Morning Light – June 11th, 2015
Today: [2 Samuel Chapter Two]: Asking God before Reacting. In this chapter we see a generational debt between the tribe of Benjamin and the remainder of the tribes of Israel. In Judges 20 the 11 tribes slaughtered the tribe of Benjamin to the point of distinction. In God’s sense of justice he raises up a king (Saul) over the eleven tribes shortly after. When Saul dies David is now responsible and 12 contestants from Benjamin and 12 from Judah square off in a brutal contest for power. In the end Benjamin yields and David satisfies the scales of God’s justice because of an atrocity committed decades before. In our own lives we must take into account that decisions we have made years ago are often shaping our lives long after we think it doesn’t matter.
[2Sa 2:1-32 KJV] 1 And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. 2 So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal’s wife the Carmelite. 3 And his men that [were] with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. 4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, [That] the men of Jabeshgilead [were they] that buried Saul. 5 And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, Blessed [be] ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness unto your lord, [even] unto Saul, and have buried him. 6 And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing. 7 Therefore now let your hands be strengthened, and be ye valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah have anointed me king over them.
Saul is dead with his son Jonathan now David wishes to leave Ziklag and return to Israel. No doubt he had 600 men and their families pressing him to do this very thing yet David pauses to ASK God permission to do so. He inquires of the Lord – in other words he calls Abiathar and asks him to cast the sacred lot otherwise known as the Urim and the Thummim. Note that David is also willing to go to any of the cities of Judah but he doesn’t mention any of the other cities. Now David is of that tribe of Judah but that is not necessarily the only reason why he only asks about Judah. Jacob prophesied about the tribe of Judah in Genesis:
[Gen 49:10 KJV] 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].
David knew that God’s anointed ruler must ultimately come out of Judah. If that was the case then why did God originally choose Saul out of the tribe of Benjamin? You will remember in the closing chapters of Judges that the 11 tribes rose up and slaughtered the tribe of Benjamin almost to the point of extinction. They did this WITHOUT inquiring of the Lord therefore as a form of judgment and restitution between the tribes and in the nation God raised up a king over the 11 tribes from the very tribe they had nearly annihilated.
Abiathar casts the Urim and the city of Hebron is indicated. Why Hebron? In centuries past the children of Anak ruled there who were descendants of the Nephilim. More importantly Abraham purchased a burial place there for Sarah his wife in what has become known as the Cave of the Patriarchs that remains with us to this day. In sending David to Hebron God is directing His anointed king to lay claim to the oldest and at that time most sacred territory in the Abrahamic narrative.
The men of Hebron and the tribe of Judah come out and anoint David. What is the significance of this? David was anointed three times in his ascent to the throne. He was anointed by Samuel, now anointed by Judah (his own kinsmen) and ultimately will be anointed by the entire nation. You may know in your heart that you are anointed by God for a particular calling. This is the anointing of God and it is unmistakable although no one else around you may recognize it. If this is so know this that eventually there will come a time that you will receive the anointing the people. In other words the people (at least only some of them at first) will recognize the call of God on your life. Remember these are David’s kinsmen. Jesus would have been very familiar with this verse and perhaps compared this in his mind to the attitude he dealt with in Mark 6:4:
Mark 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
Many people quote this verse as a way of justifying a prevailing attitude of those close to an anointed minister. However make not that Jesus isn’t saying it SHOULD BE this way but that it was this way. The men of Judah are the example of how a family and those close to an anointed, God called person SHOULD receive them but seldom do.
8 But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; 9 And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10 Ishbosheth Saul’s son [was] forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. 12 And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise. 15 Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which [pertained] to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and [thrust] his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkathhazzurim, which [is] in Gibeon. 17 And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David.
Saul’s general Abner does not recognize David’s claim to the throne and installs Saul’s surviving son Ishbosheth as king. Ishbosheth’s name means “Man of Shame”. We must see that the iniquity of the nation of Isreal regarding the slaughter of the tribe of Benjamin in Judges 20 is still not full. Abner and Joab meet at the pool of Gibeon and face one another in a deadly contest. Gibeon means “cup”. The cup of iniquity is not yet full between the Benjamites and the nation of Isreal. The confrontation involves Judah because they are the recognized leaders of Israel and judgment comes first to the house of God and first to the recognized leaders. For all the savagery of this incident it reflects David taking responsibility to rule and to face the consequences of dealing with generational iniquity. 12 men of Benjamin and 12 men of Judah face each other and impale each other as an act of bravado. A battle ensues and Abner and the Benjamites are defeated. The significance is evident – Judah prevails of Benjamin. Benjamin will not rule Israel.
There is an important principle here that will help us understand our own history. As men we tend to dismiss history and go on our way without thinking that God will pursue generational justice over things we think don’t matter any more. In times past in the United States our country in the name of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny brutally suppressed the native American peoples. We took from them their valued lands in the name of God. Now decades later the gaming industry has been raised up on native American lands and through the casinos are taking back the wealth of the people in behalf of those that were vanquished. This principle of generational justices speaks to us regarding the timing of the election of a black man to the Oval Office. It is said that God steps through time in 500 year strides. 500 years after Columbus founded the slave trade a man of African descent becomes the leader of the free world. First in suffering – first in promotion. In American history was can see this same principle at work in it’s history with pre-war Germany, and also the Vietnam Conflict and Iraq. The US in being drawn into these conflicts often was reaping the consequences of double dealing and injustice with these same peoples years and decades prior to the events that led to war. If the peoples of the earth would recognize that God rules among the nations of the earth these things would happen with much less turbulence than they do. God will have his way among the nations of men and in the matter of Benjamin and Judah the matter of Generational Justices is coming to its fulfillment.
18 And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel [was as] light of foot as a wild roe. 19 And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said, [Art] thou Asahel? And he answered, I [am]. 21 And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him. 22 And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother? 23 Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth [rib], that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, [that] as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. 24 Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that [lieth] before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren? 27 And Joab said, [As] God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother. 28 So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more. 29 And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim. 30 And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, [so that] three hundred and threescore men died. 32 And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which [was in] Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
In the aftermath of the battle Joab’s younger brother is accidently slain by Abner. This will never leave Joab’s mind and ultimately Joab will assassinate Abner. David loses 20 men in the battle. 10 is the number of testing and judgment therefore this casualty count is a double judgment satisfying the generational debt of the nation of Israel regarding the issue of Benjamin and the remaining tribes as recorded in Judges 20. Benjamin loses 360 men. This is the number of days in the Hebrew year. 360 also symbolizes the “right moment”, a “divinely orchestrated event” as related to earthly matters. So we see that as unfortunate as the incident at the pool of Gilboa is – the cup of iniquity filled in Judges 20 is now fully poured out and the way is made clear for David to take the throne.
For us the lesson is that God’s sense of justice is never suspended. I have had circumstances in my own life where I have lived out consequences of choices I made in years past although I am not the same man I was in my impetuous youth. Likewise as a young pastor I found myself living out situations in my own life that I had unadvisedly judged others wrongly and soon found myself in the same situation bearing the weight of my own lack of mercy toward others in that regard. As the saying goes “the chickens always come home to roost…” The tribe of Benjamin was slaughtered because of a reactionary response to a lie told by a Levite sex trafficker. The 11 tribes didn’t ask God they just gathered their army and attacked. The consequences of living out of your reactions is costly and prolonged. We must instead follow the example of David and ALWAYS consult the Urim and Thummim of the Holy Ghost on the inside of us before we act.
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