In 2 Sam 21 we begin to see the great value the LORD places on keeping the vows that we have made with our mouth. In Joshua’s day, Israel made a covenant of peace with Gibeon. Remember, they were Canaanites who had heard of the destruction of Jericho, and came with worn out clothes and moldy bread, to trick Joshua into thinking they were not from the Holy Land, but a people from far away. And Joshua did not ask the LORD, and Israel made a covenant of peace with them. And they became servants to Israel.
Now the peace treaty was not what God wanted. He wanted all the Canaanites to be destroyed. But once the oath was made, it was a worse sin, in God’s way of doing things, to break that word. Why? Because God is a God of His Word. He never breaks His Word. And if we are to live according to His ways, we are to never break our word. This is one reason why divorce is so bad. A vow was made with the mouth, in church, before God, to love, honor, and cherish each other, and that nothing would part them but death. So then to get divorced 10 or so years later because they don’t make each other happy anymore, is breaking the vow that was made with the mouth. Bad bad bad. For the children’s sake, the vows we make with our mouth must be kept.
In God’s way of doing things, it is far better to suffer for doing right, than to do wrong for the sake of being happy. Wow, I know that is not a politically correct statement. It is the truth. Many people buy the lie that the most important thing in life is being happy, not doing what is right. And who knows but that doing what is right is a source of its own happiness? People don’t try it long enough to find out.
So because Saul, as king, broke the word of Israel (this is several hundred years after Joshua, remember), and persecuted the Gibeonites, a famine came upon the land for three years. Notice how the consequence for Saul’s deed did not come about immediately. By the time the famine happened, David had been king for some time already. It was after Absalom, so his children were already grown. He only started having children once he became king in Hebron, after Saul’s death.
So we see that when we do rightly, a seed of righteousness is planted whose fruit will be blessing. And when we do wrongly, a seed of unrighteousness is planted whose fruit will be some kind of curse or destruction. Seeds don’t bear fruit the day they are planted. It has to grow, and then one day it will bear its fruit.
But seeds –> growth over time –> fruit is a spiritual principle that has its counterpart in the natural world. When God wanted to save the world from its sins, He told Eve, a Seed will be born. God obtains fruit (results) by planting seeds. When we don’t understand that He works this way, we can become impatient. We need to keep sowing seeds of righteousness, and trust God that eventually we will reap a harvest of blessing from it. But if we give up doing good, because we haven’t seen the result we want after one month, then we have completely misunderstood how God does things.
So, patience is a virtue, and virtue is a virtue, even if we don’t see the result of our virtue in this life. Everything will be rewarded in due time. Whatever we have not received the reward of in this life, we will in the next. God is never in debt to any man, but He pays His bills in full.
But when David made restitution for the wrong that Saul did, the curse of famine was stopped immediately. Making restitution for wrongs is a biblical principle. When we sin, and we ask the LORD to forgive us, He does. But our responsibility does not stop there. If we have hurt someone, then we need to make things right and not just ignore everything and go on. Go to the person and ask for forgiveness. If our sin has caused a negative monetary consequence, then we need to pay that amount. A curse without cause does not alight (Pro 26:2). But the converse is also true, according to the rules of logic. A curse with a cause does alight, and in order to remove that negative outcome working in our lives, remove the cause – make restitution.
David reigned until he had put all of his enemies under his feet. David is a type of Messiah, and this is prophetic of the millennial reign of Messiah, who will also reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet (1 Cor 15:25). When David had finally defeated his enemies and had peace round about, he composed the Psalm in 2 Sam 22. This is the same as Psalm 18.