“So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.” (2 Samuel 20:2)
Ever wonder why some Christians feel the importance of living holy, separated lives, while others live rebellious lives in apparent disobedience to God’s Commands?
Even in these two groups, there are degrees of variation. In fact, one would be justified in referencing to the “Christian spectrum.” When we consider the fact that there are such apparent degrees of Christians, we cannot help but wonder as to what makes the difference.
For the most part, the main distinguisher is conviction. It is the distinct working of the indwelling Spirit to reprove of sin and instill faith (John 16:7-11). The amount of conviction a person has is relative to the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. Also relative to this working is the amount of fruit that a person is bearing (Galatians 5:22-23). So the turning from ungodliness and toward godliness is by a Sovereign Act of God. We see then that the difference is not made by the will of man, but by the will of God (John 1:13), administered by the Holy Spirit in the New Birth (John 3:8).
The New Born child of God has the desire and the ability to please God (Philippians 2:13). He has been given faith, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 11:6), which equips him with the faculties to see and enter the Kingdom of God. In this fact we see the connection between a person’s citizenship in the Kingdom and their living an abundant life, holy and separated unto God, and bringing forth the fruit thereof. The connection is the New Birth experience of God’s grace.
In type, the Nation of Israel experienced a New Birth of their own. Having been delivered from Egyptian bondage, the Israelites staggered at the promise of God to give them the land of Canaan for an inheritance. The land was fruitful and abundant, flowing with “milk and honey” (Numbers 14:8). But the Israelites feared the giants (symbolizing trials and spiritual battles in the Christian’s life), and ultimately disdained the land itself (Numbers 13:32).
Many wonder how this group of people could have witnessed all the plagues of Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, and then lack the faith to obey the Command of God to cross the Jordan River and take possession of that land. “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief [disobedience]” (Hebrews 3:19). They did not have the Spirit of Caleb (the Holy Spirit) (Numbers 14:24) to see and enter the land of promise.
And so they perished in the Wilderness during forty years of wandering (again symbolizing trials and spiritual battles) until the last member of that generation died, and thus the nation was born anew from the death of itself. At this time they buried Moses (representing the Law), and they followed Joshua (representing Jesus) into the Promised Land. Notice that the battles were still there, but the Reborn Israelites were victorious as they followed the Captain of their Salvation.
A journey that should have taken days stretched into years as the Israelites wandered in a “lost” condition. As the fulfillment of the type pictured by Joshua, Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), leading His people into the Promised Land – the Kingdom of God. The crossing of the Jordan River made a difference in the history of National Israel. The child of grace has his own Jordan crossing in the New Birth, where he sees and enters the Kingdom, surrendering to Christ as Lord, and realizing the power to obey the Command of the King.
In our text Sheba, the son of Bichri, has exalted himself against King David. This man of Belial (2 Samuel 20:1) has drawn away “every man of Israel.” The only exception being that those from the Jordan River to the holy city of Jerusalem “clave unto their king.” Those Israelites that followed Sheba were looking for a king of their own choosing, and so they were drawn away from the God-ordained king.
The difference for the inhabitants of the Promised Land (from the Jordan to Jerusalem) was obviously an intimate relationship with “their king”; it was a difference of ownership. These same rebellious Israelites that followed Sheba would later revolt against David with the words: “…What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse…” (1 Kings 12:16). They had no portion, part, or ownership in David – he was not “their king.”
Do you own Christ as your King? If so, you have been given the Perception to see and the Power to enter the Promised Kingdom of God. You are surrendered to Christ as your Prince and have come to rest in the Peace that passes understanding. You have been Reborn. You have truly experienced God’s Sovereign Grace as He has made of you a vessel of mercy (Romans 9:23).
Praise the Lord! Be not drawn after another, but cleave to the only King Eternal (1 Timothy 1:17). He will slay your giants and give you the victory of an abundant life in Christ (1 John 5:11).