Summary: Wait on God. His timetable is not always the same as ours. His ways are different from ours. God's concern is not in bringing us to a destination but in transforming us into the likeness of His Son.
Now that Saul the King has died, we would expect a smooth transition and David to be made King, as God has so promised.
• Since this has been God’s plan all along, we thought everything would be neat and tidy. But it’s not going to be so.
• God can work in ways that are different and in a manner that we do not expect.
Let’s read what happened next – 2 Sam 2:1-7
David was in Ziklag when he asked God if he should return back to Israel.
• We would think that this was something expected, and you do not need to ask God, since Saul is now dead.
• But David has learned from past experiences, NOT TO PRESUME to know what is right.
• God said YES and directed him to HEBRON.
The people made him King over the territory surrounding Hebron. Jabesh Gilead came also under his rule. [See Map]
In the meantime… - 2 Sam 2:8-11.
Abner took Saul’s surviving son and fled to Mahanaim, and made him King.
• Saul and his 3 older sons were killed at Mount Gilboa by the Philistines.
• So Ish-Bosheth ruled over the major part of the Northern region (green).
Israel was divided – one run by the remnant of Saul’s house, and the other by David.
• The co-existed amiably, until something unfortunate happened.
• Abner (Saul’s commander) proposed some sort of a tournament or contest, and challenged Joab (David’s commander) to a contest – read 2 Sam 2:14-17.
This was an unnecessary game. It not only caused the death of 24 contestants, but led to an all-out fight between both sides – read 2 Sam 2:18-3:1.
This was a messy time in Israel. David was made to govern JUDAH from Hebron for 7½ years (2:11), while Ish-Bosheth rules the North.
• When would David be made King over the nation, as promised? 2 Sam 5:1-2.
In real life, chapters 2-4 is not what I would like to see. If God has promised, then many would prefer to connect chapter 1 neatly with chapter 5.
• Why must there be some more delay? Why must there be so much messy conflict?
• With Saul out of the scene, just put David neatly on the throne and fulfil Your promise.
• Those are the questions we would ask for our own lives.
The problem is, God’s time-table is not always the same as ours. God’s way is not the same as ours.
• The fact is, David has already waited some 15 years from the time he was first anointed by Samuel, to the day Saul died, clearing the throne for him.
• And for most part of that 15 years, it was hardship and adversity.
• Now that Saul is dead, David has to wait for another 7½ years before he could see God’s promise being fulfilled in his life.
And he has to contend with the remnant of Saul’s family.
• He will not fight them or exterminate them. He has made a promise to Saul when he had a chance to kill him in the cave back in 1 Sam 24.
• David promised Saul that he “will not cut off his descendants or wipe out his name from his father’s family.” (1 Sam 24:21). David will keep his oath to Saul.
All these twists and turns are not something we understand, especially when God has given His promise.
• We want God to fulfil His promises to us, quickly and in a neat and tidy way. No detours and no delays. Do it now. Give it to us now!
We have been taught to prize speed today. We want to take shortest route and the quickest way. Over the years, we’ve seen almost every aspect of life gaining speed. We eat fast-food and instant noodles, we microwave dinners, we use instant messaging; we want everything fast. In fact, being slow is almost seen like a sin.
My dad has a Window XP computer, with an obsolete OS with no upgrades. You can switch it on, go to the washroom, take you own sweet time, and then come back to see it just finished booting up. Just nice!
I still remember the words of my principal at TTC. I used to help around in the college office and one day, he overheard my comments about wanting to be fast, a couple of times. He said to me, “Don’t have to be fast. Why do you want to be so fast for?” and he just walked off, leaving me to think about it.
If this is our mindset, then we will find it hard to “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.” (Psalm 46:10). The context emphasizes the sovereign reign of God.
• God is in no hurry to put David on the throne, we are. And when we are in a hurry, we run ahead of God. We find it hard to trust God.