When Assessing Oneís Lifework

Explore the Bible Series

November 9, 2008


Background Passage: II Samuel 5:1-8:18 and I Chronicles 11:1-9; 13:1-14:16; 15:25-16:3; 17:18:17

Lesson Passage: II Samuel 5:9-12; 7:1-5, 8-11, 18-21




After years of hardship as he fled from Saul, David finally enjoyed a period of prosperity and relative peace.The Israelites united under Davidic rule, the Hebrew army vanquished its military rivals, the king established his capital in Jerusalem, and Davidís kingdom expanded. However, the shepherd king did not forget his humble origins.The young monarch learned valuable life-lessons while tending the flocks of Jesse, and he utilized these principles to lead the people of God.


The humble upbringing of David did not seem to portend great things, but God had different plans.Davidís pastoral vocation, during his childhood, prepared him well for his future as king of Israel.Just as he fed, protected, and cared for the sheep, David looked after the needs of Israel.We cannot, it seems, determine if he understood that his labors as a shepherd served as preparation for his royal duties, but the modest work of his childhood schooled him for the greater responsibilities of a king.


Many times the Lordís people may find themselves in circumstances that seem far removed from substantial usefulness in the Kingdom of God.Nevertheless, Godís servants must discern the hand of the Lord as he prepares them for their lifeís work.Only in retrospect will the Lordís design make sense, just as it did in Davidís experience.God does not call all of us ot such extraordinary work like he did with David, but he does have a plan for all.He patiently prepares his children for the work he wants them to accomplish.


As you study this weekís lesson, reflect on the Lordís ďshepherdingĒ responsibility for you.Perhaps you currently see little usefulness in your present responsibilities.Like an ancient shepherd, no one may pay attention to some lonely responsibility that characterizes your present experience.You may feel that God has put you ďon the shelf.ĒTake heart.Perhaps the Lord has a divine appointment for you, and your present circumstances, in ways you cannot anticipate, have prepared you for something remarkable, beyond your wildest imagination.Do well the task for today, and trust the Lord to lead you to greater fruitfulness and usefulness. ††Davidís work as a shepherd foreshadowed the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus.The Son of David referred to himself as the ďgood shepherdĒ (See John 10:14); thus, Davidís labors, in a sense, pointed men to Christ.Like the shepherd of Israel, you too can ask nothing more than to point men to Jesus.



Lesson Outline:


I.                   The Consolidation of Davidís Kingdom (5:1-25)

A.    Israelís recognition of Davidís monarchy (vv. 1-5): Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, governed Israel for two years, but after his assassination, the northern tribes travelled to Hebron to make a covenant with King David. The text indicates that the new king was thirty years old when he began to reign, but it is not clear if this marks Davidís reign from his governance of Judah or from this moment when the kingdom was reunited. Also, he ruled from Hebron for several years before moving his capital to Jerusalem.

B.     The conquest of Jerusalem (vv. 6-16): Jebusite tribesmen held the last Canaanite stronghold in the Land of Promise, and David, as his first act as the ruler of the United Kingdom, determined to attack the inhabitants of Zion (the site of Jerusalem, Davidís future capitol).The Jebusites had opposed Israel since the time of Joshua, and they boastfully taunted David that even the blind and infirmed could defend the city from the Hebrew army. II Samuel only devotes two verses to the battle, a battle that apparently turned on the Hebrew invasion by means of a water conduit that led into the city.Afterward, Hiram of Tyre helped David build an impressive palace, and the king embraced a large harem of wives and concubines.

C.     Davidís two-fold victory over the Philistines (vv. 17-25)

1.      the initial battle at the Valley of Rephaim (vv. 17-21): The Philistines sought to arrest Davidís rise to power by threatening the new king.They arrayed their army in the Valley of Rephaim, a mile-long ravine that stretched to the southwest from Jerusalem.David asked for divine permission to engage the Philistines, and, having received the Lordís approval, the Hebrews struck their enemies at Baal Perazim (ďLord of breaking throughĒóthis name seems to indicate that the Hebrews shattered the Philistine lines). The Philistines, in their haste to abandon the battle field, left their idols behind, and Davidís men confiscated the pagan images.

2.      the second battle at the Valley of Rephaim (vv. 22-25): Again, the Philistines approached Davidís capital, and the Hebrews were forced to defend the city.This time the Lord instructed David to strike his enemy from behind and to await the sound of the wind blowing in the trees.When David struck as God instructed, the Philistines fell to the Hebrew forces.


II.                The Transport of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (6:1-23)

A.    Moving the ark from the house of Abinadab to the house of Obed-edom (vv. 1-4): David wanted to bring the ark to the new capital of Jerusalem, but the Hebrews failed to follow Godís direction for transporting the sacred object (See Exodus 25:12-14 and 37:5). The Law called for the priests to carry the ark on their shoulders, with poles that slid through golden rings.The Hebrews, in this case, transported the ark on an ox-drawn cart.

B.     The death of Uzzah (vv. 5-11): The cart tipped when the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah, one of the sons of Abinadab, reached to steady ark.In anger at Israelís disobedience, God struck dead Uzzah, and David became angry at the Lordís judgment.

C.     The king arranged for a Levite named Obed-edom to house the ark for three months, but eventually the Israelites brought it to Jerusalem.As David celebrated with his people, Michal (daughter of Saul and Davidís wife) despised the exuberant king.After the celebration she scolded David for dancing in the streets (she felt Davidís actions were undignified).The text says that Michal never bore any children.Perhaps David no longer had relations with her, or the Lord may have judged her for despising her husband.


III.             The Continued Expansion of Davidís Kingdom (7:1-8:18)

A.    Davidís plan to build the Temple (7:1-29): David, in an effort to honor the Lord, shared with the Prophet Nathan a plan to build a Temple.At first, Nathan gave his approval, but the Lord redirected the plan.God would indeed have a Temple, but David would not build it; rather, a promised son would construct the glorious building.Furthermore, the Lord established a covenant with the king (See vv. 16-17).After Nathanís assurance of blessing, David composed a hymn of praise to the Lord (See vv. 18-29).

B.     Brief summary of Davidís military exploits (8:1-18)

1.      Philistia (v. 1): David succeeded where Saul had failed.He defeated the Philistines and seized an important settlement at Metheg-ammah.

2.      Moab (v. 2): In this case, David executed two thirds of the Moabites and forced the remnant to pay him tribute. The text does not reveal the kingís motive for this apparent cruelty.

3.      Zobah (vv. 3-8): This tribal group lived in Syria, and Davidís troops defeated this formidable army near Damascus.As a result of this conquest, David confiscated a great treasure of gold and bronze.

4.      Hamath (vv. 9-18): Toi, king of Hamath, heard of Davidís military exploits and determined to appease Israelís king.The men of Hamath agreed to pay tribute to David, articles of gold, silver, and bronze.††The chapter concludes with a summary of Davidís court.Davidís sons were not eligible to serve as priests because they were not from the tribe of Levi.Possibly, this verse refers to the general oversight of the Lord's worship and not directly to the sacrificial responsibilities of the priesthood.