Established and Exalted (II Samuel 5:1-16)
Topic: II Samuel Passage: 2 Samuel 5:1–5:16
Crying for a King
Established and Exalted
II Samuel 5:1-16
July 14th, 2013
(One Mission: Through Many Tribulations)
I. Suffering Among the Stars
I'm going to guess that a fair number of people gathered here this morning have seen the movie Star Wars. Even if you haven't seen the movie, I'm sure you know it's one of the most popular and highest grossing films of all time. But if you haven't seen it, let me give you a brief synopsis of the story.
The main character is a young man named Luke Skywalker. We come to learn that Luke has lost both of his parents and is living with his aunt and uncle on a harsh desert planet called Tatooine. Not only is Luke an only child and an orphan, but he also feels frustrated and stifled by an uncle who won't let him pursue his dreams. But when Luke comes to own two new robots, little does he know that one of these “droids” is carrying highly-sensitive information: schematics, blueprints of an evil Empire's new weapon. Well, in a matter of days, this Empire comes looking for the droids. Even though Luke is not captured, his aunt and uncle are killed, and he ends up leaving the only home he has ever known.
So there it is. Star Wars! Great story, right? Well, keep that story in mind as we go back to God's word this morning, specifically to the book of II Samuel. Let's look together at II Samuel chapter 5.
II. The Passage: “For the LORD…Was with Him” (4:1-12)
Now, before we dig into this chapter, let me briefly remind you of what we've seen in our previous lessons. Saul was the first king of Israel. But Saul is now dead, and a former shepherd and military leader named David has been anointed king over just one of the twelve tribes of Israel. But through a series of brutal killings that David has clearly not condoned, the last remaining opposition from what is left of both Saul's family and Saul's forces is taken out of the way. Let's look together at verse 1-5 and see what happens with the rest of Israel at this critical juncture. Look with me at II Samuel 5:1...
A. God’s Provision for God’s King: A Kingdom (5:1-5)
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh.  In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’”  So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.  David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.  At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
Now something amazing has happened. You may recall that way back in I Samuel 16, verse 13, the prophet Samuel anointed David, the young shepherd boy, as the new king of Israel. But this is the chapter in which that anointing finally comes to fruition. Twenty chapters later. Twenty chapters...527 verses later David is finally installed as king over all Israel. This is monumental, isn't it. This is a monumental moment in the story of God's people and God's work in this world.
Notice the reasons they are finally recognizing David as king; notice the reasons given by the representatives of the tribes. 1) because they, verse 1, are of the same “bone” and “flesh”; that is, they are ultimately part of the same family. 2) of all their leaders, David is the one who led Israel in their greatest victories. And 3) because it was familiar to most people that Yahweh, the God of Israel had chosen David to be the next king of Israel. Even though other leaders and other forces had swayed them in the past, here they are, ready to serve David as their king.
Listen to how one writer talks about the signifiance of this moment:
“…when the northern tribes cite Yahweh’s promises at the Hebron negotiations, the writer wants us to highlight it in our text, as if to say, ‘See there? See how Yahweh’s promise to David has come to pass? See how it has weathered the venom of Saul (I Samuel 18-26), the follies of David (I Samuel 25, 27, 29), the rebellion of the north (II Samuel 2:8-32), and the self-seeking of “friends” (II Samuel 1:1-6; 3:22-30; 4:1-12)? See how Yahweh’s promise has proved firm in the face of intense opposition, chapters and chapters of it since I Samuel 18?’ He implies that all Yahweh’s promises are certain no matter how much resistance they may meet.” (Dale Ralph Davis)
But look at how the writer goes on to highlight God's provision, in light of God's promises. Look at verse 6-10.
B. God’s Provision for God’s King: A Capital (5:6-10)
And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.”  Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.  And David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack ‘the lame and the blind,’ who are hated by David's soul.” [that may indicate how they got into the city, through a underground channel, or how they cut off the water supply and forced the Jebusites out. It's not clear. But as we go on to read...] Therefore it is said, [or here is the background for the familiar saying] “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”  And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Millo inward.  And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.
God has not only provided David with a kingdom, but as we see here, He's also provided him with a capital from which to rule. David had been ruling at Hebron, but that was a city in Judah. If he was king over all Israel, he needed a capital that would be for all Israel.
And Jerusalem was the perfect city: centrally located, fortified, and belonging to none of the tribes. Why didn't it belong to a tribe? Because way back when the Israelites conquered the land under Joshua, this is what we read about Jerusalem:
But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day. (Joshua 15:63)
And similarly, later in the book of Judges we read:
But the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem, so the Jebusites have lived with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day. (Judges 1:21)
But David did what those past generations could not do. Why is that so important? Because it represents a new level of fulfillment in terms of God's promise to give this land to the offspring of Abraham. David is leading God's people into a deeper experience of God's promises. This is why the passage ends the way it does. The capture of the city was important. But what was more important was what it said about David. Verse 10: God was with David, and therefore, He was becoming greater and greater.
But the blessings continue to flow in terms of God's provision for God's king. Look at verse 11 and 12. We read...
C. God’s Provision for God’s King: A Palace (5:11, 12)
And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also carpenters and masons who built David a house.  And David knew that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
Now, the best information available places the reign of Hiram closer the end of David's forty-year reign. But the writer has decided to included this story in this section because it makes the same point so well: God was providing for His king. Not simply a kingdom, not simply a capital, but also a palace; a palace constructed by some of the greatest craftsmen in the ancient Near East.
And in verse 12 we see that none of this is lost on David, is it? David can see that God has blessed Him in amazing ways. But notice David's heart. Notice David's humility. He recognizes that God has blessed him in order to make him a blessing to for God's people. He has both established and exalted David's kingdom so that the covenant community can flourish according to God's word. Is this how we see our blessings? Do we see them as :for the sake of” blessings? Blessings that enable us to bless others, especially God's people?
But there's one last bit that God has provided for us in verse 13-16. Look at what we find there about God's provision. Verse 13...
D. God’s Provision for God’s King: A Heritage (5:13-16)
And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David.  And these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon,  Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia,  Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet. (II Samuel 5:1-16)
Just like we saw in II Samuel 3:2-5, the writer his readers to understand that God was also providing a heritage for David. A kingdom, and capital, and a palace mean very little if a kingdom ends with the death of the king. But as Saul's descendants become fewer and fewer, David's family was becoming larger and larger. Not only were six sons born to David at Hebron, but other sons and daughters were born to David at Jerusalem, including the eleven sons listed here in verses 14-16.
But there's also a hint of trouble in these verses. Verse 13 is a reminder that no matter of exalted David, no matter how blessed he was, he was still a sinner. He was a man of great faith, but he still had his moments of faithlessness. How can I say that? Because this is how God instructed his kings in the law of Moses:
“When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’  you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose... [Only] he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away..." (Deut. 17:14, 15, 17)
III. At the Proper Time
As we talked about a few minutes ago, this is a monumental moment in the story of redemption. But like everything in the Old Testament, this story points to something even more monumental, realities even more pivotal in God's story.
The New Testament makes it clear that David's kingdom simply points us forward to kingdom of David's far off grandson, Jesus Christ. While David led God's people into a fuller experience of God's promises, Jesus perfectly fulfills God's promises to give us the fullness God's blessing. While Zion, the hill on which Jerusalem stood, is at the very center of God's story, Zion only points us to the true Zion. As the writer of Hebrews puts it...
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven... (Hebrews 12:22-23)
And doesn't David's palace point us to the Father's house that Jesus talked about in John 14, the house in which there are many rooms, rooms prepared for us by Jesus Christ? And don't the children of David point us forward to greater heritage that God has given us as His children? This monumental moment should stir us, not only as we think about the fulfillment of God's word to David, but as we think about the fulfillment of God's word to us in Jesus!
But there's something else here. Turn to I Peter 5. Listen to this New Testament passage and think about the way it connects back to II Samuel 5. Beginning with verse 6…
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 5:6-11)
Wow! It's almost as if Peter had been meditating on the story of David, and particularly II Samuel 5, when he wrote these words. Or better yet, doesn't this sound exactly what David would write if he were addressing these suffering Christians?
As we've seen in so many of the lessons from the books of Samuel, David's story has so much to teach us about faith in the midst of suffering. And II Samuel 5 is no exception. Wait a minute, suffering? II Samuel 5 is all about victory and blessing and provision. II Samuel 5 is all about establishment and exaltation. Yes! Yes! That's right! And those are exactly the themes that Peter uses to encourage his beleaguered readers.
If you belong to Christ, then no matter how many trials you face, no matter how much suffering you experience, no matter the level of adversity you must endure, just like David, Peter's is telling us that God will establish and exalt you...at the proper time. David faced it all: deception, betrayal, slander, loss, and all under threat of death. But the four facets of God's provision eclipsed all those things: a kingdom, a capital, a palace, a heritage. In the same way, we need to hold on to the four-fold blessing God has for us beyond the suffering (v. 10): he “will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Do you believe God wants to exalt you? He does. He will. Does that mean some kind of victory in this life or in the life to come? Well, I think it can mean both. I think there are seasons of victory and growth and respite in this life. But I think verse 10 is ultimately pointing us to the ultimate exaltation, to “his eternal glory”. The Apostle Paul similarly encouraged his readers when he wrote: For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison... (II Corinthians 4:17)
What I told you at the outset about Luke Skywalker does not represent the whole of his story, does it? There is more to his story isn't there (Star Wars and two other movies)? There is more than just suffering and loss. Yes, there is more adversity, more conflict, but in the end there is reconciliation and redemption and liberation and victory.
If you are in Jesus Christ by faith this morning, there is more to your story. But...at the proper time. That phrase represents what may be one of the hardest truths for us to accept. “At the proper time”. For us “the proper time” is almost always now or soon. Not twenty chapters or 527 verses later. But in spite of how we feel sometimes, God knows what He's doing.
That's why Peter instructs us to humble ourselves; to submit to God, to give Him our worries, trusting that He does care about us. Jesus taught the same thing: “...whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12) His hand is mighty, not ours. To Him belongs dominion, not to us.
Brothers and sisters, there is more for us in the future than just the cessation of suffering. There is establishment. There is exaltation. Doesn't that stir and excite you? Doesn't that encourage and comfort you?
Like David, we need to hold on to the promises. And how much greater is our encouragement in light of Jesus' victory? David became “greater and greater”, but Jesus Christ is the greatest. David defeated the Jebusites in Jerusalem, but Jesus defeated sin and death outside Jerusalem's walls, on the cross. David was established in an earthly kingdom that eventually perished. But Jesus established a kingdom that will one day engulf every square inch of heaven and earth; a kingdom that will never fail or fade.
David was indeed exalted, but remember what was written about Jesus:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
Do you know him? Do you trust him? Do you know your story is not yet complete? Through Jesus, the King of Kings, we too can experience God's kingly provision. Let's ask God to give us the eyes to see that, and the humilty to trust that He will work out His plan in our lives...”at the proper time”.