There is almost nothing worse for a country than a power vacuum. With the death of Saul and Jonathan, the nation of Israel was thrown into turmoil. Who would be their next leader? While David knew he had been anointed by the Lord (1 Sam. 16:13), he had been on the run from Saul for years. It was not obvious to everyone that he would be the next king. Uniting the country would be difficult. Seven years and many battles lay ahead (2 Sam. 5:4–5).
After grieving Saul’s death, David’s first step was not to recruit people to his side or come up with a PR strategy. Instead, his priority was to “inquire of the LORD” (2 Sam. 2:1). In this difficult and dangerous transition, he relied on God’s wisdom. He probably inquired of the Lord through Abiathar the priest using a method of divination (1 Sam. 23:9–12). By contrast, today, we seek God’s guidance through prayer, God’s Word, and godly counsel (James 1:5; Rom. 12:2).
David’s second act was to encourage the people of Jabesh Gilead who had rescued Saul’s and Jonathan’s bodies at great risk and provided them with a proper burial (1 Sam. 31:11–13). Jabesh Gilead was a city Saul had saved from the Ammonites, and it had remained loyal to him (1 Samuel 11). David tactfully asked that they recognize his rule now that Saul has died (2 Sam. 2:7).
Not everyone accepted David’s rule peacefully. Saul’s general, Abner, formed an opposition government, using Saul’s son as a puppet king (vv. 8–11). This led to years of warring and bloodshed. David had been anointed by God as king, but he would have to be patient.
>> Christians today find themselves in a similar situation. In this world, as we await the return of the Lord Jesus, we should not be surprised to face opposition and others who assert their authority. Rejoice that you know and serve the one true King!
Father, our allegiance to You is greater than to any human authority. When we encounter a conflict, show us how to proceed with grace. May our conduct under such pressure bring glory to You.