In the Israelite organization of Scripture, there is not a division between 1 and 2 Samuel. They form one coherent message regarding God’s inevitable work through the affairs of men despite their weaknesses. This means the thematic elements of the first words in 1 Samuel still resonate through the writings of 2 Samuel. Hannah’s prayer placed a magnifying glass upon Saul’s life when she exclaimed. “Talk no more for the Lord weighs the actions.” Hannah’s prayer also makes one other major observation: There is none holy as the Lord. Then she illustrates His absolute sovereignty.
“The bows of the mighty men are broken, And they that stumbled are girded with strength...The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up.”
The grand summary was, “He will keep the feet of his saints, And the wicked shall be silent in darkness; For by strength shall no man prevail” (1 Samuel 2:9). As the early years of David’s reign unfold, you will notice a man who desires to align his heart with the Lord. He knows God must fight his battles, but he also zealously goes to war with the enemies of God. Although imperfectly (and those imperfections will haunt him later), David lives up to his moniker, a man after God’s own heart.
The climax of the pursuit of God rises to the reclamation of Jerusalem and establishing it as the city of God, Zion, with the house of God. God puts a pause on the building plans for the Temple and promises to establish David’s house as an eternal dynasty. Yet in the midst of this unprecedented success, David pulls away from the umbrella of God’s holy blessing and ends his reign as a broken king. The baton of hope is passed to his son, Solomon, but that story will come later. For now, remember Hannah’s prayer and remain on the right side of God’s ways. If you do drift away because of distraction or temptation, be sure to scamper back to God through repentance.
Through David’s life, you can see examples of drifting from God in desperate times and in flourishing times. Vigilance is required in order for you to remain aligned with God. This alignment ensures your strength will not falter.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; And they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
The last chapter of 1 Samuel records startling accounts of David’s life. The sweet psalmist of Israel is not so sweet as he threatens to wipe Nabal off the earth and pillages neighboring towns under a shadow of deceit. Sometimes God works in our lives by bringing reality check moments. These are moments when we should press pause on our life and seriously seek out the answer to the question, “What am I doing?” These moments are divine stop signs. As in life, blowing a stop sign may be OK a couple of times, but eventually, you’ll be T-boned.
David blows through the stop sign of reason. Abigail stands between David and the “Last of the Nabalites.” Whatever pause David took from this moment was lost as he reacts in desperation. David loses all hope in God. The praises he sang at Nabal’s comeuppance, fly from his mind. David believes he will die at Saul’s hand.
David blows through the stop sign of the ridiculous as he becomes a vigilante and deceiver. He soothes his cause by giving of his spoil to neighboring Israelite towns. It would be at this moment you would think, “I had better stop while I can.” Not David. He finds himself marching into battle against Israel, allied with the Lord’s enemies!
Then at the stop sign of reality, David is not T-boned, but he has a brush with devastation. Everything he and his men valued in this life is razed to the ground or absconded. Someone served David a little of his own medicine. It was only by God’s mercy they did not slaughter their families. Finally, David takes the reality check and encouraged himself in the Lord. In this repenting, restoring, and refreshing moment, David came back to God.
For over a year, David was estranged from God. How sweet the reunion was when he returned to God, but how desperate the circumstances. Will you decide today to encourage yourself in the Lord? If you have wandered far away from Him, will you wait any longer or will you press pause and face the reality check from God?
In my ministry experience, I have found God’s intervention steadily grows in intensity the more we ignore His divine stop signs.
“For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, Neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; But the fitches are beaten out with a staff, And the cummin with a rod” (Isaiah 27:28).
God is never excessive, but the harder cases earn a more determined chastening. Remain tender and pliable in the hands of God. It is in such a case that the mere whisper of the Spirit will produce God’s work in your life.