1. REBELLION SQUELCHED
a. As David prepared for battle, what was his big concern? 2 Samuel 18:1–5. Yet how did Absalom meet his death? 2 Samuel 18:9, 10, 14, 15.
“As the king looked upon the opposing forces, the thought uppermost in his mind was not of the crown and the kingdom, nor of his own life, that depended upon the wage of battle. The father’s heart was filled with love and pity for his rebellious son.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 743.
b. Why did Joab arrest David’s reaction? 2 Samuel 18:32, 33; 19:1–8.
“God had given them reason for triumph and gladness; the greatest rebellion that had ever been known in Israel had been crushed; and yet this great victory was turned to mourning for him whose crime had cost the blood of thousands of brave men. . . .
“Harsh and even cruel as was the reproof to the heart-stricken king, David did not resent it. Seeing that his general was right, he went down to the gate, and with words of courage and commendation greeted his brave soldiers as they marched past him.”—Ibid., p. 745.
2. BLESSING AND PRESUMPTION
a. Give some later examples of David’s continued nobility of spirit—and God’s care for him. 2 Samuel 19:18–23; 23:14–17.
“After the death of Absalom, God turned the hearts of Israel, as the heart of one man, to David. Shimei, who had cursed David in his humility, through fear of his life, was among the first of the rebellious to meet David on his return to Jerusalem. . . . Those who witnessed his abusive course urged David not to spare his life, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed. But David rebuked them. He not only spared the life of Shimei, but mercifully forgave him.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, p. 91.
b. Although the full restoration of David’s kingdom was neither immediate nor easy, what was he able to declare? 2 Samuel 22:1–3, 7, 18, 19, 51.
c. What error did David commit later in life? 1 Chronicles 21:1–7.
“It was pride and ambition that prompted this action of the king. The numbering of the people would show the contrast between the weakness of the kingdom when David ascended the throne and its strength and prosperity under his rule. This would tend still further to foster the already too great self-confidence of both king and people. [1 Chronicles 21:1 quoted.] The prosperity of Israel under David had been due to the blessing of God rather than to the ability of her king or the strength of her armies. But the increasing of the military resources of the kingdom would give the impression to the surrounding nations that Israel’s trust was in her armies, and not in the power of Jehovah.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 747.
d. What did David humbly realize about the census? 2 Samuel 24:10. How did he choose from the options God gave him? 2 Samuel 24:11–14.
“[The people] had themselves cherished the same sins that prompted David’s action. As the Lord through Absalom’s sin visited judgment upon David, so through David’s error He punished the sins of Israel.”—Ibid., p. 748.
3. ACCEPTANCE AND ABDICATION
a. Why did so many people have to suffer—and what was the effect of David’s intercession? 2 Samuel 24:15–17, 21, 25.
“Swift destruction followed. Seventy thousand were destroyed by pestilence. David and the elders of Israel were in the deepest humiliation, mourning before the Lord. As the angel of the Lord was on his way to destroy Jerusalem, God bids him to stay his work of death. A pitiful God loves His people still, notwithstanding their rebellion. The angel clad in warlike garments, with a drawn sword in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem, is revealed to David, and to those who were with him. David is terribly afraid, yet he cries out in his distress, and his compassion for Israel. He begs of God to save the sheep. In anguish he confesses, ‘I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. Let thine hand be against me, and against my father’s house, and not upon the people.’ God speaks to David by His prophet, and bids him make atonement for his sin. David’s heart was in the work, and his repentance was accepted.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, pp. 92, 93.
b. How were David’s prayers for grace in his old age answered in his final challenge? Psalm 71:9, 18; 1 Kings 1:5, 6, 15–21, 32–35, 39.
“[Adonijah] now rebelled against the authority of God, who had appointed Solomon to the throne. Both by natural endowments and religious character Solomon was better qualified than his elder brother to become ruler of Israel; yet although the choice of God had been clearly indicated, Adonijah did not fail to find sympathizers. Joab, though guilty of many crimes, had heretofore been loyal to the throne; but he now joined the conspiracy against Solomon, as did also Abiathar the priest. . . .
“David at once abdicated in favor of Solomon, who was immediately anointed and proclaimed king. The conspiracy was crushed. Its chief actors had incurred the penalty of death. . . . Joab and Adonijah were spared for the time, but after the death of David they suffered the penalty of their crime. The execution of the sentence upon the son of David completed the fourfold judgment [2 Samuel 12:5, 6] that testified to God’s abhorrence of the father’s sin.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 749, 750.
4. AN INHERITANCE OF FAITH
a. Explain David’s advice for Solomon—and his deepest concern at the end of his life. 1 Kings 2:1–4; 1 Chronicles 28:9.
“David feels the greatest solicitude for Solomon. . . . He has learned by experience that the Lord will in no case sanction wrongdoing, whether it be found in the loftiest prince, or the humblest subject, but would visit the leader of His people with as much severer punishment as his position is more responsible than the humble subject’s. The sins committed by the leaders of Israel would have an influence to lessen the heinousness of crime on the minds and consciences of the people, and would be brought to the notice of other nations, who fear not God, but who trample upon His authority, and they would be led to blaspheme the God of Israel. David solemnly charges his son to adhere strictly to the law of God, and to keep all His statutes.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, pp. 94, 95.
b. Upon what else did David focus now? 1 Chronicles 28:10, 20; 29:3, 9.
“The Lord, through His angel, instructed David, and gave him a pattern of the house which Solomon should build for Him. An angel was commissioned to stand by David while he was writing out, for the benefit of Solomon, the important directions in regard to the arrangement of the house. David’s heart was in the work. He manifested an earnestness and devotion in making extensive preparations for the building, and spared neither labor nor expense, but made large donations from his own treasury, thereby setting a noble example before his people, which they did not hesitate with a willing heart to follow.”—Ibid., p. 94.
c. How can David’s example inspire the aged? Psalms 71:1; 119:132, 133.
“David, in arranging his business, sets a good example to all who are advanced in years, to settle their matters while they are capable of doing so, that when they shall be drawing near to death, and their mental faculties are dimmed, they shall have nothing of a worldly nature to divert their minds from God.”—Ibid., p. 96.
5. A MESSAGE FOR THE LAST DAYS
a. How is the promise in 2 Samuel 7:16 fulfilled? Luke 1:30–33; Acts 2:29–36.
b. What message penned by David is of distinct importance in these last days of earth’s history? Psalm 119:17, 18, 33–40, 126, 127.
“It is possible for men to go so far in wickedness, under continual remonstrance, that God sees that He must arise and vindicate His honor. Thus it is at the present period of this earth’s history. Crime of every degree is becoming more and more strikingly manifest. The earth is filled with violence of men against their fellowmen.
“What position will the church take? Will those who in the past have had respect for the law of God, be drawn into the current of evil? Will the almost universal transgression and contempt of the law of God, darken the spiritual atmosphere of the souls of all alike? Will the disrespect of the law of God sweep away the protecting barriers? Because wickedness and lawlessness prevail, is the law of God to be less highly esteemed? Because it is made void by the great majority of those living on the earth, shall the few loyal ones become like all the disloyal, and act as the wicked act? Shall they not rather offer up the prayer of David, ‘It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law’?”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1153.
“[Psalm 119:17, 18, 33–40 quoted.] Such prayers as this the Lord’s servants should be continually offering to Him. This prayer reveals a consecration to God of heart and mind; it is the consecration that God is asking us to make.”—Ibid., p. 1152.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What can we learn from David’s response to Joab’s rebuke to him?
2. In what areas of life might I be tempted to commit the same sin as did David in his census?
3. Enumerate the fourfold judgment on David’s sons and how it warns us.
4. Like David, how can we all make the best of our older years?
5. What appeal does David, through the psalms, make to each of us today?