David ascends to power after the death of Saul but very slowly. He does not force his way to the throne even though he was anointed as a boy and there seems to be a general knowledge throughout Israel that David is the rightful king. Isn't that a little like Jesus? We all know that he is the rightful ruler of the throne of our hearts, but we don't give him full control. And, too, Jesus will not force himself on us. He only occupies that which is offered. How much better off we would be if we allowed him to ascend to the throne room of our hearts.
David leaves Ziklag and returns to Judah. He is king there but the surviving son of Saul is king over the other 11 tribes for more than two years, assisted by Abner who had been Saul's leading general in the absence of David. The two competing armies fight each other and David's army wins and routs Abner, but for some reason when they have Abner on the run they do not press home for the victory and as a result war between the two continues for a long time. Sometimes we are like that in our spiritual life. We have the devil on the run.....we are practicing our spiritual disciplines.....we are praying hard......into the word......fellowshiping with fellow believers and then, for some reason....we relax rather than winning the war against the deceiver, we let him hang around and the war between good and evil continues in our hearts and lives.
Just a thought about David's 6 wives and sons in Chapter 3. While the Bible never specifically speaks against this multiple wife arrangement, it simply reports the facts, but keep in mind as you follow the stories that heartbreak is almost always the fruit of these households. Just look what happens to these sons: Amnon rapes his half sister and then in turn is murdered by his half brother, Absalom leads a revolt against his father, and Adonijah tries to seize control of his father's throne and sleeps with one of his father's concubines. This is a messed up family.....the fruit of a family that is out of step with God's will for family.
Abner deserts his King to join David. Abner knew that David was the rightful king but stayed with Saul's family out of some sort of misguided loyalty. When comes to David he is in turn murdered by Joab. Joab is his family's avenger (remember the cities of refuge?) and is avenging the death of his brother Asahel in Chapter 2.
When Abner defects, Ish-Bosheth, Saul's last son, is murdered. The royal family flees and in their haste a nurse drops Mephiboseth, Jonathon's son, and he is maimed for life. I mention Mephiboseth because he is an important part of a later story and evidence of David's continuing love and loyalty to Jonathon.
These are fascinating stories of real people and of a real time in history when God was working with his people. If someone were writing our stories would future generations be able to see the hand of God at work because of our faithful living?
Don't forget your coat and hat tomorrow. Spring is not quite here. We will be having a work day Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. going to try to clean the pew chairs and paint some walls. Stop and help if you have time. God's best to you.