God Sightings for September 2023
The rebellion of Absalom had passed. David had returned to Jerusalem. The burden of Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, had been lifted along with his head. King David was once again established upon his royal throne. He could not sit peacefully, however, because God had some unfinished business with the house of Saul. David was yet to face trouble for his sin against the Lord in the case of Uriah and Bathsheba, but the famine of rain was for something different (II Sam. 21). The three years of draught was for Saul’s house, “There is blood guilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeanites to death” (v. 1).
So what’s with this? Years upon years before, the Gibeanites were a foreign people who tricked the nation of Israel to make a covenant of peace with them. Alas, their trickery was found out; but the covenant was made, it was sacred and, in God’s mind, it was to be upheld (Joshua 9). The Gibeanites were to be protected.
Saul, however, thought little of this covenant when he proceeded to annihilate them in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah (II Sam 21:2). A foreign entity, or not, “the heritage of the Lord” — Israel (II Sam 21:3), needed to make an atonement for its breach upon the covenant of Yahweh— so David cried out to the Gibeanites to bless Israel. This meant atonement by the execution of Saul’s seven sons. Thus it was done and the plague was stayed (II Sam 21:3-19).
It is evident that God’s nature shines through His covenants. Yahweh loves to make them and loves to make good on them. Our God is a covenant-making God, and a covenant-keeping God.
The nature of God should be likewise manifest among His own special people. “Pay what you covenant,” said Solomon (Ecc 5:4), “for in this very thing, we prove ourselves to be the heritage of the Lord.” And what must the church pay, with a covenant so free? It is a payment reckoned not of debt, but of grace, as “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God” (Ro 12:1). May God help us to make good on the covenant of our salvation!