2 Kings; 2 Legacies

Posted: August 26, 2010 in 1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 10-11, “2 Kings; 2 Legacies”
—————-

What do you want your legacy to be? It’s not a topic we generally think about outside of funerals – yet if we wait until our funeral, it’s too late to set one! It’s when people look back across our lives that they’ll see either a legacy of someone who lived their life unto the glory of God, or someone who lived for themselves. We’ll see a contrast in legacies tonight.

The Chronicler has already introduced King David in the form of genealogical histories – he’s covered the family of David in depth. In the chapters we’re looking at tonight, we move beyond the person of David to the reign of David – in which the author is going to spend the remaining time throughout the book of 1 Chronicles.

However, David wasn’t the 1st legitimate king of Israel. To truly look at how God honored Himself through the covenants He made with the people & kings, we’ve got to back up a little bit. Thus the author starts off with a brief profile of a man who was initially chosen by God, but lived in life-long disobedience to God.

1 Chronicles 10 (NKJV)
1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 Then the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons. And the Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons.

A. Referring to Saul’s last battle. In essence, Saul’s entire reign as king has been skipped over by the Chronicler. Saul had indeed been chosen of the Lord after the people of Israel demanded a king from Samuel. Samuel anointed Saul & barely two years after he been crowned king, he offered an unlawful sacrifice to God, attempting to act as both king AND priest in defiance of the law of God. As a result, Samuel pronounced that Saul would have the kingdom taken from him & God would find for Himself “a man after His own heart” (1 Sam 13:14). Obviously the man was David & for the remainder of Saul’s reign, Saul gave only the barest lip-service to God (in spite of God using him to prophesy on several occasions), and alternately loved & persecuted David, knowing that David & not his own son would succeed him on the throne. Saul is a character study in missed opportunity…truly a wasted life.
B. Why doesn’t the author of Chronicles pay much attention to Saul? Because he’s vastly more concerned with the covenant of God – and that was made through David. David was the one to whom God promised an “everlasting kingdom” & it was in that covenant promise in which the hopes of the people rested. God’s covenant helped maintain a national identity through the time of captivity… Most importantly, God’s covenant left a promise of a future Davidic king: the Messiah.

a. How important it is to cling to the promises of God! These aren’t merely words on a page in a dusty book – these are iron-clad promises made by your Creator God concerning eternity! Every single thing He says is true – every single promise yet to be fulfilled WILL be fulfilled in Christ Jesus, with no doubt. The promise that Jesus is the Resurrection & the Life? True. The promise that we will live in eternity with Him? True. The promise that our sins are absolutely forgiven? True. The promise that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us? True. The promise that Jesus will come again & receive us to Himself? True! The promises of God aren’t merely something to fill our heads with & answer trivia question on…the promise of God is that in which we can absolutely hope & trust! It’s all true – all proven through Jesus Christ!

C. Regarding the immediate context, Saul has entered into his last battle, and it’s proven tragic for him & his family. Saul’s most capable sons (including David’s best friend Jonathan) were killed. …

a. The author is going to make this plain in vs. 13, but the main reason for the outcome of this battle was the sin of King Saul. Obviously his personal sin affected far more people than just himself – it had a tragic effect on his sons as well. Sin always hurts other people…

3 The battle became fierce against Saul. The archers hit him, and he was wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armorbearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and abuse me.” But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it. 5 And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died.

A. Matches up with 1 Samuel 31. There was an Amalekite in 2 Samuel 1 that attempted to claim credit for Saul’s death, but he was obviously lying. This is the true history of Saul’s death, and the author gives no credit to the Amalekite story.
B. What Saul asked his armorbearer to do wasn’t an entirely unusual request. Besides being in a great amount of pain, Saul didn’t want the Philistine army claiming credit for actually taking the life of the king of Israel. On the other hand, the armorbearer was absolutely correct in fearing to follow through on the direct command of the king. Saul was the anointed one of God; like David before him, the armorbearer did not want to be guilty of laying hands on the Lord’s anointed. [David – 1 Sam 24, 26]

a. Saul was not a good king, but he was still God’s choice for king. Today, our King is truly good! The anointed One of God is the Son of God, Jesus Christ – yet there are people who still try to attack Him & work against the Lord Jesus. [The “new” atheists] There can be no more foolish thing for them in which to engage. Like Saul prior to his conversion, they attempt to persecute Jesus Himself, and in the end they find themselves working against God. (Even if they claim God doesn’t exist, they will eventually find out to the contrary.)

C. Ends with a tragic double-suicide. This was not unusual for the times or for the circumstances (Saul died to end pain; the armor-bearer died for honor) – but it was still tragic. [] Suicide is always tragic because life is not ours to end. It’s up to God.

6 So Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together.

A. Question: did ALL of Saul’s house die in this particular battle? All of Saul’s relations & the royal household? Of course not. There were still people related to Saul who maintained animosity against David’s house for quite some time (Ishbosheth being one)… However, all those who could properly (and somewhat easily) lay a lasting claim to the throne of Israel died in battle with Saul & thus his dynasty died with him. Though a son of Saul sat on the throne for a time, he couldn’t keep it – the dynasty died out.

7 And when all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that they had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their cities and fled; then the Philistines came and dwelt in them. 8 So it happened the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 And they stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent word throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among the people. 10 Then they put his armor in the temple of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.

A. Complete disgrace to his body…
B. Saul’s sin caused the pagans to rejoice & gloat… As David would find out later regarding his own sin with Bathsheba, when the people who are called by God’s name sin, it gives those who hate God a reason to blaspheme God. Paul referred to this when knocking down the self-righteousness of the Jew. Romans 2:23-24 (23) You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? (24) For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written. [] The same thing happens today. When people who claim the name of Christ are publicly exposed in their sin, those who are looking for a reason to hate God claim: “See! I told you all those Christians were hypocrites!”, etc. Let’s not give them a reason to gloat! Our actions ought to point people towards the Lord Jesus; not drive them away from the Savior…

11 And when all Jabesh Gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons; and they brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

A. The people of Jabesh Gilead had quite a history with Saul. One of Saul’s very 1st acts as king (one of his best moments) was to rally the nation of Israel together to go & rescue Jabesh Gilead from an Ammonite attack (1 Sam 11). Years later, the people show loyalty towards their fallen king, by retrieving his body and attempted to make the best of a terrible situation.

13 So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. 14 But he did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

A. Scripture is very clear on the matter: Saul died as a direct consequence of his sin… Saul had sinned on many other occasions – this seems to have been the proverbial “last straw.” This was the sin that “led unto death.” A couple of different levels to it:

a. Disobedience. The vast majority of Saul’s reign could be characterized by the phrase, “he did not keep the word of the Lord.” Specifically this was a reference to his sin in withholding the judgment of God from the Amalekites (1 Sam 28:18). Saul was supposed to utterly destroy them in battle (1 Sam 15), but he spared the king & kept some of the spoil for himself in defiance of God’s command. The prophet Samuel came in, personally killed King Agag (hacked him to pieces), and proclaimed again that God had rejected Saul from being king.

i. We are not saved by our obedience (we’re saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone!), but may we never come to a point where we think obedience doesn’t matter to God. It does! (1 Sam 15:22)

b. Witchcraft: Leading up to the battle, Saul had not heard from the Lord (the Chronicler implies that Saul wasn’t truly seeking God, though it seems he went through the motions – 1 Sam 28:6). After doing the “religious” thing, he sought out a medium/witch to bring up the prophet Samuel from the dead. … Blatant act of lawlessness! Even the witch knew she was breaking the law of the king (1 Sam 28:9)…she acted with more integrity than the king of Israel.

B. Who killed Saul: the Philistines or God? God. God used the Philistine arrow to bring His judgment, but the Bible is perfectly plain: “therefore He [God] killed him.” Some might try to lessen the impact of this or try to write it off in some way…don’t do it. God is absolutely just & righteous & had every right to execute judgment on Saul. Saul had been given opportunity after opportunity to repent, and he consistently refused to do so. God is indeed a God of love, but He is equally a God of justice.
C. Out of this tragedy came something absolutely wonderful! God “turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” That doesn’t minimize the responsibility Saul had for his sin, nor does it lessen the tragedy of he & all his sons dying in battle. BUT it does illustrate how God can use what was the result of evil & bring something truly good out of it in the end. [] The ultimate example of this is the cross!

1 Chronicles 11 (NKJV)
1 Then all Israel came together to David at Hebron, saying, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. 2 Also, in time past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD your God said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over My people Israel.’ ” 3 Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD. And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel.

A. Although the Chronicler doesn’t address it, quite a bit of time passed from Saul’s death to the pronouncement of Israel to David. 7 years went by as Saul’s old general Abner attempted to rule the northern tribes through Saul’s weak son Ishbosheth. When Ishbosheth tried to make Abner submit to him, Abner simply defected over to David (and Abner was promptly killed as a result of a blood-feud with Joab). Meanwhile, some people attempting to gain favor with David go into Ishbosheth’s bedroom & murder him, cut off his head & bring it to David. David executes judgment on them, and it was only after those events that the elders of the tribes of Israel come to David & receive him as king. (2 Sam 3-4).
B. Why did Israel receive David? Two main reasons listed here:

a. David was faithful in his service. The people had seen his years of military exploits (and had even sung his praises at one time), and they knew what he was capable of. [Be faithful in the little things…]
b. David had the pronouncement of God. Most importantly, God had assigned David to this duty, and it was recognized by the people. In actuality the people didn’t make David king, GOD made David king. The people simply recognized publicly what God had already done. [like ordination]

C. Keep in mind that it had been decades since David received the prophecy from Samuel. [anointed as a young man in front of his brothers – 1 Sam 16] Although David had been serving the Lord all his life, there was a long time between his initial call & the fulfillment of what he had been called to do. Between the initial anointing & the coronation as king, he served as a royal musician – fought Goliath – led armies – married the king’s daughter – ran for his life – got in trouble with other kings – wrote numerous psalms, and more. He had a long wait to see God’s word fulfilled – yet it was fulfilled at exactly the right time. Similar wait with Paul. After his conversion & personal commissioning by the Lord Jesus (Acts 9), he was shipped off to Tarsus for years & was virtually forgotten until Barnabus went to go seek him out & bring him back to Antioch (Acts 11). Even then, they didn’t begin any missionary work until much later (Acts 13). Sometimes we simply need to wait.

a. The question some Christians face is similar. “I know God has something for me to do, but I’m not sure what.” Or “I know God wants me to do ____, but I just don’t seem to have the opportunity.” What do you do in the meantime? Be faithful… [] Regardless of what your individual ministry calling may be, we’re ALL called to be faithful in many things of the Lord: love God, love one another, make disciples, provide for our families, etc… Be faithful with what the Lord has put right in front of you before you ask for anything else…

4 And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. 5 But the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, “You shall not come in here!” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).

A. It seems that Jebusites were in Jerusalem long past the initial conquest of Joshua… Why hadn’t they been driven out? Disobedience on behalf of the people. They SHOULD have been driven out generations prior to David, but they had been allowed to remain.
B. David finally does the job, and uses it as an opportunity to challenge the leadership in his army to take a step of faith. See vs. 6…

6 Now David said, “Whoever attacks the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain.” And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and became chief. 7 Then David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore they called it the City of David. 8 And he built the city around it, from the Millo to the surrounding area. Joab repaired the rest of the city.

A. The parallel passage in 2 Samuel 5 didn’t mention this particular challenge, but apparently David laid it out to his men, and Joab was the one who responded. Jerusalem is built upon a hill, and is a traditionally tough city to attack (hence all the attacks they endured from the Babylonians, etc.), but Joab was up to the task & under his leadership, the army seemingly took the city from the Jebusites in one try.

a. Sometimes we need to be challenged! Spiritually speaking, sometimes we don’t really know what God will do through us until we take a step of faith. [Jonathan vs. the Philistines – 1 Sam 14] Maybe you’ve been challenged lately to share your faith more – or go on a mission trip – or reach out to a hard-hearted family member. Step out in faith & see what God will do…

B. Joab was a distant cousin to David & already had quite a bit of history with David prior to this point. He had already been serving as the chief & captain; this battle confirmed it in the eyes of David & the people.

9 So David went on and became great, and the LORD of hosts was with him.

A. Why was David great? Not because of David; because of the Lord! All glory goes to God at all times…
B. Love that title! “LORD of hosts” = the Lord of armies. Obviously God Himself doesn’t need any armies – He is absolutely omnipotent; there is nothing too hard for Him to do. He could wipe out whole nations with a word, if He so desired. Satan himself is no match for Almighty God…He is a God of sheer power! Yet on top of His omnipotence, the Lord God commands the mighty heavenly armies of angels. Jesus spoke of whole angelic legions that would assist Him at the command of God (Mt 26:53) – Elisha saw the heavenly host of God surround the Syrian army (2 Kings 6:17). There is no limit to the power at God’s command! It’s no wonder that no one can be against us if God is for us – we are under the protection of the Lord of Hosts!

10 Now these were the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.

A. They sided with the one who was on the Lord’s side…
B. Interesting that in the account of 1-2 Samuel, the mighty men of David were listed at the very end of the book. Here, they’re listed at the beginning.

11 And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had: Jashobeam the son of a Hachmonite, chief of the captains; he had lifted up his spear against three hundred, killed by him at one time.

A. 1 vs. 300? HUGE victory! The version in 2 Samuel mentions 800 – it’s possible this was a copyist error, but either way this is obviously a supernatural victory by God.

12 After him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men. 13 He was with David at Pasdammim. Now there the Philistines were gathered for battle, and there was a piece of ground full of barley. So the people fled from the Philistines. 14 But they stationed themselves in the middle of that field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the LORD brought about a great victory.

A. Everyone else ran for their lives, but Eleazar & his men stood their ground to fight.
B. Recognized that it was a God-empowered victory…

15 Now three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the army of the Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 16 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 17 And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” 18 So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD. 19 And he said, “Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.

A. Just a little insight to the amount of love & respect the men had for David. They overhear him being a little homesick & wanting a drink from his hometown well (had a different flavor?), and the men risk their lives to go & get it for him. (Like someone today putting their live in danger to bring their commander a Dublin Dr Pepper…)
B. Question: is David being disrespectful to pour it out on the ground? Is he wasting their efforts?! Absolutely not! David rightfully saw that the water he now held in his hand was far too valuable for him to drink. Even the king of Israel was not worthy of such a precious gift – only God was worthy. Thus David gave it as a drink offering to the Lord…

a. Think for a moment how valuable that well-water was. It was too precious to even pass the lips of King David. Consider now with what your soul has been purchased with: the blood of the very Son of God. Our salvation has been bought with the highest of prices!

20 Abishai the brother of Joab was chief of another three. He had lifted up his spear against three hundred men, killed them, and won a name among these three. 21 Of the three he was more honored than the other two men. Therefore he became their captain. However he did not attain to the first three.

A. Abishai was another cousin of David – actually Joab’s brother. Abishai served as another one of David’s generals.
B. Yet as well known as he was, he still didn’t reach the level of some of the people we’ve never heard of. (Notice that none of the men in the well-water from Bethlehem incident were named.)

a. Those that we think are the most important might very well be the least. In the kingdom of God the first shall be last & the last shall be first. Those with the spotlight on them now (like pastors!) might very well be in the back of the line in eternity – whereas someone who’s served faithfully without notice or attention all their lives may receive the highest honors at the throne of Jesus.

22 Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day. 23 And he killed an Egyptian, a man of great height, five cubits tall. In the Egyptian’s hand there was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 24 These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and won a name among three mighty men. 25 Indeed he was more honored than the thirty, but he did not attain to the first three. And David appointed him over his guard.

A. Benaiah was an up & comer in David’s army – he came into his own under the reign of Solomon. After Joab had picked the wrong son of David to side with, Benaiah was one of Solomon’s chief generals.
B. He seemed to have a lot in common with David. He was like David with the lion… He was like David with Goliath… He even used the enemy’s weapons against them (not unlike how David used Goliath’s own sword as his protection)… Was he inspired by David? We don’t know – the Scripture doesn’t tell us (though it’s not unlikely). But he was definitely like his king in many ways.

a. Likewise, we ought to want to be like Jesus…

26 Also the mighty warriors were Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, … [thru vs. 47…]

A. Be sure to read the names (silently, at least!). God preserved them in His word, so they are there for our edification, even if we haven’t a clue who they were. We know this much about them: they served the Lord God through their service to their king.
B. Keep in mind that even if we don’t know anything about them, the initial readers of this book would have recognized them immediately. They were heroes among their own people. Why? If for no other reason, just because of their association with David.

41 Uriah the Hittite, …

A. In the whole list of names, it’d be easy to miss Uriah – but he’s right there in the midst of the rest. Although his betrayal & murder via David isn’t listed in Chronicles, the author doesn’t attempt to whitewash Uriah out of the historical picture. He was one of David’s mighty men, and he’s listed as such.
B. Knowing that he was one of David’s most trusted warriors makes the story with Bathsheba all the more tragic. The adultery, conspiracy, & murder was bad enough – but knowing that he was doing it to a man who would have given his life for the king (perhaps even one of those who risked his life for the water from Bethlehem!) makes the sin all the worse.

Conclusion:
Two very different kings with two very different legacies to leave behind. Even with David’s failings, he was known as a man who followed after the Lord & trusted in the Lord of hosts. And as a result he experienced greatness & victory. On the other hand, Saul lived his life in rebellion against the Lord God & experienced failure & death in return.

Now keep in mind that although the themes are simple here, it’s not quite that formulaic. Just because you walk in faithfulness to God doesn’t mean that you’ll never experience any failures, and that you’ll always experience victory & prosperity in whatever you touch. (Ask Job!) But spiritually those blessings are there! There may be times of material & physical blessing we experience now, but our treasures are truly found in Christ. The victory we experience is wrapped up in His victory – and full revealing of that victory won’t truly take place until we see our Lord face-to-face. Even in David’s life (though the Chronicler skims over much of it), David experienced times of betrayal & despair even when he was doing everything right – but through all of it, his hope was in God.

It’s got to be the same way with us. To expect & demand worldly prosperity from the Lord is to work through the same mistakes as Saul. Saul had indeed been called by God, but instead of submitting to God’s plan for him, he continually rebelled against God & wanted to be his own master & rule over his own life. Saul wanted what Saul wanted – and who cares about what God actually wants? Saul would constantly attempt to use God for his own gain…and it never worked.

On the contrary, David (in the eyes of the world) experienced decades of delays & postponements & trials before experiencing the very thing God had promised him. Yet David never ceased to see the blessing of God during those times. He was faithful to walk with God, and he was spiritually rich beyond imagination.

Let’s learn from their legacies! What about you? Are you experiencing the spiritual blessing of the Lord as you walk in faithfulness to the Lord Jesus? Or are you experiencing the discipline of God due to sin & continued rebellion? Be challenged today: follow hard after Christ!

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