Today you should read: 2 Samuel 21
There are essentially two vignettes within today’s chapter. Let’s take a look at each story’s main themes closely to discern what the LORD reveals from each of these passages:
David avenges the Gibeonites (v1-14).
From this section, there is one key word that unlocks the meaning of the passage. That important theological word is atonement. We find this in verse 3: “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement, that you may bless the heritage of the LORD?” This word means to make amends, in other words, to restore satisfaction lost from a wrong committed. An easy way to remember the definition of this word is to split it into its parts: at – one – ment, thus allowing people to be “at-one” with each other again, that is the purpose of atonement. In this chapter we see David seeking to atone for the sin of Israel’s former king Saul. David is a man of integrity who keeps his oaths (2Samuel 21:7), while Saul is wicked and rashly breaks a long standing oath (see Joshua 9:19-20). By murdering some Gibeonites Saul’s sin was especially heinous because it misrepresented the very character of God. No mere apology or generous gift could appease the Gibeonites for Saul’s sin – atonement was needed to remedy the problem.
Q:) What does this teach us?
A:) The author of 2 Samuel is making clear through these verses that only atonement can be the remedy for sin. Saying, “I’m sorry” is not enough. Going to church, reading your bible, praying or serving others is not enough. Sin must be atoned for, your good works cannot erase your sinful blemishes. Moreover, it is not the guilty party who decides how to reach atonement; rather it is the person ‘in the right’ who decides how the sin will be atoned for. This lesson is profound. God decides, not you. Since all humans stand guilty before our Creator God, only He can decides how atonement will ultimately take place. In his grace he has provided his only son Jesus Christ to be atonement for our sin. Praise him today! Revere the Lord in your heart. You can now truly have at – one – ment with God through believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ (1Peter 3:18).
Four Episodes of War (v15-22)
“David grew weary in battle… but Abishai came to his aid” (v15,17). David’s weariness in battle shows us this: you are not indispensable to God’s plans. In other words, God does not need you (see Esther 4:14, Acts 17:25). This is humbling. Without a proper understanding of this we tend to become prideful or even full of shame / disappointment / or envy when others succeed instead of us.
Moreover, scripture offers a wise lesson here: that we must put others in place around us who can see our weaknesses and compensate for them. Without his fellow soldiers, David would have died. We need one another. Also, the way David’s men fight against the Philistine giants is an excellent example for us because verses 18-22 shows them fighting in the pattern David originally set for them – when he first killed Goliath several years earlier. From all of this we can see that God can work, and will work, by means of others just as surely as He can use you! This passage also shows us that followers tend to become like their leaders (Luke 6:40). Whether a pastor, parent, or friend, let it be known that you are influencing other people. For both Saul & David, their actions and influence have ripple effects far into the future. Saul left echoes of his sinfulness, for David there are echoes of men staying valiant and fighting for the Lord. Consider how you are impacting others around you today. Ask the Lord to help you, meditate on this:
How can I influence others for God’s kingdom today?
Posted by: Taylor Wehrle, College Intern