A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
2 Samuel begins with events which lead to the successful transition of David to be King of Israel. He shows his own respect for the kingship by killing the Amalekite who assisted Saul in his suicide. Then David mourns Saul and particularly his valiant and far more righteous son, Jonathan who was also killed in the battle at Mount Gilboa.
After asking God’s direction, David goes to Hebron, the traditional city of Abraham and his covenant with God, and a perfect place to begin his ascension as king. Here he is anointed king over Judea. However, Abner, the top general in Saul’s army has his own designs on power, and rather than concede any of it, convinces Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth to declare himself king.
The civil war takes an interesting turn when at the pool of Gibeon, the soldiers of Joab (David’s military second in command) and Abner send twelve men each into single combat to avoid additional bloodshed. Because the fighting is indecisive (all the combatants are killed as they kill their opponents), the larger battle cannot be avoided and David’s soldiers are completely victorious so that Abner must flee for his life.
It appears at this point that Abner is far more interested in avoiding bloodshed than is Joab, his counterpart in David’s army. After several appeals, Abner succeeds at getting Joab to agree to a truce. Still, the fighting begins again and lasts a long time. Because of a falling out with Ish-Bosheth, Abner comes over to David’s side, but is killed by Joab both out revenge (Abner had already killed Joab’s brother), and jealousy of his position as second in command.
Final victory is achieved when Ish-Bosheth is betrayed and killed by his own military commanders who must have sensed the cause was already lost. David does not approve of their betrayal and has them both killed. This pattern makes sense for a king whose own survival could one day hinge on making clear that members of the royal family should be honored and respected
It is not always easy to do what God wants done. David had long ago been anointed by Samuel as the successor to King Saul. Yet when Saul dies, he is still challenged for that position. Yet undoubtedly the experience strengthens his resolve and makes him a better king.
So with us: our setbacks, delays and obstacles develop strength in us and prepare us to do greater things than would otherwise be possible. What is God trying to teach you right now? There is always something to be learned; what can you find Him doing in your life?
It’s important to look at our challenges and problems as prime material for God to use – first because there seems to be so much of it at times; second because, as the Bible says, our weakness is the opportunity for Him to demonstrate His strength and faithfulness in our lives.
A. Eugene Pearson 2011