August 16, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Sophia Tsai, Gracepoint Berkeley

2 Samuel 2:1-9

What can I learn from David in that even after Saul is dead, he still inquires of the LORD if he should go up to one of the towns of Judah? He saw power as something given by God and perhaps not the most important thing.  Even though he was already anointed king over Israel, he did not take things for granted and did not grab at the first opportunity to claim his kingship after Saul died.  He went “in the course of time”.  As we could tell from the previous chapter, he himself was mourning the death of Saul and Jonathan.  I think to David, relationship was more important than power.  He mourned for the loss of the king and prince and also gave the people time to mourn for their king.  Then he not only inquired God of the timing of the next step but also the specifics of where to settle.  He was someone intimated connected with God and sought His guidance each step of the way.  Perhaps as a result of this, he became a wise leader at the same time.  He was able to judge the timing of things and put a pulse on people’s heart.  I think with the start of the new semester as we get really busy, the first thing to go is often time in quieting our hearts down to listen to God and spend time in his words.  But through the example of David, I am reminded once again that if I go out there just busying myself without connecting myself with God, I can easily try to “lead” with my own abilities and by my judgment which can be disaterous.

Contrast this to what Abner does in making Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, a king over Gilead.  What is the fundamental difference in their view towards power? In contrast, Abner just saw power as something to be grasped.  He used tribal loyalties to make Ish-Bosheth the king, flagrantly ignoring the fact that David was anointed the next king long ago.  The people who sided with Ish-Bosheth were the Benjamites (their tribe’s men) and the Gileadites who were saved by Saul early in his reign.   It was right for the Gileadites to bury Saul out of their gratefulness.  But it was wrong for Abner to use such sentiment to his own advantage and make Ish-Bosheth the king.  Perhaps he made this move out of fear for his own position.  This kind of attitude is in clear contrast to David who continued to stick by the truth, God’s truth, even sometimes to his own disadvantage.

Reflect on the damage Abner caused by operating on tribal loyalties.  What loyalties in my life have the potential to dull my spiritual discernment and cause me to take actions that are contrary to God’s will? Abner could have been in a position as the remaining leader on Saul’s side to hasten reconciliation and unite Israel.  Instead, he acted selfishly to secure his own position.  As a result, he caused unnecessary bloodshed between the Israelites.  I need to take warning from Abner’s example especially as someone who has been in this church for a long time.  It’s easy for me to say, “yeah, I have known this person since he was a child.” Or “I have known this leader for a long time”.  The unstated thought was that I am somehow ok spiritually because of such affiliations.  From Abner’s example I am warned that I can potentially use these relationships to justify my standing before God when I need to just approach God with humility and honesty.

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