Tuesday, April 25, 2023

God's Providence - Session 19 - We Need Others

The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is studying God's providence or divine providence in the lives of David and Joseph and how we can apply His providence in their lives to our lives today.

The providence of God or divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. Divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe. He is in control of the physical world. He is in control of the affairs of nations. He is in control of human destiny. He is in control of human successes and failures. He protects His people.

In Session 18 we talked about how David rode out the storm of consequences that were a result of his own actions in connection with not only his adultery with Bathsheba but his actions before that in his passion for beautiful women.   When we sin just like David, we have to remember that there will be consequences even though we can be forgiven because we are God’s children. The life of David and how he rode out the consequences of his actions serve as an example to us when we must ride out the consequences of or own or sometimes the consequences of other’s sin. In Session 19 we talk about the need to have friends when we are riding out the storm.

For our study we will be using Great Lives: David: A Man of Passion and Destiny, by Charles R. Swindoll, and The Hand of God by Alistair Begg. To study along with us you can purchase the books by clicking the Links here or the images after the notes.

The providence of God or divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. Divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe as a whole, He is in control of the physical world, He is in control of the affairs of nations, He’s in control of human destiny, He’s in control of human successes and failures, He protects His people.  Through divine providence God accomplishes His will.

Last week we talked about how David rode out the storm of consequences that were a result of his own actions in connection with not only his adultery with Bathsheba but his actions before that in his passon for beautiful women.   When we sin just like David, we have to remember that there will be consequences even though we can be forgiven because we are God’s children.

Galatians 6:7‭-‬8 NIV Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life

The life of David and how he rode out the consequences of his actions serve as an example to us when we must ride out the consequences of or own or sometimes the consequences of other’s sin.

Here’s what David did and would be wise for us to do.

  1. Pray - 2 Samuel 12:15‭-‬16 NIV After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.

  1.  Face the consequences realistically 

2 Samuel 12:18‭-‬21 NIV On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”

  1.  Claim the promises and truths of God’s Word

2 Samuel 12:22‭-‬23 NIV He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

This phase of his life was over now it was time to move on no matter how hard it is.  We in these circumstances really must lean on God’s grace mercy and promises. 

  1.  Don’t give up while in the midst of the storm.  Life goes on and you have to live it.

2 Samuel 12:24‭-‬31 NIV 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; and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah. 

 For us Christians the storm of God’s discipline can teach us a lot.

Look at what David wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit

Psalms 32:8‭-‬11 NIV I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

When Going Through the Storm We need Others to Encourage Us

Many of us have been taught that when we have Jesus, we don’t need anybody else.  That is a big lie of the enemy.  He wants you to try and battle life all by yourself.  Well God didn’t think we could do it on our own, as human beings, so in His wisdom he made us to need other people.  It started in the very beginning.

Genesis 2:15‭-‬24 NIV The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

David certainly needed a friend or some friends because his life was a mess.

Surrounding his affair with Bathsheba.  He had commited adultry with her, she was pregnant and as a result he consipred to have her husband killed.  The consequence of this was that although God forgave him and let him live the child died.   He was eaten up with guilt. Psalms 32 and 51 confirm this.               

Domestically, his home was shattered. The royal household was full of anger, bitterness, incest, rape, murder, and rebellion.  His second son who had murdered his brother who raped his sister was planning and leading conspiracy against him. Because,                

Politically, David lost his respect and authority as a leader. Not only had he lost touch with his family, he had a growing number of critics inthe country. 

So personally, domestically, and politically his life was in a shambles. 

2 Samuel 15:1‭-‬6 NIV In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to  hear you.” And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.” Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

Absolom's plan worked, and the people followed him as he staged a coup.

2 Samuel 15:7‭-‬12 NIV At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the Lord. While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: ‘If the Lord takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord in Hebron.’ ” The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he went to Hebron. Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’ ” Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter. While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing.

The coup was initially successful because David had to leave Jerusalem to save his life and the lives of everybody in his household but ten concubines that he left to take care of the palace and we know what happened to them.  

2 Samuel 15:13‭-‬18 NIV A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.” Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.” The king’s officials answered him, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our Lord the king chooses.” The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace. So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city. All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.

Absolem had sex with the concubines in the sight of everybody to prove that he had defeated David and he was now in control.  

2 Samuel 16:21‭-‬22 NIV Ahithophel answered, “Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.” So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

David is on the run again.  When Saul was chasing him, he had a friend in Jonathan and then all the men that followed him.  

He needed that kind of encouragement again.  He needed some friends and God sends him five.  

Ironically the first friend is from Goliath’s home, and he has others with him that are going to stand by David no matter what.  That’s what a true friend does.

2 Samuel 15:18‭-‬22 NIV All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king. The king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.” But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives, and as my Lord the king lives, wherever my Lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.” David said to Ittai, “Go ahead, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.

The next two friends were Levites who when David was leaving the city decided to take the presence of God with them so it would be with David.  They were Zadok and Abiathar.

2 Samuel 15:24 NIV Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.

But David being a man after God’s own heart was concerned about the nation not just his safety so he told his friends to take the ark back and continue their priestly duties because the nation needed them plus, they could also be a tremendous help to him.  

2 Samuel 15:25‭-‬29 NIV Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.” The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Do you understand? Go back to the city with my blessing. Take your son Ahimaaz with you, and also Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You and Abiathar return with your two sons. I will wait at the fords in the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to  Jerusalem and stayed there.

I had never really thought about it until I read this book, but Zadok and Abithar were going back into a situation that could have been extremely dangerous for them. They left with David and the ark and now they were going back.  They could have been viewed as enemies but they went back anyway because their friend asked them to.  A loyal friend will always be available to you to do whatever they can to help and encourage you.

The next friend that is named isn Hushai the Archite.  All we know about him at this point is that he is devastated at what has happened 

2 Samuel 15:32 NIV When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head.

For some reason, we don’t know why, David didn’t want Hushai to come with him because he would be a burden however David did have him to go back as the CIA a spy doing some counterintelligence work.  It worked and we will talk about that briefly in a few.

2 Samuel 15:33‭-‬37 NIVDavid said to him, “If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,’ then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel’s advice. Won’t the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything you hear in the king’s palace. Their two sons, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear.” So Hushai, David’s confidant, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city.

There was another group of people that befriended David and encouraged him, and they included somebody you wouldn’t expect to be a friend.  

2 Samuel 17:27‭-‬29 NIV When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become exhausted and hungry and thirsty in the wilderness.”

Shobi was an Ammonite and David had fought against them.  Makir was from a region that was poor.  Remember when we talked about David showing grace to Johathan’s son that he was in Lo Debar and was at the house of Machir who hid him.  Machir is like some people that I know that just like to help people.  

2 Samuel 9:3‭-‬4 NIV The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”

Then there is Barzillai who’s just an old rich guy that loves David and wants to help.  

2 Samuel 19:31‭-‬37 NIV Barzillai the Gileadite also came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with the king and to send him on his way from there. Now Barzillai was very old, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. The king said to Barzillai, “Cross over with me and stay with me in Jerusalem, and I will provide for you.” But Barzillai answered the king, “How many more years will I live, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king? I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is enjoyable and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of male and female singers? Why should your servant be an added burden to my Lord the king? Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way? Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my Lord the king. Do for him whatever you wish.”

If you read second Samuel chapter 17 you will see that David’s spies were successful in infiltrating Absalom's government and setting in motion the events that resulted and Absalom's defeat and death.  

2 Samuel 17:1‭-‬10 NIV Ahithophel said to Absalom, “I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed.” This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel. But Absalom said, “Summon also Hushai the Arkite, so we can hear what he has to say as well.” When Hushai came to him, Absalom said, “Ahithophel has given this advice. Should we do what he says? If not, give us your opinion.” Hushai replied to Absalom, “The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time. You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs. Besides, your father is an experienced fighter; he will not spend the night with the troops. Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack your troops first, whoever hears about it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’ Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave.

Absalom took Hushai’s advice and then the word got back to David through the network of friends he enlisted when he was on the run.  

 Ahithophel committed suicide after his advice was rejected.

David now knows what’s coming and remember he is a remarkably successful warrior so he and his men now have the advantage and now another tragedy comes to David’s family and his son, the rebel, who David doesn’t want killed is killed.  Now David is down in the dumps again, but he is taking the entire nation down with him.  He needs a friend to shake him back to his senses.

That friend is Joab who is the one that killed Absolom.

Here is the scene; David is told that Absolom is dead, and David goes into a deep depression.

2 Samuel 18:32‭-‬33 NIV The king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my Lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.” The king was shaken. He went up to the Iroom over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Memories of his failed past swamped him. Guilt assaulted him. He couldn’t get past his grief. He was caught in an emotional vortex that paralyzed him.

His friend Joab had to come in and shake him out of the doldrums, and it worked because his friend told him the truth.

2 Samuel 19:1‭-‬8 NIV Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, “The king is grieving for his son.” The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.” So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,” they all came before him. Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.

What was the point of going through all this?

The words friends, friendly, and friendship appear over a hundred times in the Scriptures.

First, friends are not optional; they’re essential. There is no substitute for a friend—someone to care, to listen, to feel, to comfort, and, yes, occasionally, to reprove. True friends do that best.

Second, friends are not automatic; they must be cultivated. The Bible says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly” (Prov. 18:24, KJV). Samuel Johnson wrote: “One should keep his friendship in a constant repair.”

Third, friends are not neutral; they impact our lives. If your friends lead good lives, they encourage you to become a better person. Ifyour friends lead disreputable lives, they lead you down the same path—or worse. Scripture says, “Be not deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33).

Fourth, friendships come in varying degrees, some of whom play more significant roles in our life than others. We have many acquaintances, some casual friends, several close friends, and a fewintimate friends.

Acquaintances are people with whom we have spasmodic contact and superficial interaction.

Casual friends are people with whom we have more contact, with whom we have common interests, and with whom we may have more specific conversations. Every once in a while, we will even seek the opinion of a person who is a casual friend, although there is still a safe distance between us.

Close friends are those people with whom we share similar life goals and with whom we discuss tough questions. We do projects together, exercise together, socialize together, and sometimes even vacation together.

The most important level of friendship is intimate friends.  They are those few people with whom we have regular contact and a deep commitment. We are not only open and vulnerable with these people, but we also anxiously await their counsel. Intimate friends are just as free to criticize and to correct as they are to embrace and encourage, because trust and mutual understanding has been established between them.

All of us need at least one person with whom we can be open and honest; all of us need at least one person who offers us the shelter of support and encouragement and, yes, even hard truths and confrontation. 

Jesus is that intimate friend. 

Bible Study Audio

No comments:

Post a Comment