King David Matured in The Chastisements of God
A Psalm of David says, “O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.” (Psalm 3:1-8)
It should be noted, David was a man who was subject to the weakness of his passions, of which he, his family and the people he was given leadership over had to live with the constant consequences of his choices. The Word of God is a recorded history of God’s dealing with people. In 1 Corinthians 10 under the preoccupy “Warnings From Israel’s History” we read “Now these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us….” (1 Corinthians 10:11) From the New Testament we also read, “Now these things happened as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” (1 Corinthians 10:6) This teaching gives an understanding on how God used scorn and His chastisements to keep David’s character in check.
David is not asking how many but is stating there are many who rise up against him. There are explanation marks at the end of the two first sentences, not question marks. The truths in Psalm three are proclamations of God’s proven faithfulness to watch over David, hear David, sustain David, and fight for David while keeping his character in check. Understanding and living out these truths will enable us to hear from God has He spoke of King David, “a man after my heart.” (Acts 13:22) This Psalm holds truths which can be divided into three divisions. 1.) The Scorn: David tasting the chastisements of God 2.) The Supplication: Which expresses David’s confidence in the Lord and 3.) The Rest: David enjoyed peace knowing the Lord will sustain and strengthen him. Psalm three was written when David fled from his son Absalom.
Psalm 3:1-2 is known as The Scorn, Absalom’s Conspiracy: The first truth to understand in the scorn of God dealing with King David is to learn to trust God while living with the consequences of sin. Even though the prophet Nathan told King David, The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” (2 Samuel 12:13) There would still be consequences, because his sin with Bathsheba was committed, “in utter contempt for the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:14) There were three consequences David was not going to miss: 1.) A sword would never depart from his family. 2.) Someone who is close to him with would attack him with the sword and have sexual relations with his women and 3.) The child born from an unholy union would die.
- The sword would never depart from his family. The Bible says, “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing evil in His eyes. You struck Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife for your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.” (2 Samuel 12:9-10) Four of David’s son would experience premature death. There was an unnamed son, (2 Samuel 12:18) Amnon, (2 Samuel 13:29) Absalom, (2 Samuel 18:14-15) and Adonijah, (1 Kings 2:25) (Bergen, R. D. (1996). 1, 2 Samuel (Vol. 7, p. 372). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
- Someone who is close to him would overtake David with the sword and have sexual relations with his women. The Biblical account of that is in Absalom’s rebellion to King David, clearly recorded in 2 Samuel 15-18. In 2 Samuel 15:13 we read, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.” 2 Samuel 15:12 tells us, Absalom’s following kept strengthening and increasing.” When David learned of the rebellion, he said, “Come! We must flee from [Jerusalem] or none of us will escape… we must leave immediately… he will move quickly to overtake us…” (2 Samuel 15:14) Taking time to read the whole account we see that as many as twelve thousand men could be raised up to pursue David and those with him. (2 Samuel 17:1)
- It is interesting the scorn for David involved him having to leave the palace, the birth place of his sin with Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11:1 says “it was… the time when kings go off to war…” (2 Samuel 11:1) David failed his place in war and stays at the palace. The Bible says, “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful.” (2 Samuel 11:2)
- The Bible tells us even after learning Bathsheba was a married woman, he has her brought to the palace. The king has relations with her of which Bathsheba becomes pregnant which eventually leads to the murder of Uriah the Hittite. (2 Samuel 11:1-27) The only one who had Biblical character in this horrific tell of unfaithfulness was Uriah and he was murdered.
King David being forced to flee from Jerusalem and his palace was not the only scorn God had for David to keep him in line. We read of David being cursed verbally in 2 Samuel 16:5-12. The Bible says, “A man from the clan of Saul’s family came out…” (2 Samuel 16:5) Shimei said, “The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you have shed… You have come to ruin because you are a murder!” (2 Samuel 16:8) One of David’s guards wanted to cut off the head of Shimei. David feels the Divine presence is in all this. King David’s words are, “…If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?” (2 Samuel 16:10) The Bible goes on to say, “David then said to Abishai and all his officials, ‘My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me His covenant blessing instead of His curse today.’” (2 Samuel 16:11-12)
- C. Wesley wrote this poem, “Pure from the blood of Saul in vain, He dares not to the charge reply; Uriah’s [death] the charge maintain, Uriah’s [death] against him cry. Let Shimei curse: the rod he bears. For sins which mercy had forgiven; And in the wrongs of men reverses. The awful righteousness of heaven.” (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 1, p. 17). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
King David is awakened to Biblical scorn which involves the awful righteousness of heaven for the murder of Uriah, restitution was to be paid. King David’s rebellious son in day light, before all of Israel to see, will have sexual relations with David’s wives. We read of David living out this reality in 2 Samuel 16:15-23 (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Samuel (p. 288). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company; Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Sa 12:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.: Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 2, p. 629). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.; Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 455). Peabody: Hendrickson.)
Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahithophel, tells Absalom, “Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace.” (2 Samuel 16:21) The Bible says, “So they pitch a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.” (2 Samuel 16:22) David had unlawful sexual relations with Bathsheba at the royal palace. It was through the advice of Bathsheba’s grand-father, Ahitophel, God’s scorn for David was put into play. It should be noted, both David and Absalom considered Bathsheba’s grand-father’s words as being like inquiring of God. (2 Samuel 16:23) So Absalom did what he was told. What we do know is this scorn for David was proclaimed by the Prophet Nathan after David’s sin with Bathsheba was exposed. 2 Samuel 12: 11-12 says, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Out of your household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before you very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did this in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” (2 Samuel 12:11-12)
For clarification: Because David had unlawful sex with Bathsheba, a married woman – David’s harem, made up from his concubines would experience unlawful sexual relations. (Bergen, R. D. (1996). 1, 2 Samuel (Vol. 7, p. 411). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers) It is imperative that we understand the distinction of wife and concubine in the ancient world. In Old Testament times a slave or mistress was a woman who it was lawful for a man who had them could lawfully have sex with them. This is outside of God’s perfect will for man and a woman, yet in His permissive will men had several concubines and several wives. (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.; Treadway, L. M. (2016). Concubine. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.) A “concubine” (פִּילֶגֶשׁ piyleg̱eš) was a legitimate wife. However, she was of secondary rank. (1 Kings 11:3) To approach a king’s or man’s concubine was a serious offense from a Biblical perspective.
- Let us now look at the third scorn, the child dies: Biblically looking into how King David handled Gods third scorn will give us an understanding why the Lord looked so favorably upon David, the man whom God said, was “a man after my heart.” (Acts 13:22) Reading and examining the Biblical account in 2 Samuel 12:1-25 shows us the peace which is available to us as we mature under the consequences of sin.
- The foundational verse is 2 Samuel 12:13. The prophet Nathan had just prophesied about David’s wives being violated. The Bibles says, “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’” Nathan informs David, “the Lord has taken away your sin.” (2 Samuel 12:13) Yet, there is still the consequence for his sin with Bathsheba “showed utter contempt for the Lord…” The scorn, “the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12:14)
- The Bible says, “The Lord struck the child… he becomes ill.” (2 Samuel 12:15) It is here we read of David’s trust in a merciful God. David no doubt remembers Nathan’s proclamation of death for the child. The Bible says, “David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent nights lying on the ground.” (2 Samuel 12:16) “…On the seventh day the child dies.” (2 Samuel 12:18) As soon as David learns about the death of the child he stops his supplications to God. (2 Samuel 12:20) The Bible says, “[David] went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.” (2 Samuel 12:20) David explains his heart to his attendants. “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be graces to me and let the child live.’ …now that the child is dead… I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22-23) The Bible says, “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him.” (2 Samuel 12:24) King David did not turn from God, in the midst of living with His chastisements. David matured and kept faith in God.
The highlight of David’s scorn is found in Psalm 3:2, “Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’” People had seen God’s hand upon David time and time again, now it seems the Lord had left him to his own demise since his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah. Just as Job’s friends thought God was against him. Absalom and those with him were confident God would no longer deliver David from his enemies.
- It is of great benefit for those who oppose you to have you to believe, God will not deliver you from the trials and conflicts you may be in.
In closing: David faced many enemies. In the midst of God’s chastisements and tasting the scorn of God, David never lost faith in His God. He matured, sought God and fulfilled his responsibilities. The accusations made by those who opposed him, “God will not deliver him” never shook his faith in God. He knew the scorn and chastisements were for the purpose of maturing him as well as keeping his character in check. This enabled him to enjoy God hearing him, sustaining him and fighting for him.