Tale of Two Kingdoms - 2 Samuel 2
More people remember the ingredients on America's favorite burger than remember the ingredients in America's favorite book, according to the latest study.
In anticipation of the new animated movie release of The Ten Commandments, Kelton Research conducted a poll of 1,000 people to determine basic knowledge of the Ten Commandments. Eighty percent of those polled knew that a Big Mac had two all-beef patties and 62 percent knew that it had pickles. But less than 50 percent could remember even seven of the Decalogue.
Further polling via "man on the street" interviews also bore grave news. Testing knowledge of the Ten Commandments versus popular culture knowledge, most people polled could remember the names of all four of the Beatles rock group, but many could not even remember one commandment.
How important is the Word of God to us? Would you stake your life on it? Would you bet your life on it? Will you build your whole life on it? Many of us would say yes…but would we really or do we like to think that we would. Or maybe we want to believe it. What we need to see today is that our actions, especially when experiencing difficulty, show us what we really believe. When we experience difficulty, is the Bible the first place we go or is it our last resort? Well I have done all that I can I guess I’ll look for answers in the scriptures. I tried friends, family, talk-shows, internet, books, and professional. I guess I have nothing left to turn to. Well Shane that’s not true for me the Bible is not my last resort. Fine, but is it your first resort? Is the Word of God our first resort for all of life and godliness? For many of us this is a struggle… Why? Well… this is what we will explore in our passage today.
David heard some distressing news regarding Saul and Jonathan. They both died in the war with the Philistines. An Amalekite lied about killing Saul, but instead of the reward he was expecting, he received the reward he deserved. He was killed. David then wrote a beautiful lamentation for Saul and his friend and brother Jonathan. Now that Saul is dead… David is now King of Israel. Well not just yet.
After the events, David did a beautiful thing. David asked the Lord. Saul is dead… David knows that the kingdom is now his, but he does not proceed without the Lord.
The first kingdom seeks the Lord. The Lord told David to go to Hebron and there David took his wives and the people of Judah anointed him king. David reached out to Jabesh and thanked them for taking care of Saul and Jonathan. But the second kingdom does not see it God’s way. Even Saul knew that David was to be king. But Abner took Saul’s son Ishbosheth and declared him king of all of Israel. One day… Abner leading Ishbosheth’s Army and Joab leading David’s met and stood face to face. A fierce battle took place and Abner and the army of Israel was defeated. (We will see more of this in the books of the Kings). Joab’s brother Asahel could run really fast and he ran after Abner without stopping for anything. Abner warned him not to do anything or else he will kill him. Go fight someone else. But Asahel kept after Abner and so Abner stabbed him with the butt side of the spear thrusting it through and out his back. And Asahel died there. When Joab found out what happened, he chased after Abner. When Joab caught up, Abner cried out, essentially, when is this all going to stop. Only bitterness will result from all of this… when are you going to stop pursuing? Joab told him that God only knows what would have happened if he had not said anything. They would have chased them all night if necessary. Both armies went their separate ways.
After this, David asked the Lord, “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?” “Yes,” the Lord replied. Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah. When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul,
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.
The First Kingdom
The Second Kingdom
The Kingdom of Heaven
The first thing we will look at today is the first kingdom of David one that is founded on the very heart of God. Second, we will look at characteristics of the second kingdom of Ishbosheth one that is founded on rebellion. Finally we will look at the ultimate fulfillment of of all kingdoms on earth…the kingdom of heaven.
Thesis: Though sin and the pattern of this world may cause us to be discontent with the Word of God and more concerned about our own kingdom of life than the Kingdom of God, our wonderful Lord Jesus gave us a new heart and the promise to transform us into His likeness causing us to know that we do not live on bread alone and that we are already citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
I. The First Kingdom
- The first kingdom built on obedience to the Word of God
A. In the beginning of the chapter we see what is, in essence, the foundation of what it is to be a true kingdom. David desires the guidance of the Lord. The final obstacle in David’s way to the kingdom was Saul and now Saul is dead. The road to the throne is clear. What will be David’s first move?
B. David’s first move was not a recruitment, strategy, a public relations campaign, politics, a parade, or even building a new army. He sought the Lord. He sought the Word of the Lord.
C. C. Even here at the beginning David’s initial step as King was not a speech, but the asking of the Lord’s direction as to how he was to come into the kingdom. Seeking the word of the Lord for not really what to do, but how to do it. Saul stopped seeking the Lord, he was no longer content with the Word and direction of the Lord as king. David shows us how important the Word is, but is it enough for us today?
C. Even here at the beginning David’s initial step as King was not a speech, but the asking of the Lord’s direction as to how he was to come into the kingdom. Seeking the word of the Lord, not really for what to do, but how to do it. Saul stopped seeking the Lord, he was no longer content with the Word and direction of the Lord as king. David shows us how important the Word is, but is it enough for us today?
D. But as we look at this important passage… are we no longer content. Now I am not talking about being content with life. Are we content with the Word of God? I wonder sometimes if we lose perspective on these things. David and Solomon did not have the Word of God as ready at their finger tips as we do. The kings didn’t have it, not even the Apostles of Christ had it like we do today. We look at them and all the great exploits and wonders and we are envious of how the Lord spoke with them. Do you know… how envious they would be of us and what we have.
E. All we have to do is reach for our Bibles and open it. All we have to do is select our Bible app on our phone… it is there. The most sought after thing in the ancient Old and New Testament world is the Word of God. And again, I wonder how long the Bible sits on our bookshelf collecting dust and how much screen time the bible has compared to facebook. We got more than many men and women of faith had and our mentality about the Bible today is curious to me.
F. I hate to say it… but we look at our society and we see discontentment. The secular society seems to be discontent with their lifestyle, but in the church are we discontent with our life source? The Bible? Of course the Bible is still an important tool, but it is no longer the only tool. I know you all know what I’m talking about. Some of the most popular Christian speakers, leaders and authors show that the scriptures are not enough. Do you even realize that a best selling Christian book written by one of the most popular Christian pastors does not have one scripture in it? Is this possible?
G. Are we saying that in order for us to be content, strengthened, motivated, and directed as Christians for all good work, we need experiences, supernatural phenomena, an audible voice, pragmatism, worldly philosophy, psychology, power, pleasure, profit, or popularity?
H. The Bible says something different.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
I. The question remains… are we discontent with Scripture? Or maybe we are like the world and are discontent with lifestyle and know that the Bible does not bring satisfaction to our worldly desires. Unlike David, now that we have the kingdom in our grasp, all that we desire, now we do not need the Word of the Lord anymore.
J. Do we want to learn the Word of God anymore? Some have admitted to me their discontentment with the Bible… one said, we need a whole lot more than the Bible now days. Which prompted me to ask him about things in the Scriptures… there was whole lot he did not know in the Bible. I told him… how can you say that it is not enough if you don’t even know all that is in it? Like I tell my children when it comes to food… how can you say that it is disgusting, if you never tasted it before? Let me propose a new rule to all of Christianity… If you say that the Bible is not enough, you cannot be biblically illiterate and say this. You need to have been there… before you can say been there done that. Before you can venture off into spirituality outside of the Scriptures, you need to take a Bible test to prove that you have conquered it. Then I’ll listen. Can we at least do this before we deny the sufficiency of the Scriptures.
K. Let me also add… that the Puritan records of men who devoted their entire lives consumed in exhaustive Biblical studies in the end still found that the deeper they went, the deeper it got. The more they know, the more they didn’t know. The more they learned, the more they had to learn. It is not even needing to be content with the Word of God, you cannot get to the place of needing to say it. You will never reach the end of what you can learn from the Gospel of Jesus the Word of God. As a reformed theologian, I can wholeheartedly agree. The deeper I go, the more I don’t know.
They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
M. Remember what David did here and how even the angels long to look… all contained in your hands. All for you to open anytime that you want. Many in the middle ages did not have it in their hands… many died for having it. We think that many before us in the most glorious days of Church history had it good, but they did not have half as much as we have today. David calls the Word of God more precious than gold. And I am believing that he will open our eyes to see it like David did. How can we be discontent with something we don’t know? Maybe it is not discontent, it is disinterest.
I. The Second Kingdom
- The second kingdom built on rebellion to the Word of God
A. The amazing thing here is the work of Abner. He went out of his way to make Ishbosheth king of Israel. Was it just ignorance? It could not be, even Saul knew that David was supposed to be the king. Jonathan knew it. Are we saying that Abner did not? Of course not. He knew. So why does he do this?
B. Because is this not what sinful man does? Rebel against God. OT Scholar Keil states, The promotion of Ishbosheth as king was not only a continuation of the hostility of Saul towards David, but also an open act of rebellion against Jehovah, who had rejected Saul and chosen David prince over Israel, and who had given such distinct proofs of this election in the eyes of the whole nation, that even Saul had been convinced of the appointment of David to be his successor upon the throne.
D. Davis states, In opposing Yahweh’s chosen king, Abner was opposing Yahweh’s kingship and will. He knew that will but chose to fly in the face of it.
E. All he did was what many did over the years…
Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
F. Like Abner did to David, this is what Herod did, this is what Pontius Pilate did, this is what the gentiles did and this is what the people of Israel did to Christ, the anointed one.
G. Is this not what we do? How many times have we put the will of God on the side, while we do all that we can to fulfill our will for our lives? How much time during the week do we spend building our own kingdom and then come to church for a couple of hours on Sunday to work on God’s kingdom? Do we spend more time on our own kingdom than God’s? What happened this week? Like David…Did we inquire of the Lord before we moved forward in anything this week?
H. So what … so I did not pray this week. It’s not like its going to make a difference in my life if I pray anyway. So I did not read my Bible this week, so what… its not like its going to change anything in my life anyway. So I did not get together with others in the church this week, so what, its not going to make a difference in my life anyway.
I. In my life!! All of this is going to change your life. But its not going to change what is around you… its going to change you! His goal is not to change your circumstances, but to change you. Not our problems, but problems in us. We need to be changed if we are to have true joy in Christ. All circumstances in life is good but we are still in despair… we can get away from problems but we cant get away from self…
J. We are the ones that need to be changed. When we are changed and matured on the foundation of Christ then it does not matter what comes around, what goes around, what changes, what comes against us, what winds blow, and what waves come, who becomes the president, because it is on Christ the solid rock we stand… all other ground is sinking sand. We dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean…
K. Reject Abner’s kingdom. Do not reject the kingdom of Christ. That is what we because of sin in us are tempted to do. To reject Christ the King like Abner did. But the Word warns us of this folly.
Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!
III. The Kingdom of Heaven
- Righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
A. The judgment of God is real you know it and you feel it. The Bible declares that all have sinned and fall short… no one is righteous not one. The wages of sin is death. And if we live our life rejecting His Son He will be angry and His wrath will flare. Hell is a real place. Jesus said it himself. Are you rejecting Christ?
B. But I have good news… the end of ...did not read it till now
Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!
Yes, Salvation is found in the Lord. Salvation is here.
C. We can find shelter in Christ and He will save us. This is the Gospel of Jesus. We have sinned against God and Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures and He was buried and he rose on the third day according to the Scriptures. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into this world…
D. Kiss the Son today. All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord you will be saved.
E. Rejoice today… if you believe that Christ is Lord than you are truly born again. And because you are born again you can see the Kingdom of God today. Our Lord is alive and well sitting at the right hand of the Father.
F. Our Lord… the descendant of David. Kiss the Son today. Love Him. For he loves us with an everlasting love drawing us to him not by war, but with unfailing kindness.