Posts Tagged “2 Samuel”

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.
2 Samuel 14:14

One of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. We’re all going to die. “But God” – how thankful I am that God steps in to change my situations! He doesn’t take away our life – instead, He “devises ways” – I love that – He devises ways – schemes and plots and plans, going to great lengths and implementing fantastic scenarios – “so that the banished person may not remain estranged from Him.”

That’s grace, my friend! Found in the Old Testament!

He loves us so much! Our sin has banished us from the presence of a Holy God. It has made it impossible for us to look into His face. This passage was spoken to David who longed to see the face of his son who had been banished from the Kingdom because of his sin. We have been banished from God’s Kingdom for our sins.

But God…He devised a plan – even before I was born – that would bring me to a place of recognizing that there is a God, that He is a good God, that He made a way for me to know Him – not only know Him, but spend all of eternity with Him – and that I was willing to submit my life to that God. What a plan! Trust me – it took quite a bit of devising to bring me from the place I was (an unbelieving aetheist who had nothing but disdain for Christians) to the place of trust in Christ. God makes a way…“so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him.” Thank You, Lord!

“I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” God’s grace is truly amazing!

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So Many Books, So Little Time

Well, it’s many books, but it’s not really much time. We’ll finish six books and start two others in August, but we’ll do it at the same pace as we’ve been travelling throughout the year – three chapters each day, Monday through Friday.

I’ve had a number of conversations about reading through the Bible recently. It seems that many people have the misconception that they just can’t do it. “I’m not much of a reader,” is what I’ve been hearing.

The good news is that:

(1)  You don’t have to be much of a reader to read through the New Testament in a year. All it takes is reading one chapter each day, five days a week. Even if you are a slow reader, you can probably do that in less than ten minutes. Increase that time to thirty or forty minutes each weekday and you can follow our Resting at the River’s Edge schedule. Over a two year period, you’ll read through the entire Old Testament once and the New Testament twice.

(2)  There are many modern language translations available. You can check out different translations online. Read from several different versions. If you find one you like, head on over to and pick it up.

(3)  It’s the inspired Word of God. I confess – sometimes it doesn’t feel like it! But when it does, it’s magical! (That would be magical in the sense of “wow!” and “cool” and “how does God do that?”, not magical in the sense of sorcery of course).

Reading through the whole New Testament and/or the whole Bible pulls the story of God’s plan together in a way that isn’t grasped by reading less methodically. So even if you haven’t been reading along with us yet, I invite you to join us in August.

In August we’ll finish 1 & 2 Samuel – the story of David’s life. God called David a man after His own heart – that seems like reason enough to study his life. In the New Testament we’ll read Collossians, Philemon, and Hebrews. In the book of Hebrews we’ll read about how Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that is taught in the Old Testament – He is our sacrificial lamb; His blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins; He is our great high priest. Mr. T used to say “I love it when a good plan comes together.” Hebrews pulls God’s plan together and spells it out for those of us who didn’t catch it on our own!

May God whisper in your ear as you read with us this month!

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of August’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

Psalm 3:3

David wrote this Psalm at one of the low points in his life. He was running from his son Absalom who was trying to steal the Kingdom from him. Rather than stay and fight to retain his leadership of the kingdom, David runs to avoid losing his own life, the lives of his leadership team and bloodshed in the city of Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 15:14)

An aside: I paused in my writing to discuss David and Absalom with my husband. His summary is perhaps better than mine. Here’s how he describes David’s thoughts at the time: “My son Absalom wants to kill me and become king in my place. Let’s run for our lives…But wait! I have to write this song first!” It made me laugh out loud!

Phil can be irreverent at times, and it’s one of the things that make him such a great teacher. People remember the crazy things he says for quite a long time because of the way he puts them. It’s a gift I don’t have.

Imagine how hurt, embarrassed and afraid David must be. Out of that emotional place, He wrote Psalm 3. When I read verse 3, I was reminded of what we learned from Romans 8:30 in part 4 of my series titled “The Me I Don’t Even Recognize.”

29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Romans 8:29-30

This passage teaches that those people who come to know Christ have been called, justified and glorified. (Read the whole series if you missed it. There’s some great content about those words.) The word “glorified” relates to our Psalm and means praised, celebrated, held in high honor, and to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest or acknowledged. And from the context of Romans 8:30, we see that God has already done it!

David didn’t have the privilege of having the book of Romans to study from, but he knew the Lord so intimately that in the midst of being chased down by his son, he was able to write the very same thing as Paul: That God bestows glory on His children. Imagine how important that was to David at that point in his life. He was saying “Father, my son may be trying to ruin everything I’ve done in my life and is trying to kill me, but You hold me in high honor. You celebrate me. You lift my head when it falls to my chest in defeat or shame.”

What God did for David, He will also do for you, friend.

I usually interpret the first line of the verse – “You are a shield around me, O Lord” – to relate to protection from physical harm, but seeing it today and coupling it with the second half of the verse, I wonder if David also had in mind that God is the shield around his emotions – the One who constantly encourages so that David is not defeated in his spirit.

I need that God around me, sometimes more often than I’d like to admit. Life has a way of beating us down – there is always more to do and there are always setbacks; discouragement is always nearby. But for those of us who love the Lord, we have a shield against that discouragement. He bestows us with glory. He lifts our heads. He is passionately in love with us.

My walk with the Lord was revolutionized when I came to understand that God is my greatest cheerleader. I mean no disrespect to the Lord – He is so very much more than that, of course – but for the longest time I saw Him as my personal judge – the One who constantly evaluated my performance and found it lacking. I hope that’s not where you are, friend. I hope you’ve come to know Him as I have – the One who sees me as I will one day be, and who is ever encouraging me to become that person. He has already bestowed glory on me; He has already made my worth known; He has already celebrated who I am and He holds me in high honor – already!

He is the God who looks down from heaven and smiles to Himself as He sees me pursue Him in the midst of the life He has given me. He looks down and says “See her – she’s my girl – she’s doing great – she’s so faithful, so loving, so kind, so smart, so passionate, so talented, so…….” Now of course, I’m not all those things – yet! But as He shields me from the discouragement that would be so easy to succumb to, He lifts my head and I can begin to believe that I really am those things.

What He does for me, He is happy to do for you. If you don’t know Him, I encourage you to get to know Him and make Him Lord of your life. He will be your greatest cheerleader, your shield and the lifter of your head.

For a clear presentation of what it means to know God, click here.
For a discussion about what it means to make Him Lord of your life, click here.

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Congratulations! If you are reading along with us using the Resting at the River’s Edge schedules, you will have read half way through the entire Bible by July 4th! That’s quite an accomplishment and you are to be commended.Perhaps, though, you haven’t kept up with our reading schedule but continue to progress in them. Maybe you’re a few days, a few weeks or a few months behind the schedule. That’s OK. You are also to be congratuled as you have continued on a task that probably seemed overwhelming at first. Perhaps you’re on the “Read through the Bible in Two Years” plan. And that’s just fine!We’re not in a competition with one another. Rather, we’re all seeking to grow in our knowledge of the Lord and in His grace. I hope in the process of reading through the Bible at whatever pace you’re keeping, that your confidence has risen and you fully expect to be able to read through the whole Bible on your schedule.

More importantly, I hope that you have learned more about the God we love and serve as you’ve read a large portion of the Old Testament and that you have become more convinced than ever about how much He loves you as you’ve read portions of the Old Testament in conjuction with portions of the New Testament. He truly loves you! More than you can imagine!

Finally, I hope and pray that the Scripture you are reading is informing your life for Christ – in other words, that the Word of God that you read on the pages of your Bible are affecting how you live.

So I say again…Congratulations! Way to go & keep it up!

Oh — and enjoy this month’s readings!

To download a PDF of July’s reading schedule, click here.

April Reading

July Recommended Reading

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Reading about Kings and Churches…

If I were to break the Israelites history into major segments, it would look something like this:

  • The Years of the Patriarchs: Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph (Genesis)
  • The “Moses Years” (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy)
  • Moving into the Promised Land (Joshua)
  • Period of the Judges (Judges, part of 1 Samuel)
  • Period of the Kings (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, most of the prophets)
  • After the Captivity (Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther, Malachi)

In June our Resting at the River’s Edge reading plan has us leaving the period of the Judges and moving into the period of the kings as we read 1st and 2nd Samuel. First Samuel begins with the grief of a woman who has been unable to bear children and ends with the death of Israel’s first king, Saul. Second Samuel begins with David learning of Saul’s death and carries us through most of David’s Kingship.

 A study of the life of David has been rich food for Christians for 2,000 years. There is much we can learn from the life of this key figure of the Old Testament.

Have you ever been to a church that had problems? I mean real problems? The church in Corinth was messed up six ways to Sunday, but Paul still found some good things to say about them. This month in Resting at the River’s Edge, we’ll dive into Paul’s two letters to the Corinthian church. Read along with us as we watch how this master church planter tries to straighten out this can of worms.


To download a PDF of June’s reading schedule, click here.

April Reading

June Reading Plan

Enjoy your time at the river’s edge this month!

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In 2 Samuel 22, David sings a long song of praise to God. As I read it, I couldn’t help but think about David’s life.

David’s Life
As a young boy, David was anointed to be the king of Israel…then sent back to tend his father’s sheep. The youngest of many sons, as he grew older, he was treated as the annoying little brother.  After killing Goliath, he had three different responsibilities that seem a strange mix of talents: He became a warrior for King Saul, he tended to his father’s sheep, and he was taken into King Saul’s court to play the harp for him when Saul was anxious. During this time, he seemed to shuttle back and forth between the responsibilities. That seems like a pretty strange life to me: One day playing for the king, the next day tending sheep. It would have been easy for him to begin to resent the trips back and forth or the difference between sleeping in the king’s palace and sleeping near the sheep.

During that time, David developed a deep friendship with Saul’s son Jonathan. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime friendships. But the friendship was torn from him when Saul became irrationally enraged at David and sought to kill him. Saul’s anger sent David on the run for many years, and he sometimes came within minutes of losing his life.

Eventually Saul died and David became king. There were some good years, but even the good years were filled with fighting wars. War is not pretty and it’s not good.

There was the dalliance with Bathsheba, and the death of David’s son as a result of it. David knew it was because of his sin that his son died. What a heavy burden to carry.

David had many sons and daughters. Tamar was one of his beautiful young daughters; she had an equally good looking brother Absalom. Life was good…until Tamar was raped by a half-brother, Amnon. Absalom killed Amnon then fled to live in exile. On that day, he lost two sons.

Eventually Absalom becomes bitter toward his father, David, and sought to kill him. David was again on the run for his life.

Eventually, Absalom was killed by David’s men, and David mourned the loss of another child.

Absalom’s death restored David to the throne of Israel, which carried with it the responsibility to fight more wars to protect the country. At one point, Scripture describes David as “weak and exhausted,” cornered by his enemy and about to be killed (2 Samuel 21:15-16). One of his soldiers came to his rescue.

David’s one desire was to build a temple for the Lord. The Lord said “thanks, but no thanks.” David was a man of war and the Lord would not give him permission to build the temple. He gave him permission to gather all the supplies so that his son, Solomon, could build the temple. While I imagine it would have been a blessing to know that his son would be able to build the temple, I can’t help but imagine that there was a bittersweetness to it because it was something David so longed to do.

Eventually David died and was buried.

David’s Song
My point in reiterating all of this is to say that this mighty man of God lived a pretty crappy life, by my standards. He was unappreciated by his family, his best friend was ripped from him by a crazy father and king. He spent years on the run because that king was to kill him, then years later he spent more time on the run because his own son was trying to kill him. (He’d done nothing to provoke the anger of either.) His son died and the responsibility for that death was laid at David’s feet. His daughter was raped, and two more sons were killed because of it. David’s burning desire was to build a temple for God and God only allowed him to collect supplies. Even during the good times, his life was full of the horrors of war and the separation from his family.

And yet, 2 Samuel 22 (as well as many of the Psalms) records David’s song of praise to the God.

The Source of David’s Song
As I reflected on David’s life and his reaction to it, I realized that it is not an easy life that puts a song of praise in our mouth. It is not money and the adulation of others. It is not being rich in family and friends. It is not even fulfilling the purpose for which God has created us. Those things might bring a measure of happiness, a measure of ease of living, but it is not from those things that our song of praise truly resonates. It is from the nearness of God in the midst of trial that our faith is built and our love for a Savior is forged.

In chapter 22 of 2 Samuel, David’s song of praise rings out. “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my savior,” he sings. David knew God as the One who is faithful, strong and able to save. Had he not experienced the wars in his life, he would not have truly known God ability to rescue the one who needs to be rescued. David described his need for God’s help: “The waves of death surrounded me; the floods of destruction swept over me…But in my distress I cried out to the Lord…He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry reached His ears.”

David knew that God heard his cry, and he then described God’s powerful response in the eleven verses that follow. His description illustrates a God that moved heaven and earth to rescue His servant. He sang of the quaking of the earth and the thundering of the Lord from heaven, and in verses 16 and 17 he summarized what happened: “Then at the command of the Lord…He reached down from heaven and rescued me.”

The lyrics of David’s song are strong and forceful and they leave no doubt that David had been in the dire straits and that God had delivered him. In fact, he concluded that portion of the song with verse 19: “They attacked me at a moment when I was weakest, but the Lord upheld me.”

David finished his song with 31 additional verses proclaiming God’s goodness, faithfulness, strength, and love. “The Lord lives!” David sang out. “Blessed by my rock! May God, the rock of my salvation, be exalted!…O Lord, I will praise You among the nations; I will sing joyfully to Your name.”

It is a powerful song written under the influence of the Holy Spirit to extol the power of a living, active God. (Click here to read the entire song.)

Let me reiterate, it was not the goodness of the Lord in good times that David sang about. It was God’s goodness when David was at his weakest.

My Secret
Want to know one of my dirty-little-secrets? Come close. Here it is: I’d like to have a cushy life. I’d like to not have to worry about having too many things to do or not enough money to pay the bills or the pain in my left knee. I’d like things to be easy. And sometimes I get frustrated and tired when they’re not.

Stories like David’s, a man described by God as “a man after my own heart,” remind me that my desires are still so unholy, so unsanctified, so untransformed. The word “holy” really means “set apart” or “totally other than.” To have a faith and love like David had, in the midst of the life David lived, would be “totally other than” anyone else I know.

I’ve taken some punches in the past few years. I bet you have, too. I have a book title in my head, but I know that I haven’t turned the corner enough to be able to write the book. The title is Dancing with a Broken Wing. It’s about dancing with joy out of a background of pain. David was a dancer.

David’s Secret
David’s secret, is that his focus was on the Lord, not on his trials. Read the song. Yes, he tells what dire trouble he was in, but it’s a necessary part of the story. Look at the number of verses given to the trouble compared to the number of verses gloriously given to the power of God. David’s focus is on the awesome power, faithfulness and goodness of His God. And it is that focus that enables Him to sing a song of praise instead of a lament of the troubles of life.

The words of David in Psalm 16 confirm that David’s joy came from focusing on the Lord instead of his own situation:

8      I have set the LORD always before me.
       Because he is at my right hand,
       I will not be shaken. 
9      Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
       my body also will rest secure, 
10    because you will not abandon me to the grave,
       nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 
11    You have made known to me the path of life;
       you will fill me with joy in your presence,
       with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

David’s joy came from his confidence in a God who held David firmly in His hand and who transcended time and space to enjoy being “present” with David during David’s life and through eternity.

Did you catch all three of those things? Let me reiterate them in the first person:

  1. God holds me firmly in His hand – I need not be shaken!
  2. God transcends time and space to come down to my level so that I can enjoy His presence – and what unspeakable joy those encounters bring!
  3. God transcends time and space to take me to His presence after my life on this earth is over – eternal pleasures!

It’s a word I use in almost every blog, but I have to say it again – Wow! My problems, no matter how big or small, truly are insignificant when I fix these three thoughts in my mind. God is so very good! Why would I want to focus on the problems of this life when I’ve got such a great God?

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1David sang this song to the LORD after the LORD had rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul.

2These are the words he sang:

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;

3    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold,
my high tower, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.

4    I will call on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
for he saves me from my enemies.


5    “The waves of death surrounded me;
the floods of destruction swept over me.


6    The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
death itself stared me in the face.


7    But in my distress I cried out to the LORD;
yes, I called to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry reached his ears.


8    “Then the earth quaked and trembled;
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they quaked because of his anger.


9    Smoke poured from his nostrils;
fierce flames leaped from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.


10    He opened the heavens and came down;
dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.


11    Mounted on a mighty angel, he flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.


12    He shrouded himself in darkness,
veiling his approach with dense rain clouds.


13    A great brightness shone before him,
and bolts of lightning blazed forth.


14    The LORD thundered from heaven;
the Most High gave a mighty shout.


15    He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
his lightning flashed, and they were confused.


16    Then at the command of the LORD,
at the blast of his breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.


17    “He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.


18    He delivered me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.


19    They attacked me at a moment when I was weakest,
but the LORD upheld me.


20    He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me.


21    The LORD rewarded me for doing right;
he compensated me because of my innocence.


22    For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.


23    For all his laws are constantly before me;
I have never abandoned his principles.


24    I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin.


25    The LORD rewarded me for doing right,
because of my innocence in his sight.


26    “To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
to those with integrity you show integrity.


27    To the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the wicked you show yourself hostile.


28    You rescue those who are humble,
but your eyes are on the proud to humiliate them.


29    O LORD, you are my light;
yes, LORD, you light up my darkness.


30    In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall.


31    “As for God, his way is perfect.
All the LORD’S promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.


32    For who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is a solid rock?


33    God is my strong fortress;
he has made my way safe.


34    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
leading me safely along the mountain heights.


35    He prepares me for battle;
he strengthens me to draw a bow of bronze.


36    You have given me the shield of your salvation;
your help has made me great.


37    You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.


38    “I chased my enemies and destroyed them;
I did not stop until they were conquered.


39    I consumed them; I struck them down so they could not get up;
they fell beneath my feet.


40    You have armed me with strength for the battle;
you have subdued my enemies under my feet.


41    You made them turn and run;
I have destroyed all who hated me.


42    They called for help, but no one came to rescue them.
They cried to the LORD, but he refused to answer them.


43    I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth;
I swept them into the gutter like dirt.


44    “You gave me victory over my accusers.
You preserved me as the ruler over nations;
people I don’t even know now serve me.


45    Foreigners cringe before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they submit.


46    They all lose their courage
and come trembling from their strongholds.


47    “The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock!
May God, the rock of my salvation, be exalted!


48    He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
he subdues the nations under me

49    and rescues me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
you save me from violent opponents.


50    For this, O LORD, I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing joyfully to your name.


51    You give great victories to your king;
you show unfailing love to your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.”

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