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1st April

2 Samuel 16-18; Psalm 91

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
1st April

2 Samuel 16-18; Psalm 91

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in 1-2 Samuel, we've read through the rise of Samuel, Saul, and David, and then Samuel and Saul's deaths. Samuel was born to Hannah, who gave him over to the priest Eli to server in the Tabernacle. Samuel grew up in God's presence and grew in favour with God, while Eli's own sons and the rest of Israel were disobedient and rebellious. Samuel stepped up to fill the gap and led the Israelites to repentance before defeating the Philistines, giving the Israelites a new era of peace.

But as Samuel got older, the Israelites did not want his sons leading them, so they asked Samuel for a king. Samuel warned them that this king would oppress them, but they weren't interested. So Samuel gives them what they want and appoints a young man named Saul to be king. Saul started off okay, but things quickly turned south. He offered sacrifices himself when he wasn't meant to and he made foolish and impulsive decisions that impacted his people negatively.

So Samuel found a new king. A young shepherd boy, David. When Samuel anointed him, the spirit of God left Saul and settled on David. We saw as David grew in favour with the people and with Saul's children, while Saul became unhinged by jealousy, wanting to kill David. Eventually, David fled from Saul's court, fearing for his life.. But David continued to grow in favour while on the run, gathering men around him who looked to him for leadership. And in it all, David was committed to being obedient, refusing to kill Saul when he had the chance.

Saul finally died in battle against the Philistines and David was made king, but only of Judah. The rest of Israel chose one of Saul's sons as king. This led to a civil war as the two kingdoms fought it out. David's commander, Joab, showed himself to be manipulative and violent, killing the enemy commander Aber in cold blood after he had made peace. But David didn't punish him for his behaviour. We read as David won the civil war, defeated the Philistines, claimed Jerusalem as the capital city, and reclaimed the Ark of the Covenant. But cracks started to show with David taking many wives for himself and his wife Michael despising him.

David then had an affair with a married woman and then killed off her husband. The prophet Nathan pronounces God's judgement on David. While God forgave David, the consequences of this are that someone is going to rise up against David and claim his wives as David claimed this Bathsheba. Yesterday we read as brokenness bled into the rest of David's family, leading to rape and murder amongst David's children. One son, Absalom, rose up and set himself as king against David, causing David to flee.

2 Samuel 16-18

With David and his men on the run again, we are reminded of how far he has fallen. Mephibosheth's servant, Ziba, comes to David with fresh donkeys and food. He claims that Mephibosheth is using this as an opportunity to reclaim the throne for himself and his household, and so Ziba wants to pledge his life to David. David had treated Mephibosheth like his own son, and now here he is rejecting David and focusing on himself.

In the same way, another member of Saul's family, Shimei, comes out and starts cursing and throwing rocks at David. Instead of fighting back, David trusts that God is in control and will avenge him if he chooses. David may have fallen far, but he is still putting his trust in God.

Meanwhile, Absalom, David's son, is now in Jerusalem and he has two key advisors helping him. The first is Ahithophel, and the second is Hushai, who was sent by David to cause problems. Ahithophel suggests that Absalom goes and sleeps with all of David's concubines. This would make Absalom the top dog and cement him as the new king, but it would also humiliate David at the same time. So Absalom goes for it. Just as Nathan said, someone has taken David’s wives just as David took Uriah’s wife.

Next, Ahithophel suggests that Absalom takes a small group of soldiers and hunts down David. He argues that with a smaller group, it would be easy to find David and kill just him. Hushai then jumps up and argues this is a bad idea. He points out that David is skilled at war, and if they do that, David would easily outsmart and defeat the men. Then he would begin to win support back to himself.

Instead, Hushai suggests that they raise a huge army and go out and crush David completely. Remember, Hushai is trying to cause problems for Absalom. Absalom thinks this is a great idea and so sends out a great army. Meanwhile, Hushai gets a message back to David so he can prepare.

David then prepared his army. While he had fewer soldiers, all his men were well-expereienced soldiers. When the two armies finally came together, David's army easily defeated Absalom’s army. In the chaos, Absalom gets caught in a tree and Joab kills him there. The battle is over.

Thanks to the help of his men and God, David is now free to be king again. But rather than praising God and his men for their service, David instead mourns his son. While this can be understood, as king David first has a duty to his men to lead them well. He should have mourned in private. Instead, what should have been a great victory and celebration quickly turned into a time of mourning.

Psalm 91

This psalm isn’t attributed to anyone, and falls into the category or trust psalm. The psalmist is encouraging other to trust in God’s protection.

Psalm 91:1-13 - God’s protection

Psalm 91:14-16 - God’s promise

The psalmist starts with the fact that protection is found in God’s presence. If you dwell and abide in him, he will be your refuge fortress. He will protect you from traps and diseases. He will protect you like a mother bird over her hatchlings, for he is a faithful God.

You don’t need to fear whether day or not. Whether terror, or enemies, or disease, or natural disaster. God will protect you. God might punish the wicked, but he will look after and sustain you.

All this is because you have dwelt in his presence. There, he is your refuge and he will protect you. He will even command angels to look after you so that you don’t stumble.

Then God enters the conversation. When an individual holds close to God in love, God will deliver and protect them. When they call to him, God will answer them and rescue them. They will be satisfied with long life.

In this psalm, we see this cause-and-effect relationship. Those who dwell in God, who hold close to him, and call out to him, will be protected. Doesn’t matter what the trouble, and doesn’t matter what the time. Ultimately, God will lead them through the hard times. This doesn’t mean that we don’t experience trouble. But it doesn’t mean God will be with us in troubles.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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