In contemporary culture, we have a love-hate relationship with celebrities. On the one hand, we are fascinated by movie stars, singers, and social media influencers. However, we also love to see them get taken down. News of scandal spreads quickly, often with a tone of glee over the person’s demise.
This month we are beginning a study of 2 Samuel. The book opens in tragedy, recording the downfall of King Saul. Saul had refused to obey the Lord, and God had rejected him as king (1 Sam. 15:26). This judgment was realized in a battle against the Philistines on Mount Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:1–13).
As we begin 2 Samuel, we (the reader) know that Saul is dead. David, however, does not. On the run from King Saul, David was living in exile. He had just returned from attacking a band of Amalekites who attacked his camp and captured many family members (1 Sam. 30:1–30). Three days after David rescued his family, a messenger arrived and gave David the news—Israel had been defeated in battle. Saul and Jonathan were dead.
How would David respond? After all, Saul had been trying to kill him. Also, God had promised that David would one day be king of Israel. We might assume David would rejoice that his enemy had perished. But David does the opposite. He immediately tore his clothing as a sign of grief (2 Sam. 1:11). Seeing God’s judgment implemented upon someone was nothing to rejoice over.
David respected God’s anointing on Saul and had refused to kill him on several occasions when he had the chance (see 1 Sam. 24:4–7). Now that Saul had died, David lamented not only for Israel’s loss but also for Saul’s tragic end.
>> All too often we hear news of church leaders who are being disqualified for ministry because of some sin or scandal in their life. These events should lead us to mourn over the impact of sin and remind us to be wary of sin’s effect on our own lives.
Often, it’s a trail of minor indiscretions that leads down a path to major moral failure. Father, teach us to accept Your correction and give us the wisdom to refrain from even small moral compromises.