2 Samuel 1: Fallen
“Therefore Saul took his sword and fell on it.” When we were first introduced to Saul, he was described as the most handsome man in Israel and “head and shoulders” taller than any of the other people. I Corinthians 10: 12 tells us: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
It is often said about David, he was “a man after God’s own heart”. But in 2 Samuel, we will be reminded he was a man after all and knew the weakness of human flesh. I will forewarn you, this story in 2 Samuel could be rated R for its sexual content and violence. But yet this story teaches us God is able to put things right which have become a mess.
I Samuel ends with the defeat of Israel’s army by the Philistines. King Saul’s three sons with him in battle, Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchisua are killed. King Saul is severely wounded and commits suicide by falling on his sword, rather than facing being captured alive and tortured. Thus ends the reign of Israel’s first king.
While this battle was going on, David and his men were returning from their slaughter of the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag and taken captive their women and children.
It was on the third day of his return when a man came from the battlefield of the Philistines and Israel. David inquires how the battle went. David is told Israel has suffered a great defeat and King Saul and his sons are dead. ‘How do you know this, David asked the man. What is told by this man is obviously a lie. He takes credit for assisting King Saul in his death. The reason we believe it to be a lie, is there are two accounts verifying Saul took his own life in I Samuel 31 and also in I Chronicles 10. The young man was more than likely a scavenger who came into the battlefield to take anything of value from the dead. He found the king and took his crown and bracelet. He must have thought David would reward him, for he brought them to David.
As soon as David heard of the defeat of Israel’s army and of the death of King Saul and his sons, he and his men began to mourn. Verse 12 tells us: “And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”
This man, an Amalekite, must have been shocked that David and his men would mourn the death of King Saul. He thought this would be good news. But David has shown by his actions he would never take the life of King Saul, for he was God’s anointed king. The Amalekites are always a picture of the flesh in the Bible. And we know in our flesh, our old nature dwells no good thing. For this reason, David had the Amalekite executed.
David and his men weep and fast in sorrow for the defeat of Israel, for the loss of life and the death of King Saul and his sons, especially Jonathan. David will stumble and make some horrendous mistakes. But in some ways it is encouraging to know God could still use David. David’s even after his fall into sin. His repentance and his restoration is a beautiful picture of God’s Grace and God’s desire to restore us when we fall.
We often used the term, “the fall” to refer to Adam and Eve’s sin in Genesis 3. Because of the Fall, we speak of living in a fallen world. From what did we fall? Adam and Eve fell from a personal, face-to-face relationship with God. It caused their banishment from the Garden of Eden. It brought death to mankind. For the wages of sin is death. This fall which broke this relationship with our Creator has left every generation diseased and dying in our personalities and bodies.
This fall which broke this relationship also created a fall from our reflection of God’s likeness into a smeared, distorted image of God. By the time of Noah, there were only 8 godly people on the face of the earth. Man’s interest was on doing evil 24-7.
This fall resulted in a fall from the joyful obedience which Adam and Eve enjoyed into lawless rebellion and constant frustration which dominates every part of our society today. This fall resulted in what we see today as a fall from what God intended family to be, which is marriage between a man and a woman, into something entirely different.
We have failed and fallen from our rightful position of having dominion over the land and being good stewards. The result is we live in an increasingly polluted environment. Even creation groans because of this fall and eagerly awaits the return of the Lord and restoration of what has fallen.
What happened? Most people sense there is something wrong. But how to fix it and how to restore what once was- seems to be where it gets worse rather than better.
Now God created man in His image and in doing so he gave man free will. God then placed man in a paradise with everything he needed for life and godliness. He was forewarned he could eat from any tree in the Garden but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God said when you eat from that tree, you will surely die. Each day Adam and Eve chose to eat from the Tree of Life and not the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Until one fateful day, Eve was approached by the serpent. Like Adam and Eve, each day we choose whom we will serve.
Who is this Serpent? He is Satan, a fallen angel. We read in Isaiah 14: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground. You who weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol. To the lowest depths of the Pit.
And we read this description of Lucifer in Ezekiel 28: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes were prepared for you on the day you were created. (Notice Lucifer is a created being) You were the anointed cherub who covers: I established you: You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth I the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. “
And Revelation 12 tells of the battle and revolt in heaven which Lucifer led against Almighty God, his Creator, and he and 1/3rd of the angels who followed him were cast down to the earth, where he deceives man.
LIVING IN A FALLEN WORLD
What does it mean to live in a fallen world? It means we struggle daily with temptation and sin. We experience heartache and pain. We watch the news and see an endless stream of bad news from tsunamis to earthquakes, wildfires, volcanoes, tornadoes, storms, and crime. People scoff at the notion of absolute truth. The Bible they say is an ancient book written by men. There is no God. Science is our god. Science is our truth.
There is no proof of God they say. Yet the heavens declare His glory, night after night His speech goes forth and is understood in every language. We have the external witness of God’s creation. We have the internal truth of the witness of our conscience.
When man fell. God already had a plan. He already knew this was going to happen. This is why the plan of salvation was devised by God before creation. It was God’s plan to restore what was broken when man fell. Like the watchmaker who builds a watch to tell time, he sees he must build in it the ability to re-set it when it stops functioning and performing the purpose for which it was created. God had a plan to re-set man, to restore us to our rightful position.
The story of 2 Samuel is a story of sin, rebellion, lust, power struggles, and murder. Even as I describe this it sounds like the plot for a movie or a television series. Many of the events which take place in this account do not always honor the Lord. The nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, have a history of rebellion. After all they had no more gotten out of Egypt than they demanded Aaron make them a golden calf and they rose up to eat, and drink and to play. (Exodus 32)
What a picture of everyday life in America today. People want to do what they want to do. The people demand their leaders give them what they want. They want to rise up each day and eat and drink and play and do what they want to do without anyone telling them it is wrong. They want to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Which is exactly what happened in the fall when Adam and Eve decided they would decide for themselves how they would live their lives.
One of the major themes of the Bible and this story in 2nd Samuel is restoration. For when something has fallen and is broken, can it be repaired? Can it be re-set? Restored to its original state? Today in our culture and society, we see most products are built with built-in obsolescence. That is they only work for a period of time and it is cheaper to buy another one rather than pay to have this one prepared. We owned the same phones when I was growing up. We never had to buy new phones because the ones we owned never quit working. Most things we bought could be repaired and restored.
God is in the repair business. He is a restorer of broken lives. He can restore what the canker worm of sin has destroyed. He never wastes anything. ‘He can make everything beautiful in its time. He has put eternity in our hearts. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever.’ Ecclesiastes 3.
God is not a distant, cold Creator. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is love. God is kind and long suffering. His love never fails. His mercy and compassions are fresh every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
God does not intend for His world and His creation to groan forever. God is repairing and restoring His creation.
He wants to restore friendship with Him in Jesus Christ. He wants to give us eternal life. Life more abundant. He tells us clearly: man’s life does not exist in the abundance of his possessions.
He wants to restore the reflection of God likeness in Jesus Christ. He wants to restore us by conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ.
He wants to reinstate and restore the rules for living a fulfilling life. He wants each of us to experience true peace and prosperity.
He wants to restore His design for family.
He wants to restore man’s proper dominion in caring for God’s world. This is my Father’s world.
Now here is the good news: as Christians we struggle with living the life God designed us to live. Some of us have given up that this is unattainable. That is why this story of David is such an encouraging story. The story of the life of David teaches us God can use imperfect people to accomplish His purposes. We need to take note- God disciplines His servants who disobey Him. It also teaches no nation is beyond God’s ability to restore.
Yes, we live in a world which is broken. We have seen things happen in our lifetimes we would have never thought we would see in America.
A GLIMPSE OF RESTORATION: A MYSTERY REVEALED
Here is God’s plan of restoration going back before the foundation of the earth. “ Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made know to us the mystery His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ which are in heaven and which are on earth.” (Ephesians 1)
This is how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are restoring all things. At Calvary God placed all my wrong on Jesus and He paid for all my sins. Canceled those things written against me with His blood. He took my wrong and gave me His Right.
I am a recovering alcoholic. But what I really am is a recovering sinner. For you see recovery is the heart of the Gospel. It is a rescue mission. We are all recovering from sin, to which we were addicted.
My experience with AA brought me in contact with people of different backgrounds, race, education level, professions and gender. But our meeting had but one purpose: to stay sober one day at a time, and to help and encourage others to stay sober one day at a time. The 12 Steps of recovery were about establishing a relationship with our Higher Power by discovering the recovery process. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our churches were like AA meetings? Where people realized we are all recovering sinners. Trying to stay on the right path one day at a time. Helping others recover, restore and rebuild a life which had fallen and was shattered to pieces.
God wants you to be restored. Oh- that you would see the lengths He has gone to – to restore you. }