1. A PROMISE KEEPER
a. Give an example revealing David’s fidelity and justice. 2 Samuel 8:15; 9:1–6.
“David . . . was told of a son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, who had been lame from childhood. At the time of Saul’s defeat by the Philistines at Jezreel, the nurse of this child, attempting to flee with him, had let him fall, thus making him a lifelong cripple. David now summoned the young man to court and received him with great kindness.”—
Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 713.
b. What missionary lesson can we learn from how David was able to touch the heart of this skeptical grandson of Saul? 2 Samuel 9:7–13.
“Through reports from the enemies of David, Mephibosheth had been led to cherish a strong prejudice against him as a usurper; but the monarch’s generous and courteous reception of him and his continued kindness won the heart of the young man.”—Ibid., p. 713.
“In tender, pitying love, lay hold of the discouraged and helpless ones. Give them your courage, your hope, your strength. By kindness compel them to come.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 235, 236.
2. SERIOUSLY MISUNDERSTOOD
a. How did Hanun, king of the Ammonites, totally misinterpret David’s gesture of sincerely genuine kindness? 2 Samuel 10:1–4.
“[The Ammonites] could have no conception of the generous spirit that had inspired David’s message. When Satan controls the minds of men he will excite envy and suspicions which will misconstrue the very best intentions. Listening to his counselors, Hanun regarded David’s messengers as spies, and loaded them with scorn and insult.
“The Ammonites had been permitted to carry out the evil purposes of their hearts without restraint, that their real character might be revealed to David. It was not God’s will that Israel should enter into a league with this treacherous heathen people.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 714.
b. What was Hanun’s immediate action when he realized the potential consequences of the insult he had rendered to Israel? 1 Chronicles 19:6, 7.
“The Ammonites, knowing that the insult offered to Israel would surely be avenged, made preparation for war. [1 Chronicles 19:6, 7 quoted.]
“It was indeed a formidable alliance. The inhabitants of the region lying between the river Euphrates and the Mediterranean Sea had leagued with the Ammonites. The north and east of Canaan was encircled with armed foes, banded together to crush the kingdom of Israel.”—Ibid., p. 715.
c. What did Joab declare to encourage his people? 1 Chronicles 19:8, 13. How did David inspire and amaze them also? 2 Samuel 10:17–19.
“David, realizing how much depended upon the result of this contest, took the field in person, and by the blessing of God inflicted upon the allies a defeat so disastrous that the Syrians, from Lebanon to the Euphrates, not only gave up the war, but became tributary to Israel. Against the Ammonites David pushed the war with vigor, until their strongholds fell and the whole region came under the dominion of Israel.”—Ibid.
3. DELIVERANCE AND THANKS
a. Although the weapons of our warfare are not carnal today, how can we gain strength by considering the outcome of David’s battle against the Ammonites? 1 Samuel 2:30 (second part); 1 John 5:4, 5.
“The dangers which had threatened the nation with utter destruction proved, through the providence of God, to be the very means by which it rose to unprecedented greatness.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 715.
“The kingdom of Israel had now reached in extent the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham, and afterward repeated to Moses: ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates’ (Genesis 15:18). Israel had become a mighty nation, respected and feared by surrounding peoples. In his own realm David’s power had become very great. He commanded, as few sovereigns in any age have been able to command, the affections and allegiance of his people. He had honored God, and God was now honoring him.”—Ibid., p. 716.
b. What did David see in his deliverances? Psalms 18:20–22, 35, 46–50; 44:4–8.
c. What gratifying opportunities were afforded Israel during this period, and why? Psalm 85:6–9; Proverbs 14:34.
“In the reign of David and Solomon, Israel became strong among the nations and had many opportunities to wield a mighty influence in behalf of truth and the right. The name of Jehovah was exalted and held in honor, and the purpose for which the Israelites had been established in the Land of Promise bade fair of meeting with fulfillment. Barriers were broken down, and seekers after truth from the lands of the heathen were not turned away unsatisfied. Conversions took place, and the church of God on earth was enlarged and prospered. . . .
“David knew that God’s high purpose for Israel could be met only as rulers and people should seek with unceasing vigilance to attain to the standard placed before them.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 25, 26.
4. DANGER LURKING . . .
a. How had a seemingly small sin crept into David’s life, paving the way for worse temptations? 1 John 2:15, 16; Proverbs 5:18, 19.
“[David] abhorred idolatry, and zealously kept the people of Israel from being seduced into idolatry by the surrounding nations. He was grealty beloved and honored by his people.
“He often conquered, and triumphed. He increased in wealth and greatness. But his prosperity had an influence to lead him from God. His temptations were many and strong. He finally fell into the common practice of other kings around him, of having a plurality of wives, and his life was imbittered by the evil results of polygamy. His first wrong was in taking more than one wife, thus departing from God’s wise arrangement. This departure from right, prepared the way for greater errors. The kingly idolatrous nations considered it an addition to their honor and dignity to have many wives, and David regarded it an honor to his throne to possess several wives. But he was made to see the wretched evil of such a course by the unhappy discord, rivalry and jealousy among his numerous wives and children.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, p. 86.
b. What unseen foe was stalking David, just as with each one of us? Ephesians 6:12. What is our only defense? Ephesians 6:13; 1 Peter 5:8, 9; 4:7.
“In the midst of prosperity lurked danger. In the time of his greatest outward triumph David was in the greatest peril.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 716.
“In every soul two powers are struggling earnestly for the victory. Unbelief marshals its forces, led by Satan, to cut us off from the Source of our strength. Faith marshals its forces, led by Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Hour by hour, in the sight of the heavenly universe, the conflict goes forward. This is a hand-to-hand fight, and the great question is, Which shall obtain the mastery? This question each must decide for himself. In this warfare all must take a part, fighting on one side or the other. From the conflict there is no release. . . . We are urged to prepare for this conflict.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 328.
5. AN INDIVIDUAL WORK
a. How only can we be victorious in the battle against the foe? James 4:7, 8.
“The work of every soul is to resist the enemy in the power and might of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the promise is that the devil shall flee from us. But let all realize that they are in peril, and there is no assurance of safety except as they comply with the conditions of the text [James 4:7]. The Lord says, ‘Draw nigh to God.’ How?—By secret, earnest examination of your own heart; by childlike, heartfelt, humble dependence upon God, making known your weakness to Jesus; and by confessing your sins. Thus you may draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 346.
b. What must be our constant prayer—and why? Psalms 119:12–14; 139:23, 24.
“God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 187.
“It is not enough for a man to think himself safe in following the dictates of his conscience. . . . The question to be settled is, Is the conscience in harmony with the Word of God? If not, it cannot safely be followed, for it will deceive. The conscience must be enlightened by God. Time must be given to a study of the Scriptures and to prayer. Thus the mind will be stablished, strengthened, and settled.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 324.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can I reach out to bless someone as David did to Mephibosheth?
2. What kind of impression did David give to his own army—and how?
3. Why was Israel able to achieve amazing stature during David’s reign?
4. Name some subtle snares that may be entangling us, as occurred to David.
5. What do I need to realize about my own conscience?