The Book of 2nd Samuel
The Rector’s weekly letter to the congregation for Sunday, April 28, 2019
The Book of 2nd Samuel
Second Samuel and its predecessor, 1st Samuel, were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible. The two, together with Joshua, Judges, and 1 and 2 Kings, were called the former prophets to differentiate them from the books of the prophets which were designated the latter prophets. The book of 2nd Samuel is the tenth book of the Bible. It has 24 chapters and 695 verses. It talks about King David, his rise to power, his devotion to God, his sin with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah whose death David orchestrated and then married Bathsheba. Bathsheba was the mother of Solomon, David’s successor to the throne. The prophet Nathan was sent by God to rebuke David for his adultery with Bathsheba. David humbled himself and repented with the words that became the present Psalm 51.
Then there was more sin in David’s house: his son Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar. Absalom vowed to kill Amnon. And he did, and David didn’t do much of a reprimand against him for the crime. Absalom was later restored to favor.
The book moves on to narrate the attempted coup d’état against David by the same son, Absalom. David fled for his life in humiliation. His military, however, fought and put down the rebellion. Absalom was killed in the fighting. He was riding his mule under a thick tree when his thick and long hair (of which he was proud) got caught in the tree while his mule kept going. He was left dangling in the air. Joab the military commander drove three daggers into him and killed him. David wailed loudly for his son prompting the military chief to remonstrate with him for being so sad over his son’s death and not to congratulate the military that had shed their blood for him (18:9 – 15; 28 – 19:8)
After the defeat of Absalom, David was restored to the kingship. He demonstrated rare magnanimity and godly character when he refused to retaliate against any of the people who had joined Absalom’s rebellion. Even those who verbally mocked and slandered him as he hurried out of the city, weeping and barefoot, before his son caught up with him, he refused to punish any of them.
Before David reached back in Jerusalem, a rabble-rouser called Sheba led an uprising of the 10 northern tribes against David. There followed a military skirmish in which David’s side came out on top. In later chapters, David’s mighty men are listed. There’s mention of the Three mightiest men and then the Thirty mightiest ones. The Three are not named, but the thirty have their names listed. Uriah who was the husband of Bathsheba is listed among the 30.
David shows us that life with God is an adventure full of action, success and failure, challenging, explosive, often calling for courage, yet most enjoyable. Indeed, life with God is not victory merely over one area of life. Life with God is the total re-orientation of one’s entire life Godward. David sinned gravely, and yet David repented deeply too. No wonder God called him a man after His own heart. It is the humbling of himself after sinning that endeared David to God. His predecessor, Saul, would rather argue and attempt to justify his disobedience, more like wanting to obey God by disobeying Him. And we should note that although David was completely forgiven, the consequences of his sin continued to plague his family as well as all of Israel and Judah.
Protestant Christian Evidences by Bernard Ramm (1953:14 – 16)
PURPOSES OF CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES
At this point the purposes of Christian evidences for the Christian should be made evident:
A. The Christian is established in his faith not only experientially but [also]
intellectually and factually. He sees the Christian religion not only as that which gives him a blessed experience of salvation and assurance within his heart, but also as a system universal and factual in its scope. He sees it in its cosmic, historic, and factual breadth. His personal experience is thus related to a universal and valid system of religion. The snipings of psychologists at his religious conversion are emptied of much of their pertinence, for although his religious convictions commenced with his conversion they now no longer rest solely on such a narrow base, but are part of a comprehensive world view.
B. Further, the Christian well versed in Christian evidences understands the nature
of many of the attacks on the Christian faith, and knows their invalidity. His knowledge of textual criticism enables him to silence the argument that the text of the Bible has been appreciably tampered with during the course of its transmission; his knowledge of literary criticism enables him to defend the trustworthiness of his documents; his knowledge of all other items in the arsenal of Christian evidences is a powerful weapon for not only the silencing of attacks upon the faith but for the positive evangelistic presentation of the gospel of Christ.
C. Apologetics and Christian evidences are not the gospel, but if a man has a
prejudice against the gospel it is the function of apologetics and evidences to remove the prejudice. The value of apologetics and evidences for evangelistic purposes (public, personal conversation, literature) is too frequently underrated usually on the grounds that people are won [to Christ] by preaching the Word alone. Two observations are pertinent to this assertion. First, no well-grounded apologist will state that the philosophic demonstration of Christianity saves a man, but it is, to the contrary, quite evident that no man will give the necessary credence to the Word if he has certain mistaken notions and biased opinions about the facts and nature of the Christian religion. Apologetics and Christian evidences cut down these objections to enable the gospel once again to directly confront the consciousness of a man. Spurgeon’s oft-quoted remark that the Bible is a lion that defends itself is very pious of sound but very fallacious of fact. The huge slashes of radical criticism into the Christian Church reveal the Bible is defenseless unless defended by its believers. Is every cavil, every slander, every false accusation, every gross misrepresentation, to go unnoticed, unanswered, unchallenged? Can the stabs into the vitals of theology be answered by quoting a verse or two of Scripture? We think not. Christian evidences and Christian apologetics are indispensable to the health, welfare, and progress of the gospel.
Second, the opponents of Christianity figure that it is worthwhile to argue and debate their case. It is the basic theology of all propaganda that successful efforts are possible by argumentation, specious or genuine. Lunn correctly observes that “’Nobody is ever converted by argument” is a formula as popular with Christians as it is unknown among politicians and political canvassers.” The Nazis and the Communists were not slow to see the power of argumentation on human belief and conduct, and sought to influence it by enormous propaganda efforts. Human opinion is not always formed from argumentation, but a good measure of it is, and therefore Christian evidences is the Christian arsenal of data and facts for any Christian who wishes to defend and debate his faith.