Text: 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 6:1-5
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”
When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.
David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.
These short passages are snapshots of King David’s life, marking two significant moments – when he became King over all of Israel, and when he brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem to give it a permanent resting place. David, as king, certainly did much for the people of Israel, in the name of God. David, of course, is seen as the greatest king of Israel. It is significant that Jesus comes from the line of David. He’s a pretty big deal.
We know, however, that David was also a flawed human being who at times, made absolutely terrible decisions (ie. taking Bathsheba for himself and having her husband killed). How could a king who is elevated to the extent that David is also do something so vile? We often hear of David as a man after God’s own heart. At times, that may, in fact be true. But in other moments, David’s heart is anything but. So what do we do with these conflicting ideas about David? Is he a great king, or a sinner of the worst kind? Is he generous and faithful, or a murderous and selfish lecher?
It is tempting to want to place David in one category or the other, writing the other off. But when we truly pause to think about who David was, what we actually see is ourselves. We, like David, have moments where our hearts are like God’s own heart – where we are merciful, where we are loving, where we are seeking justice. But then, there are other moments, where we are not bearing the heart of God. There are moments where we take what we want, when we want it, no matter who it hurts. There are moments where we act with hatred, or sometimes even violence.
Not one of us is totally good. Not one of us is totally evil. In our polarized world, it is a great temptation to write people off as one or the other. David did great things for Israel, to be sure. He worshipped God, and gave the Ark of the Covenant a permanent home. He enabled to people of Israel to find security and to flourish for a time. When David kept the kingship of God at the forefront of his life, he lived as a man after God’s own heart. It was when he became focused on his own power and desires that he strayed.
The same is true for us. When we recognize the kingship of God in our lives, above all powers, above all governments, above all nations, above the desires of self, then our hearts are able to be in alignment with God’s. But when we become focused on other powers above God’s reign, then our hearts and our desires become distorted. You may recall when Israel first began asking for a king to rule over them, the prophet Samuel reminded them that they would regret it – that God was their king, and that if they wanted to have kings like the other nations, then they would, in fact, become like other nations where the rich oppress to poor, where the rulers consolidate power and their subjects cry out for relief. Eventually, this did happen.
There is no king but Christ. There is no one who is above him. Worship of the wrong things (idolatry) is the continual struggle of God’s people from the very beginning, up until today. Consider how you may personally be experiencing this struggle.
o What words, phrases, or images from the text speak to you? What thoughts or feelings do they evoke?
o In what areas of your life might you be struggling to allow Christ to reign?
o In whom do you struggle to see any good? What do you think is preventing that ability?
Think of that person in whom you struggle to see any good. Pray for them, and pray that you might be able to see glimpses of goodness in them.
What are the most important things in your life? How might they be in alignment with Christ’s kingship, or how might they be in conflict? Take some time to reflect and to journal about your current priorities.
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the one true King. You are greater than any power, than any leader, than any nation. Help me to live as a citizen of your kingdom, and to be able to discern what that looks like. Give me a heart that is like yours – one that loves like yours. Allow me to catch glimpses of your image in others, even in those whom I would deem my enemy. At the same time, allow me to see the sin and the evil that exists within my own heart. Lead me, transform me, make me new. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.