Dispatch One Hundred Eighty-Nine

Posted: January 6, 2016 in Forty-first Bundle
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2 SAMUEL 5:1-5, 9-10

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh. For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inward. 10 And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.

If we should try to generalize the significant difference between David and his predecessor on the throne, King Saul, we might see this contrast in the relative depth of each man’s moral and spiritual center. Saul had time and again followed the trajectory of his own impulses and personal ambition, a habit that landed him time and again in troubles of various sorts.

David, on the other hand, although not a perfect man by any means, made it a devotional practice to regularly consult the will of God for the direction of his life. This stereotypical opposition between personal ambition and prayerful discernment in leadership is very evident and relevant to our lives even today. And in addition to looking outward to the social fields of politics, religion, and corporate business for examples of both kinds, we can and should also look within ourselves, for these two poles are present in us as well.

The Israelites saw in David a leader who was deeply grounded in a reality larger than his own ego, and who had an obvious and genuine concern for both their present needs and future destiny as a nation. Saul had been a mere “king” while David was their “shepherd,” with the welfare of his community and obedience to his calling foremost on his mind. David’s popularity was not the outcome of his personal efforts to cultivate the admiration of his people. Rather he was loved because he really and clearly cared.

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