Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Sheba's Rebellion against King David

At the end of 2nd Samuel chapter 19 we see Mephibosheth rejoining King David after he had fled Jerusalem. We also see Barzillai, a rich guy who was supporting David in Mahanaim, come to David, and David invites him to Jerusalem, but Barzillai prefers to return to his own home, because he’s in his eighties. So he leaves one of his servants with David.

Mephibosheth comes to David having not washed his clothes, or shaved or cared for his appearance, basically to show David that he was waiting for his return.

Mephibosheth was disabled in both his feet. He can’t run away with David, so he shows his allegiance to David through fasting.

We too want to show our allegiance to God through Jesus Christ. We want to display our commitment. Sometimes we can’t do it as good as others, because we have physical health problems or mental health problems. But if we have those issues, we can show our commitment to God in other ways.

That’s our first point today, if you’re disabled show your commitment in unique ways. Commitment is the key word here.

It says in 2nd Samuel 19:24-25 “Then Mephibosheth the son of Saul went down to meet the king. He had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he came back in peace. 25 When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?”

Mephibosheth explains that he wasn’t able to come and David accepts his apology. He shows grace to those who didn’t go with him when he ran from Absalom’s forces.

Second point is, like David, show grace. Mephibosheth shows his commitment. David shows the grace and mercy of Christ again here.

Then at the end of 2nd Samuel 19 we see that David is crossing the Jordan river, and he is with the tribe of Judah, they’ve all come to support him, after he asked for their support. But then we see the leaders of the other tribes of Israel confronting them. And we begin to see a growing divide between the two sides.

It says in verses 40-43, “40 The king passed on to Gilgal, and Kimham went on with him; all of the people of Judah and half of the people of Israel passed on with the king.

41 Now all of the men of Israel were coming to the king and said to the king, “Why have our brothers, the men of Judah, stolen you away and brought the king and his household across the Jordan, and all of the men of David with him?”

42 All of the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is our close relative. Why are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense? Has he given any gift to us?”

43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, “We have ten shares in the king. Therefore we also have more claim on David than you. Why then did you treat us with contempt? Were we not the first to advise bringing back our king?”

But the words of the men of Judah were harsher than the words of the men of Israel.”

The leaders of Judah are harsh with the leaders of Israel. Increasingly, we see a divide between north and south, and it’s slowly getting worse.

Third point today, avoid harsh words. Harsh words can cause big problems. But if you’re polite, even if you’re correcting someone, do so as kindly as possible. Don’t be harsh or vicious or too intense. Be soft about it. It’s still gonna hit hard, if you’re correcting someone, but soften the blow if you can.

But somehow it looks like everything is going to be ok. Despite the rebellion of Absalom, the splitting of the nation, now it looks like they might just come back together as one people.

But then we come to 2nd Samuel 20, next chapter, where a man named Sheba jumps into the situation.

It says this, 2nd Samuel 20:1-2 Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted,

“We have no share in David,

no part in Jesse’s son!

Every man to his tent, Israel!”

2 So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.”

Apparently this troublemaker, Sheba, is very influential. As they stand there, by the Jordan river, with King David, and the tribe of Judah, and half of Israel there, this troublemaker Sheba starts rallying the people, demanding they leave David.

And all of Israel sides with Sheba, instead of David! Can you believe this disloyalty? Instead of listening to their true king, they follow a troublemaker. And it says Israel followed Sheba, this rebel, but, the tribe of Judah stayed loyal to David, and they continued with David all the way to Jerusalem.

Fourth point today, stay away from troublemakers. Today we call troublemakers people who spread drama. Gossips. Drama queen. Drama king. People who always cause divisions and problem. Avoid those people. Plain and simple.

And if you notice that in yourself, ask God’s forgiveness. Realize how ugly that is. Mourn over your sin, and repent quickly. Repent of troublemaking, or you may end up like Sheba, a rebel.

So David is back in Jerusalem. And if you remember, when Absalom captured Jerusalem, he took David’s concubines and made love to them in front of the whole country.

David’s first act is to make sure the 10 concubines are cared for, but they are left to live as widows the rest of their lives. It says in 2nd Samuel 20:3, “3 When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but had no sexual relations with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.”

Point number 5, some things you can’t take back. Sometimes when something bad happens to you, it will change things forever. It wasn’t the concubines fault, what happened. But, it changed things for them, the rest of their lives. Sin has consequences. Some things you can’t take back. Don’t be like Absalom, mistreating others. Because the shame they carry may be for the rest of their lives. One sin you commit against someone can affect them the rest of their lives.

Next in verse 4 David sends Amasa the leader of his troops to gather the armies of the tribe of Judah to prepare to counter Sheba’s rebellion. This is now the second rebellion David is having to deal with. How stressful! Constant problems David faces.

6 David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bikri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master’s men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us.”[a] 7 So Joab’s men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

8 While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.

9 Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bikri.”

Point number 6 today, be cautious of the friendly enemy. Or you call that the frienemy. Amasa got Joab’s job. And Joab wanted revenge. Amasa wasn’t cautious around a friend who was actually an enemy. And he lost his life. What Joab did was terrible and sinful. But Amasa needed to be wise. Don’t trust a friend who is also an enemy, keep them at a distance, so they can’t harm you. Don’t take them too close.

Next we see Sheba being pursued by Joab and the army. So Sheba retreats and hides in the city of Abel Beth Maakah.

Joab besieges the city. In verses 15-17 it says, “15 All the troops with Joab came and besieged Sheba in Abel Beth Maakah. They built a siege ramp up to the city, and it stood against the outer fortifications. While they were battering the wall to bring it down, 16 a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.” 17 He went toward her, and she asked, “Are you Joab?”

“I am,” he answered.

She said, “Listen to what your servant has to say.”

“I’m listening,” he said.

Joab is attacking this city because Sheba the rebel is hiding in it. But this wise woman wants to prevent the destruction of the city. So she asks to speak to Joab.

Point number seven, be like the wise woman and ask to speak to the one in charge. We do that with God in Jesus Christ, and we have access to the king of Kings. Be wise, in a bad situation, speak gracious words to the leader. And you’ll find help in times of trouble.

What happens next? In verses 18-22:

18 She continued, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Get your answer at Abel,’ and that settled it. 19 We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?”

20 “Far be it from me!” Joab replied, “Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I’ll withdraw from the city.”

The woman said to Joab, “His head will be thrown to you from the wall.”

22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bikri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.”

Sheba is captured by the wise woman and he is killed. The rebellion is again over. And Joab returns to King David in Jerusalem.

Last point today, understand that rebels will not be tolerated before God’s kingdom and throne. Don’t be a rebel. Don’t be like Sheba who rebelled against David. Be loyal to your King Jesus Christ. And then you’ll prosper. Loyalty means a lot. Stay loyal to Him for all your days. Loyalty is the key word here.

Let’s reaffirm our commitment to Christ today. Lord Jesus, we admit our sins before your throne. We ask you to forgive us our sins. We believe in you Lord Jesus, that you are the way, the truth, and the life for us today. We commit our allegiance to your and your kingdom. We lay down our weapons of rebellion and we put on the armor of God. We receive you as savior and Lord and King. Thank you Jesus, Amen!