I skipped 2 weeks of the blog here while spending time away with Betsy and our two girls in Hawaii. I spent a third week playing catch up from the 2 weeks away and I'm back in the blogging saddle as of today. We're in Week 41 of 2017 and picking up our reading plan there which you can access below. Sorry if my time off through you off in any way. I'm excited to get back into the rhythm of bible reading and journaling here.
2 Samuel 6:16-23
Well we're diving back in here to an interesting text that requires some thoughtful engagement. At it's core this is passage is about the presence of the Lord, and therefore the blessing of the Lord, returning to Israel through the recovery of the Ark of the Covenant. What we in these verses are two different responses to the presence of God reflected in two different approaches to worship.
Obviously, this is a significant event worthy of celebration and David enters into that in a full hearted freedom. As King of Israel, he knew more than anyone how essential the presence and power of God was to their flourishing as a people. Therefore, David danced before the Lord in worship, while his wife, Michal, looked on in embarrassment. I wonder which of these you tend toward...
David's personality is one of emotional expressiveness. David is utterly overwhelmed by the joy and relief and expectation that comes with God's renewed presence among them. There is personal excitement for David, but also the scaled joy of knowing the larger ramifications. He is overcome with gatitude toward God and belief that His presence changes everything. David loses sight of himself because he is fixated on the glory of God, the power of God and the faithfulness of God that have reinvigorated him with hope and anticipation.
Some of us encounter the presence of God and are undone by it. Depending on personality, maybe it takes expressions of dancing and leaping like David. Maybe you close your eyes and lift your hands, or kneel quietly and focus reverantially on the Lord's goodness. Whatever outward expression our response of worship takes is not super important. It's that in the presence of God we become hyper focused on God. Beholding the glory of Christ distracts us from the smallness of our own lives and releases us from the pettiness of our own egos, if only for a few moments.
For some of us, we no longer care what we look like or sound like, or how others may be perceiving us. We just get lost in the infinite perfections of Jesus, and our whole person gets gripped by the glories and grace of God.
On the other hand, v. 16 says that Michal, "despised him in her heart." Her resentment of him and his expression of worship was not surface level... it was deep. And she gives voice to that when he returns home, sarcastically pointing out how undignified and foolish he looked. There is no indication that David was naked in a public worship setting, but that his wife felt he was dressed down... that appeared and acted in manner not befitting a king.
This was the daughter of Saul as the text reminds us. She's grown up in royalty. She has been conditioned to value propriety and decorum and to always be mindful of appearances. Now she's married to the new king, and rather than handling himself in a regal and refined manor, he loses his sense of "appropriateness".
Some of us encounter the Lord's presence and retain self-consciousness. We don't want to appear out of control or too deeply affected and so we keep managing appearances. We're worried that others may be looking or watching and defining us by some uncharacteristic and embarrassing behavior. We're afraid that we'll look stupid or foolish and be made fun of or thought little of. We can't get fully excited about God's presence because we're too concerned with managing people's perceptions.
God's presence and power provoke a response from us. The question is whether it will provoke self-forgetfulness in light of His surpassing worth, or self-preoccupation in light of our inflated thoughts of us which diminish his infinite worth.
2 Samuel 7:1-17
This is ultimate reality in a nutshell. The presence of the Lord giving us rest on all sides from our surrounding enemies. Life is filled with anxiety, tension, stress and striving. We labor to survive, defend, pretend, protect ourselves and those we care about from all manor of attacks and assaults. We grapple for peace, internally and externally. We’re grope for understanding of things within us and all around us. We grind for success and progress personally, relationally and vocationally. We grasp after fulfillment and pleasure and a sense of meaning and purpose. The world, the flesh and the devil constantly creating new temptations, trials and tests…
Jesus invades that space. He comes to live and dwell among us. To fulfill the impossible demands of God’s law and to defeat the law of sin and death. He is brutally killed, victoriously raised, gloriously ascended, and powerfully revealed as Savior, Lord, Christ and King by the Holy Spirit who bears witness to his supremacy so that we might believe and receive new life… a life of rest on all sides, from all our surrounding enemies. As Augustine said, “our hearts will be restless until they find rest in you.”
David was drawn in to some sense of that reality in 2 Samuel 7. And the ultimate experience of that reality is promised in v. 16, when God promises to David, “your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
That never diluted, never diminished, never ending peace and rest on all sides from all our surrounding enemies would come through the line of David, through the son of David, Jesus Christ. Solomon was surely a son to David through which the promise of v. 14-16 are kept, but they’re ultimate fulfillment is in Jesus… as the hymn says,
*When fears are stilled
and strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all,
here in the love of Christ I stand
2 Samuel 7:18-29
This prayer of David's is just loaded with sound doctrine and rich theological truth. If we were to take this at face value, just these 12 verses have this to say about God...
- God is Sovereign over our lives... he directs our steps (v. 18)
- The most surprising and unlikely things God does with our lives, are small for him... his power is far beyond anything we can get our heads around.(v. 19)
- God knows the future. (v. 19)
- God speaks and communicates to with his people. (v. 19)
- God knows us intimately... there is nothing hidden from him. (v. 20)
- God's mercy and blessing are a gift of grace... that is they are not deserved or earned but according to his own heart and his own promises. (v. 21)
- God is faithul and dependable. (v. 21)
- God reveals his grace, and makes it known to his people... that is he discloses his love and his heart to us. (v. 21)
- God is great! He is above all things and beyond all things. He is transcendant. (v. 22)
- God is incomparable... there is no other god besides Him. He alone is God. (v. 22)
- God is a redeemer. (v. 23)
- He mighty and miraculous and awesome. (v. 23)
- He displays his glory and upholds his glory and does all things for his glory. (v. 23)
- He establishes a people according to his own will and for his own pleasure. (v. 24)
- He is a God who keeps his promises and honors his word. He is utterly truthful. (v. 25)
- His word and his name and his glory are forever... he is eternal. (v. 25-26)
- Not only is he eternal, but the life and peace and joy of his people is eternal. (v. 26)
- We know nothing of ultimate reality apart from God's revelation. (v. 27)
- Even our courage to pray comes from God and who he has revealed himself to be... we pray to him and believe because he's shown himself trustworthy. (v. 27)
- God's promises are true and good. (v. 28)
- What God's word declares determines what is (v. 29)
- God gladly blesses his people... he delights to graciously extend his favor and honor his word to us. (v. 29)
- We are SERVANTS of the Lord... we belong to Him... our purpose is to advance His purpose and display His glory. (v. 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29)
This is a pretty good starting point for knowing who God is... I wonder if our thoughts of God and prayers to God reflect the loftiness of David's thoughts of God and his prayer to God.
Maybe today is a good day to pray and declare to the Lord what you believe about him... write it down. It doesn't have to be comprehensive list of what you believe about God, but at least take some time to make an extensive list... Do it for your own sake to calrify your own thoughts of God. You may find just thinking about him helps to bolster and reaffirm your faith. Or maybe this process reveals your thoughts about God are too fuzzy and too small. And you need to read and pray and study and get clearer and loftier and more accurate in your understanding of who God has revealed himself to be.
2 Samuel 8
2 Samuel 9