2 Samuel 5:4-10, “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah. And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.”
God specializes in new beginnings. After Job was tested, God gave him more possessions and a larger family than before. Job lived to see four generations of his descendants. Look at the apostle Paul. Before his encounter with the risen Savior on the Damascus road was a chief persecutor of Christians. After his new beginning he became a great missionary and an inspired writer of the New Testament.
David also experienced a new beginning after the death of King Saul. We can gain a valuable perspective by looking at David’s life during this phase and gain the assurance that if we persist faithfully in our trials, as David did, then we too can see a new beginning.
As the 3rd decade of his life grew into his 4th, a dramatic change occurred in his status. Once considered an outlaw, he’s now the King.
With Saul dead, David asked God if the time had come for him to come out of exile and go up into Judah. God told him to go to Hebron, the ancestral city of father Abraham. This is where Abraham had buried his wife, Sarah. So David and his men, along with their families moved north and settled in Hebron. God had led and blessed Abraham. David had also been led by Jehovah and surely now he would be blessed. That must have been what the elders of the tribe of Judah were thinking, too.
2 Samuel 5:3, “So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.”
When Samuel had anointed David ten years before, it had been “in promise,” but now it’s reality so far as the tribe of Judah is concerned. Months and years passed before all the tribes of Israel came together to David at Hebron to make him King over the twelve tribes united.
2 Samuel 5:1-3, “Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.”
According to 1 Chronicles 12 there were over 300,000 men gathered at Hebron representing every tribe, and they were of “one heart.” There can be little wondering then how David could write in Psalms 133:1, “…Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
David’s progression as king was finally complete. First, Samuel had anointed him king, then the elders of Judah pronounced him king, and finally, the elders of all Israel anointed him.
For 3 days Israel held a feast to honor David. Following this feast, David made a covenant with the elders of Israel before the Lord. David wasn’t an absolute monarch, but he was bound by this agreement. We don’t know what was contained in the covenant, but in Psalm 101 he listed the principles that would guide him as king. These might reflect the items in the agreement.
Psalms 101:1-8, ” I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.”
These verses give us strong indication of the principles that guided David.
- 1. I will sing praises to Jehovah.
- 2. I will behave wisely in Jehovah’s perfect way and will walk in the integrity of my heart.
- 3. I will set no evil goals. I detest those who swerve from the perfect way. Their evil will not become a part of me.
- 4. I will not be perverse of heart or place my trust in any evil person.
- 5. I will not tolerate those who slander their neighbors and think too highly of themselves.
- 6. I will shepherd those who faithfully follow the straight way.
- 7. I will not tolerate those who practice deceit.
- 8. I will daily judge the people that justice may be done.
These are wise and solid principles for any leader, of any age. David sought to follow these guiding principles.
Shepherding is a concept first ascribed to a king or leader in 2 Samuel 5:2. “Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.”
Shepherds didn’t necessarily own the sheep, they just watched out for them. A king was to lead his people as an agent of God, not as their master or owner. David had learned shepherding at an early age. You recall he left his post as a shepherd, at his father’s command, to go check on his brothers while they were engaged in battle against the Philistines. He understood that a king was to lead, not drive, his people. He was entrusted to protect them and provide for them, not to oppress them.
David was about 37 when he became king over all Israel. It would be almost 1050 years before “in the fullness of time” the divine son of David, Jesus, would be born.
One of the first things David did was to establish a new capital city for the kingdom. He wanted a city that wasn’t connected to a particular tribe. He also wanted a city that could be the center of Israel’s religious activities and the center of their national life. He chose a city located on the borderline between Judah and Benjamin. It was on a plateau. The only problem with the city is that the Jebusites, one of the original Canaanite tribes, inhabited it. They felt so secure in their citadel that they boasted that even the lame and blind could defeat David and his army. David knew a secret though. Steps had been chiseled out of a natural crevice in the stone of the hill down to the clear water of the spring Gihon. The steps formed a vertical tunnel into the heart of the citadel. David issued a challenge that whoever went up the gutter to smite the Jebusites; he’d be made into a chief and captain. Joab went first. The city was captured and David took a stronghold on Zion and called it the city of David. He built up the city and Joab made repairs.
This city was ancient, even in David’s day. It was first mentioned in the Genesis record as the city of Melchizedek. He was king of Salem, or properly priest of the most high God. Salem means peace. By adding “Jeru” which means “city of God” the city became Jerusalem, more literally, “the city of God of peace.” Jehovah is the God of peace, but the city that David conquered so long ago has seen very little peace during the centuries that have past. And it seems quite a contrast that this city from which David would lead would have as its head a man of war, king David.
Verse 10 of 2 Samuel 5 speaks to the focal point of our lesson. “And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.”
Repeatedly, God provides David the strength to overcome a foe. The Philistines were long time enemies of God’s people. They tried to conquer David because he saw his strength growing. But once again, the battle was a decisive victory for God’s people and Israel was secure. Now David had the task of unifying, strengthening and expanding the kingdom.
The scripture says that the fame of David went out into all the lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations. (1 Chron. 14:17) It was about this time that David wrote the 18th Psalm where he describes God has his shield and refuge. In telling God that he loved Him David used a verb that is reserved to express God’s feelings for man.
Seven titles are used by David to describe God:
- 1. My strength
- 2. My rock
- 3. My fortress
- 4. My deliverer
- 5. My shield
- 6. The horn of my salvation
- 7. My high tower
Once again, we have this mystic number 7 symbolizing perfection. David recounts how God has moved heaven and earth when David called on Him for deliverance. The 18th Psalm was David’s longest and most polished writing. It was also one of his most reflective. In verse 19 David points out that God delivered him because God delighted in David. That’s an accomplishment that all of us should seek to fulfill.
Why did God delight in David? Let’s read from David’s own pen and find the answer.
Psalms 18:20-22, “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.”
It seems pretty plain. David had obeyed God and held the commands of God sacred so God blessed him.
In the next few verses David gives us the grand principle that God deals with every person just as that person is. If a person is merciful, God will be merciful. If a person is pure, God will show Himself pure. If a person is perverse, God will condemn him. God will not render evil for evil, but He will punish evil. It’s the same principle that Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Today, we call it “reaping what you sow,” taken from the precepts presented to us in the New Testament, most notably the scripture in Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
David wrote in Psalms 18:25-27, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.”
David reigned as king for 40 years. In 1 Kings chapter 2 we see him addressing his teenage son Solomon. Solomon is David’s 7th son (again, the appearance of the number of perfection). He will take the throne of his father. David talks about going the way of all the earth, which is dying. And in verse 2 he begins to give his son fatherly advise.
Show thyself a man. Act rational and don’t be a brute. David had clearly been a man of war, but he wasn’t brutish. David knew that men who were most devoted to God acted as God would have them act. He wanted his son to behave in such a way.
Those who would be great must learn the same lesson. We must behave ourselves as God would have us behave.
In verse 3 David tells him to keep the charge of the Lord. In short, David tells him to keep what God gives you to keep. David then gives greater details regarding this idea.
- 1. Walk in his ways. David did not want Solomon to walk in his own ways. He certainly didn’t want him to walk in the ways of the world or in the ways of deceit.
- 2. Keep his statutes. Whatever God gives you to do, do it. Try to conscientiously observe everything that God gives you to do.
- 3. Keep his commandments. If God commands it, do it. If God forbids it, leave it alone.
- 4. Keep his testimonies. God is true. Bare witness to everything that God bears witness to.
More advice is recorded in 1 Chron. 28. David asked God to give Solomon a perfect heart. God did that, but Solomon abused the mercies of God.
At the time of his death, David had everything he could have hoped for. He had lived a long, full life. He had enjoyed good health for most of his life. He had lived a life full of days. He had either seen everything come to fruition or he had seen it carried forward until the time of his death. He had enjoyed wealth. The temple would be filled with wealth that David helped possess for God. And he had lived a life of honor. No crown had ever gained more fame and honor and no earthly crown ever would gain the fame of David ever again.
Solomon would take over the throne. We know that he would pray to God for wisdom and be granted that prayer. However, he would also be entangled with the world and drift from God. In the final analysis he’d come to understand what mattered most. He would later pen how to grow great in the Lord himself in Proverbs 3.
Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”
How proud David would have been that Solomon had come to himself to realize the things that man needed in order to be found great in the eyes of God. The words of Proverbs 3:5-7 are very plain and simple, but they require discipline and commitment.
- 1. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart.
Men trust in all sorts of things that don’t matter. Money, wealth, other people, philosophy. These things can’t save. These things can fail you. God is always true. Surely Solomon had learned how much his father David had relied on God. God had seen David through so many battles. And now, Solomon knows firsthand what David had taught him was true. Trust God because all else will fail you.
If we would be great in God we have to trust Him completely. That means we must rely on Him in all things, not just when we think we need Him. We have to always realize that we need Him. If times are good or bad, we need Him. If we don’t like what He tells us in His word, we have to trust Him anyway and follow His law.
- 2. Don’t lean on your own understanding.
Solomon knew what this was all about. He knew that in his wisdom he had forgotten God. We realize that God’s ways are higher than man’s. We know that we can’t direct our own steps. In all of his wisdom Solomon still didn’t have the power to direct his own life. There were periods where we evidently thought he did, but later in life he knew he was wrong. Our own understanding will fail us, just as our trust in things other than God will fail, too.
- 3. Acknowledge God in all things.
Christians should always reflect the Savior. In Solomon’s day those who claimed to follow Jehovah had to show themselves faithful to God. They also had to center their lives on God. We must do the same.
We can’t live godly lives one day a week. Our devotion to God has to permeate everything we do and everything we are. When we would choose our friends we must consider God. When we would choose a mate we must think of God and acknowledge him. No matter if it’s school or career, we consider God. Thinking of moving, you’d better acknowledge God.
“Know ye, that the Lord He is God.” David wrote those words. The Hebrew word “know” used by David in that context is the same word used by Solomon when he said “acknowledge” God.
The focal point of our life has to be God. All facets of our life have to reflect God and involve God.
- 4. Don’t be wise in your own eyes.
We’re reminded of the story of the man who seeks to remove a small splinter from his neighbor’s eye when he has a large piece of wood protruding from his own eye. Similarly, we’re taught in New Testament to look into the perfect law of liberty lest we forget what manner of persons we were before salvation. These concepts speak to the point made by Solomon. Realize your own frailties. Don’t think more highly of yourself than you should. Remember those guidelines that David tried to live by? He said he wouldn’t tolerate those who thought too highly of themselves. Pride is something condemned by God because it causes men to rebel against Him. Pride indeed does go before destruction because men view themselves as self-sufficient and wise. God’s people must always guard against that.
- 5. Depart from evil.
A lot of heartache and suffering AND sin might be avoided if men would discipline themselves to do this. Christians must never run to sin or evil. We have to watch out for it and shun it with all the effort we can muster.
You’ll recall that Potifer’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph and the scripture tells that he fled. He ran. In fact, he ran so fast and so quickly that he ran right out of his coat. His view of this temptation is the one we should have. Genesis 39, “…how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
Too frequently we don’t depart from evil. We sometimes embrace it. And we’re the worse for it.
If we take the collective wisdom of David and Solomon we can easily find the way to being great in the sight of God.
From David we find the following guidelines:
- · I will sing praises to Jehovah.
- · I will behave wisely in Jehovah’s perfect way and will walk in the integrity of my heart.
- · I will set no evil goals. I detest those who swerve from the perfect way. Their evil will not become a part of me.
- · I will not be perverse of heart or place my trust in any evil person.
- · I will not tolerate those who slander their neighbors and think too highly of themselves.
- · I will shepherd those who faithfully follow the straight way.
- · I will not tolerate those who practice deceit.
- · I will daily judge the people that justice may be done.
From Solomon we get these:
- · Trust the Lord.
- · Don’t lean on your own understanding.
- · Acknowledge God in everything.
- · Don’t be wise in your own eyes.
- · Depart from evil.
Together these give us some wonderful insights if we would seek greatness by God’s standard. The world won’t view us as great if we do these things, but God will look down on us and as David of old, He will delight in us. What more could we want?