The wayyyyyy too brief overview of 2 Samuel
The second part of Samuel is equally enticing as the first part, if not more exciting! God shows up and shows out by delivering the people of Israel a true king for the ages.
If we know anything about history’s greatest royalties; Charlemagne, Cleopatra, King Louis XIV; it is that their walks to throne were filled with battles, dramatic romances, or great falls with redemption. The same can be said for God’s greatest human king of all time! Here is David’s quick overview:
The beginning of 2 Samuel marks the tragic ends of King Saul and Prince Jonathan’s lives. David can finally step into the golden shoes of leadership. But not without a few hiccups along the way…
Meanwhile, the late Saul’s lead army commander Abner, takes it upon himself to declare Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth, the next king over Israel. David reigns over Judah while Ish-Bosheth rules over Israel.
Yet again, this leads to major war between the house of David and house of Saul, through his bloodline.
Even after Saul’s death, David still has to put up with his family shenanigans through a divided kingdom! Eventually, commander Abner is killed shortly after siding with David (p.s. David has nothing to do with this murder.) With the amazing commander gone, Saul’s son is quickly conquered and David gains the entire kingdom of Israel.
The Fall of King David
If you start to feel a little jealous reading about the oh so perfect King David closest to God’s heart, this chapter reveals that he was still human just like the rest of us.
One fateful evening on the palace roof, David spots a beautiful woman named Bathsheba bathing. (He was what we would call a modern day ‘peeping Tom.’) David becomes so deeply love struck by her beauty that he has her husband killed in war. That way, no one suspects anything when he swoops in and steals the new widow away. Unfortunately for him, a prophet named Nathan sees through his lies and makes his future punishments clear due to his disobedience towards the Lord.
A major punishment that stems from the fall of David, comes to life in the form of his wicked son Absalom. First, Absalom kills his brother, who pretty much signed his own death certificate with the awful crime he’d committed earlier. Then, Absalom rallies an army of faithful followers with his beauty and royalty to overthrow his own father as king.
David is heartbroken to fight a war against his son but soon yields. While in battle, Absalom meets a really gruesome death! Fleeing on a mule, his beautiful hair gets tangled in tree branches and he is hung while David’s army commander finishes the job. (Sort of reminds you of the headless horseman.)
The main takeaway yet is that through all the wars, punishments, and deaths, David remains faithful to the Lord.
Now we can finally close the book of the faithful King David. 2 Samuel nicely ties up the end of his reign, but if you want more information on David and his kingdom, take a quick visit over to Overview Bible!
Now let’s jump into how to relate this book and its messages relate to our everyday lives as young adults in the 21st century!
Big Takeaway #1 – Kindness always wins.
2 Samuel 2:4-6 “When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this.”
Even though we would expect King David to click his heels in the air at the announcement of Saul’s death, he does the exact opposite. His heart and soul are filled with anguish over the loss of God’s previous anointed king.
Once he learns that some men from Jabesh Gilead properly bury Saul’s body, his mind overflows with relief. In this verse, he shows his gratitude by blessing the men and swearing kindness upon their people.
The big takeaway for us young adults from 2 Samuel 2:4-6
No matter the situation, David always showed unrelenting kindness to others!
Even despite his horror-filled past constantly on the run, David gave respect and love to the people of Israel like no other man in his era.
His beautiful heart is what allowed him to sew a patch into God’s quilt of favor. The Bible reveals several times that David was a man after the Lord’s own heart. There is an obvious reason for that: he showed the kind of Kindness the Lord shows to us.
We don’t have to be super-strong warriors like Joshua and Samson or incredibly wise like Moses and the prophet Samuel. A caring heart, that is willing to take care of others, is all we need to move the Lord. David became Isreal’s greatest King because of it, think about what you could do?
Big Takeaway #2 – Nobody is perfect and God always gives you a chance to redeem.
2 Samuel 12:8-9 “I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all of Israel and Judah. And if this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?”
A wise prophet named Nathan comes to David after his ‘hidden‘ sin with Bathsheba. (David stole Bathsheba as one of his wives from another man and then sent that man out to battle that he know he wouldn’t win, ultimately killing him.)
He tells him a short tale that goes something like this: A rich man and a poor man live in a town. The rich man has hundreds of flocks of sheep while the poor man only has one lamb he loves like his own child. When a traveler comes to the town, the rich man decides to kill the poor man’s sheep to cook up for dinner rather than taking his own.
This sad tale infuriates the king. Little does he yet to know, this tale is Nathan’s way of telling David that he knows of the sin he committed. Nathan speaks the words of God in this scene to a disheartened David.
The big takeaway for us young adults from 2 Samuel 12:8-9
No one is perfect.
Let’s repeat that again. No one is perfect!
We are all bound to make mistakes and fall short to the glory of God. The good news?
God doesn’t expect perfection from us! He understands that we all have our times of worldly weakness. That’s exactly what differentiates us from Him after all. We are imperfect humans. That’s why it’s crazy important that we follow the Lord into repentance.
Too many times, we like to blame our mess ups on, “Ahh I’m human, ahhh it’s natural.” And although this is true, it’s not an excuse for us to continuously fall down. When babies finally learn how to walk, they look towards running next. They don’t revert back to crawling!
We should always be striving to do the same: running towards being as close to the Lord, in likeness, as possible.
Big Takeaway #3 – Give the glory to the Lord.
2 Samuel 23:2-4 “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning and like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the Earth.”
David dedicates lovely songs of praise and worship to the mighty Lord in his final moments of life. Reminiscing on all the challenges he’s overcome with heavenly help from above, all the melodies of his last days show thankfulness and joy to the One who gave him everything.
The big takeaway for us young adults from 2 Samuel 23:2-4
Even in his final days and leading up to it, David took no glory for himself but instead gave everything up to God.
As he recounts his time as King he mentions that everything was done only by the hands of God. He doesn’t take a single ounce of pride or glory for himself. Because of this humble behavior, the Lord delivered earthly glory to David.
David understood that it wasn’t just enough to be righteous and a good person, but to guide through God’s word as well. Being a good person may get you far, but leading with God and following his footsteps will get you much farther. Looking at the lives of all the obedient leaders in the bible such as Noah or Jesus himself proves that there are riches in God’s word and treasures of life to be collected for following Him.
Up Next – 1 Kings
Samuel isn’t the only book of the Bible split in two because of all the juicy detail. Follow along with the next book, 1 Kings, here!