Read 2 Samuel 3

Highlights:

Abner forsakes Ish-bosheth and joins David; Joab slays Abner; Ish-bosheth murdered; David made king over Israel; capture of Jebus (Jerusalem).

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel (II Sam. 5:3).

After David had reigned over Judah for seven years, the elders of all the tribes anointed him as king. They did not ask David to be their king, but they reminded him that the Lord had said: Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel (5:2).

Before God allowed him to reign over all the tribes in the great and glorious promised land, David experienced many years of testing, trials, and suffering — especially during the years Saul was seeking to kill him.

In each new difficulty, God was preparing David to be His faithful servant — a man after the Lord's own heart — to be a true shepherd over His people. Each difficulty he faced was a step of faith upward.

The Old Testament prophets often referred to the shepherd as a symbol of the love and care God expects from His leaders. The true undershepherd of the Lord does not seek honor from men or the honor of being served, but he gives himself for the flock, as did our Messiah-Shepherd-King.

The Lord's preparation of His servants may involve long, hard days with seemingly fruitless efforts; but the one who waits for the Lord's best willingly yields to His guidance. We cannot afford to murmur about our disappointments or be proud of our accomplishments. Furthermore, we must never be jealous of the advantages other people have or fear that we are being cheated. Our supreme goal in life should be to do the best we can each day with what we have (Phil. 4:11). The only important thing is what we are in the eyes of God.

The greatest obstacle to being used of God is self. Only when we are willing to die to self can we be an expression of His life. But death to the self-life is brought about through years of hardship and heartache — even reaching a point of feeling hopeless. In some Christians, there is no clear image of them being Christlike. Even after many years, they still are not living by the principle of dying to self.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (II Tim. 2:3-4).

Thought for Today:

God always honors the faith that is established on thus saith the Lord (Ex. 4:22, 7:17 and other verses in the Old Testament).

Christ Portrayed:

By David, the anointed king over Israel (II Sam. 5:3). Christ is the Lord's anointed. "Christ" is Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah (Anointed One) (Ps. 2:2; John 1:41). Jesus is the rightful King of the earth. Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. . . . and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin (John 19:19-20).

Word Studies:

3:1 waxed, grew; 3:10 translate, transfer; 3:12 league, covenant; 3:27 smote, stabbed; 3:31 bier, a stand for carrying a corpse; 4:2 reckoned to, considered part of; 5:8 getteth up to the gutter, enters the city through the water tunnel; 5:23 fetch a compass, circle around.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Elaine Servetto • Government Official: Rep. Tim Walberg (MI) • Country: Bahrain (629,000) 11 islands in the Persian Gulf near Saudi Arabia • Major languages: Arabic and English • No evangelical work is permitted • 85% Muslim; 5% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 1% Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Pray with unwavering faith so that your prayers may be answered (James 1:5-7).

Optional Reading: Acts 13

Memory Verse for the Week: John 11:25