Friday, March 12, 2010

2 Samuel 7-10: Things Are Looking Up

So now that the ark of the covenant is back in Jerusalem, David wants to build a temple for it.  I guess he felt bad that he was living in a big cedar house and "God" was "living" in a tent.  Silly David, God lives in heaven - which I've never seen, but I hear it's much nicer than cedar.  Anyway, David tells the prophet Nathan, who basically acts as David's pastor in this book, and Nathan tells David to go for it.  But then God tells Nathan that was a bad idea and that He never actually asked for a house for Himself.  But then God says that David will have a son who will build God a house, I guess as sort of a compromise since He could tell David really wanted to do it and had good motives and all.  So Nathan gives David the message.  We humans have a tendency to speak too hastily - even pastors and prophets and people like that.  Just because somebody is really close to God doesn't mean they're above speaking presumptuously, and that means you and me too.

David takes the news well and says a really long prayer praising God and thanking Him for His faithfulness to him.

The next chapter is about all David's military victories, and it says that Joab becomes the army commander - bet he was happy about that - and then it says who the priests and so forth were.

The next chapter is one of my favorites.  At this point David thinks about how Saul has been killed, Jonathan's been killed, and even I.B. has been killed, and he asks if there is anybody else alive in Saul's family that he can be nice to before Joab somebody kills them.  And somebody tells them that there is one guy, named Mephibosheth, who is one of Jonathan's sons.  Mephibosheth, on top of having the world's worst name (seriously, it means "exterminating the idol" - what kind of name is that?), is completely lame in both feet because his nurse was a klutz and dropped him when he was a baby.  So Mephibosheth - I'ma call him Meph - is really freaked out to see King David, knowing that most of his relatives have been killed already.  So when David tells Meph that he's going to treat him like a son for the rest of his life, it probably rocks his world.  David kept his covenant with Jonathan after all these years and in spite of all the destruction that's happened in his family so far.  And Meph is grateful - David has won himself a lifelong ally.

Finally, another military story.  David's feeling pretty good about this being nice to others stuff, so he sends a big gift package to the newly crowned king of the Ammonites, whose father has just died, because the king's daddy was friends with King Saul.  But the new king treats David's messengers pretty scandalously, so David sends goes and beats the tar out of them.

So basically these last two chapters tell two stories of doing the right thing, doing something nice for somebody who needs it.  Sometimes when we do the right thing, it works out for us.  The other person is grateful and we get a big happy feeling inside for being generous.  But sometimes when we do the right thing, it's not appreciated.  Sometimes when we do the right thing, people treat us like crap, and there's nothing we can do about it.  Well, we can go beat the tar out of them, but I don't think that's the best thing to do in every situation (or in most situations).  But I think we still have to do the right thing anyway, regardless of how it's going to be taken.

Just don't go to war against people if they're not grateful for your kindness.

No comments: