Introduction: The king is coming, the king is coming! When that shout was heard, people in the marketplace moved their goods. A stir was caused all over the village. Any obstruction in the pathway was removed. Children were called in doors to wash and prepare. The rider’s warning was to all who dwelt in the village, “Get Ready!” It was a necessary message, and it is the message of this lesson as well.
This morning I want to tell two stories of a king’s return. The first is the story found in 2 Samuel 19 of the return of David to Jerusalem. The second story is the one that we will experience that this model reminds us of. (Read 2 Sam. 19:8ff).
In our reading, we read about three events that transpired to set the model of the king’s return.
1. Reassertion of rights: The king took Joab’s advice and became public again as he sat down in the judgment court at the city gate of Mahanaim (19:8).
2. Confusion of the army: The armies of Israel thought he was about to judge their rebellion and retreated in fear to their tents (19:8b). The people were in a quandary, they recalled what David did in the past for them (19:9) but acknowledged their awkward position (19:10). Yet still many thought the right thing was to bring David back and renew his covenant with the northern tribes (2 Sam. 5:3; cp. 19:10b).
3. Judah’s agreement: David sent emissaries to ask why they hesitated to renew the covenant, since he did not cause the rift (19:11-12). David’s messengers appealed to Amasa, head of Absalom’s army to drop the rebellion, and offered him Joab’s position as head of the army (19:13). Seeing that David would allow a full reparation of the troops, Judah’s men decided to renew the king and sent word for his return to Jerusalem (19:14). The king left Mahanaim and came to the crossing of the Jordan at Gilgal, where he met a number of men (19:15).
Key Principle: The king rewards those who honestly acknowledge sin now, and give themselves fully to Him. The others face the king under terms of judgment.
You see, we are not ONLY looking today at this story, but at the shadow it casts on the coming of our own king, who has promised to return and judge. The Bible tells us that there is a king named Jesus who left this earth one day to go back to heaven from where He originated. Before He left, He gave His people some promises that stand as glorious hope for the people of God, but that also stand as a solemn warning for those outside Jesus. Let’s notice a couple of those glorious promises:
John 14:1-3 – “(1) Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (2) In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Acts 1:9-11 – “(9) Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (10) And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, (11) who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Revelation 22:20 – “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
The truth of the matter is, not everyone will meet Jesus the same way when He returns. Some will be excited and happy, others will be caught off guard, still others will be found lost, and undone and will find that an eternity in hell is all they have before them. The question I have for you this morning is this: How will you meet the King?
There are four kinds of people that face the king:
- Late Salvation to a Bitter and Angry Man: (19:16; 19:18-23)- The first man he met was Shimei, who cursed him when he was fleeing to Mahanaim (16:5-8). Bitter from the losses David inflicted on his family by David when the Gibeonite compromise forced David into giving seven of Saul’s household to the gallows of Gibeon (recorded later in 2 Samuel 21). Shimei lost family and blamed the king. He saw the king as evil and self-serving. Yet, in his own household was Jonadab, his son, that advised Amnon how to rape Tamar (13:3). Funny how we can go ballistic on someone for wronging us, but overlook others around us for terrible behavior! As a result he cursed him in the hour that it looked like the king was powerless to do anything to him. Now he had to face the king, and supposed that would be his end. He fell down before the king and asked for mercy (19:18-20). His confession and request to be forgiven was heeded (19:20) in spite of calls for punishment (19:22). The king forgave (19:23). How sad that so much of life was wasted in bitterness when he didn’t see the king as he truly is early!
- Final Judgment to Half-Hearted Followers: (19:17; 19:24-30)- The second and third men the king encountered were both judged together. The servant Ziba and his master Mephibosheth both sued for recognition from the king. It was time to get their just deserts.
- Ziba was a man that had came to the king and appeared to be a loyal helper. Apparently he had stolen the goods of his master to ingratiate himself to the king, and lied to David concerning his master (Mephibosheth, cp. 16:3), saying that Mephibosheth remained of his own accord to get back the throne. His report turned out to be very unlikely, since Absalom was seeking the throne for himself, not a restoration to Saul’s household. Ziba was rewarded with the household of Mephibosheth (16:4) because of his apparent loyalty. Now Ziba was going to have to face the truth of what he had done. He was safe from the king’s wrath, but his wrong motives were about to be judged. When the truth came out (19:24-29), the king gave Ziba part of the inheritance he had planned for him (19:30). Some of the inheritance blessing was lost to him, because he did not give his own things, and give them honestly.
- At the same time, Mephibosheth did not give all he could to the king. He remained in Jerusalem, and used an excuse to exempt him from laziness regarding the king’s service. He did not go out of his way. He symbolically showed repentance (19:24) giving what HE THOUGHT the king wanted him to give. Sadly, what the king wanted him to give was withheld (19:25). At his judgment, he claimed it was “too difficult for him” (19:26) and immediately blamed the people around him. David had shown him much love in the past (2 Samuel 9:6-13) and given sacrificially for Mephibosheth. The man enjoyed the blessings of the king, but could not bring himself to sacrifice for the king. As a result, he lost part of the intended blessing in the judgment of the king (19:29). It was only then that Mephibosheth realized that his things were all the kings, and the king was more important than convenience or comfort (19:30).
One old preacher of yesteryear wrote this reminder: Some are guilty of pure blasphemy in that they claim to love the Lord, but live lives that deny Him. When the Lord saves a soul, He takes possession of that life. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “(19) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (20) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” The saved person loses all rights & control over his/her life. As a result, we are expected by the Lord to live for Him.
Will you be worried when Jesus comes? If you have chosen to be unfaithful to the Lord, His house, His work, then you have reason to worry, because when He comes we will all stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
You may say, “Preacher, I can live as I please.” Yes! But know that there will be a price to pay. Ecclesiastes 11:9 – “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.”
- Blessing to the Faithful One: Barzillai the Gileadite (19:31-43) was a faithful and supportive worker for the king. He gave of himself when it was not popular to do so (18:27-29).
Not every Christian will be worried when Jesus comes. There are some who spend their lives waiting for Jesus to return. To their hearts there will be no sweeter sound, than to hear that trumpet blast & the shout from heaven, “come up here.” I want everyone who is looking for the Lord Jesus to know that one day your heart’s cry will be answered. Jesus will do as He said and will return in power and glory to take us home. Will you be waiting when He returns? Don’t let His coming catch you looking at the world or its treasures. Instead, let’s all strive to be found looking for Jesus when He returns.
Are you looking for Jesus to return this morning? If so, then rejoice, for He may return today. The King is coming. Keep watching & waiting, for He will return. Hebrews 9:28 – “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Barzillai was old, yet he kept on working for the king. Barzillai was faithful to David & he kept living, giving & working until the king returned. Can the same be said of your life?
Will you be found working when the King returns? In truth this morning, there are a lot of Christians who are AWOL. They refuse to serve the Lord with faithfulness. 1 Corinthians 4:2 – “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” Required – to demand, order, command.
Nearly every time Jesus spoke about His coming, He stressed the importance of being prepared. In Mark 13 He warns, “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with an assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone. Watch!” (Mark 13:33-37).
Luke 12:40-48 – “(40) Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (41) Then Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?’ (42) And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? (43) “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. (44) “Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. (45) “But if that servant says in his heart, ’My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, (46) “the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (47) “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (48) “But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
- Destruction to the Defiant One: Sheba the lost man (20:1-2,21-22) was a man who lived for his own god (Belial=worthless, cp. Dt. 13:13).
This man Sheba had one thing on his mind & that was overthrowing the king. He wanted to see David ousted from the throne. He hated David and tried to cause Israel to follow him in rebelling against King David. In response, David’s generals went after Sheba and he was finally killed. This man Sheba represents all of those who are the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now many may feel that they are not the enemies of Christ, but the truth of the matter is, that every person who is not in a personal relationship with Christ is the enemy of God.
When King Jesus returns, these people will find themselves shut out of the kingdom and shut out of an eternity in Heaven. Will you be without when Jesus returns? If you are not saved, you will find yourself on the outside of salvation, on the outside of heaven, on the outside of hope, and on the outside of the mercy & he grace of God.
The good news is that the return of Jesus Christ doesn’t have to catch you off guard. You can be ready for His coming. He loves you, He died for you, and He wants you. Don’t be like Sheba and find yourself lost forever. Be saved and have a blessed eternity.
One Pastor wrote: My son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, “Hey Dad! Catch me!” I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off a rock straight at me. He had jumped and them yelled “Hey Dad!” I became an instant circus act, catching him. We both fell to the ground. For a moment after I caught him I could hardly talk. When I found my voice again I gasped in exasperation: “Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that???” He responded with remarkable calmness: “Sure…because you’re my Dad.” His whole assurance was based in the fact that his father was trustworthy. He could live life to the hilt because I could be trusted.