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Spiritual Lessons from the Life of David (8)

2 Samuel 24

David’s census – a lesson for God’s people throughout time about acting only on divine authority. Who inspired it: God or Satan? Why was it so wrong? The ‘normative principle’ of God’s rule over us. The problem of pride and God’s precautions for us. A verse also about heartfelt worship.


1 and 2 Samuel present many contrasts in matters of faith.

The land is under almost constant incursion and attack by the Philistines, and we have the unstable character of Saul leading the Israelites against the invading forces. He was soon to be deposed as king, and David has been secretly anointed by Samuel in his place, in a remarkable episode.

But David has no immediate prospect of taking up the role of king. He’s been anointed and he believes and he trusts that God will bring this about.

The character of Saul alone demonstrates many lessons and warnings for us as believers. Saul was under the discipline of God. He had been seized by a disposition of great melancholy.  In fact, David has been called in to the royal court to be his armour bearer, and a harpist –  to play for him, to try to ease his deep depression. The qualities of leadership that God had given to Saul, for the purpose of his office as king, he had taken from him, as a punishment for his sin of disobedience. Sin has consequences.

We have the terrifying character of Goliath, and the way God used him to teach the people that victory could only be achieved if they fought by faith and prayer. In earthly terms, they had no prospect of defeating the Philistines with such a formidable opponent.

Goliath did his level best to intimidate the Israelites – approaching their front line, roaring challenges at them. The psychological effect can only be thought about.

And this teaches us today that always in spiritual warfare, and this war would have a spiritual significance, it is the war of the idolaters against those who profess the true and living God, who have the promise of God to defend them if they fight with faith and prayer.

The enemy of souls may roar and demoralise and dismay, but God will always provide a way of escape and salvation, as He did by providing David and enabling him to defeat Goliath in the most unlikely of circumstances.



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The contrast between love and lust seen in Amnon’s rape of Tamar; Jonadab, like Satan, will prove a treacherous friend; Absalom unites charm and murderous cunning; a coup prepared after ’40 years’ – not an error but linking to the public mood that deposed Samuel.

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