David rules from Jerusalem - 2 Samuel 5:6-16
Prayer: Lord God, we don't always understand your ways & why you do what you do, but we thank you for your wisdom that always knows what's best for us. We thank you for the example that you have for us in David, a man that was not perfect, but who you chose to be the king of your people, a man that made mistakes but was a powerful force for your name's sake. As we learn about David today, how you established his reign in Jerusalem, we won't necessarily understand why Jerusalem was special - but it was your choice. Lord teach us to trust your choices in our lives as David trusted your choices in his.
Quickly Form Groups:
1. Briefly have each person share about a choice that you're facing that you'd like God to direct (think single sentence), say a brief (think single sentence) prayer for each. (share, pray, share, pray, ....)
Last time we took a look at the mass of armed forces David had available to him as he was being made King over all Israel. Now that David has all these forces at his disposal, he's going to move his center of operations to Jerusalem - but first he has to conquer Jerusalem, a city occupied by Jebusites. Before we take a look at how he accomplishes this, what's so important about Jerusalem? What is historically significant about this city?
Genesis 14:18-20 - Melchizedek, priest of God Most High, is the King of Salem (Salem is identified as Jerusalem). Jesus is recorded as being a priest in the "order of Melchizedek. Apparently Abraham wasn't the only man God had on His side in those days.
Genesis 22:1-3 & 2 Chronicles 3:1- Jerusalem, is located on Mount Moriah, the same mountain where Abraham was instructed to offer Isaac as an offering to God. The city itself, at the times of David & Abraham, was not on the specific site of the Abraham's sacrifice; however, this specific site was nearby & was later purchased by David, David put an altar there & later the temple was built (and rebuilt) there.
How long had the Jebusites been in Jerusalem?
Joshua 15:63 - since before the conquering of the promised land, with a temporary conquest recorded in Judges 1:8, but they were never completely routed. This makes me wonder if Melchizedek was a Jebusite, we don't really know.
For some reason this was an important place to God, He picked this place, and it was already significant in the history of Israel. Not only that, it was located at the border between Judah & Benjamin, though technically in Judah, and was still occupied by foreigners - not good to have foreigners occupying a city in the King's tribal lands, that would make him look weak. Not only this, Jerusalem was a city that, because of its location & topography was easy to defend, a known-good stronghold fit for a king.
2 Samuel 5 v6-8 & 1 Chronicles 11:4-6: King David takes his forces to the city of Jerusalem, a city which the tribes of both Judah & Benjamin had failed to subdue previously, and David is determined to conquer it. It was a fortified city, only about 11 acres in size, estimated to have a population inside the city of only around 3500 people - it was an independent city-state within Israel, but not part of Israel.
The Jebusites thought their city was impregnable, but David had a plan - somehow David knew about the "tsinnor", and that this was the means of getting inside to conquer the city. The word "tsinnor" is one of those words that we're not 100% certain of it's meaning, and sometimes it gets translated "scaling hooks"... but this seems unlikely. The same word is also used in Psalm 42:7, and there from the context it appears to mean waterfall. Some think "tsinnor" means water-shaft (this is the most popular interpretation) but it could also be referencing the cliffs (a waterfall could go over a cliff) that led up to the city's walls (thus the "scaling hooks" translation). Generally, the word is believed to have had something to do with water, but that is just an educated guess. Whatever this "tsinnor" was, it was the weakness that Joab took advantage of & went up first, thus earning him the position of the head of the newly combined forces of Israel.
Back to this "water shaft": The city of Jerusalem was on a hill, and as far as we know had no natural water source except the Gihon Spring which was located outside the city at the bottom of the hill. The inhabitants of the city would have needed a way to access water in order to endure siege - which they had done several times. Today there still exists a shaft leading to the spring, one that is considered an amazing engineering feat for its time - but this was not in existence yet during the time of David, it was created during the time of Hezekiah (a couple centuries later). When the shaft of Hezekiah was built it connected up to an older shaft, the date of which is unknown. It's possible, I'd venture so far as to say it's likely, that this shaft went into the city in David's time, we just don't know for sure.
2 Samuel 5 v9-10 & 1 Chronicles 11:7-9: These few verses summarize David's overall reign - he built up Jerusalem & the city, and he became quite powerful - though the scripture specifically points out that God was the source of David's power.
2 Samuel 5 v11-12 & 1 Chronicles 14:1-2: How powerful was David? So powerful that the King of Tyre wanted to curry favor, he sent messengers & carpenters & stonemasons as well as cedar logs - and built David's palace.
Historians note that during the time of David's reign the Hittites & Egypt, though still around, had faced significant losses of power. The Philistines were driven into a small portion of their previous lands. And the King of Tyre wanted to make an alliance. Under David's rule many of Israel's old enemies were subdued: Moab, Ammon, Edom. David expanded the boundaries of Israel from about 6,000 to 60,000 square miles. Commercial highways were developed and wealth poured into Israel from throughout the known world. Israel was the leading power in the Near Eastern world, and David the mightiest monarch of his day. David operated not only as a King, but as a Judge and as the leader of his armed forces.
2 Samuel 5 v13-16 & 1 Chronicles 14:3-7: How powerful was David? Perhaps a bit too powerful, because we see that he continues to acquire wives & he is growing what will end up being a huge dysfunctional family - but we'll get to that better a bit later in the narrative of David's life.
David was God's choice as king, and God was going to make sure his reign was powerful. Even though he wasn't perfect & made some big mistakes, David was going to do much that was good for Israel both economically and spiritually.
Closing Prayer: God we thank you that you don't pick perfect people to do your work; otherwise, none of us would ever be chosen to do your work. We thank you that as we do your will in our lives that the power to work for you comes from you, we don't have to worry about what skills we do/don't have - you will teach us & provide for what we need.
Quickly Form Groups Again:
2. David faced the temptations that came from wealth and power. If you suddenly had more wealth & power than you ever thought possible, what practical steps could you take to keep you from temptation? Try to come up with several ideas within your group.
3. The Jebusites resided within God's promised land for a long time without being removed, sometimes in our lives we can allow things to reside even though we belong to God - we have a "fortified area" where we keep things that God wants to remove. Take some time individually to reflect and pray - is there a "Jebusite fortress" in your life? Ask God to conquer this stronghold. If you're willing to share have the group, or another class member, pray for this as well.