We all know David pretty well by now, so we won’t be surprised that he didn’t immediately go seeking his crown. Scripture tells us “In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord” about whether or not he should go up into one of the towns of Judah. God told him to go to Hebron – this is where today’s scripture comes in – and when he got there, he was anointed king over the tribe of Judah, only. There, David heard about the men from Jabesh Gilead, they were the ones who went in and took Saul and his sons bodies off display and gave them their proper burial, so David sent them this message: “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.” (v. 5 & 6) Doesn’t this all just sound like a fairy-tale ending? Well, that lasted for a whole seven verses, then civil war breaks out. You see, Saul’s old army commander, Abner, did not want David to be king, so he gets Ish-Bosheth who was a son of Saul and makes him king over Israel; he reigned for two years, but the tribe of Judah was loyal to David and kept him as king of their tribe for seven years and six months. As you can see, there is a five year gap there; our application tells us “[It] may be due to Ish-Bosheth’s not assuming the throne immediately after Saul’s death. Because of constant danger from the Philistines in the northern part of Israel, five years may have passed before Ish-Bosheth could even begin his reign. During that time, Abner, commander of his army, probably played a principle role in driving out the Philistines and leading the northern confederacy. Regardless of when Ish-Bosheth began to rule, his control was weak and limited. The Philistines still dominated the area, and Ish-Bosheth was intimidated by Abner.” Scripture shows us about a nasty battle that took place. Just like with the Goliath story, they tried to avoid terrible bloodshed, so they would have a few soldiers represent each side. Well, Abner suggests a “dagger match” between twelve of his men and twelve of David’s men; all 24 men died before either one could call it a victory. And it didn’t end there, a brother of Joab (David’s military commander), Asahel, began to chase down Abner after this, and Abner warned him to stop pursuing him, but Asahel pressed on, which ended up costing him his life. Our application says to this part of the story, “If the goal is only for personal honor or gain, persistence may be no more than stubbornness…[this] also spurred disunity in David’s army for years to come. Before you decide to pursue a goal, make sure it is worthy of your devotion.” Joab and his other brother Abishai then went on to pursue Abner because he killed their brother, but Abner, surrounded by his men, tells Joab to end this battle, and Joab does, which gave David’s side a victory, but the civil war between the two groups continued on until David later becomes king over ALL of Israel.
Let’s get back to our scripture. I love that it tells us that he waited some time to see if it was God’s timing for him to become king. I’m guessing we can all relate to a time when we were waiting on the Lord. Since David was just a kid when Samuel came and anointed him king; he has been waiting ALL THIS TIME for it to become official. The entire time, David trusted in the Lord’s timing and our application tells us that “although David knew he would become king and although the time seemed right, now that Saul was dead, David STILL asked God if he should move back to Judah, the home territory of his tribe. Before moving ahead with what seems obvious, first bring the matter to God, who alone knows the best timing.” And David STILL had to wait. Seven years and six months of civil war as king of Judah, before he would become king of all Israel and fulfill the promise and timing of God’s plan.
Is there something that you are waiting for? Something that you know the Lord called you in/to, but you just haven’t seen it play out? (I’m there!) It’s easy to try and take the next step without Him because we want those instant answers. A focus and change in prayer could simply be, what is the next right step, that we don’t need him to show us the entire plan, but we want to put him first, and seek him in it, so that we can obey. In your situation, what do you feel could be a next right step in what the Lord is calling you to?
Heavenly Father, we know your timing is the best and your plan is the good. Help us not to take your plan into our own hands and try and make it go “faster”. Rather give us the strength like David to trust in you and your timing, help us to see what the next right step is. Just like David, what seemed like the obvious step may not be so, so guide us into seeking you first for confirmation. We desire to be following in your plan and trust in your timing. When that is hard, allow your Holy Spirit to comfort us and remind us that your plan and timing is greater than any instant satisfaction we could ever want or get. Show us our next right step in whatever it is that you have for us, for your timing and plan is perfect. In your sovereign name we pray, AMEN!