David realizes that since Saul is now dead, there is no further threat to his life. Rather than just assume, he asks for God’s direction. With God’s instruction, David moves his family, along with his men and their families, to Hebron, just as God had instructed. David now becomes king over Judah.
We also see that Saul’s army commander, Abner, takes it upon himself to appoint Saul’s son, Ishbosheth over the rest of Israel. What I don’t see here is the hand of God. I see a power hungry, Abner, doing what he feels is his duty.
God promised Israel a king and first gave them Saul. When Saul fell out of favor with God, David was anointed by God, not Ishbosheth. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
David’s character continues to develop, and his response to the people of Jabesh-gilead shows his integrity and devotion. “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love!” We see David acting with respect and honor as he continues to promote good will toward Saul, despite all of Saul’s deadly intentions against him.
Can you think of someone who has made your life unpleasant or difficult in some way? Chances are pretty good that they were not an anointed king, but they were a loved child of God, nonetheless. We should try to keep that perspective and remember even the worst of all people are still loved by God. How can you do something kind for someone who has done you wrong?
David’s actions to Jabesh-gilead are also his way of creating some loyalty with the Saul’s followers. By God’s hand, David secured his kingship over Judah, but the tribes of the north are less receptive of his leadership. David wishes for the people of Jabesh-gilead to be blessed by God. In a skillful move, David assures them he will continue to do good for them. We don’t see David’s actions as threatening, yet he hopes they will support him now as king and give him support.
Transitions of any kind can be difficult, painful, and full of challenges. I’m sensing that David’s new role as king will not be easy. The people aren’t going to just magically bow down to him. Have they forgotten his great feat against Goliath and all the battles he helped Saul win in the past?
What I take away from this is that, like David, we need to check in with God before making a move. What big decision is looming for you? Each day can bring a new challenge we must face. Knowing we can ask God for direction and clarification is such a gift. Don’t rush ahead past God. Wait on him.
Let’s pray …
Lord, I thank you for taking control of my life. When things seem to be out of control and crazy, I thank you for grounding me. Help me to rest in you, trusting you are working out all the details of any transition in my path. Forgive me when I don’t turn to you first and forge ahead into failure. Thank you that I can learn from those missteps and get back on your perfect path for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.