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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

April 10, 2021

Daily Reading: II Samuel 19-21


II Samuel 21:1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.


Four hundred years earlier, Joshua and all of Israel, made a hasty covenant of peace with the Gibeonites (Joshua 9). They did not pray about this peace agreement; they did not search out the matter. If they had, Israel would have seen them for the imposters they were. For the Gibeonites hearing of Israel's defeat of Jericho and Ai, feigned themselves from being from a far country. They basically tricked Joshua into believing they had traveled a great distance, but in reality they were a neighboring city. Nonetheless Israel made a peace covenant with the Gibeonites. God marked it down.


Sometime during Saul's reign, the king that preceded David, he slew the Gibeonites. Because of this during the time of David's reign the Lord sent a three-year famine upon the land and nation of Israel. Once the Lord answered David's continual inquiry about this drought he (David) immediately sought about how to make things right with the Gibeonites. He asked them, What shall I do for you? Their response was, we do not want money, we do not want any man of Israel killed...except for seven of Saul's sons. They required that Saul's progeny be ended. David agreed, seven descendants of Saul were hung, and the drought ended.


What a sordid story! On the surface it seems twisted, harsh, and unjust. But remember, always remember the truth stated in the first book of the Bible by Abraham; Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? God is always right and just in his dealings with nations and individuals. We may not understand, sometimes we can't understand. Isaiah spoke of this in Isaiah 55:9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. In the New Testament Paul said to the eager, wisdom loving, and intelligentsia of Rome, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!


Do you remember the old saying wherein one party says, "God is good all the time" and then in return the other party says, "And all the time God is good?" This is how the story of Israel's famine in Israel during the time of David must be approached. In God's goodness and infinite wisdom He was accomplishing something that needed his attention. Below are a few lessons learned from this story and one possible reason for its time and circumstance.


God always expects us to keep our promises, even to their own hurt. Psalm 15:4 ...He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.


Time does not diminish promises made. It was 400 years since Israel made their promise to the Gibeonites and sometime after that Saul broke the nation's promise, then sometime after that Israel suffered the drought because of it.


On a very practical and political note given the time in which these events took place. I believe that the Lord used these events to rid David of further challenges to his throne. He had enough, first Ishbosheth, then Absalom, then Sheba the son of Bichri tried to steal away David's throne. After all it was David that was anointed by God's decree to be the next king of Israel. Not these imposters. God was protecting his man in the manner of the day.


In short. Keep your promises. As a pastor I can say this with all confidence: churches all over our world are hindered by individuals who do not keep their promises. So are marriages, businesses, and civil responsibilities. Better not to make a promise if you cannot or will not keep it! For God takes promises seriously. He will never break one. Never!


Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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