So last Sunday we either started a new series or continued an old one – both statements are true – it just depends on how you think about it! We began working through the book of 2 Samuel – which is really just a continuation of 1 Samuel.
Back in 2020/2021, we worked our way through the book of 1 Samuel – looking at characters like Hannah, Eli, Samuel, Saul, eventually David. We concluded that book with the death of Saul after he was mortally wounded in a battle against the Philistines.
Now of course, years before Saul’s death, David had been chosen by God and anointed by Samuel to be the future king of Israel. That had happened when David was still a boy. But now David had grown up, had risen through the ranks of the armies of Israel (very successfully, I might add), and was now quite famous throughout the land of Israel. However, King Saul was so jealous of David’s success and popularity, that he had become determined to kill David. And so David and a band of his faithful men had been on the run from Saul that for the last several years – hiding out in Philistine territory – pretending to be allied with them so that Saul would leave them alone!
But now, the Philistines had just defeated Saul’s army at Mount Gilboa and both Saul and his three sons were killed. And that’s about where 1 Samuel concludes and 2 Samuel begins.
We read in 2 Samuel chapter 1 last Sunday how an Amalekite had brought David the news that Saul and his sons were killed in battle. This Amalekite even claimed to be the guy to put Saul out of his misery after he had been mortally wounded by the Philistines. Of course, we’re not entire sure if that was true, since 1 Samuel 31 says that Saul fell on his own sword and died – while this Amalekite claimed that he killed Saul after Saul asked him end his suffering and spare him from being captured by the Philistines.
But however it actually happened, this young Amalekite man tells David that he was the one to end the life of Saul and that he has now brought to David King Saul’s crown and royal armband.
And this is where we’re going to pick up the story today.
So we read in 2 Samuel chapter 1 verse 13:
13 Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?”
And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.”
14 “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” David asked.
15 Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. 16 “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord’s anointed one.”
2 Samuel 1:13-16
It seems this Amalekite sorely misjudged how David would respond to the death of Saul. It’s likely that this Amalekite was hoping for some kind of reward from David. After all, it was known that David was next in line for the throne of Israel and that Saul had relentlessly tried to kill David for years! Most other kings-in-waiting would have likely rejoiced that their enemy was dead and that the path was clear for them to ascend the throne.
But as we noted last week, that wasn’t the case for David. David had a deep respect for Saul – perhaps not because of Saul’s character or life choices, but simply because the Lord had anointed him as King! In fact, David had many opportunities to kill Saul himself – but he always refused to lift his hand against God’s anointed one – even if that anointed one was a big jerk!
Probably the best example of this is when David had the chance to kill Saul in a cave in the wilderness of En-gedi. Let me quickly read that for you – this is back in 1 Samuel chapter 24 and is such a clear example of David’s respect for Saul simply because He was God’s chosen King. It says this:
After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats.
3 At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!
4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.
5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” 7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.
After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.
9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? 10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ 11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.
12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you.
1 Samuel 24:1-13
And you know, David stuck to that throughout Saul’s life. David always left Saul’s fate in the hands of God. God had placed him as King – and so David trusted that one day, God would remove him. It was not man’s place to end Saul’s life – not David – and not this Amalekite.
As so, rather than reward this man for the evil he had done in killing Saul, David instead declared that justice would be carried out. This Amalekite had taken Saul’s life – and so his own life would be demanded.
And there is a lesson in this for us too. We might not have the same problems as David had – we don’t have a crazy king trying to kill us – but I’m sure we have a multitude of issues where we are tempted to take matters into our own hands. To solve our problems our own way – rather than trusting God to solve our problems for us. Many people in the Bible have fallen to this temptation as well!
- If you remember way back when Saul first became king, Saul had done this when he took matters into his own hands and offered the sacrifice that only Samuel as the priest was qualified to offer.
- Abram & Sarah tried to solve their problem of having no children (even though God had promised a son). They tried doing things their own way and getting Hagar pregnant – rather than waiting for God to act.
- Peter tried to solve the problem of Jesus being arrested by drawing his sword and slashing off the ear of the high priest’s servant.
All of these folks took matters into their own hands when it seemed that God wasn’t stepping in! And I know that we are all tempted to do the same! Instead of following God’s instructions and waiting patiently for God to act on our behalf, so often we are tempted to take matters into our own hands. To meet our own needs in our own way and in our own time – rather than just waiting on the Lord to take care of us!
It’s one thing for us to say we trust in God – but it’s another thing to live that out! To put our trust into action by waiting. Psalm 27:14 says…
14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
At first glance it might seem like those are two totally disconnected statements, but they are not! Sometimes it takes great courage and bravery – to wait. We often think of courage and bravery as being willing to move forward into the unknown. But I think it takes just as much courage and bravery to stay put and to patiently wait for God to do what He says He’s going to do.
Like David, we need to have the courage to wait. And when we do, God will come through! In His time, and in His way – but He will come through.
For David, that meant waiting many years, while being hunted down by Saul, until finally God allowed Saul to be killed.
And when that happened, David didn’t rejoice at his enemy’s death (as many other people would have done) – instead, he mourned and wept and even fasted to show his sorrow. In fact, he even composed a funeral song – honouring both Saul and his son Jonathan – and taught it to the people of Israel. It says in 2 Samuel 1:17…
17 Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, 18 and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar.
19 Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
20 Don’t announce the news in Gath,
don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice
and the pagans will laugh in triumph.
21 O mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain.
For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled;
the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil.
22 The bow of Jonathan was powerful,
and the sword of Saul did its mighty work.
They shed the blood of their enemies
and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes.
23 How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!
They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles,
stronger than lions.
24 O women of Israel, weep for Saul,
for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing,
in garments decorated with gold.
25 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies dead on the hills.
26 How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan!
Oh, how much I loved you!
And your love for me was deep,
deeper than the love of women!
27 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.
2 Samuel 1:17-27
As we read this funeral song, we don’t get any sense of hate or bitterness in David towards Saul – there’s no mention of Saul’s many faults or sins or how he wronged David. And at the same time, David’s not just making up nice things to say either – he’s actually honouring Saul for the good things that He had done as King. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s just a incredible testimony to the solid character of David. And we see even more of that solid character as David begins to rule over Israel in the next chapter. So let’s flip there now and read 2 Samuel chapter 2 – verses 1 to 4.
After this, David asked the Lord, “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?”
“Yes,” the Lord replied.
Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?”
“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.
2 David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives 3 and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. 4 Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah.
2 Samuel 2:1-4
There are two points in this passage that I’d like to make note of. First of all, notice that the first thing David did was to ask the Lord for direction. He asks in verse 1 – “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?”
Now this seems like a no-brainer! After all, Saul was dead so David no longer had any reason to live among the Philistines. Plus, as the anointed King of Israel, why wouldn’t he return home and assume the throne? The answer seems obvious!
But David doesn’t make any presumptions about the will of the Lord! As we noted back in 1 Samuel 24 when David had the opportunity to kill Saul in that cave, not every opportunity is from the Lord! God may not want us to walk through every open door.
Now in this case, the Lord did want David to return to Israel and make his home in Hebron – but the key thing here is that before assuming that, David asked God and waited for His reply.
This is another great lesson for us. I know I’m often one to assume the will of the Lord. If an opportunity comes up and it seems good and logical, I’m certainly inclined just to assume that this is God’s leading! And many times it is, but there are times when it’s not! This is why it’s so important for us to constantly bring everything to God in prayer! Even the things that we think are no-brainers!
I’m reminded of the time when Joshua was conquering the promised land and they had just defeated the stronghold of Jericho. The next little tiny town on the conquering agenda seem to be a no brainer! The little town of Ai only had a handful of people… And so Joshua sent a little group up to attack Ai without first asking God what they should do – and they were soundly defeated! Little did they know that a man named Achan had disobey God and he had to be dealt with first before God would give them any further victory over their enemies! But had Joshua asked God about this no-brainer first, I’m sure God would have communicated that to them before several men were killed in this failed attack!
As Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6…
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And this is exactly what David did. He prayed about everything! Even the no-brainer things! What a great example for us.
And so with God’s blessing, David and his family moved to Hebron where he finally began to take hold of the throne. It says in verse 4.
4 Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah.
2 Samuel 2:4
Now of course, this didn’t make David king over Israel – but rather just one tribe of Israel – the tribe of Judah. But I think it’s again telling of David’s character that He’s not the one declaring himself to be king (even though God had promised that He would be), but rather, he’s being invited by the people of Judah to be their king.
And again, I think this just speaks to David’s humble character. He was always careful not to put himself on a pedestal or claim to be someone great or to demand that people follow him. But rather, he simply followed God’s instructions and as people recognized God’s call on his life, they choose to follow him and to submit to his leadership.
Mind you, not everyone was eager to jump on the “David as King” band wagon. We continue reading in verse 4…
When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, 5 he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. 6 May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. 7 Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.”
8 But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul’s son Ishbosheth. 9 There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel.
10 Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. 11 David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years.
2 Samuel 2:4b-8
I find this to be pretty amazing! David has already been declared king of Judah. He is a skilled military leader and he has the military power to fight against Ishbosheth and enforce his rule over the rest of Israel, if he should chose to.
But he doesn’t do that. Just like how he had the courage to trust in the Lord and wait for God to remove Saul from the throne, here again, he trusts in the Lord and waits for God to fulfill His promise and give him the rest of the kingdom of Israel.
And as we read on through the next few chapters over these next weeks, we’ll see that this was not an easy wait. Things were going to get messy before David would be king over all of Israel.
But yet, through it all, David seems to just patiently wait for God and allowed God to do whatever God needed to do. And I think that’s a good point for us to end on today.
How many times in our lives do we just need to patiently wait for God to do whatever God needs to do?
Or maybe a better question is: how many times do we fail to patiently wait for God to do whatever God needs to do? How many times do we push ahead – doing things our own way or in our own time – when it seems that God is taking too long to keep his promise? Can I just remind and encourage you today…
14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Now this isn’t a command to procrastinate. That doesn’t mean we should delay when we know God wants us to act. But rather, it means that we need to put our trust into action. It means that if God has not given us clear direction (that is, assuming that we’ve actually remembered to ask Him for direction even when it seems to be a no-brainer!) – but when God has not yet told us what to do – then we need to be brave enough just to wait. Just to trust that He’s at work and He will bring it to pass in His own good time and in His own good way.
I love the words of the old hymn ’Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus….
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take him at his word
Just to rest upon his promise
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!