Posted by: arieliondotcom | April 15, 2013

Real Zeal (2 Samuel 21)

Real Zeal (2 Samuel 21)

The message today is for all of us who find ourselves exhausted or feeling as if we’re wasting our energy, even on good things, goals or people. GOD has a message for us, for you, today.

David’s kingdom is together again but something is wrong. There’s famine and he asks the LORD (through prayer and sacrifices) what’s wrong. The LORD explains the famine is to get David’s attention for a wrong his predecessor Saul had done. Saul, in his zeal quote to do the right thing unquote and wipe out everyone who wasn’t of Israel murdered those who had been told they’d be safe when the Israelites had first come into the land. It was too late after they’d been sworn protection in the Name of GOD but Saul killed them anyway. Now David was left to fix it with their descendants.

The descendants act coy but their zeal is for revenge. They won’t be satisfied with money or land. And they certainly won’t simply forgive the wrong. Instead they demand seven of Saul’s sons be killed. They’re very sarcastic about it, demanding that the descendants of the great warrior Saul who didn’t want them in Israel’s borders die where he died, where they lived, to show they owned that part of Israel.
David did as they asked and handed over several men, though not Jonathan’s crippled son.

There’s some controversy because we were told earlier that Michal had no children, at least not since she insulted David for dancing in front of the ark (and the servant girls). Her zealous jealousy for David caused her to be cursed. But she may have had these sons with the man Saul had given her to after David, hoping he’d kill David in the interim, before he died instead and David took her back.

The Gibeonites get their revenge and a woman from Saul’s harem is so zealous in her mourning for Saul’s descendants that she slept in the open near their bodies for what might have been weeks to keep the birds and animals away until the seasonal monsoon rains came. Then David, hearing of her devotion, feels a sense of guilt. Remember how he’d mourned for Saul and Jonathan when they had been killed? When he became king in David’s place he looked after Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son. But he’d done nothing for their desecrated remains. Now this woman’s devotion to Saul’s descendants reminded David to give them, as well as Saul and Jonathan, an honorable burial. Mission completed, the LORD was asked again with prayer and sacrifices to lift the famine.

Meanwhile, old enemies, the giants, were stirring again. Like the ancestors of the Gibeonites, there should have been no giants to bother Israel. They should have been defeated long ago. But they, and the Philistines, still harass Israel at every opportunity. When David has a close call, his men tell him to not go to war anymore because his death in battle would dishearten the entire army and public. Their zealous love for David has them willing to fight for him. They literally call him the light of their lives. Without him, their will to fight and even live would be gone.

What are we zealous about? What are we spending our strength, money, time and devotion on?

Saul was zealous but his zeal had him do the right thing at the wrong time and caused famine and death.

The Gibeonites were zealous for revenge, for their family, for land. But at what cost? They won the battle but lost the war for the moral high ground.

David had been so distracted by his own desires and the problems it caused in his own family he lost his zeal for Saul and Jonathan he’d had and let the country go to seed again, so to speak. It took the zealousness of a concibine over the dead to wake him up.

But what does zeal for the dead do?

David’s people loved him zealously. But our zealous love and jealosy of people can overcome our love for GOD.

JESUS will one day thousands of years later cleanse the temple of evil in fulfillment of the prophesy “Zeal for Your house consumed Me.” That’s the way Israel’s zeal was meant to have them cleanse all evil, including the ancestors of the Gibeonites. Not by making a pact with evil and without dishonoring GOD’s reputation by double crossing them.

JESUS will also say “Let the dead bury the dead.” So while the devotion to the dearly departed is touching, in the end it’s in vain. And it may be our own vanity mourning our memories and own approaching death.

Right zeal is to love the LORD with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength. And Scripture says this includes devotion to Him by helping the needy around us. Like Martha who kept cleaning her house while Mary was concerned with cleansing her heart at the feet of JESUS, we may be zealous about the wrong things.

If you find yourself worn out and frustrated ask GOD if you have real zeal. Are you busy about GOD’s business of living out and telling others about new life in JESUS? Or are you wearing yourself out in vain for a world meant to pass away?

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