Day 22: 1 Samuel 28-2 Samuel 11

Derek Ouellette —  January 29, 2011

On an earlier day we saw how the phrase “righteous acts of the Lord” in the context of God’s delivering or redeeming acts of Egypt and the Exodus always refered to the “covenant faithfulness” of God. Simply put God was faithful to his covenant with Abraham by redeeming Israel from Egypt. So God was righteous in keeping his promise. Thus the phrase, “righteous acts of the Lord” or as Paul would later say, “the righteousness of God”. We explored this in the story of Deborah and again in the story of Samuel. Today we’ll explore this again, this time at the moment when God extends his covenant to David. (See here and here.)

In 2 Samuel 7 King David finds himself in a different situation then Deborah, yet appealing – as all Israelites did – to the same Exodus event. The king had put in a request to build a house for God to house the Ark of the Covenant, but instead God makes a promise to David that he – God – will in fact build David an everlasting house![1] David wanted to build a house for God, but God instead builds a house for David.[2] How can this be? What has David done to deserve such favor? And so David, like Deborah, breaks out into a song of humble thanksgiving, “Who am I” he begins and then later in the same song he adds:

And who is like your people Israel – the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt. You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, O Lord, have become their God. (2 Samuel 7:18, 23-24, italics added)

The point of course for David is that the same God who chose Israel on no merit of her own[3] is the same God who chose David, not because David (or Israel) deserved God’s choosing, but by his grace he called him for a purpose – this was David’s way of pointing at God’s map and saying “ah ha! That’s me, that’s where I am” then breaking out into song. But the point to be made in this hymnal-prayer for our purposes is that when God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, David says that God redeemed them;[4] when the term ‘redemption’ rolled off of the lips of an Israelite it was always in the context of ‘deliverance’ with Egypt being the backdrop; salvation from bondage to liberty, election from the curse and sin of the world to the blessings and holiness of the covenant![5]

So in the story of Egypt the Israelites do not just see God as the Creator who called their forefather Abraham into a covenant relationship, they now see God as the righteous one who kept his covenant with Abraham by doing what he promised in Genesis 15, by delivering them from Egypt.[6] Faithfulness and deliverance or to use more academic vernacular, the ‘righteousness of God’ and ‘redemption’; this is what the Exodus story meant to an Israelite.

[1] A Messianic promise: the Son of David

[2] Peter wants to wash Jesus’ feet, but instead Jesus washes his; John wants to be baptized by Jesus, but instead Jesus is baptized by John. David wants to build a house for God, but instead God builds a house for David. What a curious God we serve.

[3] Deuteronomy 9:1-6

[4] Cf. Exodus 13:13

[5] Cf. Psalm 44 is an explicit example. Psalms 25; 130:7-8; Micah 4; Isaiah 50 et cetera

[6] That is, by being faithful to his covenant with Abraham.

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.