A Root Cause of Famine

Scripture reading for April 2nd: 2nd Samuel 21-24

Have you ever felt like the heavens were brass and your prayers were not being answered?  Have you gone through a time of famine when you suffered want and lack?  King David and Israel suffered for three years under a severe famine.  Finally, the king decided to seek the Lord! (Did it come to that?)  (2nd Samuel 21:1)  The Lord answered with the root of the problem:  innocent bloodshed of Saul’s house against the Gibeonites had not been atoned for.

The Gibeonites had been spared by Joshua as he entered the land of Israel. (Joshua 9)  Israel had made a treaty of peace with them and swore their protection.  They had been made slaves in Israel because they had deceived Joshua in order to spare their own lives.  We do not have a biblical record of what Saul did to the Gibeonites but God tells David about this sin as a cause of the drought.  We do not know if Saul’s children were involved or not, but know that God is always just and does what is right by each person.

King David went to the Gibeonites and asked them what could be done for them.  They asked for seven descendants of Saul to be handed over to them to be put to death.  David granted their request but spared Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan his friend.  These were slain and laid out before the Lord.  Rizpah, Saul’s concubine and mother of two of those slain covered herself with sackcloth and stayed with the bodies for many days.  She drove away the birds by day and wild animals by night.  King David heard about her bravery and had the bones  of Saul, Jonathan, and these who were slain put away properly in the tomb of Saul’s father. After this, the Lord answered prayer!

What do we learn from this account?  Sometimes answer to prayer is hindered by unresolved conflict and hatred.  Here a whole nation was under a drought because of the shedding of innocent blood that had not been dealt with.  God gave revelation when King David prayed.  The drought was broken by taking action to repent of that issue and deal with those responsible.  God is a God who demands that His people take responsibility for their actions and deal justly with sin!

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