The early days of David’s reign reveal his heart after God.
- David seeks the LORD when attacked by the Philistines.
On two occasions the Philistines pursue David in the Valley of Rephaim. Both times, David seeks the LORD, and the LORD makes him victorious (2 Sam. 5:17-25). He doesn’t assume that God’s direction for the first conflict is the same for the second conflict. In fact, God instructs him differently on each occasion. David understands that, though situations may be similar, leaders must seek God’s wisdom every time.
- David understands that men will follow him and that his leadership position must not be wasted on personal gratification.
David mentions his thirst for water from his home place in Bethlehem. Three of his mighty men break through the Philistine camp at Bethlehem and present David with the water for which he longs. David refuses to drink it when he realizes that the water could have cost him several of his mighty men. David understands that men will follow him at great cost to themselves, and that he must not treat such followship lightly.
- David learns from his mistakes.
David’s desire to bring the ark of the covenant up from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem is noble. He makes a big deal out of the occasion by placing the ark of the covenant on a new cart and enlisting 30,000 men, along with musical accompaniment, to march alongside the ark. When Uzzah reaches out his hand to steady the cart, God strikes him down. David learns that doing the right thing the wrong way costs the lives of others.
Early in his reign, David understands that his position as Israel’s king comes with great responsibility. Psalm 101 reflects David’s desire to honor the LORD in his new position, “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart” (101:2). “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes” (101:3). “I will not know wickedness” (101:4). “Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land, that I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD” (101:8).
A heart for God always includes prayerfulness, a concern for the welfare of others, a teachable attitude, and the meekness to harness power. Abraham Lincoln said, “Any man can handle adversity, but if you want to see a man’s character, give him power.”
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (2 Samuel 5; 1 Chronicles 11:1-9; 12:23-40; 13:1-14; 14:1-2, 8-17):
What does David learn about God at Baal Perazim?
What does the fiasco at Kirjath Jearim teach David about the LORD and the ark of the covenant? What does David’s failure to seek the LORD regarding the ark cost others?