Monday, July 30, 2018

S.S. Lesson 7-29-18 Level Grove Baptist

Yesterday, I had the privilege of teaching my mother's single ladies SS class, as mother is tapped to teach on every 5th Sunday.  I was visiting for a family reunion on Saturday and, at mother's request, stayed over on Sunday to teach in her stead.  Here are my teaching notes from that 30-minute lesson.
I'll return to Genesis in my next post.

5 Themes in 2 Samuel 19:1-15 {text for the lesson}
(Overall theme:  Restoration)

1.  Loss of a Child
The Bible is a book of riveting stories of people and their encounters with the One, True God.  These are frequently grossly imperfect people, hallelujah, because I don't know about you, but I.Am.One.
If all, or even most, of the people in the Bible were super-saintly, we might get discouraged into thinking that  following Jesus was impossible.

David reacted to this victory not as a victorious, triumphant king, but rather as a father who has experienced a great loss.  First, he "lost" his son through his son's extreme rebellion against his father's rule.  That is a terrible kind of pain, to have rebellious children.  My husband and I have raised two young men, with some wonderful qualities, but at this stage in their lives, following hard after God is not one of those qualities!  To see your children going through a stage where they reject God and/or their parent's authority/love is very painful, as some of you know.
Then, he lost Absolom "forever".
I can't even relate to that.
Mention story of family with 3 small children who died in house fire this past couple of weeks.

***David's 20 sons from 7+ wives, plus an untold number through several concubines.

The named sons are as follows. First those born in Hebron:
  • Amnon, David's firstborn, born in Hebron to Ahinoam of Jezreel. Absalom killed him after he raped Absalom's full sister, Tamar.
  • Kileab (or Daniel), second son, whose mother was Abigail from Carmel. He probably died young since there is no record of his life.
  • Absalom, the third son, born to Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. He was killed by Joab (1 Chronicles 3:1-2) after he mounted a rebellion against his aging father David.
  • Adonijah, the fourth son of King David from Haggith (2 Samuel 3:4). He attempted to usurp the throne during the life of David (1 Kings 1:11ff). Solomon had him executed.[3]
  • Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital.
  • Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, "David’s wife".
The sons born to David in Jerusalem included the sons of Bathsheba
  • The product of their initial sin, the 7-day old infant boy who died without being named [4]
  • Shimea, or Shammua, probably the first surviving child of Bathsheba
  • Shobab, from Bathsheba
  • Nathan (son of David), Bathsheba the ancestor of Jesus according to the Genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:31, considered by some to be the maternal line via Heli, possible father of Mary.  This is NOT the same as Nathan the prophet, although this son might have been named after him.  Nathan, the prophet was a contemporary of David's.
  • Solomon, Bathsheba, the ancestor of Jesus according to the Genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, often considered to be Joseph's line.
Nine other sons born of other wives
  • Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet, and one further unnamed son, who would also have died in infancy.

{Note: Some sources name only 19 sons, and 19 is the number Dr. Bryan James gave in his sermon which followed my lesson this morning.}

David's intense grief made the people, particularly the soldiers, who had gone out there and put their very lives on the line for the glory of God and the salvation of Israel, feel ashamed.  So, they slunk away.

2.  The Difficulty of a Right Perspective
David's problem was not in what he knew; it was in what he forgot.  He forgot that, even in the light of the most tragic circumstances, God is still in control.  Before you can take right action, your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and perspective must be right.  It is human to grieve a tremendous loss.  It is godly and supernatural to grieve while also worshipping our omniscient, omnipotent God for His perfect plan.

3.  Doing the Hard Thing, but the Right Thing
***First Joab:  Imagine Joab's conflict in killing Absolom.  He viewed Absolom as a spoiled wicked youth, a false traitor to his king and country, whom Israel should have been happily rid of.  Accordingly, he made the hard decision to kill him.  He was a trained soldier, whose first priority was to King David and to the security of the country.  He had remained loyal to David, when the Absolom rebellion began, and thought that David's behavior in light of such a great victory was ridiculous!
***Joab's second hard decision was to confront the king as to his foolish behavior.  The NET version says it like this:   I realize now that if Absolom were alive and all of us were dead today, it would be all right with you.  "What can be more absurd than to love thy enemies and hate thy friends?’’
Joab realized that, if he did not get David to "re-frame", the hard-won recent victory on the battlefield would be for nothing.
***David had to tell his deep feelings to take a back seat to right action.  God had called him to be a father, but also to be a king over Israel.  In this situation, while both were important, one had to take precedence, that being his role as king.  I remember as a school principal, there were several times when the school was in danger from potential outside attackers (bank robber, out-of-control parent with weapon, staff member spouse, tornado warning, etc.  At those times, even when my own child was a student, I did not have the luxury of giving in to my emotions.  Thankfully, God gave me the grace and strength to focus on the more immediate problem.
In David's case, Absolom was dead and no amount of weeping and wailing was going to change that, to bring him back.  Focusing on what he could not change nearly cost him his future.

4.  Taking Correction
***It is never easy to take correction, and it is even harder to give it.  When you have someone not skilled in reproof, paired with the receiver who does not easily receive it, chaos, hurt feelings and larger problems can result.  Both roles take "skill", which I would define as submitting to the Holy Spirit, for the believer.  When we sally forth to correct someone else's fault, full of pride and gleeful condescension, we almost always mess it up.  When we feel the Holy Spirit's leading to advise or correct, we need to bathe that in prayer and make sure it is not coming out of our own carnal selves.  Then, we need to ask God to give us the wisdom to deliver the correction with gentleness and humility.  Joab was in crisis mode.  He was neither gentle nor meek.  He basically "kicked David's butt out of cry-baby mode".
***To David's credit, he received the correction much better than Joab gave it.  Notice in verse 8 that David did not argue with Joab.  He got up, shook off his grief, washed his face, and returned to being the king God had appointed him to be.  This is similar, in a way, to how he grieved the loss of his first son with Bathsheeba.  If you recall, when that baby was dying, he cried out to God for all it was worth, begging God to save the child's life.  But, once the child had died, he washed himself, put on "good" clothes, sat down and ate a meal.  His companions were astonished at the change.  But, he explained that the child was dead and nothing he did could bring him back.  Sort of like "flipping a switch".  This story is recorded in 2 Samuel 12:16-23.

5.  Leadership
***Even though the immediate battle had been won, the kingdom had not been restored to David in the aftermath of the battle and victory.  Some of the people had anointed Absolom king over them, at the start of Absolom's rebellion, and they were not sure about bringing David back as king over them.  They had made a wrong choice in rejecting God's true king over them, and now they were miserable and confused.
***In a very wise move, David did not force himself back onto the throne.  He only wished to return to rule over Israel if he could rule over ALL Israel, as anything less would bring only more unrest and bloodshed.  He requested the voluntary submission of his kinsmen.  The tribe of Judah, David's tribe, was the LAST tribe to bring him back!  His closest kinsman!  We do not always find the most kindness from those from whom we have most reason to expect it.  Jesus conducted most of his earthly ministry out of the fishing town of Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee, not out of his hometown of Nazareth.
***David chose two, skilled envoys to his home tribe.  Sometimes, we are not always our best messengers.  I sell Beautycounter cosmetics, as some of you know.  One of the training points we are told is that, often, a prospect will be moved by a short video or a print article or some other "envoy" than our yammering, stammering voice.  So, as I speak to people about our company's mission and our products, I try to be sensitive to my prospect and judge well the method that would best speak to her.  In David's case, he realized he needed some "powerful persuaders".  So, he chose Abiathar and Zadok, a couple of influential priests to speak on his behalf.
***And, one of the Judah kinsmen, Amasa, had commanded Absolom's army, in rebellion of the king!  Yet, in a conciliatory move, David replaces Joab with Amasa, as commander of the king's army.  Why else did he do this?   Well, most immediately, it was to put Joab into his place for disobeying David's command to "deal gently with" Absolom.   (2 Samuel 18:5)  Joab had done the "right thing", politically.  But, he had done so in direct violation of the king's orders, and paid a terrible price.  Later on, you will study that he actively participated in a future rebellion against David, perhaps because he felt he had been dealt with unfairly on this occasion here.  And, if you look in 1 Kings 1 and 2, you will see that David asked his son, Solomon, to kill Joab when the time was right, to avenge the blood Joab had spilled against the king's and the Lord's command.
***David's refusal to force his way back onto the throne pictures and pre-figures the approach God through His Holy Spirit takes with us.  Jesus says in Revelation 3:20&21 - - Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If any man hear my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and him with me."
***David's leadership skills won the day.  He had left Israel as a desperate fugitive, rejected by the nation and hunted by his son, Absolom.  He returned escorted by thousands of enthusiastic supporters. 
He did not barge back into Jerusalem as a conqueror.  He sailed back in as a prince.
Pre-figures Jesus Christ's return as our Prince of Peace.


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