17. BREAKING PROMISES WILL AFFECT YOU IN WAYS YOU CANNOT ANTICIPATE.
II Samuel 21:1,2 - "Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, 'It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.' So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah."
God may punish us in unusual ways when we break our word, even if we keep our word for many years. The primary application that comes to my mind here is wedding vows. How many vow "until death do us part" and then leave for a variety of reasons long before death comes? Those who break their word rarely anticipate the effect it will have on their lives for ill--life span, stress, impact on kids, the eternal effect of an adulterous remarriage, etc. (cf. Psa. 15:4).
18. THE WISE ACKNOWLEDGE GOD, TRUST HIM, & PRAISE HIM AS THEIR STRONGHOLD & DELIVERANCE.
II Samuel 22:2-4 - "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies."
We are wise to acknowledge God's influence in our lives both physically and spiritually. We must trust Him and praise Him! Only a fool would deny such a course (cf. Psa. 14:1).
19. TO A CERTAIN DEGREE, GOD WILL TREAT US AS WE HAVE TREATED OTHERS.
II Samuel 22:26-28 - "With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show yourself shrewd. You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down."
God will grant mercy to the merciful, shrewdness to the devious, and no forgiveness to the unforgiving (cf. Matt. 6:14,15). With this truth in mind, how ought we to live and treat others (cf. Matt. 7:12; James 2:13)?
20. TO TAKE PRIDE OR TO TRUST IN NUMERICAL STRENGTH IS A MISTAKE.
II Samuel 24:2,10 - "So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, 'Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people...And David's heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.'"
It was a sin to number the people of Israel in this way (cf. Exo. 30:11,12), but David would not be deterred (though Joab and the captains of the army tried to do so). God did not want Israel to trust in numbers but in Him! They could defeat any enemy--no matter how strong or numerous--if they were faithful to God. David's pride motivated this decision and the punishment suffered was severe (cf. 24:15). Today Christians err greatly when they trust in numbers (e.g., the amount of money in the bank, years of life, congregational size, etc.). Trust in the LORD with all your heart, not yourself (cf. Prov. 3:5-7)!
21. OUR OFFERINGS TO GOD SHOULD COST US SOMETHING.
II Samuel 24:23,24 - "'All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.' And Araunah said to the king, 'May the LORD your God accept you.' Then the king said to Araunah, 'No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.' So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver."
To offer to God that which is trivial or meaningless or of no real cost to you is not good. David understood ths (cf. our archived lesson from 12/05/08 ). God wants us to give generously, as He has done for us (cf. II Cor. 9:6-8; Rom. 8:32).