If you are going to be a success before God, most importantly, and man, what will be the key to success? Simply this: an attitude that is deeply and organically humble, a heart that is quickly and fully responsive, and a will that is entirely and lovingly submitted to God’s purposes.
Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 5:10 & 12
David became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him…And David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
After some twenty years since he was first anointed by the prophet Samuel to be Israel’s king, David is finally sitting firmly on the throne with the entire nation united under his leadership. And the nation is about to enter its golden era. Interesting, and quite instructively, if you were to compare this chapter to the ascension of Saul as King over Israel in 1 Samuel, you would notice quite a different approach these two kings took—and with drastically different outcomes. Here are several significant contrasts between David and Saul:
- David covenanted before the Lord to be a shepherd of his people. 2 Samuel 5:3 says, “When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.” This stands in stark contrast to Saul, who often gave in to the pressures of the people, and at times, was led by them rather than the Lord. 1 Samuel 15:24 points out, “Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.”
- David inquired of the Lord for direction. 2 Samuel 5:19 says, “so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” On the other hand, Saul would sometimes go his own way first then ask the Lord what he thought after the fact, as is painfully pictured in 1 Samuel 13 and 15.
- David obeyed God’s direction. 2 Samuel 5: 25 tells us, “So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.” Saul’s leadership, on the other hand, was unfortunately characterized by disobedience: “You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.” (1 Samuel 13:13)
- David gave God credit for his victories: “So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim.” (2 Samuel 5:20) Sadly, Saul was addicted to his own glory: “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor.” (1 Samuel 15:12)
Not only were the leadership styles of these two kings diametrically different, so were the results of their respective reigns. David became greater because God was with him but Saul’s kingdom was taken away because God had left him. Both men started out their careers with a promise from God that he would be with them and bless their efforts. But one ended in success while the other ended in failure.
What was the difference? David approached his role as king with an attitude that was deeply humble, a heart that was fully responsive, and a will that was entirely submitted to God’s purposes. Saul, well he was sitting on his own throne, if you know what I mean.
That was the difference between success and failure—and what a difference that was.