2 Samuel 13-24
- Absalom: There seems to be a great deal of chaos even in the household of one who is said to be “after God’s own heart.” How has sin played a role in the difficulties of David’s household? How does David deal with the problems? Absalom takes revenge on Amnon, 2 Samuel 13, is brought back to Jerusalem, but is excluded from the household, 2 Samuel 14, the he begins actively seeking to undermine David’s position, 2 Samuel 15-17.
- David’s Faith: Try to understand what role David’s faith plays in this by examining 2 Samuel 15:25-26, 31 and 2 Samuel 16:10-12. Was some of the trouble perhaps David’s fault? Does that matter? His song in 2 Samuel 22 relates his reliance upon the Lord. How can one claim to be obedient, blameless, righteous, clean, merciful, and pure and yet also HUMBLE? 2 Samuel 22:23-28.
- Restoration: As David’s rule is restored, more fractured relationships appear, and more drama unfolds.
- A broken vow: 2 Samuel 21: Saul had attacked the Gibeonites despite the vow that Israel had made to them, Joshua 9. Now they were suffering a famine for it. Sin has consequences, and the good student of the Bible will search the text for the connection. They found relief from the famine, 2 Samuel 21:14.
- The just king: David’s oracle in 2 Samuel 23 speaks of life under a good king, 2 Samuel 23:3-4. How does this describe Jesus, the ultimate king from the house of David? Notice the clear promise to future generations in verse 5!
- Sin versus God: 2 Samuel 24:1 attributes the incitement of David to the Lord while 1 Chronicles 21:1 attributes the incitement to Satan. This displays the tension in this fallen world. David and Satan are both clearly guilty of sin in this episode (David repents), yet God accomplishes his purpose anyway. This is a tension that we all must come to grips with. In all this, God is not guilty of sin, but is just in all that he does. The two hard facts we must hold onto are these:
- Satan and mankind are absolutely responsible for their sins no matter what God accomplishes as a result.
- God is always accomplishing his plans despite the sins of Satan and mankind. This is all grace because he is ultimately accomplishing redemption in Jesus Christ.
- “We” in Acts 28:1 is a reminder that Luke is accompanying Paul on this adventure. Wow, what a trip!
- No detours: Their time on Malta is a reminder that there are no detours in the service of God. The gospel is preached and people are converted! They spend three months there – plenty of time to provide a good foundation for a church.
- Family everywhere: As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have family all over the world. Acts 28:14 shows that they found friends in Puteoli, and stayed there with them seven days.
- Gospel work continued: Paul spent two whole years ministering from prison in Rome. His great liberty allowed him much success. One of the themes of the book of Acts is the fulfillment of the prediction of Jesus in Acts 1:8. Note how this is still relevant today as the gospel continues to spread. Some have described how the ending of the book of Acts is “anti-climactic,” compared to the exciting narrative of the previous chapters. However, what could be more exciting than the fact that it continues even to this day? The Holy Spirit inspires God’s people to fulfill his will on the earth in the face of constant opposition.
- Gospel: Gospel literally means “good news,” and is the primary subject of this letter. Paul is eager to preach the gospel, Romans 1:15, and that is literally what he does from 1:16 onward. In Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed” is a literary device called understatement. It’s when something is understated, but the result is actually to show an emphasis. Here, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” should be taken to mean, “I am emphatically the opposite of ashamed about the gospel.” It’s common in dry humor. The gospel is the good news of the salvation plan of God.
- Righteousness: The word ‘righteous’ or ‘righteousness’ appears about 41 times in the book of Romans. It may be good to pay attention to it. In a broad sense it means, “state of him who is as he ought to be.” (ESL) In the biblical sense, righteous refers to a condition acceptable to God. Righteousness therefore can be thought of as a state of being “right standing according God.” There are two sense in which the righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel, Romans 1:17. In the first, God’s righteousness is revealed in that he justly deals with sin, Romans 3:25-26. In the second, it is the righteousness of God that is actually imputed to, or given to, the one who has faith in Jesus Christ, Romans 3:21-22. See also this thread: Matthew 5:6, 10, 20, 6:1, 33.
- Paul: Paul had not been to Rome when he wrote this, although we know that he was acquainted with people there. See Acts 18:2; Romans 16:3-16.
- General revelation: Revelation from God is generally thought of in two classes, general and special. Special revelation would be things like the Bible, the proclamation of the gospel, Jesus Christ himself, the work of the Holy Spirit. General revelation would include the testimony of creation concerning God, as in Romans 1:18-20, and the inward testimony of people concerning God, as in Romans 2:14-15. Take note of these verses because these explain so much about our existence. Romans 2:14-15 explains the moral and religious impulses common to all mankind. Romans 1:18-10 points us to the fact that everything we see points to a creator – the fact that he is, and what he must be like. Unfortunately, all This general revelation is never sufficient to save a person, but is more than sufficient to make them “without excuse” before God. Salvation requires special revelation. See John 6:44, 63-65, Romans 10:14-15.
- Universal guilt: Paul spends a great deal of time between Romans 1:18 and Romans 3:20 showing that both Gentiles and Jews are guilty of sin and without excuse before the Lord. The gospel begins here. How can a person be saved if they are not aware of their need for salvation? In all this then, what are we ultimately being saved from? Consider Romans 1:18a. If the Law (Old Testament) was not sufficient to save, then what was its purpose according to Romans 3:19-20?
- Justification by faith: To justify means to make righteous, or declare to be righteous. Romans 3:28 says clearly that “we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” In other words, we are made righteous through our faith. This is how salvation is accomplished, and this is a critically important concept to understand. We are justified (saved) by grace through faith, and not by works, Ephesians 2:8-10. However, true faith will always show itself in works. Good works are the result of salvation, not the cause of it. James 2:14-26 is a passage that many say contradict this truth, but when analyzed, we see that James is arguing that true faith is always accompanied by works. This is backed up by two examples he uses – Abraham and Rahab – and a whole list of those who had BOTH faith and works in Hebrews 11. But if we see that works always accompany true faith, we can understand how James can say, “you see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” He is simply saying that faith without works is not a genuine faith that can justify. We can also say that no one is justified who does not show works. All these passages harmonize when you understand the relationship between faith and works.
- Psalm 3 – Salvation belongs to the Lord. After reading the account in 2 Samuel, can you believe that David “lay down and slept”?
- Psalm 34 – Seek the Lord! What a fantastic promise in Psalm 34:22. A true statement!
- Psalm 18 – See notes on 2 Samuel 22.