Archive for the ‘Psalm 20’ Category

2 Samuel 15 Part 2

In the first segment of this study of 2 Samuel 15 we proposed that this chapter develops the theme that the ability to make right judgments has an integral connection with the location of one’s faith. Implicit through the chapter are many questions.

Is David a faithful servant of the LORD? The Absalom conspiracy creates a crisis which probes the fidelity of David to Yahweh and examines the suitability of David to remain as the king of Israel. Can the kingdom continue to be entrusted to the judgments of David? Is David a trustworthy steward to serve as the king of Israel?[1] The answers uncovered in the flight from the city reveal that David’s faith is in the LORD and the LORD alone. He seeks salvation from no one else and in nothing else, his decisions and actions form one, united plea: ‘LORD, save me!’ Psalm 20 is attributed to David and may well express a direct commentary on this day of peril as he finds his reign under its fiercest attack.

 ‘Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.’[2]

From the opening reference to Absalom’s chariot and horses, 2 Samuel 15 poses a vital question for David regarding the location of his heart. Where does his heart reside? In what does he trust? In a chapter which revolves around questions of trust and friendship, the fundamental question facing David is whether he believes the LORD can be relied upon in this time of urgent need. Does David turn to the LORD and believe that the LORD is his friend? The desperation of his plight allows no room for pretence or hypocrisy. In the crisis, David’s heart is fully exposed. The actions, decisions and prayer of David in 2 Samuel 15 confirm David’s heartfelt desire for the LORD’s righteous judgment above all else. It is the desire which is worthy of the servant of the kingdom of Israel whose distinguishing marks are steadfast love and faithfulness (15:20). Most importantly, from the LORD’s perspective, David’s response in the crisis provides criteria to make a sound judgment as to whether it is wise for David to be counted as a trustworthy friend of Yahweh, the King of Israel.

[1] The term steward is not used in 2 Sam 15, however, the appearance of the steward Ziba in 2 Sam 16 will raise the issue of what it is to be a true servant to one’s master. The crisis of a steward’s dismissal is the theme of Luke 16:1-9 which is followed by warnings about faithful service. The apostle Paul expresses the essence of what it is to be a faithful steward in 2 Timothy 1:12: ‘I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.’

[2] Psalm 20:7-9. The word translated ‘trust’ in Ps 20:7 is the verb zakar ‘ to remember’. It is also used in Ps 20:3. In 2 Samuel this verb is used on three occasions: 14:11, 18:18 and 19:19.