Wednesday, September 5, 2012

David-Snakes and Rotten Guys

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 10, Psalm 105


A Journal Entry from One of David's Men


King David is an honorable man. 

He remembers and blesses those who have been kind to him. He never forgets. And if the person is no longer alive, he gives the blessing to his children. Like what he did for Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son.

David received news about the death of King Nahash of the Ammonites. His son, Hanun, succeeded him as king. Since King Nahash had shown kindness to David in the past, David wanted to send a group of his best men to give his sympathies to the son, King Hanun.

I was one of the honored men to go.

We arrived at King Hanun's palace the next day and were asked to wait in a room until announced. I stood by the door and overheard King Hanun's men whispering.

They said, "Those men who came in the name of King David are not here to honor King Hanun. They say King David wants to express sympathy for the loss of his father, King Nahash. I'll tell you why they came. They want to explore and spy out our country to set up a battle plan and overthrow us."

I knew we were in big trouble. Their thoughts were wrong. We really came in David's name to give sympathies, but they didn't believe us.

The door burst open. Guards yanked us to a room deep in the earth. They shaved our beards, the honor of a Hebrew man, cut off the back side of our clothes and sent us away in disgrace.

I have never been so humiliated in my life. The men with me ran from bush to tree to hide our shame. 

Along the way, we met a group of friends, men from David's army. They called to us. 

We lifted our head from our hiding place. "We're over here."

They ran to us with open arms. "David heard what happened. He understands how you feel. Come with us. We have made arrangements for you to stay in Jericho until your beards have grown."

I didn't know what to say. I felt very grateful for King David's quick act of kindness, but my shame wouldn't let me speak. My friend pressed his hand on my shoulder. "You're going to be fine, brother. We'll take care of you."

I looked at him, and although I couldn't smile, I managed to say, "Thank you."

I wasn't surprised at all that David sent our friends to help and that he made arrangements for us in Jericho. He is a kind and compassionate king who thinks of the needs of his people.

How blessed we are that God chose David as our king.

Thank you, God.

This is one of the Psalms we sing:  Psalm 105

Hallelujah! Thank God! Pray to him by name!
      Tell everyone you meet what he has done!
   Sing him songs, belt out hymns,
      translate his wonders into music!
   Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,
      you who seek God. Live a happy life!
   Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;
      be alert for signs of his presence.
   Remember the world of wonders he has made,
      his miracles, and the verdicts he's rendered—
         O seed of Abraham, his servant,
         O child of Jacob, his chosen.

   He's God, our God,
      in charge of the whole earth.
   And he remembers, remembers his Covenant—
      for a thousand generations he's been as good as his word.
   It's the Covenant he made with Abraham,
      the same oath he swore to Isaac,
   The very statute he established with Jacob,
      the eternal Covenant with Israel,
   Namely, "I give you the land.
      Canaan is your hill-country inheritance."
   When they didn't count for much,
      a mere handful, and strangers at that,
   Wandering from country to country,
      drifting from pillar to post,
   He permitted no one to abuse them.
      He told kings to keep their hands off:
   "Don't you dare lay a hand on my anointed,
      don't hurt a hair on the heads of my prophets."

   Then he called down a famine on the country,
      he broke every last blade of wheat.
   But he sent a man on ahead:
      Joseph, sold as a slave.
   They put cruel chains on his ankles,
      an iron collar around his neck,
   Until God's word came to the Pharaoh,
      and God confirmed his promise.
   God sent the king to release him.
      The Pharaoh set Joseph free;
   He appointed him master of his palace,
      put him in charge of all his business
   To personally instruct his princes
      and train his advisors in wisdom.

    Then Israel entered Egypt,
      Jacob immigrated to the Land of Ham.
   God gave his people lots of babies;
      soon their numbers alarmed their foes.
   He turned the Egyptians against his people;
      they abused and cheated God's servants.
   Then he sent his servant Moses,
      and Aaron, whom he also chose.
   They worked marvels in that spiritual wasteland,
      miracles in the Land of Ham.
   He spoke, "Darkness!" and it turned dark—
      they couldn't see what they were doing.
   He turned all their water to blood
      so that all their fish died;
   He made frogs swarm through the land,
      even into the king's bedroom;
   He gave the word and flies swarmed,
      gnats filled the air.
   He substituted hail for rain,
      he stabbed their land with lightning;
   He wasted their vines and fig trees,
      smashed their groves of trees to splinters;
   With a word he brought in locusts,
      millions of locusts, armies of locusts;
   They consumed every blade of grass in the country
      and picked the ground clean of produce;
   He struck down every firstborn in the land,
      the first fruits of their virile powers.
   He led Israel out, their arms filled with loot,
      and not one among his tribes even stumbled.
   Egypt was glad to have them go—
      they were scared to death of them.
   God spread a cloud to keep them cool through the day
      and a fire to light their way through the night;
   They prayed and he brought quail,
      filled them with the bread of heaven;
   He opened the rock and water poured out;
      it flowed like a river through that desert—
   All because he remembered his Covenant,
      his promise to Abraham, his servant.

    Remember this! He led his people out singing for joy;
      his chosen people marched, singing their hearts out!
   He made them a gift of the country they entered,
      helped them seize the wealth of the nations
   So they could do everything he told them—
      could follow his instructions to the letter.

   Hallelujah!

***************************
1.  Who is Nahash? What happened to him?
2.  What did David want to do, and why?
3.  Who else had David treated this way?
4. Who is Hanun?
5. What did Hanun's advisor think about David's men?
6. What did Hanun do to David's men?
7. What did David do when he heard the news?
8. Was the storyteller proud or disappointed in his king?

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