These chapters describe a time of transition and chaos. Immediately after Saul’s death, Israel split into two kingdoms: the ten northern tribes followed Ish-bosheth, one of Saul’s sons. The largest tribe, Judah, followed their homeboy David.
It’s confusing to read the story of David because there was so much potential mixture in his motives. A good example is when the Amalekite came to inform David that Saul was dead. It seemed that the Amalekite was doing a noble thing: letting David know of Saul’s death, etc. But David had him killed for daring to lay his hand against the Lord’s anointed.
We’ve seen this theme before. David didn’t want to dishonor God by dishonoring the king. But you have to remember that David’s transition to king was a dicey affair. He didn’t want it to look, in any way, that this was a coup, meaning that he employed others to kill off Saul so he could be king.
So David went out of his way to distance himself from Saul’s death and made it known through the official record. He even published a song of lament that he had the nation sing to honor Saul. So…yes, he was honoring God by honoring Saul, but…he was also greasing his wheels to take over as king.
I can’t say if this was godly or human wisdom. I’m not sure if David was more concerned with honoring God or making himself look good to the Israelites. And the truth is: he probably wasn’t always so sure himself. That’s the nature of our humanity: there is almost always a mixture of intent.
But among the political jockeying and chaos, I see a new side to David: a side that we will see played out later on with his family. David was passive when it came to interpersonal relationships. Look at all the infighting that happened after Saul died. Where was David in all of that? He was trying to keep a low profile so no one accused him of any evil. But as a result, good men died.
Transition always brings a certain degree of confusion, but that can be greatly reduced if leaders take an active role in the process. David failed in this matter and it took seven years before the two kingdoms united under his rule.
My question for you today is this: does chaos exist in your life because you are failing to be actively involved in matters? Is there something God wants you to do to address what’s wrong with the relationships in your life?
Prayer: Father, help me to see how I might be passive in my current relationships. If there is something I can do, help me to see it and take the necessary action. Amen.