Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are you like David or Abner?

David anointed king over Judah
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Samuel 2:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "'Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.'
But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul's son Ishbosheth. There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead ... and all the rest of Israel." 2 Samuel 2:7-8 NLT

After years of running from Saul, David is free of his persecutor at last. Samuel had anointed David king years earlier so we might expect him to now make a play for the throne. But instead of acting on his own initiative, he keeps depending on God as much as ever.

Our reading starts out with him asking God about two rather small practical matters: "Should I move  back to the towns of Judah?" and "Which town should I go to?" Then he does exactly what God tells him.

After he is crowned king by Judah, he offers his kingly services to the rest of Israel. Abner, Saul's army commander, takes it upon himself to answer by crowning Saul's 40-year-old son Ishbosheth king at Mahanaim.

What does David do about that? Nothing. He doesn't challenge Abner's action and insist that they crown him king, even though he knows he is God's anointed.

David and his dependence on God is quite a contrast to Abner whose claim to power is rooted in family (his father Ner was Saul's uncle, he was Saul's cousin - 1 Samuel 14:50) and his own manipulations. As a result it takes seven and a half more years and many more people coming to grief before the remaining tribes approach David and ask him to be their king (2 Samuel 5:1-3).

I love David's dependence on God, especially as it contrasts with Abner's self-reliance. We would do well to copy David's example, praying about the minutest details of life, listening for and taking God's advice, and exercising patience as we wait for events to take their course (even as we cling to God-given dreams and promises made long ago). It's a course of action described so well by James: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." James 4:10.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for these examples of David's dependence on You. Help me to translate his attitude to the details of my life. Amen.

MORE: Not what He is going to do, but who He is

"Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does? Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him—what an impertinence worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual "going out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest - January 2 reading.

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