1 & 2 Samuel were meant to be told a single, coherent narrative. But, because of the length of the scrolls in ancient times, the book had to be broken into two. It’s some of the greatest storytelling in the Bible and makes for an even more incredible, impactful narrative when you weave together David’s Psalms into the story. This week, we’ll look at 2 Samuel as a standalone piece. As you prepare to read about some of the big ideas from 2 Samuel, take some time to read 2 Samuel and watch the Bible Project’s video outlining the framework of 2 Samuel (https://thebibleproject.com/explore/2-samuel/) as we dive into this week’s “Baseball Guy’s Bible Guide.”
Due up in the Bottom of the Ninth:
- Covenants & Contracts
- Sin & Consequences
- Importance of Writers
Covenants & Contracts
The last couple of baseball offseasons have been strange for players who were free agents. The players have been waiting, or forced to wait, much longer than in years past. The two biggest free agents this past year, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, waited until late February to ink their deals and report to spring training. Many other free agents waited the same amount of time, if they signed at all. It’s a different era as owners wait to formalize their agreements with players and many are wondering about collusion, which is also an unfortunate part of baseball history.
As we enter into the second half of the book of Samuel, we see the fourth covenant from the Old Testament - the Davidic Covenant. God enters into a series of formal relationships with humans in an effort to work alongside mankind to achieve a common goal. Unfortunately, we break the covenant every time. Take a look at the Bible Project’s outline of these covenants before reading on.
The first covenant comes with Noah. God cleanses the world and asks Noah to simply be obedient in building the ark. The agreement comes from God that He’s not going to destroy the world again and we’re working together to save a righteous example of man in Noah. That’s the simplicity of the first covenant. Second, God enters into a covenant with Abraham and God promises to bless him. Abraham must trust God and train up his family in God’s ways. From the Abrahamic covenant comes the whole tribe of Israel and the third covenant. This covenant comes for the whole tribe, for the people to obey a set of laws as God promises to bless the Israelite people by representing Him to the rest of humanity. The last of the four covenants comes through King David. Israel is now a nation and David is to lead in doing what is right and just. After David’s moral failure, we see a promise that one of David’s sons will come and extend the peace and blessing bestowed upon the nation of Israel to all of the nations of the world.
That “son of David” is Jesus, and Christ actually fulfills all of the covenants (check out 2 Samuel 7 to see this promise). He’s from the family of Abraham and represents the whole world’s blessing. He’s the faithful Israelite who fulfills the law. He’s the king from the line of David. The connection between the Old Testament covenants and the genealogies presented for Jesus are so important! Jesus is the faithful covenant partner and God has opened up a way for all of us to become partners in living in relationship with God as we seek to achieve His goals for the world.
While Machado and Harper may fulfill some of the longings for the fan bases in San Diego and Philadelphia, Jesus is the one who will fulfill all covenants and longings for all mankind. How thankful we can be for God’s grace, mercy, and divine plan through these covenants!
Sin and Consequences
As a kid, I got to serve as a batboy for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the AAA affiliate for the Cleveland Indians at the time. I was 14 or 15 so I wasn’t that young, but I was certainly impressionable. I remember the players standing on the top step of the dugout talking with each other while looking into the stands. Their conversation was simple - they were scoping the stands for the prettiest girls, possibly even ones that would get with them after the game. This was common and I’m sure that practice is as common today as it was then.
In 2 Samuel 11, we read the story of David & Bathsheba. Here is the story as told in 2 Samuel 11:2-4:
“One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her.”
I’m going to give David the benefit of the doubt in that he didn’t get up from his bed expecting to see a naked woman bathing as he walked around the roof of his palace. Unfortunately, David can’t be afforded the same benefit of the doubt for his actions from that point on. He holds on to that image and lets the desire take root until it is consummated in sin. The consequences of David’s actions are chronicled from that point on, never erasing the consequences of his decision.
Let me share some of the Bathsheba-esque temptations I get by running this baseball ministry in the social media and digital space. At least once per month, sometimes much more often, I receive a like, friend request, a follow, or even a message from a female with ill intent. In order to block their profile, I often have to open them and view them. It’s a flaw in the system and often times I’m subjected to the same images David saw on the roof of his palace. It sucks. I’ve shared this with my wife and she knows that I’m not searching out these internet trolls. Unfortunately, the more frequent my posts and the deeper the spiritual impact, the more I get.
Why share this? As a man, I’m no different than David. We, as men, are wired for the visual and our minds have the potential to follow what we see. It concerns me that those trolls see my profile (influential Christian male) as a target. It means other people with a similar profile have fallen to the same temptation as David. We have to set up positive, healthy boundaries so we don’t allow sin and the consequences thereof to follow. We should continue to pray for one another and come into support of our fellow men stuck in darkness in these areas instead of judging them. Many of them are also men after God’s own heart just like David.
Importance of Writers
As someone who writes a lot, I’m certainly biased in this view. Writers are important for the advancement of God’s Kingdom and in the enjoyment of the world of baseball. Though it is true that “there’s nothing new under the sun,” I recently had a friend tell me that writers are important because they give people a new window through which to look into eternal truths. He’s a writer, too. :)
I’ve read a lot of books about baseball, and am going to read some works by Roger Angell, the famous baseball writer, this summer. He’s widely regarding as one of the greatest baseball writers in history and I’ve yet to encounter his work. Even someone as well-read as I’d like to consider myself to be can miss some good ones from time to time!
Baseball writing aside, where would we be without the writings of David? We get the story of his rise and fall in 1 & 2 Samuel, but we get to understand what he was feeling through the Psalms. David’s life is certainly interesting, but what an incredible gift it is to be able to read how he processed times of triumph and trial through the scriptures. David’s poetic memoirs provide us with a constant reminder of God’s grace, God’s promises, and instills the hope of a future king in us.
To all of the writers out there, continue telling your stories and honing your craft. To those of you thinking about writing (which I tend to believe is everyone else), get started. Your story and your testimony is important to the world you influence. Be the David in your family and community, and join the fellowship of writers around you!