2016-10-23 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato – First Baptist Church Edmonton
“King of Pain & Reign”
Or “The Road to the Throne is Covered with Blood”
2 Sam. 5, 6 selected verses
October 23, 2016
>> see insert of Genesis → David
>> read 1&2 Samuel Quotes
“History is an altogether human enterprise…with All of the ambiguity and flaws of human character”…
I hope this is a phrase of good news for you, right from the get-go!
Today our story is set in 1000 BCE…it’s the story of the biggest hero of Israel’s story…and one of the big names of the First Testament…
David. The Giant-killer. Teenage sensation. Tossed a stone with his rock-sling and slayed the giant. As Goliath gagged and gasped for breath, David took the giant’s sword from the sheath of his belt and cut off his head and carried it by his own hands laying it at the feet of King Saul. (1 Sam 17).
And so the legacy of David began. Shepherd boy turned warrior. Mighty in power, stunningly beautiful and he could play the harp too!
When King Saul drops the ball and loses his crown and his mind and his very own life…who is there to swoop in like a knight in shining armour? DAVID!
Saul has slain his 1000’s, and David his TENS of thousands!
David ascends to the throne of Israel.
He is not only a handsome, skilled combatant, but he is a shrewd strategist. Sure, he consults with YHWH, but his geographical move in today’s story is a strategic one.
In the wake of a grisly civil war where thousands of Israelites die by the sword, the northern kingdom acquiesces to the southern kingdom…
ALL the tribes of Israel gather in the southern capital of Hebron and say “Look! We are your bone and flesh! Yes, Saul was king over us but it was YOU who led out Israel and into a place of prosperity…You shall be our shepherd…You shall rule over Israel!”
And at the ripe young age of 30, David was King of all Israel. Uniting the 12 Tribes and centralizing their worship and proclaiming his Kingship…
But where? Of course! That strategically places and well-fortressed city of Jerusalem.
But first he would need to overtake the Jebusites (longtime enemies of Israel)…they were entrenched in the city and mocked him with taunts like:
“King David, fat chance of you overtaking us! Our blind and our crippled could defend these walls and you wouldn’t stand a ….”
David cries out… “we will overtake them through the water shaft…the Lord will give them into our hands!”
[ Pause ] * more fighting, more overtaking of enemy territory *
>>> This is kind of messy and violent huh?
>> perhaps time for a “why the bible is so messy” reminder:
We read page after page of this kind of thing and think, What’s this doing in the Bible? I don’t want to read about jerks like Abner and Joab. I get enough of their kind in the newspapers and on television. I want good news I want the David story. I want to read about Jesus. What the Bible needs is a good editor. Why waste good gospel ink on Abner and Joab?
Why does the Bible have this stuff in it? If God is working here, speaking here, why don’t things work out better? Why don’t people behave better?
Why are boneheads like Joab and Abner allowed to take up so much space? If God is at the center of things, why does history get so messed up?
The answer is quite obvious, even if uncongenial.
This is the context and company in which God chooses to work out our salvation.
Abner and Joab are also in this story, and the sooner we get used to it the better. We found wonderful companions in this way of faith and discipleship, men of women of grace and beauty, loyalty and prayer: Jonathans and Abigails, Samuels and Ahimelechs
So many people quit reading the Bible or repudiate it: “I can’t read the Bible, especially the Old Testament – – too much fighting, too much brutality.”
That’s exactly why Christians DO read it:
we find God’s purposes being worked out in the precise moral and political, social and cultural conditions that we wake up to each morning, a world of shabby morality and opportunist companions, religious violence, religious propaganda…
[Peterson, Leap over a Wall]
“The Lord will give them into our hands!”
And so it happens. David and his soldiers prevail over the Jebusites.
David occupies the stronghold, and names it the city of David…and David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, is with him.
And David KNOWS the God of hosts is with him…and he won’t keep that all the glory for himself…yes, Jerusalem will be the city of David, but it will also be the “city of our God”…
We skip over some more battles as David continues to establish his reign and put an exclamation mark over his lifelong dominance over the Philistines (they must have really hated David! Shall we call this the McDavid effect? “King David and the new hope for Jerusalem”)
And instead of the promise of a new arena, we read of a “new cart!” [in ch. 6]
There’s a new cart…and a new centre for worship…
And the new cart will usher in a new season for the Ark of God.
David calls for a Stanley Cup style parade…thousands of people make the 8 mile trek west to the rural town of Kiriath Jearim where the ark has been “ark-ived” for 20 years!
And they dust off the ark and with great joy begin the trek to its new resting place…
Uzzah and Ahio are driving the cart and…
DAVID and all the house of Israel are dancing before the LORD with all their might,
With songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.
Whoo – hoo!
It’s quite a scene! A great celebration of national unity, a new beginning,
Worshipping the Lord who had brought all these things to pass…
– – Not to us O Lord, but to thy name be glory – –
And now, 3000 years later…here we are…the People of God, continuing to worship and bring praise before the God of all creation…the God who has been faithful to his promises…and the God who provides for us and leads the way as the protagonist in the story… Paul the Apostle wrote it this way: [1000 years later ]
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but willingly gave him up for us…how will he not, along with him, graciously give us all things.”
So, here we are…in this place of worship, and we look around this room and know that there is faith…and there is folly…sometimes we are wise and wonderful, sometimes we find ourselves very comfortable with our biblical companions who were foolish and displayed all the ambiguities & flaws of human character. . .
[today’s story celebrates the Great David, but just keep reading in the story and you’ll have no shortage of Gastly David!]
But the good news of God’s promise continues through every generation and every character flaw…
God says to us: “I will make you greater and greater…for I, the LORD, the God of hosts, am with you.”
So, in this place…and unto God…week after week….
we centre…on word, worship, table, and the presence of Christ…
in simple, ordinary and accessible elements…bread, wine, water…
And we (dance?) (what do our lives look like when the life of God is flowing around us and flowing through us?)
We come before the Lord, with all our hearts, soul, strength, and mind…we adore our God who SPEAKS – – who PROVIDES – – who SAVES
and we declare the praises and prayers of David, in one of his best “call to worship” Psalms, David waves us in, and declares:
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.