Day 20 – Kings Rise and Fall

The reading today was from 1 Samuel 29 thru 2 Samuel 11.  Quite interesting reading of wars, strife, the death of one king and his family; the rise of a new king, and his fall.

We see battles where people are killed.  People of Israel are destroyed by foreign kings, and by their own people.  The Bible does not “paint” us a very pretty picture of Israel, nor of mankind  in general.  That is what is so clearly a god thing concerning Scripture.  We can see clearly what we are as people.  Yet, we see that we are not without hope.  Sometimes battles are not men against men; but, rather man against himself.  Most of us if we are honest first with ourselves have inner wars and strife which we must win, before we can win the outer battles of life.  We see that in both of these kings which we look at today – Saul and David.

In chapter 29 Achish king of the Philistines goes to war against Saul and Israel.  David has befriended Achish and is about to go to war with him against Saul; but God has other things in mind.  The princes of  the Philistines reject David for fear that he could turn on them, and fight for Saul.  Achish sends David back to Ziklag where they are living with their families; and there they find the camp has been invaded by Amalekites, their women taken captive, and their goods taken as booty, and tens burned with fire.  David’s men are practically ready to stone him (30:6).

Do you not just love the heart of David?  He does not boil with rage, and run after the invaders blindly; but rather goes and seeks the face of God concerning the matter;

“And David enquired at the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?’ And He answered him, ‘Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.'” 30:8 (KJV)

He pursues the Amalekite raiders, found them, freed his people, recovered their goods, and we are told that “David recovered all (30:19).

King Saul and his sons, including Jonathan, are killed in the battle against the Philistines.  David’s honor is maintained throughout all this ordeal with Saul.  Remember Saul has hated David since “David killed his  ten thousands and Saul his thousands” (18:7).  Saul is now dead, and there are those who would seek David’s favor by taking the honor of killing an enemy of David.

In 2 Samuel we are told of a man who is an Amalekite who tells David, that he killed Saul (1:8-10).  David is not pleased,  and we read,

“And David said unto him, ‘How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD’S anointed?’  And David called one of the young men, and said, ‘Go near, and fall upon him.’ And he smote him that he died.  And David said unto him, ‘Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, ‘I have slain the LORD’S anointed.'” 2 Samuel 1:14-16

In my understanding I see David not desiring the death of Saul, but rather his repentance and restoration to God.  Saul was God’s first anointed king of Israel.  Though he was what others including myself  might call a rascally king; he was still God’s anointed, and that is how David viewed him and why David refused to lift a hand against him.  Even to the point of distributing justice to those who claimed to have killed Saul.

David now rises to the position of God’s anointed king.  He still honors the king Saul’s son Jonathan by remembering him through Mephibosheth, and giving him all the lands of Saul (chapter 9).

The final chapter of today’s reading ends with this sentence,

“But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” 11:27b

God has promised David that He will establish his throne forever (7:12-17).  This forever kingdom will be one day realized in the return of Jesus Christ to earth to establish His eternal kingdom; Jesus will rule and reign forever and forever, just as GOD had promised.

The fall of king David is not the end of God’s promise to Him.  It is not David’s goodness, his power or prowess in war, his character, his wit, or any of his works for which God rewards him; it is the grace of God that makes David’s heart;  “after God’s own heart”.

You may have fallen, but God’s promises are still true.  His grace is sufficient to redeem you, and to reclaim you.  King’s do rise and fall.  “Commoners” do as well.

-Tim A. Blankenship