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2Sm1-2 I find myself taking for granted the strength of the grace with which David comports himself towards Saul, even after death, that and/by his total conviction in God's active explicit anointing. Initially and still uncommentrarily confused: Saul died falling on his sword, only later, leaning on his spear he was euthanised by this mercy killer? All is not fair in war, and love's lost here against one unforgiven who, as an Amalekite, may have known not what he was doing? Living by the sword: is this dramatic prose a celebration of violence or? Yet should we celebrate the spiritually skillful, writing reading biographies of those who have lived by the Eph6:17 sword, dramatically.
2Sm3-5 Hope fulfilled is a tree of life, says Prov13v12. We talk a lot about hope, hope for the very big & the very small, each day trees of life as well as waiting's heartsickness. This was David's biggest hope finally fulfilled, becoming king. The promise of anointing way back when, followed by persecution. & here it is, a longing fulfilled. Everything is different, & also it's business as usual. Promises fulfilled among blood & politics & decisions to be made. So every tree of life. Let us not romanticise God. As with all romanticising it will come to steal true romance.
2Sm6-7 Oh Uzziah. God will be met. God will be met on his terms, or punishment or consequences will thus be meted. Under Waterloo Bridge this evening was a clarinet, and passing pausing a group with a three-year-old leaping and dancing to the jazz, all head over hands happy. Leaping and dancing because we are free, free to seem a fool and be despised. Oh how we the dancing generation fall short. Houses yeh, there is a king, there is a kingdom and there will come a time you'll see, when housebuilders will not break your heart. 7v10 Dwell. Let us glimmer a picture of this for all to hope by.
2Sm8-9 Much in this ancient Hebrew worldview I struggle to enter into, even imaginatively, but here is something to make real – David asks who he can show kindness to. This is a prayer to start the morning. Yesterday, half-resigned to it being a personless bubble of a day I asked God that someone would disturb me with some need, & so it was. Intentionally, pray this: who can I show kindness to today? Then see it, then be kind. Every small kindness has currency in this kingdom, I might just believe it.
2Sm10-11 Of beards and the hearsay of illadvisors, how should we then fight? As sources of conflict abound in this world, how can we but, how can we not? There is something in both these chapters against sending others to fight in your stead, the Ammonite stirrers sending mercenary hired hands, and David sending Uriah. .. Lust here is not minor fall but a major drift. How do we try to rinse/deflect/atone our home sins on foreign battlefields? Where is the cost of our shame paid abroad? Do not deal in shame, don't import it, don't export, don't propagate it. Jesus has set you free so be free. .. And don't shave men's beards?
2Sm12 What do I covet? Whose only lamb do I steal from a place of plenty? The fact that I can't immediately answer this question suggests that I, like David, don't know myself well enough, don't feel my sin acutely enough. For a Nathan's analogising that my eyes might be opened that the repentant road be taken. Of David's prayers for his son's life, a between place, a grey place, a difficult place.. Might we take from this passage that between places qua their betweeness offer a unique opportunity for a particular kind of conversation with God, of fasting, weeping & lying on the floor. An urgency, intensity & intentionality of prayer which breeds intimacy with God. Questions are what we do when we don't know, seeking is what we do when we don't have. Such times are holy.
2Sm13-14 13v21 Bad men who previously did bad things can say and do nothing when their bad sons consult bad friends to plot bad things. Lust's major drift steers its mess into the next generation and on Amnon.. Unleashed lust cannot be undone: a failure in sexual restraint will render you voiceless to restrain worse excesses by those who follow from you. So, true love, for their sake, waits. 14v19 'on me be the guilt..' and the cost of active parenting.. Still bemused by irrelevant aesthetic qualifications. And weighing hair. Srsly.
2Sm15 The servant king on the mount of olives, returning the will to power with grace upon grace. Jesus. Jesus. We will go with you wherever you go.
2Sm16-17 In these rooftop sexual politics lust's mess ploughs on, the messers becoming the messees. Our enemy today is not impersonal as they would have us believe, we do not battle merely the inevitable force of market forces and the heartless, mindless evolution of cruel determinism. Our reality remains one of persons persuadable saveable. Ours is still a contest against Absaloms. Have we an ear behind those enemy lines? Have we a plan? Have we a trust in God? Have we a cross-country, joined-up, hands-on eagerly anticipated sense that we are participating in the restoration of God's true king? Your work, dear one, is important and excellent: idea's consequences: the gift to fight for the right view of God, for a knowledge of his present presences, known and spoken, is yours.
2Sm18-19 Do we construct our lives, motives, battles on such a basis as Absalom: do we gather sympathisers to an antihero-ic and react-ive cause borne of begrudged grievance? We are yet forgiveable. Forgiveable, mourned for and longed for by God as/if/even/when we, entangled by our pride, die on that battlefield. .. Do we seek to restore peace and unity? Even as a smaller side, fear not, the v8 forest is for us. .. Mercy takes v14 time, oh that we might waste some in saving lives today. .. Of 19, a sort of hug-a-hoodie lesson in the hows of peace-making? Unsure. Certainly we are all guilty at such riotous times, as now, even of negligence, even of inaction. Humbly let us out-reach the sceptics in our outreach.
2Sm20-21 If David is our Christ figure, Joab consistently evokes the name of David to justify his own agenda, but fails to listen. Let us agenda surrender. 21v1-4 justice? really? v15-22 slaying giants, a different picture to 1Sm17, a David dependent on the help of others, as we, this week.
2Sm22-23 Whether or not God is in the earthquake, his still small voice will come, untimeably as an earthquake, even ruinously to the landscape of our presuppositions. .. Of the spatiality of distress, and its opposite, a trust in God: 22v20 'broad space' 1Sm30v6 (lit.) 'the matter is narrow for.' Faithless ways I dig myself into a hole reveal my flight from God as a kind of agrophobia. .. Mighty men: 23v20, Mt12v1-8, 1Sm21. We are chosen and purposed like this, as David's men, as Jesus' disciples, to go into tight spaces and fight lions on snowy days, to defend lentils. What a calling.
2Sm24 Initially confused as to David's sin, the 1Chr21 version tells us that it was Satan not God who moved David to take the census. A mistranslated ambiguous indexical maybe, but it puts me in mind of the fear and trembling I feel on thinking that Satan used scripture to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, & discernment is a weighty game. As David here, as Jesus, our conscience our atunement with God's spirit is so needed. God, teach me costly sacrifice pleasing to you & help me to mean it.