Read II Samuel 1:1-4:12
All The Right Moves
All the people took note [of the way David transitioned royal power from King Saul]
and they were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.
II Samuel 3:36
Go Deep: In the ways and means of God’s kingdom, there is a right way and a wrong way to assume power. David’s rise to kingship is a textbook case of the right way—he was a man who made all the right moves on his way to the top.
The old king, Saul, was dead, and now nothing stood in the way of David’s ascendency to the throne of Israel. He was the rightful king of God’s people since the Lord, through the prophet Samuel, has called and anointed David as leader. Furthermore, in all of those difficult years in which King Saul had tried to eliminate the upstart shepherd boy, God had been training David how to “king it”, and now, at long last, he was throne-ready.
You will notice in these opening chapters of II Samuel, however, that even though King Saul, the last obstacle standing in the way of David’s prophetic rise to power, was now dead, still David did not seize the opportunity to thrust himself upon Israel as its new leader. Rather, he waited for a Divine opening of those doors critical to his assumption of the throne. Likewise, David demonstrated an uncanny leadership savvy in this delicate political situation by refusing to be opportunistic. You will see particularly in II Samuel 1 how David’s response to the news of the deaths of Saul and Jonathon distinguished the king-in-waiting as a different kind of leader than King Saul had been.
In reading this account, one can’t help but be moved by David’s authentic grief at the news of Saul’s death. (II Samuel 1:11-12) Rather than rejoicing that their tormentor was dead, David and his men tore their clothes, mourned and fasted until evening. David empathized with a grieving nation at this time of loss—the loss of a king, a prince and an army. At this moment, David was not the king-to-be; he was first and foremost an Israelite who personally felt this national tragedy. He had lost a king and a father-in-law, and he had lost a brother-in-law in Prince Jonathan who happened also to be the closest friend he had ever known—and it hurt deeply. Furthermore, regardless of Saul’s ungodly and ineffective leadership, David still viewed Saul as the Lord’s anointed, and since “the anointed” had been killed in battle, that alone was reason for grief.
Furthermore, David distanced himself from a power-grabbing promotion to kingship. (II Samuel 1:13-16) Instead of proclaiming himself to be the new king, he pulled away from the suggestion proffered in the presentation of the dead King Saul’s crown that it was now rightfully his. Indeed, in passing a death sentence on the Amalekite who had delivered the news and offered the crown to him, David still he spoke of Saul as “the Lord’s anointed.” (II Samuel 1:14,16)
Chapter one ends with a classy move on David’s part: He immortalized King Saul in song. (II Samuel 1:17-27) In a heartfelt outpouring of David’s heart, this lament paid tribute to Saul and Jonathan as a source of pride, strength and inspiration to Israel.
Now we can learn a great deal from David’s approach to promotion in these chapters that would serve us well in our own journey toward advancement in life. For one thing, David shows us that God’s promotions come in God’s time and in God’s way—and we don’t need to help God out by trying to hurry them along. Furthermore, we learn from David that it is never wise to build ourselves up by putting others down—to showcase our strengths by exposing the weaknesses of others is not God’s way. And finally, when God destines you to be a leader, be a patient and genuine follower under present leadership—even if it is flawed.
If God has put a desire for leadership in your heart, you can be sure that he has also planted the right moves inside you that will take you all the way to the top. So as God brings the opportunities and opens the doors before you, be sure you are making all the right moves!
Just Saying… There are three indispensible requirements if God is calling you to a leadership role: One, patience, two, patience, and three, more patience.