Years have passed since the prophet Samuel anointed David to be king. Through times of heartbreak and being hunted down, surely David had some dark days and discouraging times. But finally the prophet’s words are about to come to pass.
The LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel and you will become their ruler.’ 2 Samuel 5:2
At this point, all the tribes of Israel came to David to declare him King. The exciting day has arrived. He was thirty years old when he became king in Hebron where he reigned for seven years; David now assumes the throne over all Israel and will reign for thirty-three more years.
2 Samuel 5: 12 is a key verse: ‘David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.’ When I read that verse I wonder if during the fifteen years since Samuel anointed him, had he asked himself at times ‘why’?
Why did God choose me and then allow Saul to pursue me with such bitterness?
Why did my beloved friend Jonathan have to die?
Did the prophet Samuel really hear from God?
Will I ever reach the throne or is this a fantasy?
It was only after God had handed over to him the most fortified city in all Israel and all the tribes came and proclaimed him king, that David knew the LORD Himself had established his kingship. Up to that point, it was a matter of faith.
Someone has said that FAITH is climbing onto the first step when you can’t see the rest of the staircase. The prophet Habakuk wrote: The righteous man shall live by faith. (Hab.2:4) During times of confusion and concern for his own life, the psalms testify to us that David maintained his faith and trusted the LORD. Certainly he had his moments for the psalms also testify to that, but even in the psalms which most graphically relate David’s struggles, there is a declaration of faith and trust before the psalm is over. One example of many is Psalm 43. Its opening words are a cry to the LORD:
Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! (vs. 1)
But the closing verse says this:
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. (vs. 5)
Those early years of intimacy with God out in the pasture with his father’s sheep had established in the young David a deep faith in his God. It is any wonder that it is his own son, Solomon, who years later wrote: Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Parents, take note!
In this fifth chapter of 2 Samuel, we learn two more things about David’s life. After he left Hebron for Jerusalem, David enlarged his already large family by taking more concubines and additional wives who bore him more sons and daughters.
Secondly, the Philistines had not forgotten his victory over their giant, Goliath so many years before. When they learned he had become king over all Israel, they prepared for war.
How curious – as a teenager, they were the enemies of Israel and he conquered them by killing Goliath. Later while feeling from Saul, the Philistines gave him shelter and protection. He was not a threat then but a fugitive. Now that he is king of Israel, to the Philistines he has reverted to being their enemy once more. I wonder if it was the news that they were about to come after him that prompted David to write these words:
Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress; my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. (Psalm 144:1-2)
Twenty-one weeks ago, we began this study with a young shepherd boy who spent his days tending his father’s sheep while his older brothers went off to war. The word of the LORD spoken over him back then has finally come to pass. David is King over all Israel.
And he is still ‘guarding sheep’ – not his earthly father’s anymore, but God’s sheep. You will shepherd my people Israel…2 Sam. 5:2
One of the chief qualities which God so loves in His people is FAITH. To immerse yourself in the study of God’s revealed Word, to embrace it with all your heart and to trust Him in all circumstances of life brings great pleasure to the heart of your God. May David’s example of faith and intimacy with God inspire us all to a deeper relationship with our God.