It started before the 11:00 am service in two different prayer meetings. First it happened with the men; then it happened again in the pre-service prayer meeting. Prayer released a covering of love and honor, tearing down what had been sent to separate and destroy us from one another.
Later in worship, the Lord drew me to the story of David and the Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21). As we closed worship, we stood together and prayed for our nation. This was when it happened.
The prayer formed into repentance (I had not gotten up to do this), as we took responsibility for speaking evil of dignitaries (2 Peter 2:10). This was not a prayer focused for or against any one side, nor was it persuasion; rather we began to repent for the uncovering of nakedness, speaking evil, reviling, and for the hostility of our words and thoughts against one another. This was our sin, not Washington DC’s, for Jesus Christ became a curse for all men, and when we curse any man, we despise the cross and the work Jesus completed. How can we curse man when He has become a curse for all men in order that the blessing of Abraham might come upon all men in Christ? (Galatians 3:13, 14).
Rather than sharing the message I had prepared, we opened to 2 Samuel 21. Israel was in a three year drought when David inquired of the Lord, “And the Lord answered, ‘It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.’” (2 Samuel 21:1, NKJV). This is a fascinating story, and one that should be read remembering that Christ is the atonement for all broken relationships, sins against humanity, past reproaches, dishonor, and forgotten leaders.
The Gibeonites were a remnant of the Amorites (those who had deceived Israel into making covenant to be protected by Israel five hundred years earlier), but Saul in his zeal had killed many of them. David now asked the Gibeonites “‘What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?’” (2 Samuel 21:3, NKJV). The Gibeonites asked for seven descendants of Saul to be hung on a hill. David agreed and selected seven men (protecting Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan whom he had made a covenant), and there they were hung by the Gibeonites for the crimes of Saul, killed and left to be picked apart by the birds and wild beasts without a burial. But Rizpah, the mother of two of the men hung, stayed and watched day and night for three months, keeping the birds and beasts away. David was told of this and went to gather the bones of Saul and Jonathan, who had been killed in battle and never returned for burial. One mother’s love and honor had unlocked a king’s heart to restore honor. David took Saul and Jonathan’s bones, along with the seven who had been hung, and placed them in the tomb of Kish (Saul’s father). After this God heeded the prayer for the land.
A multigenerational story of sin and dishonorable acts had now come to rest. Revenge is never enough. A mother’s love revealed a king’s heart to heal a wound that everyone would have liked to have forgotten. From honor to forgiveness, to healing, to the giants finally being slain. After this David wrote his famous song of deliverance from all his enemies and from the hand of Saul (2 Samuel 22, Psalm 18).
Imagine what will happen when we love, forgive and only bless one another.