Chapter 21 is about the timing of God’s judgment on a corrupt government. Does that sound like a country you know?
This could get interesting!
Rebellion is the exact opposite of perfect unity. Rebellion is disunity. But what we see in David’s handling of it is where the parallel to modern events stops: David actually does something to model perfect unity as seen by God. We have not seen that recently in America’s leader.
David’s military commander Joab corners the rebellious Sheba in the city of Abel. Sheba has rallied all the men of Israel, except the tribe of Judah, to overthrow David. A wise old woman “tax-payer” in the town of Abel courageously confronts Joab on behalf of her city, which is being destroyed in the efforts to capture Sheba. She tells him that previous conquerors knew that Abel is a town of peace and they all quickly offered peace instead of vicious defeat.
She asks Joab, “Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?” (20:19). That is, why would you hurt your brothers and sisters who are peaceful and faithful? Joab replies, “Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy!” (20:20). Joab makes it clear it is only Sheba he seeks. So this peaceful woman tosses Sheba’s head over the city’s wall to Joab for the higher priority of saving her city!
From then on, David’s kingdom is in unity for the rest of his reign. When two sides can agree on what is best for the entire nation, perfect unity breaks out. I am thirsty for that today, aren’t you?
In Chapter 21, a famine ravishes Israel for three consecutive years. David now inquires of the Lord to find out why the famine has come. God says it has to do with when Saul killed innocent Gibeonites, not something David did. So God’s judgment is not necessarily current; perhaps it is accumulated?
David goes to the Gibeonites, asking what it would take to pay them back for justice. The answer is Old Testament gruesome – the hanging of the seven sons of the daughters of Saul “before the Lord” (21:9) – an eye for an eye. But the moment this is done, the famine is gone.
As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.”
When we inquire of God, even to find out what went wrong, God’s never-ending love leads to forgiveness and restoration.
When will we have a leader who recognizes the judgment of God, inquires of God to confirm the cause, and obeys God’s instructions for restoration?
In Jesus, we have what David did not, an advocate with God who has already paid for our sins. What does he want from us in return?
That is what this series is all about:
“If…My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
We are the people called by his name! Will we continue to rebel in disunity? Will our famine of disobedience and rebellion continue because we have eliminated God from our national conscience?
Who is the leader who will inquire of the Lord every day in humility and confession, as David did in his good days, and failed to do many times to incur the God’s judgment?