David’s succession as the next king was not smooth or uneventful. In today’s reading, the saga continues. Abner’s change of heart seems to be the most remarkable. All this time, Abner had been fighting to preserve Saul’s dignity and memory. Now Abner was called out by Saul’s son for taking his father’s concubine. Concubines would have been objects of power, and apparently Ishbosheth had not pursued that power but was upset that Abner had.
Ishbosheth’s handling of the matter set off Abner. Where was the gratitude and respect for all Abner had done? It was like a light bulb went on for Abner realizing that David was indeed the true king. Abner said, “May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t do everything I can to help David get what the Lord has promised him!” And with that Abner set out to make amends with David and vowed to bring all of Israel back into alignment with David.
There is no lack for power plays going on here. Abner wants to cover his back side in this whole negotiation with David. “Make a solemn pact with me, and I will help turn over all of Israel to you.” We see Abner as a shrewd businessman ready to bargain with the future of the Israelites. Abner was now ready to ally with David.
David was probably just as surprised by this turn of events. David, in turn, had his own demands. David asked that his first wife, Michal be returned to him. You will recall she is the one who helped him escape from her father, Saul. After David fled from her all those years ago, Saul had given Michal away to be another man’s wife. We had lost track of her until this moment. David hadn’t stopped thinking about her, despite the fact he had six other wives or women bearing him children!
David now has six sons, all born in Hebron where God had instructed them to go to begin his reign. David was clearly involved with many women, each producing a son for him. Other children aren’t mentioned here. I wonder what Michal will say when she gets back. I know I can’t imagine sharing a man with six other women! That’s not the culture we’re used to, but it would have been more common for the wealthy or prominent of their time.
We also see that God’s will is being considered as Abner says, “For the LORD has said, ‘I have chosen David to save my people Israel from the hands of the Philistines and from all their other enemies.’” Recognizing God as the supreme power is an important distinction, and Abner is doing his part to put into play what has already been willed by God.
The will of God. We seek after that still today. How are you doing at relying on God’s power in your life? He sent Jesus to redeem us and the Holy Spirit to guide us and to be with us. We’ve been given a blueprint and an accountability buddy to keep us on track. Why do we still falter? Why do we still go down the wrong path?
Let’s pray …
Lord, I am so grateful for how you are working in my life. There may be so much chaos around me, yet I feel safe in your love. I look to your word and listen for your voice to assure me I am acting in your will. I need you in my life. I want you to be leading the way. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.