Designated Survivor or True King?

Nothing happens by accident in God’s plan. He has a plan for everyone in his kingdom.

2 Samuel 1:17-2:7

17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):

19 ‘A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.
    How the mighty have fallen!

20 ‘Tell it not in Gath,
    proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
    lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

21 ‘Mountains of Gilboa,
    may you have neither dew nor rain,
    may no showers fall on your terraced fields.
For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
    the shield of Saul – no longer rubbed with oil.

22 ‘From the blood of the slain,
    from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
    the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
23 Saul and Jonathan –
    in life they were loved and admired,
    and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
    they were stronger than lions.

24 ‘Daughters of Israel,
    weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
    who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

25 ‘How the mighty have fallen in battle!
    Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
    you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
    more wonderful than that of women.

27 ‘How the mighty have fallen!
    The weapons of war have perished!’

David anointed king over Judah

In the course of time, David enquired of the Lord. ‘Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?’ he asked.

The Lord said, ‘Go up.’

David asked, ‘Where shall I go?’

‘To Hebron,’ the Lord answered.

So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.

When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, he sent messengers to them to say to them, ‘The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favour because you have done this. Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.’

Cross,Jesus,God,Holy Spirit,Daily Devotion,King

At the time of writing, Israel did not yet have a king. Saul had taken his own life at the end of 1 Samuel. This reminds me a bit of the TV show ‘Designated Survivor’ where the president of the USA dies in a bomb blast and a reluctant vice president has to take over. After a sudden death, a new ruler has to take over.

The difference between the TV show and what’s happening here in the Bible is that David is no ‘Designated Survivor’. David is king because this is all part of God’s gracious actions to reverse the effects of human sin and establish a new creation. The poem in vs 19-27 is not a private lament to express David’s emotions but a national poem, describing the depth of Israel’s loss. God had rejected Saul as king, as 1 Samuel makes perfectly clear. David’s poem looks at Saul’s achievements: providing leadership, national unity, driving back the Philistines and bringing prosperity to Israel. But Saul was never meant to be Israel’s one true king. Although David was anointed king over Judah, he also was never God’s one true king. Whilst Saul and David achieved many great things, the one thing that held them back was their sin. The one true king who we should all follow is Jesus. He is the only one who has lived a perfect life on earth without sin. He also sacrificed himself on the cross, receiving God’s judgement for all sin and he rose from the dead to become our king. There are no ‘Designated Survivors’ in the Bible. Everyone in the Bible was appointed by God and part of his plan, his plan to lead us to the one true king worth following- Jesus.

Head: In Hebron, the city of Abraham, God is raising up a promising new king. How do you see this new king fitting into the story that ultimately leads us to Jesus?

Heart: Israel is conflicted with a hope and a sickness that we can resonate with. Where is this hope and how can we hope in it?

Hands: The way the world solves problems can only create more problems. Who can you put your trust in and how is this going to reflect in your life?

Prayer: Father God, thank you for being an all knowing, merciful, just and gracious god. Everything you do is in accordance with your perfect and pleasing will. There are no ‘Designated Survivors’ or accidental leaders. Just everything working out according to your plan. Help us to always remember to commit to following your word, especially in times where we’re undisciplined and fall short of your standards. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A song to listen to: Your Word

Mick Lather

Living Church Creek Road