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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Submission To The Will of God
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Recount the story of David’s submission to the will of God,
ii. Recognise the effect of the fear of God on David,
iii. Relate the message of David’s submission to their own lives,
iv. Recount the story of Jonah’s submission to the will of God.
The supremacy of God on earth is unquestionable and unchallengeable. God is omnipotent and omnipresent. Every child of God must be ready to obey His will at all times. David and Jonah are good examples of those who surrender to the will of God.
David Submits To The Will Of God (1 Samuel 26:1 – 25, 2 Samuel 12:15 – 25)
The people of Ziph came and revealed to Saul where David was hiding and Saul arose with his men of war and went in search of David in the wilderness of Ziph. When David noticed that Saul was after him in the wilderness, he sent spies to go and confirm the presence of Saul in the wilderness. David and Abishai went to where Saul was sleeping with Abner, his commander and his men. Abishai requested David should allow him put Saul to the earth but David refused and he said;
“Do not destroy him; for who can put forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guitless? And David said, “As the Lord lives the Lord will smite Him or his day shall come to die; or he shall go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I shall put forth my hands against the Lord’s anointed; but take now the spear that is at his head, and the jar of water, and let us go.” (1 Samuel 26:9 – 11).
David and Abishai left with Saul’s spear and jar of water. No man saw them as all the people in the camp of Saul were deeply asleep.
When David had gone a far distance to a vantage position, he called upon Abner and reprimanded him for failing to keep proper watch over his master Saul. David asked him about Saul’s spear and jar of water. Saul recognised David’s voice and called him. David asked him why he should come out in search of him to kill him without any cause. Saul felt guilty and repented of his sin and promised never to harm David. He appreciated the way David speared his life and David then returned the spear and the jar of water he had collected. David speared Saul’s life because he feared and respected God. This equally is a demonstration of David’s high sense of forgiveness.
Lessons To Learn
i. God is love; He wants peace and love to reign on earth. Man should therefore show love to those who hate him. Saul went in search of David to kill him but David had every opportunity to kill Saul, yet he speared him.
ii. David sparing Saul’s life made him repent of his sins. This shows that when people show love to those who hate them, they could be forced by their conscience to drop the hatred against them as Saul did.
iii. Sparing Saul’s life demonstrated David’s faith in God and his submission to the will of God. People should endeavour to emulate this good example.
David’s Repentance And Forgiveness (2 Samuel 3:1 – 39; 11; 12:1 – 15)
(a) David’s Reconciliation with Abner (2 Samuel 3:1 – 39)
After Saul’s death, there was war between his house and the house of David. Abner made himself stringer as he retained the leadership of Saul’s army. Ishboshet later accused Abner of having gone into his father’s concubine (Rizpah). This irked Abner and he asked whether he had become a dog’s head as to be insulted on a matter concerning a woman.
He openly defied Ishboshet by telling him that he would renounce his allegiance to Saul’s house and transfer same to David, Ishboshet was too weak to react to Abner’s threat for he feared Abner.
Abner, however, sent Messengers to David. He asked him to enter a covenant with him and he would hand over all Israel to him. David said he would consider his offer (see his face) if only he should restore his first wife, Michal, Saul’s daughter to him, after he had suffered so much to get her betrothed to him and he had no choice than to comply.
Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and called upon them to demonstrate their desire to make David king of Israel (as God has destined it). With a delegation (of twenty men), he went to David in Hebron and David received them warmly.
Abner assured David that he would gather all Israel to enter into a covenant with him to reign over them.
With the agreement sealed, David sent Abner away in peace.
(b) David’s Reaction to the assassination of Abner
Abner (the son of Ner) was sent to David at Hebron. He was to tell him that all Israel and Benjamin had agreed to make him king over the United Israel. At the gate, Joab took Abner aside and killed him. This was to avenge the blood of Asahel, his brother.
When David heard it he said, “he and his kingdom are guiltless before the Lord for the blood of Abner”. He remarked that the blood of Abner should fall upon the head of Joab and his entire father’s house. David ordered Joab and his people to rent their clothes, grid on sack clothes and mourn for Abner.
And king David followed the bier to the grave of Abner questioning whether should die as fools die. David expressed surprise that Abner’s hands were not bound nor the feet fettered. David mourned for him, refusing to eat.
All the people came to persuade David to eat bread while it was yet day, but David vowed not to eat until sunset. All the people took notice of it and we’re pleased. All Israel understood that day, that it had not been the king’s will to slay Abner, the son of Ner. The king declared that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel and although he was now announced king over Israel, Abner’s death destabilised him.
David’s Sin Of Adultery
At the time Israelites fought with the Ammonites, David remained in Jerusalem. As he was walking on top of his roof, he saw a woman who was taking her bath. David lusted after her and made enquiry about the woman. He was told the woman was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite. David sent his servants and they brought the woman; he laid with her and she conceived. David was anxious to cover his sin. He decided to invite Uriah to go back to his house and sleep with his wife. Uriah returned from the battle; he refused to go back to his house. Every persuasion by David along this line failed. David then colluded with his army commander, Joan and Uriah was killed at the battle field. David took over Bathsheba as his wife. This action of David displeased God so much that He sent prophet Nathan to rebuke David.
When Nathan came to David, he told David a parable to illustrate his sin against God. He presented David’s action to him as a case that happened in a certain city. When David heard the parable, he condemned himself, the action, unknown to him that he was wondering himself because the parable was referring to him.
Precisely, Nathan told David that there were two men in a city, one was rich while the other was poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds while the poor man had nothing but one ewe lamb. This little lamb was very precious in the sight of the poor man but, unfortunately, when the rich man had a visitor, he was unwilling to kill any of his numerous flocks to celebrate with his visitor. However, he went and forcefully took the only lamb belonging to the poor man, killed it and used it to celebrate with his visitor.
David not knowing that the parable was directed against him condemned the action and said the person deserves nothing but death and he should be made to restore what he had taken four fold. Nathan told David that he was the one. Nathan enumerated to David all that the Lord had done for him, yet he despised God and went and killed Uriah – the Hittite and took his wife. Nathan further declared the punishment God had for his wicked action.
i. The sword of the Ammonites with which he killed Uriah would not depart from his house
ii. God would raise evil against him out of house
iii. His neighbor would sleep with his wives before his eyes and before all Israel.
iv. The child that was born to him would die.
David repented his sin wholeheartedly (2 Samuel 12:13) as he confessed, “I have sinned against the Lord”. The Bible recorded that David and laid all night on the ground; he besought God for the child, although the child still died according to the will of God. It should be recalled that it is because of the sin that David wrote psalm 51. The content of this psalm portrayed wholehearted repentance on his part.
David’s Reaction To The Death Of The Child Born To Him By Bathsheba
David committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife and had a child. For this, God was displeased. God sent prophet Nathan who decreed the death of the child and the child was struck with sickness. When David realised that God was displeased with his act, he interceded for the life of the child and fasted and laid upon the ground. The intercession and admonition of the elders did not change God’s anger, and the child died on the seventh day.
Out of fright, the servants could not report to David lest he harmed himself. The news of the death of his son was later reported to him. On hearing the news, he arose and had his bath, anointed himself and changed his apparel. He later went to the temple, worshipped God for answering his prayer and requested for food. His servants were surprised at his behaviour.
David fasted and wept so that God would reverse his intention to take his son’s life. Unfortunately, the child died and he thought fasting is no more necessary. David summed up his courage and believed that he could go to the child but the child could no more come to him.
Lessons To Learn From The Whole Story Of David
i. Man should fear and respect God and submit to His will as David did.
ii. Man should not harm or kill the anointed men of God and kings.
iii. Vengeance is not good; rather, people should leave revenge to God.
iv. People should show fruits of genuine repentance and forgiveness.
v. They should be ready to accept the will of God in their lives.
vi. True repentance and forsaking of sins always attract God’s favour and mercy.
Jonah Submits To The Will Of God (Jonah 1 – 2)
Jonah, a servant of God was sent to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria to preach to the people so that they would turn from their evil ways and follow the ways of the Lord. Instead of Jonah to obey God’s instruction, he tried to escape from the presence of the Lord. The powerful hand of God was still upon Jonah despite his efforts to escape from the call of God.
Jonah went to Joppa and boarded a ship to Tarshish, on the way the Lord caused a great wind and there was a mighty tempest on the sea such that the ship was at the risk of breaking up. The Mariners were greatly afraid and each cried to his God for protection. They threw some of their luggage in the ship into the sea to lighter the ship. While all this was going on, Jonah was asleep. The captain of the ship went and woke him up and charged him to join in the prayers. Later, the Mariners decided to cast lot and the lot fell upon Jonah. They summoned Jonah and required for his identity. Jonah answered and confessed to them. They asked him to suggest what they should do to him and he told them to throw him into the sea for Jonah wanted to die instead of obeying the will of God.
As the tempest was so great, the people had no choice than to throw him into the sea as he suggested. Immediately Jonah was thrown into the sea, the tempest stopped and a big fish came out and swallowed him. While in the belly of the fishing, Jonah cried to God for forgiveness. The Lord forgave him and ordered the fish to vomit Jonah out and Jonah was vomited out on dry ground near Nineveh.
Lesson To Learn
i. People must subject themselves to the will of God because failing to do the will of God may attract much punishment to their life and eventually, they would still be forced to submit themselves to the will of God, and in most cases, without reward. This was the case with Jonah.
ii. God is love and whoever that would serve the Lord must have the love of God in his or her mind. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria to preach the message of repentance; he wanted God to destroy them because he felt Assyria was the enemy of the Jews. Children of God must not allow malice and bitterness to rule their life.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. What part did David and Joab play in the death of Uriah? What were the consequences and why was Joab not punished because of it.
ii. Narrate the story in which David spared Saul’s life and indicate three significant lessons to learn from the episode.
iii. Discuss the circumstances that led to the death of Abner.
iv. Narrate the event which led to the reconciliation between David and Abner
v. What two lessons could be derived from this occasion.
vi. Describe David’s reaction to the death of the children born to him by Bathsheba.
vii. What two lessons can be learnt.
viii. How did Jonah react to God’s message? What two lessons did he learn about the nature of God from the episode.
ix. Discuss the experience of Jonah in the belly of the fish? What lesson did he learn from the experience?
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