The Political Threats to David’s Reign

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-4-41-29-pmKings are more frequently surrounded by those who want power or favours, than genuine friends; and it can hard to find genuine supporters who aren’t in your camp to reap some benefit. David was no exception.

CGP Grey sums up how precarious David’s position was in his video, *“The Rules for Rulers.” In order for any king to maintain power, he must have loyal supporters who he has adequately rewarded, (e.g. financially, in terms of status and by granting property,) otherwise anyone who can offer them a greater reward can amass enough support to overthrow them. This is why the unrighteous Joab, who had murdered Abner, was allowed to lead David’s army after securing Jerusalem for David. He was a key and had to be rewarded rather than discarded, no matter how unsuitable he was. [Ref. 1 Samuel 3 and 1 Chronicles 11] An underpaid and under-appreciated army general could easily look the other way in an organised revolt, if promised a better deal from someone else. In 1 Kings 1, Joab did jump ship when he thought David was near to death, in order to ingratiate himself to the expected new king, Adonijah, and keep his status safe. That proved how shallow his loyalty really was.

There is plenty of evidence of dirty politics going on around David’s palace, even though his court was made up mainly of members of his immediate and extended family in order to quell disputes. Aside from **Absalom’s rebellion, here are some of the key issues which David’s reign faced, which are reflected in the Psalms. (This is not an exhaustive list. There is the revolt of Sheba in 2 Samuel 20 which appears to have been prompted by his favouritism towards his own tribe, which is mentioned in 2 Samuel 19:41-43; hatred shown by Shimei in 2 Samuel 16:5-14 and the problems of a new king who didn’t trust David which led to a war in 2 Samuel 10.)
29200701_mr3x3xrrr
Usurp Threats

The Psalms speak repeatedly of David being in danger as his position is coveted by others wanting power. This never stopped throughout his lifetime and had to be part of the reason why David held an illegal census in 2 Samuel 24. Being deeply fearful of being usurped and murdered was one of David’s greatest fears and it was one which always left him extremely stressed. While David was a very strong, capable man, everyone has their achilles heel and this seems to be David’s, which is understandable. If he’d been killed, the perpetrator would also have killed his entire family and many of his supporters, so there was a lot of responsibility on him.

From the time that Saul tried to arrest David in his home, to the time when David handed the throne of Isra’el over to Solomon, the danger never ended. That period covers over fifty years.

“And now, [Lord] in my old age, don’t set me aside.
Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.
For my enemies are whispering against me.
They are plotting together to kill me.
They say, “God has abandoned him.
Let’s go and get him,
for no one will help him now.” Psalm 71:9-11
29200701_mr3x3xrrr
Bribery Attempts

“Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from You;
may Your eyes see what is right.
Though You probe my heart,
though You examine me at night and test me,
You will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
through what Your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to Your paths;
my feet have not stumbled.
I call on You, my God, for You will answer me;
turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of Your great love,
You who save by Your right hand
those who take refuge in You from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
hide me in the shadow of Your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.” Psalm 17:1-9

A king who rules under the law of the Lord will fall foul of ungodly men, and this would have been a constant challenge to David. Pulling them into line would put David’s life at risk again, as they would want him removed to save their position and increase their power. There are a number of verses which speak of corruption among Isra’el’s leaders.

“Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word?
Do you judge the people fairly?
No! You plot injustice in your hearts.
You spread violence throughout the land.” Psalm 58:1-2
29200701_mr3x3xrrr

Theft Allegations

“Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
Those who hate me without cause
outnumber the hairs on my head.
Many enemies try to destroy me with lies,
demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.” Psalm 69:1-4

I have no idea what incident this referred to, but David’s words speak clearly enough. If you want to  replace a king, create a scandal which will discredit him enough to lose his popularity with the people. Think about how much rumour and malice occurs in the short reign of a modern politician. How much more garbage can go down over a forty year reign? There must be far more to David’s story than has been recorded.
29200701_mr3x3xrrr
David’s Reactions: The Census

All these factors could have contributed to why David ordered an illegal Census in 1 Chronicles 21, so he knew how many able bodied men could be called into service. The events leading up to the Census aren’t clear. 2 Samuel 24 talk about a drought, and before that, there was the revolt of Sheba which some scholars attribute David’s decision to take a census to. In 1 Chronicles 21 the preceding event is the war with the Ammonites which had been a very hard won victory, but which had appeared back in 2 Samuel 10. The cause may be something which just isn’t mentioned in our Bibles at all.

2 Samuel 24:1 says, “Once again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. “Go and count the people of Israel and Judah,” the LORD told him.” and 1 Chronicles 21:1 says, “Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel.” It seems like God, Satan and David were all unhappy with Israel, but it was David’s choice to resist temptation and do the right thing. This was the only area where he acted like Saul and gave into fear and anger.
29200701_mr3x3xrrr
David’s Reactions: The Psalms

As always David turns to his greatest weapon to deal with these problems: prayer and praise. Over time, he seemed to have worked out how to deal with these stresses better. In Psalm 39:1-5 he speaks of learning to hold his tongue and in Psalm 37 he encourages us by saying:

“Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and He will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for Him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.” Psalm 37:5-9

yhryhrHe also determined to deliberately stay away from bad influences. Psalm 101:2-7

“I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a *blameless heart.  (*integrity, perfect)
I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile.   (evil, wicked, base)
I hate what *faithless people do;  (*those who fall away or turn away  from God)
I will have no part in it. (won’t cleave to)
The *perverse of heart shall be far from me; (*devious, perverted, evil, fraudulent)
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
Whoever slanders their neighbour in secret,
I will put to silence;
whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,
I will not tolerate.
My eyes will be on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
the one whose walk is blameless
will minister to me.
No one who practices deceit
will dwell in my house;
no one who speaks falsely
will stand in my presence.”

David has the final word on how to handle the chaos in this Psalm:

“I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.”  Psalm 62:1-2 (Cross reference Psalm 131:2)
29200701_mr3x3xrrr
Notes

*The Rules for Rulers https://youtu.be/rStL7niR7gs  Based on “The Dictators Handbook” by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith  “Why Bad Behaviour is Almost Always Good Politics.” The second video in the series Death and Dynasties is also helpful for understanding David’s position. https://youtu.be/ig_qpNfXHIU

**Absalom: 2 Samuel chapters 13-18 recount Absalom’s story. For an explanation of Absalom’s mental status (sociopathic), please read this article: http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32723


kdpcpyrght

Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

Advertisements

Mercy In The Middle

40297092_m“I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me Your unfailing love in wonderful ways.” Psalm 17:6-7a

There has been a great deal of upheaval in my life which has resulted in a lot of hurt, and grief. In the middle of this, it’s been hard to trust God. At times I have clung to Him, and at other times, I have been very angry that He allowed me to get into a situation where I would be so badly damaged and disillusioned. I completely went to pieces one night, and God finally got through to me that He was still there, I just hadn’t been able to reach Him as I have been stuck in my own pain and couldn’t see straight.

I felt awful. It is the same as when you accuse someone of something they haven’t done, then find out you were wrong. What could I do but apologise? The greatest thing was He responded with, “That’s what I am here for.” No offence was taken. He could handle the assault on His character, and it didn’t in any way harm our relationship. That’s pretty special. I don’t know too many people who could do that so easily, and with so much love.

When I taught Sunday School, we sang songs with the children about God’s love being so high you can’t climb over it, so low you can’t climb under it and so wide you can’t get around it. They were action songs, and they were a lot of fun. The basic message was, you just can’t dent God enough for Him to stop loving you. What I have learned in the meantime is, I cannot comprehend just how great God’s love for me is. I get little glimpses every so often that blow my mind, but the full size, is way beyond me. I know He treats me better than any person has or will and that is as much as I can get my head around for now.

The trouble with really understanding where we stand with God is, He is so different. I know there are lots of Scriptures that teach us about how He thinks and feels about us, but it is not the same as seeing a smile on His face when He sees me, or giving me a hug when I need it. It takes longer for me to learn to trust Him, and believe how special I am because of that. I like some evidence, and due to His patience and great mercy over the years, He has given me some when needed. It never seems to be enough though, when I am walking through the blackest periods of my life.

One of the songs which has helped me is written by Amy Grant and talks about a little girl, who is now grown up, who was sexually abused. The lyrics are:
“Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens,
Where did He go, in the middle of her shame?
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens,
She says His mercy is bringing her life againshe’s coming to life again.
He’s in the middle of her pain,
In the middle of her shame He’s in the middle,
Mercy in the middle”

It’s that one line I cling to. “Mercy in the middle.” That is what He gives me. No lectures when things go wrong, no screaming or blaming, no control and manipulation. Love and mercy. It’s so precious to me. It is one hundred percent acceptance, and no one has given me that before.

There are many Scriptures that talk of grace, but I have never understood what it means. So many of the words in the Bible I skim over, and never go looking for the real meaning, but last weekend I looked up grace, and the meaning touched me. Grace is so simple. I’ve heard it called “God’s riches at Christ’s expense” and know all about how it relates to God forgiving our sins etc. Grace is just simply love. Loving-kindness and goodwill. That is how God treats us, with love, and kindness. He wants the best for us (goodwill), so He gives us the best in how He heals, provides for, and forgives us.

Don’t we all long so much for love? It is there, if we reach out to Him and receive it. For me, it means in the middle of my anger and pain and frustration, God pushed aside the wrong things I thought and said, and was just there for me. We’re loved so much. He won’t leave us, He just doesn’t want to. He is completely absorbed in our care.

I don’t think I will ever understand God’s love, because my human mind is just not built to take in something so wonderful. All I can do is regard Him in awe and express my gratitude. Guaranteed, even with this lesson learnt, at some stage in the future I will get angry and do the wrong thing again. However, every time something goes wrong and the Lord reaches out to me, I slowly get stronger and more secure in His love. It is a process, and a great journey of discovery. I am so grateful He has never given up on me, no matter what.

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread Your protection over them,
that all who love Your name may be filled with joy.
For You bless the godly, O LORD;
you surround them with Your shield of love.” Psalm 5:11-12


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

Being Still In The Lord – For Those Who Prefer Action

Folkert Gorter DSC_0631_1_900“God You can tell the waves ‘be still’
Tell the ocean roar to pass
Lord until it does
I’ll wait here…
And I will sing songs in the night
Praise in the storm – You’re God it in all
And I will stand – I’ll be still and know
Whatever may come, You’re God in it all” [*Source below.]

Stillness is not my natural habitat. I like to get things done. I prefer neat, timely answers and something that I can actually, physically do, to get to wherever I need to go. So the idea of being still before the Lord and waiting for His reply, healing, or deliverance is not a comfortable one for me. I am more like the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “My heart, my heart–I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still…” Jeremiah 4:19a

But Scripture clearly says: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 and in the sons of Korah’s words: “Be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10a

Stillness is a spiritual trait we are encouraged to pursue. Being still, means you are not controlling God, or your circumstances; you are stopping and allowing God to be in control. That will always bring the most perfect results, but it is oh, so very, very hard to do.

God won many battles for Isra’el. There were times when the people had to take up arms and fight with the Lord’s active backing, but there were other times when they had to wait on God to do all the work. Nothing has changed. Being still with your focus remaining resolutely on the Lord, continues to be one of the most powerful weapons in our spiritual arsenal.

“I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2

David then emphasises again:

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honour come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8

This is an important point that David is trying to get across.

David was a man of action too. He was an excellent planner and an outstanding warrior. He’d learnt to wait for deliverance in his own life, and knew that deliverance does indeed eventually come. The frustrating, annoying, pivotal piece of the puzzle, that often seemed to be malfunctioning, was the timing of the help. Deliverance can never turn up fast enough! That doesn’t just apply to David, but to us as well. However, until the Lord has worked in the background to accomplish the best possible outcome, wait, we will. It’s the only way.

We have to trust God. He knows what He’s doing.

800px-Harpist_hands_img_4990-bThis is a song that David wrote for pilgrims who would be visiting the new temple in Jerusalem, once Solomon had built it. Again, he is emphasising the need for letting God be in control: not people. It puts things into perspective. God sees every aspect of every trial we face, whereas we only see one side. Leaving the decision making to Him is a wise move.

“LORD, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2-3

So if you feel that the Lord is telling you to be still, or if you need to be at peace in a long waiting period, here are practical suggestions on how to wait in stillness.

– Don’t retaliate verbally, or in kind, (whatever the offence was.)
– Don’t dive into any decision you don’t feel a peace about, especially if an answer is debt.
– Stop frequent panic praying. You’ll just stress yourself more, trying to force an answer.
– Go do something mindless, e.g. a household job. Sometimes answers come when you’re focussed on something else and not fretting.
– God will act in His time, not yours. Be prepared for a long wait. Things may need to click into place behind the scenes (spiritually, or in other’s lives,) and you can’t force or control that.
– Be prepared for a surprise, as often the answer God gives you doesn’t look like you thought it would; it will be better.
– Don’t try and bargain with God to get an answer. E.g. “If I donate to that cause, would you please?” Whether it’s money, devotion or work you’re willing to give, God is not a vending machine. You cannot put something in, then expect something out.
– Resort to praise when stressing out. Put on your worship music and sing, as David did.
– Don’t let anything convince you that a lack of an immediate answer means that God hasn’t heard you, isn’t acting on your behalf or doesn’t love you.
– In the meantime, list what you are grateful for and go do something small to bless someone else. It will take the focus off you.

Remember that it’s alright to get upset when waiting for an answer. The Word of God encourages us to show God our emotions, and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel scared, hurt or worried. [Ref. Lamentations 2:19 and 1 Peter 5:7] It can be frustrating; David suffered the same way. Just let stress lead you back to dependence on God, not into taking matters into your own hands and blaming the Lord.

*Lyric source: “Songs in the Night” by Matt Redman, off his album, Unbroken Praise
Words and Music by Jason Ingram, Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman © 2015

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not even a human warrior could care for Isra’el as the Lord did. This is a quick list of the battles the Lord won / engineered for Isra’el. Who else compares to this?

  • Crossing the Red Sea – Exodus 14
  • Victory over the Amalekites – Exodus 17:8-16
  • Promise to fight for the people – Exodus 23:27-31 and Deuteronomy 7:7-8
  • Jordan River dry crossing – Joshua 3:15-16
  • Fall of Jericho – Joshua 6:20-21
  • Ai – Joshua 8
  • Amonites – Joshua 10:11
  • North captured for Isra’el – Joshua 11:16-20, especially verse 23
  • South captured for Isra’el – Joshua 10:40-42
  • Deborah and Barak – Judges 4:14-15
  • Gideon – Judges 7
  • Samson – Judges 16, especially verse 30
  • Ark of the Covenant against the Philistines – 1 Samuel 7
  • Jonathan against the Philistines – 1 Samuel 14
  • David and Eleazar son of Dodai – 2 Samuel 23
  • David and Shammah son of Agee – 2 Samuel 23

Battles Won for Judah

  • God defeated the army of Jeroboam as Abijah and his army trusted God. 2 Chronicles 13
  • God saves King Jehoshaphat in battle – 2 Chronicles 18
  • Battle with Ammon, Moab, and some of the Meunites – 2 Chronicles 20
  • God helped Uzziah in his wars against the Philistines – 2 Chronicles 26
  • Rescue of Judah under the leadership of the righteous King Hezekiah – 2 Kings 19

 


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Resolutions of a King ~ #Bible #psalm #Christian

2016nyres2

I was reading a list of suggested New Year Resolutions for the Pope, last week. While the list (which was not written by either the Pope, or the Vatican), had some great suggestions, it had me thinking about what David would list as his resolutions. The first five may not be very surprising, but after that, some are unexpected.

The cross references to the resolutions is separate, so the resolutions are in David’s own voice. Psalm 101 is included below, as it was the source of the idea. I have added additional clarification of the wording.

God bless you all.

The Resolutions:

  1. Praise the Lord at all times.
  2. Boast only in the Lord, and glorify His Name, not my own.
  3. Pray in the morning and the evening, especially when things get rough.
  4. Meditate on the Word of God, and His goodness.
  5. Wait patiently for God’s help and hope only in Him.
  6. Be strong and courageous.
  7. Work to make what I say and what I think, pleasing to the Lord.
  8. Fulfil my promises to God.
  9. Spend my time around Godly people.
  10. Manage my anger.
  11. Tell people about God.
  12. Act in a godly way within my own home, so I have no guilt in my heart.

 

Ichthus_gold
References to match the resolutions:
  1. Psalms 56:10, 31:7, 34:1
  2. Psalms 34:2, 86:13
  3. Psalm 55:16-17
  4. Psalm 63:6
  5. Psalms 22:14, 62:1-2 and 5-6, 37:7 39:7, 52:9b
  6. Psalm 27:14
  7. Psalms 19:14, 101:3
  8. Psalms 22:25, 61:8
  9. Psalms 16:3, 101:4-7 – not the worthless, wicked or evil.
  10. Psalms 4:4-5, 37:8
  11. Psalms 40:9-10, 51:12-13, 71:15
  12. Psalm 101:2
Ichthus_gold

Psalm 101:  A Psalm of David

I will sing of your love and justice;
 to you, Lord, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life:
 when will you come to me?
 I will conduct the affairs of my house
 with a *blameless heart.                    (*integrity, perfect)
I will not look with approval
 on anything that is *vile.                  (*evil, wicked, base)
 I hate what *faithless people do;           (*those who fall away or turn away from God)
 I will have no part in it.                  (won't cleave to)
The *perverse of heart shall be far from me; (*devious, perverted, evil, fraudulent)
 I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
Whoever slanders their neighbour in secret,
 I will put to silence;
 whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,
 I will not tolerate.
My eyes will be on the faithful in the land,
 that they may dwell with me;
 the one whose walk is blameless
 will minister to me.
No one who practices deceit
 will dwell in my house;
 no one who speaks falsely
 will stand in my presence.
Every morning I will put to silence
 all the wicked in the land;
 I will cut off every evildoer
 from the city of the Lord.                      New Living Translation


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.