It’s Time! David has been waiting and working for around 15 years for God’s prophecy to come to pass. He is around 37 when the leaders of Israel ask him to be their king.
There was NO WAY David was ready to be king at the time Samuel anointed him. He was a boy at the time. He knew NOTHING of ruling a kingdom. Gotquestions.org puts him between the ages of 10-15. Most other sources agree with this age range. I was curious about rulers who were appointed at even younger ages so, of course, I Googled it. Would you believe there was even one ruler who was purported to be crowned in utero (prior to birth)? Of course these rulers had someone else making the decisions for them.
God wanted David to truly understand the different aspects of his future position. He started him with understanding responsibility and servanthood. David was a shepherd for his father’s sheep. He was responsible for their care and safety. He took his job seriously. We are given two different accounts of him facing down wild animals to protect his flock. David also learned servanthood at the feet of Saul. David was charged with soothing Saul’s soul with music whenever he was troubled. David served his family in other instances too like when he brought supplies to his brothers at the front. He carried out whatever task was assigned to him.
God gave David opportunities to develop his combat skills. His first uses of them were as a shepherd protecting his sheep. He killed a lion and a bear without help from any of the other shepherds. He would further develop these skills with Goliath and the multiple battles he served in under Saul’s banner.
David’s leadership skills were put to the test fairly early on. He was promoted to a command position within the military. This was not done because he had demonstrated great abilities in this area but as a way to get him killed or at least see him fail. Saul set this up but it backfired on him. David led his men valiantly. He would continue developing these skills during the years he was on the run from Saul. By the time Saul died, he had proven his ability to lead and Judah appointed him their king.
The MOST IMPORTANT trait David developed was his ABSOLUTE trust in God. This started before he was anointed. We aren’t told exactly where David learned his faith but we see it in action. His battles with the lion and bear were not solo victories. He was the only person in those confrontations but God was standing there beside him. David KNEW this and gave Him credit. When David went to face Goliath it wasn’t because he thought himself some great warrior but because Goliath was speaking against God and David trusted Him to shut Goliath’s mouth. David laid his life in God’s hands and he was never disappointed. The entire time he was on the run from Saul, his life lay in God’s hands. And he KNEW IT.
These lessons were what David needed to become the king God planned for him to be. Yes! He would make mistakes. We will get to read of them later on. But today he is ready when Israel approaches him.
David did NOT make the leaders of Israel ‘grovel’ at his feet. Their desire to follow the Lord’s command was the ultimate reason they sited. They didn’t even throw in the promise of his deliverance for them from their enemies. They probably figured one step at a time was enough. Abner had paved the way on both sides for this process before his death and David’s response to Abner’s death won their hearts. David was ready to enter into a covenant with them. He was ready to be their shepherd. ALL his previous lessons prepared him for this day.
One other skill that David honed over the years was his understanding of the battle. He was a great tactician. He could see weaknesses in his adversary. He knew how to take advantage of his own troops’ strengths. This is NOT a skill he developed or deployed on his own. God’s hand was with him in battle. David’s troops did feats that no army should have been able to accomplish! He faced overwhelming odds and came out with little to no casualties on his side. Those were MIRACLE battles! But they started with David’s placement and deployment of his men.
Now that he is king of Israel those skills are called on again. David wants a defensible position to rule from. What greater place than the city on a hill; Jerusalem. Their defenses had stood the test of time and battle. No one had been able to roust the Jebusites from their city. Their confidence in their own safety would be their undoing.
I wonder how long David had thought about using Jerusalem as his seat of power. Did he confer with God on this matter? Was this desire placed in his heart by God? Did he dream about the day he would have the chance to put his plan in motion? He had to keep quiet about his plan so the inhabitants of the city didn’t alter their defenses.
David wouldn’t fight like others had; storming the gates and trying to go over the walls. He would crawl through their water system instead. Because he was able to see their point of vulnerability.
I can almost see David’s men making their way into the city. I believe they were also disguised as beggars. This way they could blend in when they emerged and get behind the city’s defenses. Once in place they would lay the city open to the rest of David’s troops. I wonder how many men he placed inside before the battle began. It wouldn’t do to have them streaming out of the tunnel one at a time. They could have been picked off as the emerged that way.
After David had control of the city he fortified its vulnerable places. He expanded it. He brought the place where his own men had come through, into the boundaries of the city walls. He would not make the mistake of leaving this access point open for future invaders.
At some point in David’s reign, Hiram wanted to honor him with a gift. The king of Tyre built David a house. He used his own wood and his own skilled tradesmen for the task. I wonder if this was to keep David from invading his territory. David greatly expanded the territory of Israel during his reign.
The last thing we come to in our reading for today is the mention of David’s increasing ‘family’ size. When Abner came to him he brought with him David’s wife Michal. At that point we know he had at least seven wives. While living in Jerusalem David took even more. He also took concubines. He had sons and daughters by them. I don’t know if the list of sons we are given are in chronological order or not. If they are, Solomon was the tenth son born to David. That is a LONG WAY DOWN the list to be his successor. We will get a look at ‘why’ later on. One thing I do know about this is that God said that a king should NOT have too many wives. God laid out His requirements for a king in Deuteronomy 17. David missed the mark on this point but God still blessed his time as king. Solomon would miss several points in his time, but that is a story for another day.
What I like best about today’s reading is that I can clearly see David’s willingness to wait upon the Lord. I know his waiting isn’t ALL recorded in our text today but the culmination of it is. God made him a promise and He let GOD determine when that promise would come to pass. He walked through the lessons and gained the tools he would need for the role before him.
How often do I try and ‘rush’ God’s hand? I hear of a final result that sounds AWESOME and I want it NOW! But God quite often says “Wait a bit.” When He tells me to ‘wait’ it isn’t a passive waiting. It is actively filled with lessons I will need for His final promise. I have a desire to turn some of the stories contained here into a book. I KNOW I couldn’t have done it when the idea first came to me. I KNOW I still have a way to go before I reach the place where this is possible. But God has faithfully met me here for almost FIVE years. He also faithfully met me in my private time before beginning this blog. I trust Him to bring about the skills I need for the future HE calls me to, even if it isn’t writing a book. He has brought me the skills I need to care for my husband without even knowing I (or he) would have need of them. I TRUST Him to hone in me the skills I will need for whatever He has for me to do.
Father God, THANK YOU for Your faithfulness! I know that whatever You set before me, we will be able to accomplish TOGETHER. I trust Your process, no matter how long it takes.
You also know my ‘patience problem’ Lord. Help me remember this lesson of David as You do Your work in my life. I look forward to seeing where we go together.