Lesson 8 THE SACKCLOTH WARDROBE
But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom (Psa. 35:13).
Often in scripture we read of those who were clothed in sackcloth, humbling themselves before God so that their prayers would be heard. The city of Nineveh not only clothed the people in sackcloth, but also the animals to show their contrite hearts (Jonah 3:8).
If David’s prayer in Psalm 35:1-28 were for Absalom and the traitors that conspired with him to remove David from the throne, then it has heavy implications. If it were for King Saul or some other enemy, we can only imagine its depth of meaning.
David contrasts the enemy’s conduct with his own. He talks of his past life, and about the acts of kindness which he had shown in times of trouble, as more deeply marking the evils of their own conduct now. David begs the Lord to plead his cause and to fight against them that fight him. He says, “Stand for me! Confuse the enemy! Blow them away like chaff!” He even begs the Lord to make their way dark and slippery and to dig a pit for their feet. David has given up on saving their souls though he apparently has tried many times in the past. These are men (or women) who are bound to David by the bands and ties of physical life—people he knows well.
David is brought low because of the false witnesses who have laid things to his charge that he never dreamed of. Yet those same people had been the object of his fasting and prayers in other days. When they had been in distress, he had put on sackcloth and afflicted his soul for their sakes. He had humbled himself before God to beg for their health or their position before the Almighty. Surely in times past he had prayed for Absalom as he watched the turn of his character or as he had witnessed his misconduct. More than anything, he would have wanted his own son to be righteous before God, but now with the insurrection, he sees there is no hope for his soul or the ones with him. David knows that Absalom and his companions hate him without a cause.
David’s final thoughts regarding the actions of his enemies as they compare to his own are that he wishes the Lord would clothe them with shame and dishonor because they have returned evil for his good. Our own hearts need to be humble to the point we would be willing to clothe ourselves in sackcloth to pray for our enemies even if they do not respond well. They will be clothed in shame if they spurn our efforts at peace.
Will our clothing be sackcloth or shame (Job 8:22; Psa. 109:29; Psa. 132:18)? Will we humble ourselves before the Almighty or will we proudly go our thankless way and return evil for the good others do for us?
- Using the Bible Encyclopedia found here: (http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/home.html), give a definition of sackcloth and tell why was it worn?
- Sackcloth has always carried with it the idea one of the Christian virtues. With what virtue should we be clothed (1 Pet. 5:5)?
- How serious is the sin of ingratitude ( 1:21,24; 1 Tim. 3:2-5)?
- Under the Law of Moses, men were commanded to give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Is it right today to take vengeance or to pray for the destruction of our enemies ( 5:38-42; Rom 12:19)?
- How many good deeds had David done for King Saul?
- How did Saul react?
- What good had David done for his son Absalom?
- How did Absalom respond?
- What is the higher law for Christians today (Luke 6:35)?
- King Ahab was one of the worst kings in the history of Israel. Why did God postpone His judgment against Ahab and give him another chance to live after he had determined to destroy him and his descendants (1 Kings 21:21-29)?
Lesson 7 – SPOILS OF WAR WARDROBE
“And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria” (2 Chr. 28:15).
In 2 Chronicles, chapter 28, the Lord describes how the leaven of Ahaz spread to all Judah so the people of Judah spoiled their own wardrobe like the wicked northern nation of Israel. It is a very short chapter with only twenty-seven verses. We learn that Ahaz was a son of Jotham and the 11th king of Judah (2 Kings 15:38,16). He was an ungodly king who promoted the worship of Molech, with its pagan rites of human sacrifice (2 Chr. 28:1-4). Judah worshipped molten images of Baalim and offered their own children as sacrifices to false gods in the valley of Hinnom. What was God’s response? He delivered them into the hands of the king of Syria, who “smote them” and carried the multitude away as captives to Damascus.
God also delivered them into the hands of the king of Israel, who slaughtered many. The children of Israel carried away captive of their own brethren, 200,000 women, sons and daughters of the slaughtered men and took much spoil before they brought them to Samaria. Amazing as it may seem, a prophet of the Lord was there whose name was Oded, who told them plainly that God had delivered Judah into their hands because He was angry with them; however, God’s wrath would be upon Israel if they did not let them go free. Israel had purposed to keep the people of Judah for slaves, but Oded reminded them of their own wickedness and how they had better show mercy to Judah.
Certain of the leaders stood up against the Israelite army and warned them they also were in jeopardy of being punished the same way because of their own sins. If they added this evil to their record, they surely would bring wrath from the Lord upon the entire nation. With a complete change of heart, the army of Israel left the captives and the spoil in front of the princes and all the congregation of the Israelite people and went to correct this grievous error. What did they do? They took the spoil they had taken in battle and used it to clothe the captive women, children and old people and carry them back to their homes. Who ever heard of such? They took that same spoil, which their victorious army had brought away, to clothe, feed, shoe, and anoint, these distressed people, set the feeblest of them upon asses, and escort them safely to Jericho.
God had delivered Judah into the hands of their enemies because their king had made them to sin. He humbled them and made them naked before the world so they could learn a lesson. Then, as if nothing had been learned at all, Ahaz committed one more sin, which was to take gold and precious things from the house of the Lord to try to buy allegiance from Assyria, but Assyria did not help him when the enemy came to attack again. At his death, Ahaz was buried without honor in Jerusalem. He was not thought worthy of a burial in the kings’ tombs (2 Chr. 28:27). Surely Ahaz spoiled his own wardrobe and caused Judah to follow his evil example.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:14).
- What was a major sign God gave to show Ahaz that he was displeased with him and Judah (2 Chr. 28:4-5)?
- What did Ahaz cause Judah to do in their worship (2 Chr. 28:2-3)?
- Of what did God’s prophet (Oded) remind the children of Israel when they took Judah captive (2 Chr. 28:9-11)?
- What New Testament principle do we see in this example (James 2:13)?
- Who were the main ones who listened to God’s warning (2 Chr. 28:12)?
- What did the Samaritans do to show they believed God’s warning (2 Chr. 28:15)?
- What does God require us to do today to our enemies? ( 5:44-45)
- What further sin did Ahaz commit to show he had faith in men but not in God (2 Chr. 28:19-25)?
- What did God do after Ahaz’ death to show He was angry with him? (2 Chr. 28:27)?
- RESEARCH QUESTION: Using Naves’ Topical Bible at:
Look up the various accounts of times when spoil was taken.
- From the scriptures given, list the things that were taken.
- Explain how the spoil was divided between the ones who fought and the ones who did not (of the Israelites, including priests and Levites).
- Finally, explain how some of it was dedicated to the Lord and by whom.
In some Bible dictionaries, the word spoil will have a cross reference to take you to the word booty. Notice the definition of spoil/booty: plunder and spoils of war. Booty consisted of everything of value taken in battle-gold and silver, clothing, food, household items, weapons, implements of agriculture, camels, sheep, cattle, as well as men, women, and children to be used as slaves (Gen. 14:11-12; Jer. 49:32).
Lesson 6 – JONATHAN’S WARDROBE
“And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle” (1 Sam. 18:1-7).
What would cause Jonathan, the king’s son and natural heir to the throne of Israel, to strip himself of his robe, his sword, his bow and girdle and give it to someone far younger than he? Jonathan’s spiritual clothing of faith and humility caused him to give away his physical clothing and his right to the throne of Israel. Jonathan’s physical clothing was that of the king’s son and giving his royal clothing and kingly possessions to David showed his great love for a youth who was “a man after mine (God’s) own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22).
From the account of the defilement of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13:18, we know that daughters of kings were generally dressed in special apparel. “And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins appareled.” Even today, the only rulers who dress in special garments are kings and queens. Jonathan, the son of Saul, wore robes that distinguished him from others in the land, but he was willing to give these to David when he understood that God ordained David to succeed his father. There is never even the slightest hint that Jonathan was envious of David in anything. Jonathan had everything to lose from David’s replacing his father, but he seems to have understood and accepted from the beginning that David was God’s elect.
We see Jonathan’s spiritual clothing of faith and humility when we see his actions toward David and consider the age difference between them. Jonathan was not a young boy when he and David became friends. We know that Jonathan was a grown man and a seasoned warrior within two years after his father (Saul) came to the throne. “Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear” (1 Sam. 13:1-3).
The Scriptures describe David as being quite young when he came to live with Saul. He is referred to as both a youth and a stripling. Even after Saul and Jonathan are dead, 2 Samuel 5:4 tells us, “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.” Jonathan loved David and believed that God had given David the kingdom. “And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth” (1 Sam. 23:17). Because of his faith in God, Jonathan was willing to show the world that he acknowledged God’s choice of a ruler to succeed his father.
When we consider the faith and humility of Jonathan, we can understand why he stripped himself of his kingly clothing and gave it all to David. It was both to acknowledge God’s ordination of David as king of Israel, and because his great faith and humility before God. Jonathan was clothed with humility like we are commanded to be, while his father was clothed with pride and self-will.
- RESEARCH QUESTION: How can we know that David and Jonathan were not both youths (approximately the same age) when David slew Goliath?
- Did the king’s daughters wear clothing like all the other girls in Israel?
- If the king’s daughters wore special clothing, what kind of clothing would the king’s sons wear?
- After David slew Goliath, what did Jonathan give to David?
- What was the significance of Jonathan’s giving such gifts to David?
- DISCUSSION QUESTION: How did Jonathan show that he did not try to hold on to any hope of being heir to the throne of Israel?
- Describe how a friendship based on the spiritual qualities rather than on physical attraction would last forever.
- How did Jonathan’s actions toward David show that he had faith in God?
- By what actions toward David did Jonathan show that he was clothed with humility?
- What kind of clothing was in Jonathan’s spiritual wardrobe?
It pays to know what we sing as well as it pays to obey the command to sing.
(SINCE) “THE LOVE OF GOD” (HAS SHED)
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude v. 21)
INTRO.: A song which encourages us to keep ourselves in God’s love while looking to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life is “The Love of God” beginning “Since the love of God has shed” (#636 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #266 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Laurene Highfield, who, though her name is known, is next to anonymous, at least terrestrially as a songwriter. One source says that she was born at Quincy, IL, in 1870. What we do know about her is that she was a playwright, who lived in Adams County, IL, in 1900 and 1910. Some of the scripts attributed to her include The Usurper…
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