Monday, October 9, 2023

King David and the Gibeonites: The Impact of Sin on Generations

If you look back at the last one hundred or so years of American history, you see several generations of people. There of course the traditionalists, we call them “the greatest generation” or “the silent generation” they are the Americans who fought World War II. They built on the accomplishments of previous generations of americans.

Then you see a generation called the baby boomers. Baby boomers were the generation born after world war II. They would greatly affect the course of history.

Then there was generation X, born 1965-1980. Then you have my generation, millennials, born 1980-1996. And of course the more recent generation Y who are younger now.

Each of these generations has contributed to the progress or decline of America, depending on who you’re talking about.

It’s beyond question that the United States is in decline right now, financially, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, we see a society badly divided, confused, and lost as far as even basic understanding of life and issues.

We see that somewhere in between the traditionalists and the baby boomers, faith in God, Christianity, began to decline, and it didn’t get passed down properly then to X and Z. And I think that’s why we see so much chaos occurring in our society.

Similarly, today, in 2nd Samuel chapter 21 we’re going to see how previous generations and problems from the past can affect the present negatively.

We are all deeply impacted by our parents, grandparents, our society, our education system, and these things can alter the course of our lives day by day.

We begin chapter 21 with a famine taking place.

It says, 2 Samuel 21:1 “During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord. The Lord said, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.”

First point today, when you see a problem, do what David did: Seek the Face of the Lord.

What does it mean to seek God’s face? To seek God’s face is to pray. It is prayer. But it’s more than prayer. Seeking God’s face is like seeking a word from the Lord. Prayer is making a request to God for something or praising him or worshipping or talking to him. But seeking god’s face is different. Seeking God’s face is seeking an answer from God. It’s not as much talking to God as asking God to speak to you, you’re looking to receive a “nudge” or ‘word” from God, sort of an answer on a particular issue.

Always pray, but also, seek God’s face, seek a word from Him. Pray, read His word, meditate quietly on his presence, and begin to turn yourself toward his presence. And he’ll come to you and share with you in different ways.

God quickly answers David, and let’s David know, it’s because of something that happened during the time of Saul. And now it’s David’s job to make it right.

Notice that famines can be linked to God. We see famines occur in the end times in fact. So this isn’t just old testament, it’s new testament too.

Also notice that David didn’t cause this problem but he’s the leader so it’s his responsibility to fix it.

Second point today, sometimes we’ll face a problem, and it’s our job to fix it, even if we didn’t cause it. We sometimes think well it’s not my problem. My friend has to fix his own problem. Sometimes that is true. Other times God may be seeing, you’re gonna help fix the problem, or you didn’t cause this, but I’ve placed you in a position to fix it. So fix it. Not my brother’s keeper? Wrong, help out when you can.

So David calls the Gibeonites and speaks to them, in verses 2-6:

2 The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) 3 David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”

4 The Gibeonites answered him, “We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” David asked.

5 They answered the king, “As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, 6 let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and their bodies exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord’s chosen one.”

So the king said, “I will give them to you.”

So here we see how Saul’s sins affect his descendants. Saul’s own descendants are put to death because of Saul’s sin against the gibeonites. David has no choice but to try to make this right any way he can.

Israel had promised to always allow the gibeonites to live at peace. And Saul broke that promise. That was greatly displeasing to God. So it became a great issue for the nation.

Next in verses 7-9: 7 The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the Lord between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8 But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab,[a] whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed them and exposed their bodies on a hill before the Lord. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.”

This is tragic and horrible, and brings grief to the whole nation.

Next we see Rizpah, who had been a lover of Saul, mourning the loss of Saul’s descendants.

It says in verses 10-13: Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds touch them by day or the wild animals by night. 11 When David was told what Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had stolen their bodies from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.”

So Rizpah mourns for the people, descendants of Saul, and King David is moved by her mourning and compassion. So he gathers up the dead, along with the bones of Saul and his old friend Jonathan, and they give them all a properly burial. ‘

“14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.”

After all of this took place, God again answered prayer on behalf of the land. Things had to be made right with what Saul had done to the Gibeonites. King David makes it right. Though it’s very messy and ugly.

Life on Earth is like that. It’s sometimes very messy and ugly. To understand that we simply have to look to the cross of Jesus Christ. We see God in human form, taken by the authorities of this world, false charges are invented against him, and he’s whipped and beaten and mocked. He’s made to carry a wooden cross. Nails are driven into his hands and feet and he’s lifted up on the cross sentenced to die slowly.

But this blood sacrifice, of Jesus the Son of God, would paradoxically become our salvation. By his blood, we become healed, our sins are washed away and we get a clean slate. But it took a lot. And it was dark. But that dark moment became our light.

That’s our third point today, resolution, like the resolution between Saul and the Gibeonites, took the shedding of blood. Similarly, our salvation can only come through the shedding of innocent blood, the blood of Jesus Christ the messiah.

Second portion of our scripture deals with a war that breaks out between Israel and the Philistines once again.

David leads his troops out to battle against their old enemy the philistines. David had defeated one philistine in particular a long time ago, named Goliath. Now he fights them again.

It says in verses 15-17: Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. 16 And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels[b] and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.”

As David gets older, he goes into battle, and it says that on the battlefield as he’s fighting with his men, “David became exhausted.”

This reminds me of an incident recently with myself. My fiancé Chelsey and I were on a sail boat in Traverse City this weekend, there were about 20 others on board. And as we were setting out, and the crew asked for volunteers to help get the sails in place. So we got to “heav and ho” back and forth pulling the ropes in two lines. And let me tell you, very quickly, like David, I quote “became exhausted” as I did it. As you get older, you get exhausted a bit more easily.

So in the midst of the battle Abishai has to come rescue David. And in response to this incident his troops tell him to stop fighting on the frontlines with him, they don’t want to lose their king.

It’s a good reminder for us, next point today, sometimes as you get older you gotta sit this one out. You can’t do as much as you used ot do. It’s ok to know your own limits. It’s ok to realize, I simply can’t do this now. I’m exhausted. I’m getting older. I need to sit this one out. Sometimes we push ourselves too hard. And that’s not God’s will.

Lastly, in verses 18-22 we see events that take place in different battles. It says, “

18 In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.

19 In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair[c] the Bethlehemite killed the brother of[d] Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.

20 In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed him.

22 These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.”

We see the various descendants here of Goliath of Gath defeated one by one by David’s troops. All of this stuff is connected. So much of life itself, history, time space reality all of it is connected and is one big story. Our whole society is connected. People are connected. When one person turns to Jesus Christ, everyone around them is affected in some way. When someone turns to sin and self destruction everyone around them suffers as a result.

Goliath was defeated by David, and David’s victory over Goliath continued to the descendants of Goliath himself, each of them were defeated in battles against the Philistines. David won total victory over his enemies.

Last point for today, if you follow Jesus Christ, and live by the leading of the Holy Spirit, in the sight and will of God the Father, you will see victory over your sins. You’ll victory over troubles in your life. And if you stay with Jesus, year by year, you’ll see new victories, and those victories, will be linked to future victories, if you stay on the path, it’s all connected.

Present victories will lead to future victories. Present compromises will link to future compromises.

But in Christ, we have the victory, and future victories will become. Stay on the path.

It takes patience to walk that road. But if you stay firm to the path, you’ll see the victories proceed into new victories and those new victories will blossom future victories and it will become a life of victory in Jesus Christ our Lord.

So in review today, the main points today are as follows:

1. When facing a problem that needs an answer, seek God’s face (Seek an answer from God)

2. Even if you didn’t cause the problem, God may call you to fix it anyway (Not your problem? Wrong, be your brothers keeper)

3. Resolution of our sins, took the shedding of blood (Sometimes the price is high)

4. Sometimes if you’re getting older or you’re sick, it’s ok to sit this one out (Know your limits)

5. Present Victories are linked to future victories (and vice-versa, present failures will be linked to future failures)