2 Samuel 3-5
Civil war continued between Israel and Judah. However, Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, was never firmly established as a leader and grew weaker and weaker, while David became stronger and had many sons. Ishbosheth sealed his fate when he accused Abner, the commander of his army, of sleeping with one of Ishbosheth’s concubines. This would have signified Abner’s disloyalty and intention to usurp his king’s authority. Enraged by the accusation, Abner retaliated.
3:9-10 “May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t do everything I can to help David get what the LORD has promised him! I’m going to take Saul’s kingdom and give it to David. I will establish the throne of David over Israel as well as Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.”
David was willing to meet with Abner but insisted his wife, Michal, Saul’s daughter, be returned to him. (Saul had originally given his daughter in marriage to David as a reward for killing a hundred Philistines. But when David fell in disfavor with Saul, Michal helped David flee for his life. In retaliation, Saul gave her to another man.)
A messenger was sent from David to Ishbosheth, demanding Michal be given back to David. So Ishbosheth sent Michal with Abner, as her second husband followed, weeping after them until Abner sent him away.
Abner assured David all of Israel was ready to follow him, so David sent him away in safety. However, Joab, without David’s knowledge, murdered Abner in revenge for killing Joab’s brother. David was enraged and cursed Joab. Then David demanded all the people mourn Abner’s death.
3:36 This pleased the people very much. In fact, everything the king did pleased them.
Then two brothers, officers in Ishbosheth’s raiding parties, murdered their king in his sleep and presented his head in hopes of gaining favor with David. But David was livid that anyone would take revenge on his behalf against the LORD’s anointed.
David always showed Saul and his sons great respect and was also innocent of the deaths of both Ishbosheth and Abner. Ishbosheth’s assassins were rightfully executed at David’s command and Ishbosheth’s head was placed in Abner’s tomb.
5:1-2 Then all the tribes of Israel went to David at Hebron and told him, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, when Saul was our king, you were the one who really led the forces of Israel. And the LORD told you, `You will be the shepherd of my people Israel. You will be Israel’s leader.'”
Then David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites by entering the city’s water tunnel. He ruled all of Israel for thirty-three years from Jerusalem, having previously reigned over Judah for seven and half years.
5:9-10 So David made the fortress his home, and he called it the City of David. He extended the city, starting at the supporting terraces and working inward. And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies was with him.
When the Philistines heard the news David was king of all Israel, they mobilized for an attack. Having asked the LORD if Israel should fight, the LORD confirmed he would be with David. And when Israel defeated the Philistines, David gave God all the credit.
5:20 “The LORD did it!”
Later the Philistines returned, and as before, David asked the LORD what to do. This time the LORD directed David to circle around and wait to attack near the poplar trees. The LORD caused a loud sound among the trees like marching feet as a signal to David to strike the Philistines. Again the LORD gave David a great victory. Repeatedly, David demonstrated great integrity and dependence upon the LORD as God’s leader over all of Israel.
To be a disciple of Jesus, our love for him must be far greater than our love for anyone else. For the second time in Luke, Jesus gave the following stipulation for being a follower of Christ.
14:27 “And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.”
Jesus stressed the importance of considering the cost before committing to following Jesus. His listeners were well aware the cross was a tool for execution. To carry one’s cross would mean complete surrender of one’s life in exchange for the right to be his disciple. As Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary once wrote, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to have what he cannot lose.”
Hanging onto material possessions allows our possessions to own us; but recognizing all we have is from the Lord makes us better stewards of those things to be enjoyed, used, or freely given away— all to His glory.
We praise You, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies! To You alone belongs the victory and our total allegiance. Thank You for saving us from our enemies. Holy Spirit, we ask You to bring us to the place in which we can truly say that nothing compares to our Lord Jesus. The Lord is our Shepherd, whom we desire above all else. Apart from You, we simply do not have the resources to do the work or fight the battles that come our way. Your peace is better than any earthly possession. We offer ourselves in humble dependence on You, Father, offering all we have and are to You in exchange for the privilege of following Jesus. Let all we do and say, be done with integrity— trusting all things to Your sovereign care. Your ways are perfect. Therefore, we can trust You to deal appropriately with others. Vengeance belongs to You, alone. May we desire to respect and honor even those who may oppose us, while we trust You with the outcome.