Hello Monday! Are you looking for signs of spring? Each morning I look for fresh green buds in our front yard or any other sign of new life. This time of year leading up to Easter is always sort of dreary. Christ’s death is eminent and there is a heaviness that comes with recounting the days before his burial and resurrection. Of course our reading today pre-dates the birth and death of Christ by about one thousand years. David’s rise to power began around the year 1003 BC. Today we hear about the fulfillment of God’s promise to defeat all of the enemies of the Israelites. David defeats the Philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites and entire armies of 22,000 men. He takes their chariot horses, weapons and money and then makes them his servants. So basically everything is going right for ol’ David. All the Israelites loved him:
“All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.” 2 Samuel 3:36
Kind of a hard thing to hear on a Monday morning right? I have to be honest, when I first read this chapter I thought, “must be nice to conquer and plunder every enemy you face!” We all have that person (or two) in our life that seem to win every battle no matter how big or small. They effortlessly rise to power in their workplace and are successful in their personal life. All the people take note and are pleased! And you are left feeling a little jelly and maybe even a smidge resentful. Now, if I’m just talking about myself here, I hope you’ll take my confession and pray for me to mature in my faith! If on the other hand, you’ve ever struggled with the patience required to God to fulfill a promise then stay with me! Verse 15 says this:
“David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.” 2 Samuel 8:15
This is an important clue about the character of King David. Yes, he pleased his people but not because he tried to satisfy them. Instead, he showed them in all of his actions that he was trying to please God. Often, those that try their hardest to become popular never make it. Spending our time and money on devising ways to gain acceptance with our peers is fruitless. God wants us to spend our time striving to do what is right and just. King David’s reign was characterized by doing what was just for his people. Justice means interpreting the law and administering consequences with mercy and respect. David became a trusted leader among his followers because they respected his convictions. After some dedicated study of today’s word I came around to truly appreciating King David for his integrity and commitment to fulfilling his covenant promise with God. Through more reflection and prayer I understood that justice is not always the same as fairness. God doesn’t deal in fairness. Some will have riches, some will be poor. Some will have love and companionship, others will be alone. God fulfills His promises and reveals them in His time. We are not kings and queens and we won’t win every battle. We can trust God to give us the authority we need, in his time, to do the work that he wants us to do.
I encourage you to read Psalm 40 today in its entirety. It’s a perfect companion to His message in 2 Samuel 8. It begins like this:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand…” Psalm 40