1 & 2 Samuel
This week we conclude our series with 2 Samuel 21-24, a carefully constructed epilogue to “The book of Samuel” which compiles scenes from the life of Samuel, Saul, and David. In it we find connections with the introduction to the book, Hannah’s poem/prayer, that help us see the main thrust of the prophet’s message: God is faithful to his promise in spite of man’s failures, God opposes the proud and exalts the humble, and that a promised king is coming which will bring blessing to all the nations.
David, a great man of faith, fell from the glorious heights of intimacy with God to the lowest point of rebellion, even despising God and his word. Yet he repented and rejoiced in his forgiveness, and even though some devastating consequences from his sin followed him to the end of his life, he continued walking with the Lord. How did he endure in the midst of those consequences? For us today, David’s life and the gospel inspire us to walk with the Lord, even in the “aftermath” of sin.
David was a “man after God’s own heart,” and we can be inspired by his faith and many good qualities. Yet David was also a mere mortal like us and capable of sin, and in fact he sinned greatly against the Lord. But he later repented and found great joy in God’s mercy and forgiveness. So we are both warned by David’s sin and inspired by his response to it.
David desired to build a house, a temple for God. But God said, “No, I’m going to build a house for you,” and promised David that his lineage and dynasty would last forever. Yet, no descendant of David has reigned over Israel for over 2,500 years. The prophets who spoke after David foretold the coming of a greater, eternal king who would fulfill all of God’s promises to Israel and to David. Yet, today, we await the return of this greater “Anointed One,” King Jesus, who waits in heaven until it is time for Him to restore all things and bring everlasting peace to the world.
David is the undisputed hero of the Old Testament, and perhaps, second only to Jesus in the entire Bible. Certainly he is a model of faith, courage, and godliness… except when he’s not. How are we supposed to relate to David’s example? That’s what I want to talk about today: how we are to relate to David’s example.
Only in his 20’s, David was a great warrior and a man after God’s own heart. And because the Lord was with David, King Saul was afraid and jealous of him, which quickly turned into a demonic pursuit to kill him, his own son-in-law. But even through years of running for his life, David remarkably doesn’t grow bitter or vengeful. Instead he keeps his heart fixed on the Lord.
God chose David to succeed Saul as king, not because of his physical strength or his wisdom or his position in Israel, but because of His faith-filled, God-honoring heart. In an act of amazing faith, David faces Goliath, risking his life to defend His people and to honor and glorify God. We also can put our trust in the Living God and bring Him glory.
When we lack strength for the Christian life, 1 Samuel 12 points us to the answer. In his final days, Israel’s leader Samuel called the people to follow the Lord with all their hearts. His appeal was to look to the Lord and consider all the great things he had done for them, not only then but over the centuries. Similarly, we Christians are called to consider what great things the Lord has done for us—the greatest of these is the death and resurrection of the Son of God—and so find motivation and strength to love the Lord with all our hearts.
This week we will be looking at the rise and fall of King Saul, the King the Israelites demanded from God, but not the one they needed. Faith vs. Self-reliance, and what it means that “God regretted making Saul king…”
From childhood to the end of his life, Samuel walked by faith in the Lord. His consistent life is a stark contrast to the people of Israel who, though they had brief periods of faith, generally rejected the Lord as their king.
In our new sermon series through the books of Samuel, we will be challenged by the rise and fall of “heroes” and “villains”. The first story we read is that of a grieving woman named Hannah who, in the midst of severe trial was also humble and faith-filled. And God used her to raise up a godly servant of the Lord, Samuel, who influenced an entire nation. Hannah can inspire us to know and trust the Lord.