Chapter 1.
When An Enemy Fails

2 Samuel 1:1-27

The study of 1 Samuel record's the failures of man's king, Saul. The book of 2 Samuel records the enthronement of God's king, David. Chapters one through four show his reign over Judah and chapters five through ten record his reign over Israel. Second Samuel is about the life of David as a king. It covers about forty years, but it is not about his whole life. His reign spills over like water over a spillway into the book of 1 Kings. The book of 2 Samuel will emphasize to us that one person can make a difference.

The Rubik's cube was very popular in the last decade and it was a very challenging game. One bad thing about the cube was one turn could create a big mess and get everything out of wack. David has taken his messed up life and placed it into God's hands. The first ten chapters of 2 Samuel show his triumphs and victories. In chapter eleven, there is a change in attitude. David takes matters into his own hands and really messes up the Rubik's cube of his life big time. The book of 2 Samuel will reveal that great people who try to follow God are susceptible to temptations and sin. In 1 Samuel we see the victory with the sling over the giant, Goliath. In 2 Samuel we see the defeat in the fling with Bathsheba. Satan is the great deceiver. He makes sin look so harmless and will get us to drop our guard like a high school quarterback did in Kansas. This quarterback told the umpires that he had the wrong ball for their next play. He picked up the ball and started running over to the sidelines toward his coach and then suddenly took off down the field toward the end zone and scored a 65 yard touchdown while everyone stood and watched him run all alone to the goal. The defensive team was totally taken off guard. It was deception at its finest hour. Satan is very cunning too. Godliness does not guarantee an easy, carefree life. The struggle we face with our fleshly nature is waged every single day. When Paul said, "I've fought a good fight" he was referring to his inward, spiritual struggles as well as the outward opposition that he faced.

The book of 2 Samuel shows us that David had family problems just like everyone else. The book also teaches that greatness can cause pride and problems as David took a census in order to glory in the strength of the nation. In 2 Samuel we see David's godly traits of faithfulness, patience, courage, generosity, commitment, honesty, and humility. We also learn lessons from his sin and his repentance. David could conquer one giant, but in 2 Samuel, he will fall helplessly before another, the giant of passion. David was strong in his political life, but weak in his family life. Frequently, he was a rock of stability, but often he was a stone of stumbling. We can identify with David because he struggled where we struggle. A study of his life will reap rich insights and blessings.

Two key principles are illustrated in 2 Samuel.

1. Hosea 10:12

Hosea 10:12—Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Time had Harold Wood of Manchester, England, on its hands for five very hectic minutes. Wood was repairing the clock at St. Mary's Hospital, when a gust of wind blew down his wooden scaffold like a child blowing out birthday candles. He seized the three-foot minute hand on the clock and screamed for help. Workmen came and released him from the face of the clock, sixty feet above the street. Time is to be seized, but not so drastically as that. A poster on a church in Switzerland read: "There are 1440 minutes in each day. Can we not spare five of them to think of God and eternity?" When we examine 1 Samuel 30, we find that David does take time to turn back to God. God rewarded him with success in 2 Samuel 1-10.

2. Hosea 8:7

Hosea 8:7—For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

David had sown the winds of adultery and reaped the whirlwind that brought death, destruction, discouragement, dissension and division. As we open the curtain on 2 Samuel, we first of all see.....

I. THE SURVIVOR OF THE BATTLE—1:1-3

The survivor of Saul's army came from the camp of Israel.

II. THE SUMMARY OF THE BATTLE—1:4

David wanted to know the final outcome of the battle. The people are fleeing and many have fallen, including Saul and Jonathan.

III. THE SPECIFICS OF SAUL'S DEATH—1:5-10

How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead? Saul leaned upon his spear with the enemy in hot pursuit (vs. 6). His attempt was unsuccessful so he asked this man, an Amalekite, to finish him off. Saul told this Amalekite, "Anguish is upon me." In the Hebrew this is rendered as "My coat of mail and embroidered coat hinder me." Saul's armor hindered his action of committing suicide. The Amalekite kills Saul. Saul lost his kingdom because he would not destroy all the Amalekites. Now one destroys him in the end. The lesson here is our disobedience to God can end up destroying us in the future.

The Amalekite takes the royal crown and armlet which were symbols of Saul's royalty and brings them as evidence to David. Some feel he is lying and that this story is a fabrication. Other scholars do not feel this way. Nevertheless, one thing is for certain, Saul is dead. How will David respond to this news?

How would you feel about the death of someone who was trying to kill you? Most of us would be relieved. Notice David's response.

IV. THE SORROW OF DAVID—1:11, 12

David's response was one of remorse, not revelry. He grieves over Saul, the soldiers, and Jonathan. This was not the expected response by the Amalekite. There is nothing wrong in grieving and there is nothing wrong with a man that weeps and has a broken heart. This passage illustrates the truth of Proverbs 24:17.

Proverbs 24:17—Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:

Do you have an enemy or irritator in your life? Rejoice not when they fall. Sir Walter Scott had difficulty with the idea of "turning the other cheek." Jesus words, however, took on special meaning one day when Scott threw a rock at a stray dog to chase it away. His aim was straighter and hurl stronger than he intended. He hit the dog in the leg and broke it. Instead of running off, the dog limped over to him and licked his hand. Sir Walter never forgot that touching response. He said, "That dog preached the Sermon on the Mount to me as few ministers have ever presented it." Is there someone you need to forgive? I believe we will weep when we see Christ rejecters cast into the flames of Hell at the Great White Throne Judgment one day. I believe we will feel there was more we could have done to reach the lost.

David's response reveals two lessons.

1. Our reaction to the failures of others reveals the depth of our relationship with God. David has no bitterness toward Saul. He has no malice or revenge, but a forgiving heart. A close walk with God will give you this kind of attitude.

2. When we see an enemy or irritator fall, we should strengthen and restore them if it is possible, considering our own weaknesses. We can fall too! I realize also that some people do not want any help or want to be restored. Pray for them and try to encourage the one's that do want help.

V. THE SMITING OF THE AMALEKITE—1:13-16

The Amalekite thought he would be rewarded for Saul's death. Unfortunately, it was not the reward he expected. Lifting one's hand against the Lord's anointed was unthinkable to David. This is why he would not harm Saul. I'll tell you something, you don't mess with God's men or God's work. Churches are filled with parents and members who run down their pastor in front of their children. When their kids get older, many of these kids get wild, rebellious, and into trouble. When the parent's want the help of the Pastor, the kid's won't listen because the parent's have undermined his authority in their eyes. The parent's have poisoned the hearts of their kids. The damage is done. The Amalekite got his reward. David executed him.

VI. THE SONG OF SORROW—1:17-27

The book of Jasher was the book of the Righteous. It contained songs of historical events for instruction and inspiration. There are no negatives about Saul in this song. David refers to his king as the beauty of Israel. David illustrates the truth of:

Philippians 4:8—Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Only a man who walks closely with God could speak mercifully and kindly about another who had wronged him and even tried to kill him. Can you do this? Has someone wronged you or hurt you? Have you forgiven them? If not, why not right now? A man who wants the heart of God will go ahead and forgive his offenders. Don't let hurt hinder your walk with God and don't let bitterness become a barrier to a blessing. There is no danger of developing eye strain from looking on the bright side. If you want revival in your life, you must forgive those who hurt you. That is the message of this chapter... forgive your enemies or offenders.

When Leonardo da Vinci was painting the Last Supper, he had an intense, bitter argument with a fellow painter. Leonardo was so enraged that he decided to paint the face of his enemy into the face of Judas. That way the hated painter's face would be preserved for ages in the face of the betraying disciple. When Leonardo finished Judas, everyone easily recognized the face of the painter with which Leonardo quarreled. Leonardo continued working on the painting, but as much as he tried to paint the face of Jesus Christ, he couldn't. Something was holding him back. Leonardo decided his hatred toward his fellow painter was the problem. So he worked through his hatred by repainting the face of Judas, replacing it with another face. Only then was he able to paint the face of the Lord Jesus Christ and complete his masterpiece.