Nary a one will be good. Every single King of the Northern 10 tribes led the Israelites to rebel against God and worship idols. Their demise will come by 722 BC when the King of Assyria conquered and carry off their people. Forced intermarriage happens and the Jewish descendants disappear. A new people will emerge known as Samaritans. This happens in 2 Kings 17.

As for the Southern Kingdom, there are only two kings of all the kings worth noting who followed God anywhere near what David did: Josiah and Hezekiah. There was a hand-full of kings who were ok, or repented and tried to do right after being bad. But for the most part, David is the example of the man who is to come.

Let me offer you a note about Kings and Chronicles.

  • 1 & 2 Kings: the book of kings was probably written during the exile to explain their exile. Isn’t it odd how we as humans reject God for so long and then are shocked when God disciplines? Some theologians think that the writer probably used Deut. 12 as a litmus test for those kings. Where they failed and where they succeeded can be measured against Deuteronomy 12.
  • 1 & 2 Chronicles: the book of Chronicles was written after the exile with the goal of encouraging those who were returning to the Promised Land to live a life faithful to God. The goal, of course, would be to not repeat history!

We didn’t mention Ruth, though Ruth plays a huge part in the genealogical line of the Messiah.

Conclusion:

This idea of Kingship is one main source of our understanding of the Messiah. The Messiah, the anointed of God, when he comes, he will be King – not ‘a’ king, but ‘the’ King (King of Kings). We must understand that this king isn’t an earthly king though. He won’t be like the kings of today or even of those from previous centuries or millennia.

When Jesus came and died in the flesh a century after David, he conquered Satan. He was the Snake Crusher they’d all been waiting for. His rule today isn’t over a land as much as it is over the hearts of a people. Oh, many in Israel wanted him to be king. They wanted it badly as they threw down their palm branches and coats to create the red carpeted Triumphal Entry of the King. But when he wasn’t what they thought he should be, they killed him.

They missed it when he came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1.14-15;

Zechariah prophesied it when he said in Luke 1

68     “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,

for he has visited and redeemed his people

69     and has raised up a horn of salvation for us

in the house of his servant David,

70     as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

71     that we should be saved from our enemies

and from the hand of all who hate us;

72     to show the mercy promised to our fathers

and to remember his holy covenant,

73     the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us

74         that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,

might serve him without fear,

75         in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

76     And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

77     to give knowledge of salvation to his people

in the forgiveness of their sins,

78     because of the tender mercy of our God,

whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

79     to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

 

Zechariah is saying that this promised King is now here. But he isn’t a king like you think.

Simeon understood as he held the Baby King in his arms:

29     “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,

according to your word;

30     for my eyes have seen your salvation

31         that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

32     a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and for glory to your people Israel.”

This statement by Simeon is acknowledgement that the Kingdom of God has arrived as announced by Isaiah.

Application: So, what do I want you to take away with you this morning?

  1. What seems a mess, isn’t really a mess at all. What they wanted, as they saw it, God was using to teach us. It was a part of His great master plan. Remember this as you look at our world today and think: what a mess! God is not finished working his plan.
  2. King David was meant to show us what the Promised King would look like. He was what theologians call: A type. He was a man after God’s own heart. Yes, he failed – and that should teach us valuable lessons, too. But more than that, he pointed to the future King who would come.
  3. An Edenesque existence will one day be restored. The height of David’s reign displayed the potential for a return to the Garden. Never were the Israelites closer to the land flowing with Milk and Honey than when David obediently led his people as their king. That is only a taste of what is to come!
  4. Next week we’ll talk about the Prophets – another role assigned to the Messiah (Prophet, Priest, King). The prophets worked tirelessly to stop the decay and decline of their nation. They did everything they could possibly do to get the Kings to return to God and to return the people to God. They always held out the hope before the people of a perfect king who would lead his people to restoration and renewal. They of course, never saw that King, but he did come – and his name is Jesus!

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Joshua, Judges, Kings, Sermon