2 Samuel - Submission to God

Background

This book records the reign of King David, Israel's greatest king. After the death of King Saul, Judah crowned David as king. This was followed by war with the northern kingdom of Israel which also fell to David. He therefore became the first king to unite the northern and southern kingdoms.

David later sinned against the Lord. He spied Bathsheba bathing, desired her, and engineered the death of her faithful warrior husband, after committing adultery with her (2 Sam. 11). Nathan, the prophet, confronted David with his sin, and David confessed his wrongdoing. The newborn child of David and Bathsheba died. Bathsheba conceived again, bearing Solomon (2 Sam. 12:1-25).

David's kingdom was restored, but the hints of division between Judah and Israel remained (2 Sam. 19:40-43). David had to put down a northern revolt (2 Sam. 20). The last act the Books of Samuel report about David is his census of the people, bringing God's anger but also preparing a place for the Temple to be built (2 Sam. 24).

Theme

Discussion : When we mention submission to God, what areas do we think of that we can submit to God?

Answer : Submitting to God's commandments, His will for our lives, our ambitions, etc.

In the book of 2 Samuel, King David is the key character. The entire book is about his life, his sins and his achievements. One of the things that stood out strongly in this book is the way David submits to God in all areas of his life. Sure, David is human and he too is not immune to sin but throughout his life, we see fine examples of his submission to God.

Submission to God's appointed leaders

(2 Samuel 1:13-17 NIV) David said to the young man who brought him the report, "Where are you from?" "I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite," he answered. {14} David asked him, "Why were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed? (referring to King Saul)" {15} Then David called one of his men and said, "Go, strike him down!" So he struck him down, and he died. {16} For David had said to him, "Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, 'I killed the Lord's anointed.'" {17} David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan,

Saul had tried many times to kill David while he was alive. Yet when he heard that Saul had died, instead of feeling relieved and happy, David was saddened. This is surprising reaction on the part of David. The reason is because while Saul tried to do him harm, David continued to acknowledge him as God's anointed king. And he was willing to submit to anyone whom God had appointed as leader. Submission to God's chosen leaders is one way to demonstrate our submission to God.

(Romans 13:1 NIV) Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

The Bible is clear that we are to submit to authority because God had allowed these authorities to exist. The only exception is when authorities defy God. In this case, the right thing to do would be to obey God rather than men.

(Acts 5:27-29 NIV) Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. {28} "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." {29} Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!

If the people in authority over us have not asked us to do something which is wrong in the sight of God, we must obey them. The fact that we disagree with the way our superiors do things is not a valid reason for not submitting to their authority.

Question : Who are some people that the Lord has allowed to have authority over us?

Answer : Government, bosses, pastors, parents, husbands

Discussion : Share on some areas which we find difficult to submit to the following leaders. Why did we not want to submit to them? Is it because they have violated God's laws or is it because we thought we know better?

Submission to God's decisions

(2 Samuel 2:1 NIV) In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. "Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?" he asked. The LORD said, "Go up." David asked, "Where shall I go?" "To Hebron," the LORD answered.

Even though David was the supreme leader in Israel, he did not proceed with any major task without first consulting the Lord. This we know is the most important factor in David's success. The Bible elsewhere teaches that if we sought the Lord, He will surely give us success in whatever we do. This was said of King Uzziah.

(2 Chronicles 26:5 NIV) He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.

Application : What are some areas of our life in which we would like to have success? How can we seek God in these areas?

Answer : Career directions, decisions made in the office, how best to witness to our loved ones.

Discussion : Share on some incidents in our life when we have sought the Lord and He had given us success.

Discussion : Are there incidents in our life when we sought the Lord and He gave us a different answer from the one we expected? How did we react? Did we submit to the Lord's decision?

For further study, read 2 Sam 5. Here David wants to build a temple for God, but when God told him that he was not allowed to build it but instead his son, Solomon would build the temple, David willingly accepted the Lord's decision.

Submission to God's judgment

Even though David was a man of God, being human, one day he succumbed to sin. He had an affair with one of his officer's wife and to cover up that wrongdoing, he had her husband killed at battle. God had to send His prophet Nathan to confront David of his sin. David responded rightly for anyone who falls into sin. He repented immediately and accepted what God had to offer as punishment for his sin.

(2 Samuel 12:15-23 NIV) After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. {16} David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. {17} The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. {18} On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate." {19} David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked. "Yes," they replied, "he is dead." {20} 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 worshipped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. {21} His servants 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!" {22} 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.' {23} But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

A similar incident was recorded in 2 Sam 24:10-17 when David sinned by ordering his men to conduct a census so that he can take pride in his kingdom. After God had pronounced judgment, David willingly accepted it.

Question : Why should we accept God's judgment willingly?

Answer : Because His judgments serve a good purpose.

(Hebrews 12:5-6 NIV) And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, {6} because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

God's judgments are not pleasant. They hurt when they are being administered. But through God's discipline, we learn to avoid mistakes that will do more harm if they are allowed to continue.

Discussion : Share some incidents when we grumble at God's judgment because we thought it was too harsh.