‘O Sovereign Lord….’ (David acknowledges God’s hand) and the early Spirit-filled church

22 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SIX : 2 Samuel 7 v. 1 – 8 v. 18; Acts 2 v. 22 – 47; Proverbs 14 v. 5 – 14

image from Sevenoaks Alliance Church website

2 SAMUEL
God’s Promise to David – David settles into his palace, and the Lord provides a time when Israel’s enemies give them a rest. In a conversation with Nathan, the prophet, David realises that the Ark of the Covenant should be housed more magnificently than in a tent (whilst he rests in his palace). Nathan encourages David to do whatever he has in mind, ‘for the Lord is with you’.
That night, Nathan hears God speak to him, with a message for David.
God has never yet been put in a ‘house’, but has been happy to move from place to place in a tent.
He has never asked for ‘a house of cedar’.
God reminds David that it is He who has taken him ‘from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel…Now I will make your name great…and I will provide a place for my people Israel…a home of their own.’
Then God says it will be David’s offspring who will build a ‘house for my Name’, and that David’s kingdom will ‘endure for ever before me; your throne will be established for ever’.
Nathan delights to tell David all that has been revealed to him.

David’s Prayer – David goes to pray, acknowledging all that God has done for him – ‘Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, that you have brought me this far?
‘How great You are, O Sovereign Lord. There is no-one like You.’
There is also acknowledgement of all that God has done for Israel
‘You have established Your people Israel as Your very own for ever, and You, O Lord, have become their God.’
David asks God to keep His promise, so that as David’s house is established, so ‘Your (God’s) name will be great forever.’
David proclaims that God’s words are trustworthy, and asks for God’s blessing upon his ‘house’ for ever.

David’s Victories – In time, David defeats the Philistines and captures Metheg Ammah;
David defeats the Moabites (every two thirds of them killed, one third allowed to live);
David fights the king of Zobah, Hadadezer, close to the Euphrates River, capturing 1,000 chariots, 7,000 charioteers and 20,000 soldiers.
David struck down 22,000 Arameans from Damascus when they came to help Hadadezer, and David put garrisons up in Damascus.
‘The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.’
David took gold and bronze from the defeat of Hadadezer, bringing it all to Jerusalem.
David received more silver, gold and bronze from Tou, king of Hamath, when he got the news of David’s victory over Hadadezer.
David dedicated all these articles to the Lord.
David conquered the Edomites in Salt Valley, putting garrisons throughout Edom.

David’s kingdom is extending in every direction – God giving him victory wherever he goes. This is a good time for David.

David’s Officials – ‘David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.’
Joab continued over the army; Zadok and Ahimelech were priests; Seraiah was secretary; Benaiah was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; David’s sons were royal advisers.

ACTS
Peter Addresses the Crowd (continued) – Peter continues his first sermon! He reminds the ‘men of Israel’ how they had credited Jesus of Nazareth with His miracles and signs, but how they had taken Him and put Him to death ‘by nailing Him to the cross’.
God raised Jesus from death, ‘freeing Him from the agony of death’.
Peter quotes David’s words from Psalm 16, showing how they speak of Jesus
‘You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will You let Your Holy One see decay’.
David died, and his grave is there to be seen – Peter reminds them of God’s promise (see the passage from 2 Samuel today) that David’s descendant will be placed on the throne.
‘God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.’
It is Jesus, now exalted to God’s right hand, who has poured out the ‘promised Holy Spirit’.
‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this : God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ’.

The listeners are ‘cut to the heart’ and ask what they should do next.
Peter instructs them to ‘repent and be baptised, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
Peter sees that this outpouring, and this turning to Christ is a pattern for all to come ‘for you and for your children and for all who are far off – all whom the Lord our God will call’.
Peter used many other words of warning and challenge, and on that day about 3,000 became disciples / followers of Jesus.

Stunning effect of the outpoured Spirit, thousands turning to Christ.
‘We need another Pentecost…send the fire today’.

The Fellowship of the Believers –
this snapshot of the early church practising its devotion, is a key text for any wishing to build a Christian community.
‘They devoted themselves…’ – they were committed out of love, showed reverence and devotion
‘to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship’ – learning through reading and understanding the teaching passed down through the apostles, and committed to building one another up in love, continuing to meet together
‘to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ – times of worship which included from the very beginning, breaking bread and prayer, sacrament (the new covenant remembered, the new Passover celebrated) and openness to God
‘Everyone was filled with awe, and many miraculous signs were done by the apostles’ – the apostles teaching was accompanied by signs and wonders, just as Jesus’ had. People were gripped with awe and wonder – it was an exciting, exhilarating time
‘All the believers were together and had everything in common.’ – a radical commitment to one another meant richer members sold possessions to enable the poorer to live well – an outbreak of sharing
‘Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts’ – they couldn’t abide the thought of not seeing each other from one week until the next, so they would meet up daily, in the temple and in one anothers’ homes
‘They ate (broke bread) in their homes with glad and sincere hearts’ – hospitality was a hallmark of the outpoured Spirit, and an honesty in sharing, with a heart inclined towards gratitude and thankfulness to God 
‘praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people’ – God is glorified, and people notice the difference and like what’s happening around (bit of a honeymoon period perhaps ?)
‘And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’ – a season of real fruitfulness, without necessarily ‘reaching out’, but living the Spirit-filled life bore fruit naturally, in those being attracted to, and caught up in Jesus’ saving grace.

‘the life-style and fellowship of these early believers was as great a miracle as the phenomena at Pentecost’ (H.B.Swete)

PROVERBS
‘The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.’
‘The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.’
‘Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no-one else can share its joy.’
‘The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish’
(note here that it is the wicked that have a house, and the upright that have a tent….)
‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.’

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