THE LONG-AWAITED THRONE- DAVID ESTABLISHES AND UNITES THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL- 2 SAMUEL 2-5
"The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker." (2 Sam. 3:1) Beth Moore writes in her book on David: time + conflict = life change. Over time the struggles of life make us stronger or weaker. David became stronger in the Lord through his many years as a fugitive (appx. 13 long years). God used this time to prepare him to be Israel's greatest king. A man never grows spiritually more than his conscious awareness of his need for the Lord. (Rev. 3:17) And growing in the Lord is not just getting things from Him but growing in love and adoration of Him and finding that our joy in Him is greater than anything this world can offer.
What was the difference between David and Saul? David became more and more dependent on the Lord and Saul became more and more independent of the Lord. David says, "My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken." (Psalm 62:1; also see Isa. 40:31) Waiting on the Lord is not passive. It is actively trusting the Lord even as you wait on His timing and His power to work in your life. It means both quiet trust and expectant trust. Saul often refused to wait on the Lord yet we see through the many psalms of David how often he did wait upon the Lord.
But waiting on the Lord also means calling out to the Lord in prayer. It is admitting our need for Him. Here again we see David doing just that: "Then it came about afterwards that David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?" And the LORD said to him, "Go up." So David said, "Where shall I go up?" And He said, "To Hebron." (2 Sam. 2:1) David wanted specific direction from the Lord at this crucial juncture. He is about to be anointed king over the house of Judah. But he shows patience again by not setting himself up as king over all of Israel. He waited 7 ½ years for that to happen.
"David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns." (2 Sam. 2:3) Although it feels good to settle in and put down some roots we need to be constantly reminded from Scripture that this earth is not our home. We are to be rooted in God and His Word not in terra firma. "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." "I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me." (Col. 2:6-7; Psalm 119:19)
As we will see even after settling in as King, David fought the rest of his life. Scripture says we too are always waging warfare against the world the devil and the flesh,. (See Eph. 2:1-3;6:10-18) and that the Lord uses these "enemies" to mature our faith, to make us more like Jesus and to get our souls ready for eternity. (James 1:2-5; Rom. 8:28-29; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; 1 Cor. 3:10-15)
Unlike David, Saul's son Ish-Bosheth takes the position as king over Israel (later called the northern kingdom) and like his father, he is suspicious and jealous of his right hand man, Abner. After falsely accusing him, Abner defects to David and in time David becomes king over all of Israel. Then Joab, commander-in-chief of David's armies, kills Abner to avenge his brother's death and possibly to secure his position with David. David denounces Abner's death and grieves publicly at his grave. David again shows his heart for God at this useless bloodshed and his wisdom as king to not choose sides but to bring unity for all of Israel.
"And the LORD said to you, (David) 'You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.' " (2 Sam. 5:2) At long last what God had ordained some fifteen years earlier had now come to past – David is king over all of Israel. "He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them." (Psalm 78:70-72) From a lowly shepherd boy to a fugitive running for his life and now King of all of Israel, David had become intimate with the Divine Shepherd Whose strength would see him through the highs and the lows of a forty year reign as Israel's greatest king.
A fatal flaw – "After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet." (2 Sam. 5:13-16) Here we see the seeds of David's great fall, his fatal flaw – his passion for women. Sin is never a blow out but a slow leak; more on this later. But even after his great sin David humbly took God's discipline as a servant not a king and continued to be a man after God's own heart to the end of his life; a man who pressed on to know the Lord more and more. (Hosea 6:3; Phil 3:7-15)
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
What are the components of waiting on the Lord that you learned from this lesson?
Time + conflict = life change. Trials make us bitter or better, weaker or stronger depending on how we respond to them. David responded in trust and obedience to the Lord and Saul in distrust and taking matters into his own hands. Waiting on the Lord is the key to growing stronger in the Lord through trials. What trials have you experienced in the past or are presently experiencing that taught you to wait on the Lord? What did you learn?
Are you tempted to settle down in enemy territory – this world? What can you do to make sure you don't? Consider Abraham and the other faithful saints below:
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11: 8-16)
How do you deal with the warfare from the three enemies of our faith seen in Ephesians 2:1-3
1) the world ________________________________________________________________
2) the devil _________________________________________________________________
3) and the flesh______________________________________________________________
In their book, Credibility, authors Kouzes and Posner identified those characteristics that people most desire in a leader and integrity topped the list. Why? Because people with integrity can be trusted. As Christians integrity for us means living according to God's Word. Would those closest to you say you are a man of your word?
A fatal flaw – "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1) If Satan could take you out of the race (and he is always at work to do just that) where is he most likely to attack you; i.e., what is your besetting sin or potentially fatal flaw? What can you do about it now? (Hint: See Hebrews 3:12-13; James 5:16; 1 John 1:5-9)
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:22-25) It is in doing God's Word, not in just hearing it, that we are blessed. What action will you take to apply these truths to your life?
Scripture memory verse: "Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him!" (Hosea 6:3 NLT) (And like David be a man after God's own heart.)