Buy the book I wrote: The Test

The Test By Christina Harrison, Linda Eley

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This story I’m about to tell is true. In 2007 and 2008, the housing market took a major loss. Millions of people were losing their homes. Millions of people were losing their jobs. Our government was more concerned about who was going to be our next president than what’s happening with the economy. In the state of South Carolina, people were losing jobs and their homes at a record pace. Deceitful and unscrupulous practices were taking place behind the American peoples backs on Wall Street and the banking industry. Most people didn’t pay attention to these changes because it didn’t directly concern them, yet…
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1 Kings – Chapter 2

1 Kings chapter 2

Verses 2-4 – David told Solomon the need to keep God’s laws at the center of his personal life and government. There was a condition to God’s promise though; the kings would remain in office only if they honored and obeyed Him. When David’s descendants failed to do this, they lost the throne (2 Kings 25). God’s second part of the promise was that David’s line would go on forever though and this was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:3, 4).
Verses 5-7 – Joab epitomize those who are ruthless in accomplishing their goals. He wanted to get power for himself and keep it.
Verses 5-9 – David had some harsh advice for Solomon concerning his enemies. This advice was only directed toward blatant enemies—those who opposed God by opposing God’s appointed king. David was asking Solomon to give his enemies the punishment they deserved. (Shimei should not have cursed the king—Exodus 22:28).
Verse 10 – David died at about the age of 70.
Verses 15-22 – Adonijah did not want Abishag because he loved her. She was a virgin and had been a part of David’s harem. Adonijah wanted her because possessing her was equivalent to claiming the throne. Absalom had done the same thing in his rebellion against David (2 Samuel 16:20-23). Abiathar then became high priest under David. When he supported Adonijah’s wrongful claim to the throne after David’s death (1:7), Solomon forced him to give up the priesthood, fulfilling the prophecy of 1 Samuel 2:27-36 that Eli’s descendants would not continue to serve as priest.
Joab Is Executed
Verses 28, 29 – Joab had supported Adonijah’s attempted take-over. Such a threat was virtually treason. Furthermore, judging Joab for his murder was a necessary step in repudiating the old violent ways—a step that David never took.
Verses 31-33 – Joab had spent his life trying to defend his position as David’s commander. Twice David tried to replace him, but Joab killed his rivals before they could assume command (2 Samuel 3:17-30; 19:13; 20:4-10).
Verse 35 – Zadok was a descendant of Aaron and had been a prominent priest during David’s reign, and he was loyal to Solomon after David’s death. His descendants were in charge of the temple until its destruction. At one time, Benaiah was one of David’s mighty men (2 Samuel 23:20-23), and the captain of David’s bodyguard.
Verse 46 – Solomon ordered the executions of Adonijah, Joab and Shimei, forced Abiathar out as priest and then appointed new men to take their places. Solomon was a man of peace in two ways; he did not go to war and he put an end to internal rebellion.

1 Kings – Introduction – Chapter 1

1 kings chapter 1

The Book of First Kings
The first half of First Kings traces the life of Solomon. Under his leadership, Israel rises to the peak of her size and glory. Solomon’s great accomplishments, including the temple, which he constructs in Jerusalem, bring him worldwide fame and respect. However, Solomon’s zeal for God diminishes in his later years, as pagan wives turn his heart away from worship in the temple of God. As a result, his divided heart leaves behind a divided kingdom. For the next century, the Book of First Kings traces twin histories of two sets of kings and two nations of disobedient people who are growing indifferent to God’s prophets and precepts.
Chapter 1
The Decline of David
Verse 1 – Israel was near the end of the golden years of David’s reign. The book of First Kings begins with a unified Kingdom, glorious and God-centered; it ends with a divided kingdom, degraded and idolatrous.
Verse 4 – David was around 70 years of age and his health had deteriorated. In times, when polygamy was accepted and kings had harems, this action was not considered offensive.
Verse 5 – Adonijah was David’s fourth son. He decided to seize the throne without David’s knowledge. He also knew that Solomon was David’s choice to rule. But his deceptive plans to gain the throne were unsuccessful.
Verse 6 – David served God well as king, but as a parent, he often failed both God and his children. Remember Absalom? Or Amon? Because David had never interfered by opposing or even questioning his son, Adonijah did not know how to behave within limits. The result was that he always wanted his way, regardless of how it affected others.
Verse 9 – Adonijah wanted sacrifices offered, perhaps hoping to legitimize his takeover. But Adonijah was not God’s choice to succeed David. Sealing an action with religious, ceremony does not make it God’s will.
Verses 11-25 – Bathsheba approached the king first because she knew if something were not done, she and Solomon would be executed. Now Nathan came before the king when he learned of the conspiracy. We often know what is the right thing to do but don’t act on it.
Verse 32 – David responded with the orders that legitimized Solomon’s succession. Benaiah seemed to be the dominant military leader in the city.
Verse 33 – To ride the king’s mule was to claim the throne.
Verse 34 – The proper religious personnel were to anoint Solomon. This was done by the king’s command and in the presence of the king’s private army. These facts were sufficient for the people of Jerusalem to choose Solomon over Adonijah.
Verse 38 – The Cherethites and the Pelethites were, formerly, Philistines mercenaries, personally loyal to David, and by this time presumably converted to faith in Yahweh. They formed David’s personal bodyguard and were an effective infantry.
Verse 39 – The sacred anointing oil was used to anoint Israel’s kings and his priests, as well to dedicate certain objects to God.
Verse 41 – The conflicting coronations were occurring within 500 yards of each other, the distance between Gihon and En-rogel. Imagine the uneasiness when Adonijah’s group heard the noise of Solomon’s coronation.
Verses 44-46 – Adonijah followers were not ready to battle for Jerusalem, especially since David had spoken and was still alive.
Verses 49, 50 – Sometimes people have to get caught red-handed before they are willing to give up their schemes. When Adonijah learned that his plans were doomed to fail, he ran in panic to the altar, the place of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Verses 52, 53 – Adonijah feared for his life and expected severe punishment, but Solomon simply dismissed him and sent him home. Sometimes forgiving a personal attack shows more strength than lashing out in revenge. Trying to prove one’s power and authority often proves only one’s fear and self-doubt. Only after Adonijah made another attempt to secure royal power was Solomon forced to have him executed (2:13-25).

2 Samuel – Chapter 24

2 Samuel chapter 24

Verse 1-3 – This particular sin that brought God’s wrath is not given. God did not cause David to sin, but He does allow people to reveal the sinfulness of their hearts by their actions. First Chronicles 21:1 says Satan incited David to count the people. David’s sin may have been pride and ambition in counting the people so that he could glory in the size of his nation and army. Even Joab knew a census was wrong, but David didn’t heed his advice. We do the same thing when we put our security in our money, positions, and our possessions.
Verse 10 – David’s conscience troubled him, revealing again that the work of God in his heart was not in vain. He confessed his sin and waited on the Lords response.
Verses 12-14 – God dealt with the whole nation through David. God gave David three choices. Each was a form of punishment God had told of in His law: Deuteronomy 28:20—disease; Deuteronomy 28:23, 24—famine; Deuteronomy 28:25, 26—war.
Verse 17 – David pleaded with God to strike only him and his family, but sin often has consequences that affect others.
Verse 18 – Many believe that this is the threshing floor where David built the altar and is the location where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18). After David’s death, Solomon built the temple on this spot. Centuries later, Jesus would teach and preach here.
Verse 25 – The book of 2 Samuel describes David’s reign. Since the Israelites first entered the promise land under Joshua, they had been struggling to unite the nation and drive out the wicked inhabitants. Now after more than 400 years, Israel was finally at peace. Even though David sinned, God called him a “Man after God’s own heart. The Book of Psalms gives us a deeper insight into David’s love for God.

2 Samuel – Chapter 23

2 Samuel chapter 23

Verse 1 – The words “These are the last words of David” is not intended chronologically. Perhaps the section contains David’s last recorded public statement or testimony to God’s work through his life.
Verse 5 – “My house” denotes David’s family. God’s everlasting covenant with David’s house was ordered and secured in every detail.
Verses 6, 7 – David’s experience had taught him that the wicked had no future in God’s plan.
Verses 9, 10 – Eleazar displayed tenacity as he attacked the Philistines, yet the Lord brought the victory. The troops later returned later to plunder the dead—a means of securing extra payment for their military service.
Verse 12 – The Philistines and other enemies often came up Judah’s valleys to raid food supplies.
Verse 15 – Probably David’s wish came not only from his thirst, but from his desire that his hometown would once again know the peace that allowed people to drink from the well at the city gate freely.
Verse 16 – David poured out the water as an offering to God because he was so moved by the sacrifice it represented. David would not drink this water that represented the lives of his soldiers. Instead, he offered it to God.
Verse 18 – Abishai, Joab’s brother, played a leading role in David’s rise to power and kingship.
Verse 34 – According to 11:3 in 2 Samuel, Eliam was Bathsheba’s father. If this is the same Eliam, then Ahithophel, counselor to David and Absalom (15:31), would be Bathsheba’s grandfather.
Verse 39 – The text intentionally ends with the mention of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was another foreigner among David’s mighty men. He gave his life for David under the most evil of circumstances (11:14-17).

2 Samuel – Chapter 22

2 Samuel chapter 22

David was a skilled musician who played his harp for Saul, instituted the music programs in the temple, and wrote more of the book of Psalms than anyone else. This royal hymn of thanksgiving is almost identical to Psalm 18.
Verse 3 – David calls God “the horn of my salvation” referring to the strength and defensive protection animals have in their horns.
Verses 22-24 – David was not denying that he had ever sinned. Psalm 51 shows his anguish over his sin against Uriah and Bathsheba. However, David understood God’s faithfulness and was writing this hymn from God’s perspective. He knew that God had made him clean again—“whiter than snow,” (Psalm 51:7) with a “pure heart” (Psalm 51:10). Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are made clean and perfect. God replaced our sin with purity through Christ.

2 Samuel – Chapter 21

2 Samuel chapter 21

Verse 1 – Agriculture at that time was completely dependent upon natural conditions. There were no irrigation, sprinklers, fertilizers, or pesticides. Even moderate variations in rainfall or insect activity could destroy an entire harvest.
Verses 1-14 – Although the Bible does not record Saul’s act of killing the Gibeonites, it was a serious crime making him guilty of their blood. Saul had broke the vow that the Israelites made to the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:16-20). Either David was following the custom of treating the family as a unit, or Saul’s sons were guilty of helping Saul kill the Gibeonites.
Verses 16-18 – By calling these men “descendants of Rapha” the writer was saying that they were giants.

2 Samuel – Chapter 20

2 Samuel chapter 20

Verse 1 – Sheba, son of Bichri, is not mentioned outside of this account. The Bible says he was a rebel.
Verse 2 – Once you stir a crowd up, they are hard to reason with. Following Sheba seemed to be the right thing to do at that moment, but the men of Judah escorted David all the way to Jerusalem.
Verse 3 – David compassionately provided for these 10 concubines that had slept with Absalom while David was gone but was never with them again.
Verses 4, 5 – Amasa, the new head of David’s army (19:13), was commanded to gather the men of Judah to crush Sheba’s revolt.
Verse 6 – Abishai was David’s next choice to lead the attack against Sheba.
Verse 8 – Gibeon was about four miles northwest of Jerusalem and Joab was present but not in charge. His sword fell out of its sheath, probably a deceptive move by Joab so Amasa would not see him as drawing his sword.
Verses 9, 10 – When Joab grabbed Amasa’s beard, Amasa wouldn’t be looking at Joab’s hand with the sword in it. Once again, Joab’s murderous act went unpunished. It may seem that sin and treachery often go unpunished, but God’s justice is not limited to this life’s rewards.
Verses 11-13 – After Joab covered and hid Amasa’s body, one of Joab’s men rallied everyone to follow Joab as their self-proclaimed, reappointed leader.
Verses 14, 15 – Sheba retreated far north. Besieging a city generally involved surrounding it, cutting off its food supply, building an assault ramp, and constructing battering rams to break down the city’s wall.
Verses 17-21 – When this woman spoke, Joab proceeded with caution. She was trying to handle a desperate situation without violence. The people didn’t want their city destroyed over one man.
Verse 22 – Once this woman talked to the people within the city walls, they found Sheba and cut off his head. When they threw the head over the wall, the revolt ended.

2 Samuel – Chapter 19

2 Samuel chapter 19

2 Samuel Chapter 19
Verses 4-7 – Joab’s actions are a helpful example to us when personal confrontation is necessary. Joab told David to go out and encourage his soldiers, lest they abandon him.
Restoration of David
Verse 8 – David sat at the gateway (city gate) because that was where business was conducted and judgment rendered. His presence there showed that he was over his mourning and back in control.
Verse 13 – This appointment of Amasa was a shrewd political move. Amasa had been Absalom’s commander. By replacing Joab, he accomplished two things. He secured the allegiance with the rebels in Israel, and he punished Joab for his previous crimes. All of these moves would help unite the kingdom.
Verses 19, 20 – By admitting his wrong and asking David’s forgiveness Shimei was trying to save his own life. His plan worked for a while. This day was of celebration, not execution. However, we read in 1 Kings 2:8, 9 that David advised Solomon to execute Shimei.
Verses 24-30 – David could not be certain if Mephibosheth or Ziba was in the right, and scripture leaves the question unanswered.
Verses 31-33 – Barzillai was a very wealthy man and had provided for David and his family. David wanted to reward Barzillai for his kindness.
Verse 37 – Barzillai considered himself too old to enjoy royal privileges and preferred to remain in his own city near his family tomb. But he introduced Kimham, who was apparently a close relative, to benefit from David’s offer.
Verse 39 – though Barzillai returned to his home, David never forgot him, later instructing Solomon to continue to show kindness to Barzillai’s household (1 Kings 2:7).
Verse 41 – Tensions between Judah and the other tribes that were evident earlier in Israel’s history now boiled to the surface again as the delegation from Israel challenged the king on the protocol for restoring him to Jerusalem.
Verse 43 – The men of Judah responded even more harshly and ended the conversation, but the tension between the tribes grew stronger.