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A Recent Sermon…

September 4, 2016. “David the Lover of His Enemies.” 2 Samuel 4. Continuing our series on the life of King David. This sermon emphasizes that we as Christians need to have God’s heart of love for our enemies, and for God’s enemies. Click here to hear the recording of the message.


Introduction: Rosaria Butterfield’s newspaper rant against Bible-believing Christians in Syracuse, and the mail she got in response.

The point: David is a man after God’s own heart who, like God, has a heart of love toward his enemies. Jesus came 1000 years later as David’s heir, proclaiming the arrival of a new kingdom. May we not be foreigners to that kingdom. Read Matt. 5:43-48.

The question: are you a foreigner to God? Will there be a place for you when his kingdom comes?

The story: Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son, is the last remaining rival for the kingdom that God has promised David. Two foreigners betray their loyalty to Ish-Bosheth by killing him and bringing his head to David, probably hoping for a good place in the new kingdom.

The structure: 4 parts of action+dismemberment:

  • Ish-Bosheth “lost courage,” or literally, became “weak in his hands.”
  • Mephibosheth loses use of his feet.
  • Ish-Bosheth loses his head (after being the head of his kingdom).
  • Rekab and Baanah lose their hands and feet (after accomplishing great things with them).

There is also a reversal: Ish-Bosheth’s name means “Man of Shame,” a cleaning up of Ish-Baal, “Baal’s Man,” showing loyalty to a foreign god. (See 1 Chronicles 8:33 & 9:39, and Jeremiah 11:13.) But by verse 11 he is called an “innocent man” or literally, “Ish-Zadik,” Man of Righteousness.

Yet Ish-Bosheth had just been David’s enemy. (Later, David would continue to frustrate his soldiers by loving his enemies, 2 Sam. 19:6). But just imagine what would have happened if Ish-Bosheth had unconditionally surrendered. Consider what happens later to his nephew Mephibosheth in ch. 9.

Picture it like our relation to Germany after the 2nd world war, not after the first. Things are not always so straightforward (consider Iraq). But the principle is there, and it is founded in something deep, to the heart.

We think about our enemies in terms of what they can do against us, or for us. Recab and Baanah do some very impressive things with their hands and their feet. But that should not define how you value people. That’s not God’s heart for people.

Or we think about our enemies in terms of their origins, their place in an evil devil-filled world, and the shame of it. But that doesn’t stop God from seeing people differently.

Or we think about people in terms of their opposition to God’s purposes. And sometimes, like Recab and Baanah, we take justice into our own hands to hasten God’s kingdom, condemning people forever. But that is not how God sees people, and that is not the way of God’s kingdom.

God’s Kingdom is coming, when Jesus comes on the clouds, and those whose hearts condemn their enemies will be viewed as foreigners to it. Those who have truly been part of Christ’s kingdom, following him as their Lord, will feel their belonging in the kingdom by their hearts of love toward their enemies. How did that love for their enemies get into their hearts? It was put there by the Holy Spirit when they became convinced that Christ had died for them while they were still his enemies.

Conclusion: what happened to Rosaria Butterfield, by the power of One who loved his enemies so much that he died to save them.

For older sermon recordings, access the folder by clicking here. For older sermon notes, access the folder by clicking here.