The life of David affords many important lessons for us as believers. May we be instructed by that which the Lord provides for the purpose of our edification.
Near the end of Saul’s reign, David falls prey to fear and flees from Saul to find refuge among Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, who give David one of their cities, Ziklag, as a residence for him, his mighty men, and their families. While David and his men are away on an errand for the Philistines, the Amalekites burn Ziklag, capture and cart off the wives and children of David and his mighty men, steal their possessions, and burn the city. Being a man of war, David must feel a strong compulsion to do the obvious thing for a soldier to do and the right thing for any faithful husband and father to do: pursue the Amalekites in an attempt to recover his family. And it is at just this juncture, when the natural and right thing seems so obvious, that we learn our first lesson. “And David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after the troop? shall I overtake them?” (I Sam. 30:8). Whether it is the recognition that the plight of his loved ones and those of his men are the result of his sin is not as important as the fact that David does not do the “obvious” thing, the instinctive thing, or the compelling thing. He seeks the will of the Lord. The Lord instructs David to pursue the Amalekite army and assures him that he will recover everything. David obeys the Lord, and all are recovered.
Equally remarkable is the account recorded several chapters later when David learns of Saul’s death. Once again, the action David should take seems obvious. Many years before, God had chosen him, David, to be king of Israel and had anointed him king by the hand of the prophet Samuel. Now that Saul is dead, there would seem to be no impediment to his ascending the throne. God had authorized him to be king, should he not, in an act of faith and obedience, take over the nation’s throne? Here we learn the second lesson. “And it came to pass after this [the deaths of Saul and Jonathan], that David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron” (II Sam. 2:1). He seeks the will of the Lord. Though God had long before made His will known to David regarding his kingship, when the opportunity presents itself, David does not seize it. He seeks and confirms the will of the Lord. The Lord tells him to go up to Hebron (not Jerusalem, the capitol city); David does so and reigns there.
In the next chapter we read that “there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker” (II Sam. 3:1). Finally, after some seven-and-a-half years, David ascends his rightful throne in the capitol city of Jerusalem. Though he is king according to the will of God, he does not automatically ascend the throne. And here we learn our third lesson. He must fight and defeat enemies in order to fulfill God’s will. The fact that we are seeking and even doing God’s will does not mean that we will not encounter opposition—both in our own hearts and minds and in those around us. Seldom do natural or spiritual victories come automatically; they result from a believing heart (that is faith) that enables our hands to fight (that is obedience). Failing to seek God’s will constitutes a rejection of the first two lessons that God would have us to learn regarding faith. Failing to do God’s will constitutes a rebellion against the third lesson that God would have us learn regarding obedience. David was a man after God’s own heart, not because he was perfect, but because he constantly sought the Lord in faith and then did what the Lord instructed him to do. May we learn these lessons ourselves.
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