II Samuel 21-24
We are in The Nation Stream and finishing the book of II Samuel. We are reading from the New International Version.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Dear Lord, we see the greatest of Kings in essence getting his house or rather his soul in order as he is preparing to depart and “be gathered to his people”. May we be souls who have the wisdom to number our days and make sure they count for Christ and His Kingdom. Amen.
21 – This chapter wraps up the 9 chapters straight of troubles that sprung up in David’s life since the Bathsheba incident. Virtually all of this is in-house trouble. It’s painful problems that were at an anguish level for David. Life was always turbulent for David since he defeated Goliath. That is the price of leadership. But this last 9 chapters hit close to home since his since was within his own home, among his own home and against his own. One might call the long season of David’s life “when pain hits home.” The incident of the Gibeonites and avenging the wrong done to them to end the famine was simply awful stuff. That’s one thing about the Bible – it doesn’t gloss over how bad things can get as consequence of breaking a treaty before God or from breaking faith with God. The Philistines took one last swipe at David and his kingdom. It’s legendary as giants came forth and Davids’ army struck and finished them all off.
22 – David is sharing one of his last Psalms as he looks back on his life. God has always been faithful. Though David has erred on occasion – David, however, always had unfailing trust in God’s care and David was always grateful knowing that God always took care of him. It’s placement here has us looking back over David’s life which is among the richest of lives ever lived. The adventure, the battles and struggles, the triumphs and devotion, the dark nights his soul walked through, the worship and exultation – this life is what has comprised the best of children’s stories that inspire all ages for 3,000 years.
23 – This is David’s last Psalm and it is an epochal rendition of God’s majestic work of making the Kingdom of Israel. God has been just. His Covenant is righteous. And God’s Kingdom will grow eternally. The list of names of great men and their deeds is like an all=star cast of the superhero movie to end all debates about who is the greatest. It’s really quite something!
24 – The census that was taken at the end of David’s life is an issue of puzzlement and discussion that will go on long after today. To add to a sense of understanding of this reading I Chronicles 21 is the parallel story of this event. All David’s life he trusted in God alone. This seemed to indicate that, since he was in war much of his life, it was his thinking and orientation so he calculated that he needed some numbers to be assured that the kingdom that had expanded under his reign was sufficient. Satan had urged this census be taken and David complied. Joab was right to question the deed but David prevailed. He got his numbers but there was a plague that swept through in exchange for this faithless deed done with fleshly intent.
The reaction of David and the stopping of the plague was classic David – though his action was not right initially, his reaction was proper; to commemorate and remember and build an altar to God. Solomon later built the Temple in this same place (II Chr. 3:1)! It’s marvelous to step back and ponder this, the hand of God that oversees even during and through unfortunate events.