The end of Saul’s reign, the beginning of David’s reign.
For Saul, the end was tragic – “See how the mighty have fallen” (2 Samuel 1:19,25,27).
David’s reign marked a new beginning. God is gracious. He gives a new beginning when we have made a mess of things. He is the God of hope. He leads us out of our failure and into His victory.
David became the king of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-7) and the king of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5). Behind the story of David, there is the story of God at work: “The Lord was with David”, “The Lord had established him as king of Israel and made his kingdom famous for the sake of Israel, the Lord’s people” (2 Samuel 5:10-12).
“David worships the Lord” – “I will celebrate in the Lord’s presence”, “You are great, Lord God. There is no one like You, and there is no other god except you” (2 Samuel 6:21; 2 Samuel 7:22).
David trusts God – “Almighty Lord, You are God, and Your words are trustworthy” (2 Samuel 7:28).
David obeys God – “David ruled all Israel. He did what was fair and right for all his people” (2 Samuel 8:15).
“God’s kindness” (2 Samuel 9:3)
God has shown His kindness to us. We are to show His kindness to others.
“Be strong!” (2 Samuel 10:12) – We are to be strong in the strength of the Lord.
Strength and kindness – God will give us the strength to be less self-centred, and more other-centred and God-centred.
“The Lord considered David’s actions evil” (2 Samuel 11:27) – This is a summary of the sinful and shameful events that are recorded in 2 Samuel 11. For most of 2 Samuel 12, we have a record of the consequences of David’s sin. At the end of the chapter, there is a ray of hope – the birth of a son, Jedidiah. His name means “The Lord’s Beloved”. God’s love is greater than our sin!
In 2 Samuel 13 – 14, we read about sin – rape, murder and deception. This realistic account of human behaviour highlights the sin which separates us from God. This shows us very clearly our need of salvation. We need the Lord’s saving grace in our lives, if we are to be kept from going further along the road of sinful living. By His grace, He saves us. He forgives our sin. He calls us to walk with Him on the pathway of holiness.
In 2 Samuel 15 – 16, we have a very human story. It’s just like our life today. We read it, and we think about our own life. We ask, “Where is the Lord in all of this?” We need to maintain the Lord’s priorities. We need to keep “God’s ark” – His Word – among us. We need to seek His favour and honour His servants (2 Samuel 15:25; 2 Samuel 16:18). Maintaining the Lord’s priorities is so important if we are to keep sight of Him. If we fail to maintain our focus on the Lord, we will be swept along by events that do not seem to be filled with any real sense of the purpose of God being fulfilled in our lives. When God seems far away, and we can’t see Him at work, we must keep on believing in His presence and power, We walk by faith – not by sight.
In 2 Samuel 17 – 19, we read of Absalom pursuing David (chapter 17), David defeating Absalom (chapter 18), and David being restored to the throne (chapter 19). At the heart of these very human events concerning conflict within the nation, we must see the outworking of God’s purpose.
“May the Lord your God be praised. He has handed over the men who rebelled against your Majesty” (2 Samuel 18:28). The king is called “your Majesty”. We must never forget that there is an even greater King, an even greater Majesty. The Lord is King. We “worship His Majesty”.
In 2 Samuel 20 – 21, there are so many names. As we read about the various incidents that are described in these chapters, we must not overlook the spiritual dimension. We must respect the Lord and His servants (2 Samuel 20:19). We must seek the Lord’s blessing. “God answered the prayers for the land” (2 Samuel 21:14) – We must look to the Lord to do this in our generation.
David sings his song to the Lord (2 Samuel 22:1-51). It’s a song of praise. It’s a song which exalts the Lord. It’s a song which gives glory to the Lord. At the heart of David’s song of praise, there’s a particularly rich section, which is full of precious statements concerning the Lord.
* God’s way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31).
* Who is God but the Lord? (2 Samuel 22:32).
* God arms me with strength (2 Samuel 22:33).
* He makes my feet like those of a deer (2 Samuel 22:34).
* He trains my hands for battle (2 Samuel 22:35).
* You have given me the shield of Your salvation (2 Samuel 22:36).
* You make a wide path for me to walk on so my feet do not slip (2 Samuel 22:37).
These great verses jump out from the particular historical circumstances out of which David speaks.
They speak to us as words which jump across the centuries.
These words begin as David’s confession of faith. They become our confession of faith.
David’s work was intended by God to bring blessing to the people.
He was “raised up” by God (2 Samuel 23:1). “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through him” (2 Samuel 23:2).
David’s influence on the people was not always a good influence.
He “sinned” against the Lord, bringing judgment upon the nation (2 Samuel 24:10,15).
Sin and judgment are not, however, the last word concerning God’s dealings with His people.
“So the Lord heard the prayers for the country, and the plague in Israel stopped” (2 Samuel 24:25).
The Lord’s servants are not perfect. There is sin in us. This affects our usefulness in God’s service.
God is greater than His servants.
His grace reaches out to men and women through His very inadequate servants. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”.
Why? – “To show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7).