I tried writing this post several times yesterday. I sat in my chair, fingers on the keyboard and set my brain to write. I looked up and saw a pair of blue eyes. Questioning eyes. Little girl fingers wrapped around crayons and blocks. I shut the laptop. We lay on the floor and colored in a giant poster of the outline of my baby. She has green legs and a pink dress.
2nd Samuel tells the story of the second half of David's life. There are heartbreaking chapters of self inflicted consequences. David did well when he watched his relationships and he entered destruction when he quit. When David ignored his family he ended up facing civil war.
The book opens as David learns of the death of Saul. When David hears the news that the king has been killed he does not rejoice. David asks the messanger who was boasting of the murder a question that shows David understood the value of God given authority. Right relationship.
"Then David said to him, "How is it you were not afraid to stretch out your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?" 2 Samuel 1: 14
The book then follows the political maneuverings to establish David as King.
"Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually." 2 Samuel 3:1
As you read through this section you can watch David ask God for direction, he listens to the prophet Nathan's counsel and he proceeds forward. Right relationship with God breeds success.
Then David inquired of the Lord, saying "Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?" And the Lord said to David, "Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand." 2 Samuel 5:19
The high point in David's story is when God promises to create an everlasting kingdom from David's reign. (Hint: The long promised Savior is a direct descendent of David.) Right relationship with God brings hope for the future and healing to those around you.
When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 2 Samuel 7: 13
Yesterday after we finished coloring, I headed back to my chair with my neglected laptop. Another set of big blues silently called me away to practice piano, to review her school folder and to help with the last step of constructing a two foot tall cardboard skeleton. It took us a while to figure out we had the collarbone on backwards. This ten year old will need my help less with each passing day. Frequently I don't look actively for ways to connect and to speak into her life. Thankfully yesterday I got it right.
My favorite story in 2nd Samuel is when David actively searches for a way to bring blessing.
Then David said, "Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" 2 Samuel 9:1
David finds out that Jonathan's crippled son is still alive and is destitute. So the king restores to this grandson of his enemy the entire family fortune and saves him a permanent seat at the royal banquet table. This story makes me so happy.
I see myself in Mephibosheth.
I was lost and I was the enemy. I was redeemed and restored. I'm invited to dinner. We all are. God restores his enemies and makes them guests at the royal table. When we look for people to bless and for ways to make peace we are at the core of right relationship.
In my house yesterday the last set of big blue eyes weren't pursuing me. They were patiently otherwise occupied in another room. I again put down my laptop and wandered in to remind myself what my spouse's irises look like. You see, everytime yesterday I got ready to write about 2nd Samuel I felt convicted. How could I write about avoiding wrecking your family while ignoring mine?
The next section of 2nd Samuel is sad. It pivots because David neglects his responsibility. He off loads his duty. He breaks faith with his team. Sin frequently happens when we get lazy, don't go, stay home, quit.
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11: 1
David sees Bathsheeba bathing. He sends for her. Commits adultery. Gets her pregnant. Kills her husband. David has completely abandoned the humility and wisdom and prudence that kept his heart right with God and right with those around him. And the consequences begin. A child dies. David ignores his other children. It gets ugly. Jealousy and bitterness and rape and revenge ensue. A battle for the throne. War. Painful consequences for everyone.
At one point David is confronted about his sin with Bathsheeba by the prophet Nathan. David's response is the one bright spot.
"Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, 'The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die." 2 Samuel 12:13
The best move in David's life was admitting he was wrong. He still had to deal with the crisises he'd created. However, David is remembered as a man after God's own heart because he repented. He got his soul set right.
Last evening as big sister and I were wrestling with the cardboard skeleton the little one was listening to us discuss the structure of our body. She poked at the vertebrae and the intestines and shook a bony arm. Then she asked a question which made me so grateful I'd put down the laptop and took the time to play. "Mama? What's in your heart?"
Oh my baby. What a question. Let's talk.
The lesson of 2nd Samuel? None of us will have any impact in sharing the mundane details of a harried life. Nothing we write or create or earn will matter if we forget to write on our childrens' hearts. Watch your relationships. Learn from David. Ask the question. What's in your heart? I don't want a civil war in my house.
The Bible Project's Read Scripture of 2nd Samuel again delivers a useful big picture view. Spend ten minutes. It'll make you think.
Handy Infographic from NewSpring church. Save for for a quick reminder.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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