Posted by: arieliondotcom | April 17, 2013

Memories of What Matters (2 Samuel 23)

Memories of What Matters
(2 Samuel 23)

They say that as we are dying our lives flash before us and we remember key incidents in our lives and the people who meant the most to us.

David is dying. The Holy Spirit has been with him since he was anointed king as a boy. But he sometimes ignored the Spirit as when he sinned with Bathsheba and killed her husband in order to have her. As he draws near death, though, David realizes that GOD has used him in spite of his sins. And by the Spirit of GOD he says that a godly leader is a relief to the people he leads like a dawn with no rain in the forecast, no clouds in the sky, and better than the reflection of rain off wet grass. And the way the Hebrew interpreters render it, GOD is speaking through David and saying a man must be godly in order to be a great leader, but how can he be godly without being led by GOD?

As he’s coming to the end of his life, David is thinking of what was most meaningful to him in his life. First he realizes that GOD had led him and made him righteous in spite of his sin and had made him a leader, given him a kingdom and promised his kingdom would continue forever. David could die knowing his memory and posterity would live, not because of his doing, but because GOD had made him righteous in spite of himself. What mattered most to David was being blessed and used by GOD. And that GOD would continue to use his family after his death.

He contrasts this with evil rulers, who destroy the morale of those they lead. They may be difficult to handle, like thorn bushes. As difficult as they are to deal with, though, evil is always short lived. Like thorn bushes their difficulty is only more incentive for those around them to get rid of them. And their destination is fire.

David next remembers those whom he had led. And the most meaningful of all his men were three special battle buddies. Each of these men did acts of strength and courage that would earn the highest honors for soldiers today. Josheb single-handedly killed 800 of the enemy with a spear at one time. Eleazer kept fighting a group of Philistines even after the rest of his fellow soldiers ran away. He fought so long and so hard his hand cramped and froze to his sword and his fellow soldiers only came back when it was safe to search the dead enemies.

And Shammah defended a field needed for food. When Philistine raiders came the rest of his Jewish soldiers ran but Shammah defended the field alone. and made it a field of battle and honor.

But it wasn’t their strength and courage that made David remember these three men. It was a special incident when he and the three of them were fighting Philistines who had their headquarters in Bethlehem. David was hiding from Saul in the caves tired and thirsty and wished out loud he could have a drink of the sweet, cool water from a familiar well in Bethlehem but now behind enemy lines. Before he realized it these three men broke through enemy lines and got him that drink of water. David was so overwhelmed at their sacrifice at the risk of their lives that he poured out the water as a sacrifice to honor GOD. As much as his men loved him as their leader, David knew such devotion truly only belonged to GOD.

The chapter goes on, as if David is calling to mind each of his men and their devotion to him. Though not as dramatically as those three they had each followed him out of love for him as their leader.

Most poignantly, and perhaps with tears and a catch of his breath, David remembered one last man. A foreigner who had left his own country and given up everything to follow David. A soldier who loved and sacrificed for David: Uriah the Hittite, the soldier leader David had betrayed and had murdered out of a moment of lust for Uriah’s wife.

Scripture says that the good news, the Gospel, telling others how JESUS died and lives for them is the Spirit of Prophecy. Every time we repeat with Scripture that JESUS is returning soon to judge the earth the Holy Spirit is using us as His Spiritual leaders. We are to disciple other, younger Believers, telling them about Scripture as JESUS is seen there. He said that we are to remember Him regularly as we eat the bread of His Body and wine of His Blood in Communion/The LORD’s Supper.

What memories are we leaving that matter in the lives of others? Are they memories of what really matter? Or are they burning thorns better forgotten?

David most remembered, at the end of his life those who had risked their lives for love of him. JESUS said there’s no greater love than that. Do we love JESUS like that? Are we pouring out our lives for Him? And if we do, we must remember that it is only because He poured His Blood and Life out first for love of us. And we can only act in love as His Spirit loves in reaction to how meaningful His sacrifice matters to us.

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