2 Samuel (2 Sam)

The 10th OT book, having 24 chapters. Nathan might have been one of the authors of this historical book, written about 930 BC. It focuses on David’s reign, his personal qualities – that pleased God – and his susceptibility to temptation and sin. Time to read: 2 hrs 10 mins.

Key people include: David, Nathan, Bathsheba and Absalom.

Outline. David became king of Judah for 7 years, then king over all Israel for another 33 years and established Jerusalem as the capital (2 Sam 5:4,5). His leadership was effective and the nation prospered. He expressed humble gratitude that God had blessed him (2 Sam 7:18). However, temptation stalks all people and David sinned sexually with Bathsheba. Sin has a habit of escalating and in this case, an innocent loyal soldier was murdered in an attempt to cover up the king’s sin. He had used his position of authority to exploit and manipulate the situation. Eventually David repented and was forgiven but the consequences remained and plagued his family line besides bringing disgrace to God (2 Sam 12:10-14). From then his kingdom declined and his family became dysfunctional – another example of ‘you reap what you sow’.

Main lesson. Many strong public ministries are ruined by an unguarded weakness in the private life of the person. We are to pray for our leaders and if they sin, to seek their restoration (which requires genuine repentance). Having safeguards and being accountable to others are wise precautions to avoid the devastating power of sin.

Key verses and thoughts: * David honoured the promise he had made to Jonathan (1 Sam 20:14-17; 2 Sam 9:1-12). Do I remember and carry out what I have said I will do? Can people rely on me to honour my word, or are they empty declarations that leave others hurt and disillusioned. Those to whom we have made promises often have better memories than we do!

* David used his position of authority to get what his flesh desired (2 Sam 11:2-27). Regardless of our position in society, none of us are beyond being tempted to sin. Cover-ups don’t work with God; the only remedy for failure is genuine repentance (Ps 32:3-5, 51:1-17). Although the sin is forgiven, the after-effects are around for a long time. What moral guidelines and protection measures do I have in place so I won’t compromise Biblical standards?

* The prophet Nathan skillfully and fearlessly confronted David (2 Sam 12:1-12). It took great courage to speak to the king about his wrong actions, which included lust, adultery and murder. He presented his message with such tact and skill that David clearly saw what he had done was wrong, acknowledged, and repented of his sin. The response we get when confronting someone depends to a large degree upon our humble approach as well as the actual words spoken.

See also: accountability, Bathsheba, confront, consequences, David, entry points, promises, sin/sinner, sow and reap, temptation.