Today: [2 Samuel Chapter Twenty-One]: Broken Vows Bring Generational Consequences. After the revolt of Sheba is put down a famine comes upon the land. David inquires of the Lord and finds that the famine results from a vow broken by Saul a generation beforehand. David acts to right this wrong and the famine lifts. In your own life you must consider that vows made in times past or even in previous generations can at times grievously affect your life. We tend to let the past be the past but when dealing with unanswered prayer we should pray and ask the Father if there are past debts that need to be prayed out and resolved in order to renew His blessing in our lives.
[2Sa 21:1-22 KJV] 1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, [It is] for Saul, and for [his] bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. 2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites [were] not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) 3 Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD?
After the revolt of Sheba a famine commences in the land of Israel. The timeline from the day David looked down from his roof upon Bathsheba is a litany of difficulty, murder, rape, revolt, civil war, assassination and lies. The prophet Nathan had warned David that the sword would never leave his house and proceeding event bear this out. The famine lasts for three years. David inquires of the Lord for an answer. This no doubt meant one of two things – either he consulted the Urim and the Thummim or he inquired of the prophet Nathan or both. We do see then that in these days even though they had holy scripture given by Moses they understood that was not enough. They needed the Urim and Thummim and they needed access to the prophets. There are those who believe these means of inquiry are not needed because we have the bible. David had the scriptures as well but the scriptures and consulting the scripture was not answering his question as to why the famine was persisting in the land. It is in fact a compelling argument that they bible is all we need but in fact this is not born out in the Old or the New Testaments. In the New Testament the prophets spoke many times to both people groups and individuals. The people also would seek a consensus in prayer as to what the Spirit might direct them to do. We also have the inward witness of the Spirit that Jesus spoke of in the gospel of John:
[Jhn 16:13 KJV] 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Isaiah prophesied of the guidance of the Holy Spirit as well:
[Isa 30:21 KJV] 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
In years gone by Benny Hinn wrote a book on the Holy Spirit that almost cost him his ministry and he was compelled to retract many of the things he said because it was considered controversial to speak so strongly about the indwelling of the Spirit of God. I would suggest to you that dependence upon the indwelling of the Spirit, and dependence upon the prophetic is a missing key to living a life of a New Testament caliber.
David consults and the indication is that the famine is because of a vow that Saul had broken when he attacked the Gibeonites. In the days of Joshua the Gibeonites had deceived him into making. Because of that the Israelites were not allowed to harm the people of Gibeon. Now centuries later Saul ignores that vow and wars against these people and because of it a famine now afflicts the land in the time of David. We might wonder why or how this ancient history could affect David and Israel at this time. We look around at current events in our own time and mighty ask how much of the perplexing problems of our day are brought on by spiritual consequences of broken vows to name just a few in the US:
- Many treaties and agreements broken by the US with the native American peoples in the establishment of this country.
- Broken promises to Viet Nam after WWII when we handed Indochina back to the French – setting the stage for the Viet Nam conflict.
- Ungodly agreements made with Sadaam Hussein by then CIA Director George Bush, Sr., to look the other way while he gassed thousands of Iranians – setting the stage for the Iraq war.
- The vow expressed in the invitation of Lady Liberty to “give us your poor, your oppressed…” and then to turn against the immigrant populations that seek to enter our country.
When we strike hands with nation states and then break our promises our country has track record of infidelity. Beyond the natural consequences of cause and effect there are spiritual consequences. I remember when the Berlin Wall came down I asked the Father what this meant spiritually for the Western World and he said “the USA will no longer be protected from terrorism on her shores…” Shortly after that was the OKC bombing, the first WTC bombing and history tells the tale. Just as Israel in David’s day was affected by broken vows and ungodly covenants so modern events are likewise shaped by the same forces. The scripture doesn’t say that God sent the famine but that the famine was a result of seemingly unrelated policies of a previous generation that are now affecting the people of God currently.
David negotiates with the Gibeonites to lift the famine.
4 And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, [that] will I do for you. 5 And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us [that] we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, 6 Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, [whom] the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give [them]. 7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’S oath that [was] between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. 8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: 9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell [all] seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first [days], in the beginning of barley harvest.
To satisfy the injustice David delivers the remaining sons of Saul’s concubine and the five sons of his wife Michal, Saul’s daughter whom she bore to her second husband that Saul had given her to. What a devastating blow this must have been to Michal. After she despised David when he danced before the Lord when the ark was brought in to Jerusalem, David never went in to her and she was therefore barren and shut up the remainder of her life. She paid a terrible price for mocking David’s abandoned worship of God. It gives us pause to think about the deep scorn that secular society has heaped upon the church for decades. In the overwhelming majority of public portrayals of our faith our culture vilifies and mocks and humiliates those who are passionate for Jesus. It makes us wonder what dread price is being exacted upon our culture for this deceitful and vile treatment of men and women of faith? Imagine also Michal’s second husband who wept for her when she was returned to David when he came to the throne. What anguish must he have suffered to see his five sons delivered by David to slaughter and humiliation?
10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. 11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. 12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa: 13 And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged. 14 And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land.
David is not without compassion. When he hears of Saul’s concubine Rizpah vainly seeking to drive the vultures from her son’s bodies he has their bones buried with Saul and Jonathan. It is interesting to note that until he showed this mercy the famine was not lifted. Are you facing circumstances of long standing in your life that haven’t yielded to prayer? You have to ask yourself are there broken vows that have brought calamity or famine, perhaps of a financial sort upon you? More challenging perhaps it was someone from a previous situation or generation whose cruelty or infidelity is plaguing your house or your church situation. We tend to wash our hands of the errors of others as though we don’t expect to be held responsible. But David and the nation was held accountable for the sins of Saul. Our approach to the issue of repentance these days does not include making restitution as David did in this case. Yet even in the New Testament those who repentance made restitution – sometimes doubling what they took to give back to those they wronged.
15 Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint. 16 And Ishbibenob, which [was] of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear [weighed] three hundred [shekels] of brass in weight, he being girded with a new [sword], thought to have slain David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel. 18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which [was] of the sons of the giant. 19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew [the brother of] Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear [was] like a weaver’s beam. 20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of [great] stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. 21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him. 22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
After the famine is lifted the difficulties do not cease. Nathan’s prophesy continues to bear it’s bitter fruit in David’s life. The Philistines again make war with David and they are led by the surviving brothers of Goliath whom David killed as a young man. Ultimately all of Goliath’s brothers are killed in this war. David now the wiser does not stay behind but leads the army yet waxes faint in battle. Joab’s brother Abishai comes to David’s defense and kills the giant. From that David forward the army would not go out unless David stayed behind. So we see that just a short time after the matter with Bathsheba that God’s will was for David to remain in Jerusalem. How many times do we get ahead of God and make decisions that ultimately were part of God’s plan but our timing wasn’t right?
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