Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom, Chapter 8 – Kings and Kingdoms
[Bible references: 1 Samuel 13:14; 26:11; 1 Samuel 24:1-7; 26:1-12; Acts 13:22]
Meanwhile, God had selected David, someone who was described as “a man after God’s own heart,” to be the next king. However, David’s reign did not begin until many years later. This meant there was going to be a long and difficult in-between time of testing:
- Saul’s heart continued to be tested as he was rejected by God, but it would be a long time before the end of his reign. In the meanwhile, he had his duties to perform.
- David had been anointed to be the next king, but it would be many years before it happened. In the meanwhile, there would be much conflict in which David had to trust God and do what he thought he needed to do. David didn’t test God by unnecessarily putting himself in harm’s way, rather he looked to God for wisdom and acted accordingly. When David had opportunities to kill King Saul, he refused to do so and instead waited for God to act.
This is the area where we typically fail: Adam and Eve could not wait for God to give them knowledge so they grabbed for it; Abraham and Sarah could not wait for God to give them a son through Sarah and so they used Hagar; Jacob could not wait for his inheritance so he and Rebekah had to trick Isaac; Moses could not wait for God to provide water by just speaking to the rock and so he had to strike it. In contrast, to be obedient, David was willing to wait for God to replace Saul and did not take advantage of the opportunities he had to kill him.
[Bible references: 1 Samuel 18-20; Proverbs 17:17]
In this difficult period, David would form with Saul’s son, Jonathan, the best friendship he ever had. Jonathan recognized that his own father, Saul, was rejected as king, but instead of jealously trying to hold onto what he could not have, he accepted David as the heir to the throne. In fact, Jonathan was crucial to David’s survival.
The war King
[Bible references: 2 Samuel 2-5, 11:1]
In time, Saul did die, and David became king, although it would be in phases. Initially there was a civil war as people that were loyal to Saul did not pledge loyalty to David but to another king. As in many conflicts, in addition to the overt conflict, there was much subterfuge and political intrigue as well which would have consequences later. Then, even after uniting the kingdom, David had to lead Israel through constant warfare as he expanded the kingdom. So even though David was called and anointed to be king, that did not mean that there was a clear path to becoming king and it did not mean that there would be no conflicts once he became king. It also did not mean that David would be perfect.
[Bible references: 2 Samuel 12:1-14; Psalm 51:1]
There were a couple of instances where David committed sin but, unlike Saul before him, David responded to Yahweh’s rebuke with repentance. The most egregious sin David committed was to have an affair with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers, getting her pregnant. Then when he failed to cover it up, he arranged for that soldier to be killed on the front lines. When the prophet, Nathan, confronted David about the sin, David repented and confessed his sin. The baby born from that affair died shortly after being born, but later David would have another child with Bathsheba, Solomon, setting up the next story line.
Messy family life
[Bible references: Deuteronomy 17:14-20; 2 Samuel 13:1-21; 2 Samuel 13:23-29; 15:7-23]
David did have many wives and concubines, but unlike Solomon, the king who reigned after him, David’s polygamy had not led him to worshiping other gods. The Bible doesn’t condemn David for his polygamy, but it seemed to exasperate a weakness in David. David had many children through his wives and concubines, but he failed to discipline them. His inability to discipline his sons resulted in rape of one of his daughters by one of his sons, who was murdered by another son to avenge the rape, and then attempted to dethrone David. This all meant that the path to succession to David’s throne would not be straightforward, but in the end, David selected his son Solomon to succeed him.
 This brings to mind, a quote from a missionary, Jim Elliot. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.”