These were the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: The firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam of Jezreel; the second was Daniel, by Abigail of Carmel;
I. HOW JOY AND SORROW MINGLE IN THE LIVES OF MEN. To David were given many elements of joy: he had the outward dignity, the comfortable and even splendid surroundings, the authority and influence which belong to Oriental sovereignty: he reigned altogether forty years (ver. 4). For this large period of his life the pleasures of regal pomp, wealth, and power were at his command. But his was far from a cloudless day. In the home circle, where the sweetest joys are commonly found, there were abundant sources of trouble and distress. In his "first love," Michal, he was bitterly disappointed, and she was "childless unto the day of her death." His concubines deserted and dishonoured him (2 Samuel 16:22). As we read in these verses (vers. 1-8) the names of his children, we are struck with the thought - how little there was in them to give their father a parent's joy! how much to cause him a profound anxiety, or even poignant grief! If national prosperity or military success elated the king's heart, domestic dissatisfaction, home troubles, must soon have clouded his brow. Thus is it with us all: joy and sorrow may not spring from these two sources, they may not mingle in these proportions, but they are bound up together in the same bundle; they intermingle and interlace in every human life. Bodily gratifications, success, power, the endearments of human love, the hope of higher and greater things, the joy of beneficence, on the one hand; care, loss, toil, disappointment, regret, the "wounded spirit," on the other hand. It is a checkered scene, this plain of human life; sunshine and shadow fall fitfully upon it as we pass on to the far horizon. This aspect of David's household, recalling to us the contrasts of his experience, may lead us to remember -
II. HOW GOD DISCIPLINES OUR HEARTS. David would hardly have been the humble and devout man he was and continued to be, if he had enjoyed an unbroken course of triumph and satisfaction. The best graces of the human soul cannot thrive in perpetual sunshine; they must have the searching winds and the pelting rains of heaven. If God sends us loss and trouble, if he "breaks our schemes of earthly joy," it is to foster in our hearts those virtues of meekness, resignation, lowliness of heart, considerateness of others, etc., which we should not keep alive if the "barns were always filled with plenty," and the cup were always overflowing with earthly joy. We may especially learn here -
III. How GOD PREPARES US FOR HOLY SERVICE. David would never have left us the psalms which proceeded from his pen if his earthly life had not been the checkered thing it was. It was from a troubled if not a broken heart that those deep utterances were poured. It was from a soul that could find no rest and joy but in the faithful God, "the very present Help in trouble," that flowed the precious passages which are the comfort of mankind.
1. God never calls us to any estate so high as that of sacred service - the spiritual help we render our kind.
2. We cannot possibly serve to the full height of our power if we do not learn sympathy by suffering.
3. Therefore God leads his children into deep waters, that, through such baptism, they may comfort, heal, and bless the sorrowing and stricken souls who wait their ministering hand. - C.
Now these are the sons of David.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(W. P. Faunce.)
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