Skip to content


“That We Might have Hope” (Rom. 15:4)

Second Samuel Chapters One Through Nine

David Becomes King

Finally! David’s nemesis, King Saul, lay dead on the battlefield! All those years of hiding and running for his life were over! You’d almost expect a spirit of relief and celebration in David’s camp at that news brought by an Amalekite warrior (ch. 1). Instead, it was wails of lamentation over the nation’s loss: “How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!” (1:25)

David would have nothing to do with the typical practice when the throne would change hands. He did not go about destroying every last remnant of the previous king’s dynasty to solidify his own claim to the throne. He did exactly the opposite. He had the men executed who had anything to do with the death of Saul and his son Ishbosheth later on (ch. 4). He also showed great kindness to Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth. David said to him: “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually” (9:7).

The way David treated Saul’s family certainly shows how his heart was in the right place. He was not out for vengeance. He did not have a political axe to grind. He was simply waiting for the Lord’s time. When Saul died, David asked the Lord: “Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?” (2:1) The Lord directed him to Hebron, where he ruled for several years. Ishbosheth’s power over the northern tribes slowly waned, and after seven years David was anointed as king over the whole nation.

David could well have had those years of waiting in mind when he wrote: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strenghten your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Ps. 27:13-14)

David had learned patience. He had learned to wait for the Lord’s time. How often don’t we find ourselves getting frustrated because we haven’t learned that lesson yet! We think we know best what God ought to do in our lives, and when He should do it. And when it doesn’t happen that way, instead of accepting God’s way as the best, don’t we often resort to accusing God of injustice and unkindness?

The kind and patient attitude of heart David had during these years of his rise to power could well be identified as a hallmark of this part of his history. His concern for others and what God would have him do shines through over and over again.

For example, as he began his conquest of Philistia, we read: “So David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hand? And the LORD said to David, Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand. So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water. Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim” (5:19-20).

Trusting the Word of the Lord

Those are two things we do well to practice as well. Before he fought, David asked the Lord what to do. And when he heard God’s Word, he went ahead with it. The familiar words of the hymn put it well: “With the Lord begin thy task . . . for His aid and counsel ask!” How much better it is to pursue the Lord’s guidance first (!) on anything we are planning. Of course, the Lord doesn’t speak to us directly, or through a prophet as with David, but how much wealth His Word contains. Be it in marriage or retirement or school or job or whatever, God has given us His Word as “a lamp for our feet and a light for our path” (Ps. 119:105).

But don’t stop there! Once we have guidance from the Lord, then get at it! When David knew the Lord wanted him to fight the Philistines, he attacked. He didn’t wait or wonder if his forces were strong enough. He went on the Lord’s Word–and won every time!

The same principle holds true for us. For example, when it comes to sharing the Gospel, we know it is the Lord’s will that we do go out. But before we do, don’t we often have countless excuses and “reasons” for not speaking up in this or that situation? When the situation calls for us to correct a fellow believer and then bring him/her the sweet message of forgiveness, do we shy away, not wanting to be seen as nosy or as “better than thou”? Where God speaks and directs, let us pray that procrastination is not in our vocabulary!

We do find in these chapters a couple times when David’s zeal to serve the Lord was out of place. He wanted to get the Ark of the Covenant to the capital city, Jerusalem. To do so he prepared a huge entourage of 30,000 men and had a new cart built to carry the Ark. But God had prescribed that His Ark be handled a certain way, only by the tribe of Levi–which David learned after Uzzah lost his life for touching the Ark in an irreverent manner (ch. 6).

David also wanted to build a house for the Lord in Jerusalem. “The king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.’ Then Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you'” (7:23). But neither one had asked the Lord about it. It was the Lord’s will that David’s son Solomon would build the Temple. God had another much greater blessing in mind for David: “Your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever” (7:16).

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9). As great as David’s plans were to build a temple, God’s plans for him were greater. He gave David the promise of the divine King who would set up an eternal kingdom–a Savior who would come from his own family!

To this day we are reaping the blessings of that promise God gave to David. Whatever our plans may be, in humility may we always be willing and ready to give first place to what God has in mind, for His plans are always infinitely greater and better!

–Pastor Paul Krause