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March 20, 2023 - 2 Samuel 20-24

The rebellions against David’s rule continue with Sheba. He was a “worthless man” (20:1) who sought to pull the northern tribes away from David. Joab, David’s general, pursued Sheba to kill him. It was a nasty affair. And, then, there was the three year famine because of Saul’s bloodguilt in putting “the Gibeonites to death” (21:1); David avenged the Gibeonites by bringing justice to Saul’s house. And, then, more battles, particularly against the Philistines. And, then, there was David’s census in which he numbered his fighting men, seemingly out of a lack of faith that God would fight for him, and the resultant judgment. And then . . . and then . . . and then . . . It seems as if David just went from one crisis to another. However, he testified about God’s faithfulness and protection: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior” (22:2-3). And, at the threshing floor of Araunah, David “built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel” (24:25).

I’m thinking about the prophetic books we have been studying on Sunday mornings at Baxter. Over and over, the prophets called the people to repentance; over and over, the people refused. David is different. Though found sinning and lacking faith, in every instance, we see David running back to the Lord, whether it be the situation with Bathsheba and Uriah or the many battles he fought, or this census. David sang his own song (chapter 22), but he might have also sung these words:

Though Satan’s wrath beset our path,

and worldly scorn assail us,

while you are near we will not fear,

your strength shall never fail us:

your rod and staff shall keep us safe,

and guide our steps forever;

nor shades of death, nor hell beneath,

our souls from you shall sever. -- Joachim Magdeburg (1572)

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