David a Shepherd King for All Israel
2 Samuel 4:1-5:25
Key verse 5:2b-3
“And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’ 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.”
In the previous passage we saw David was the king of Hebron, but not the king of all Israel. So there was war between those supporting David and those supporting Israel which was led by King Ish Bosheth, the son of King Saul. In today’s passage we see David finally established as king over Israel. God was with David until he was ready to lead God’s people as a shepherd leading the sheep. Let’s see how God established David as a shepherd king for all God’s people.
I. The Murder of Ish-Bosheth (4:1-12)
Read v.1. “When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed.” Abner had been King Saul’s military general for many years. After Saul’s death, Abner set up Saul’s only surviving son Ish-Bosheth as king. But Ish-Bosheth seems to have a weak character, and Abner had been the real leader behind the scenes. We can see Ish-Bosheth reacted to the news of Abner’s death with despair and it says he lost his courage. He was king of Israel- God’s nation. He should depend on God. But he depended on a humanly able man who could no longer help him. So he lost his courage and became a prisoner of fear. The people of Israel were eager for leadership in the time of civil war and the unfortunate death of one of their heroes. But the king didn’t know what to do. So the people became alarmed. They looked like frightened sheep in danger of wild animals without a shepherd to protect them. They needed a shepherd. We should be careful where our dependencies lie. For some people it is political leaders, boyfriend or girlfriend, for some it is children. But if we get separated from them for some reason, what will we do? We need a shepherd who will never leave us and always protect us.
From v.2 we see the account of two despicable men named Baanah and Recab. They had been among king Ish Bosheth’s servants. Likely they saw the king’s weakness and could tell he would get them nowhere. One day they decided to take matters in their own hands. It was noon time and the king was resting. Since they were insiders, they could freely walk about the king’s house. They acted like they were going to get some wheat from storage, but instead snuck into the king’s room and stabbed him in the stomach killing him. Even worse, they cut off his head, and traveled all night to king David in Hebron (6-7).
They expected a great reward from David, but how did David respond to them? Read v.10-11. “…when a man told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! How much more- when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed- should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!” So David sentenced them to death, ordering their hands and feet cut off because they carried out the wicked deed with their hands and brought the bad news with their feet. And their bodies were hung. They seriously miscalculated the situation because they thought David was a power hungry man like many worldly leaders. But David respected even his enemy Saul who was trying to kill him and would not lay a hand on him though he had the chance because Saul was the Lord’s servant- and grieved over his death. David humbled himself to try to unite Israel with Abner’s help, though Abner had been his enemy- and grieved over Abner’s death. And now Ish-Bosheth was David’s latest rival, but he calls him an innocent man and exacts judgment against those who killed him. David did not seek to kill anyone associated with King Saul, because Saul was the Lord’s anointed. David loved and feared God. He knew God promised he would be king over Israel. He knew God was his shepherd and protector. In Ps 23 he said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want... Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Because of faith in God his shepherd, David was not shaken. Then God gave David a heart of wisdom and justice, so he executed the wicked men and once again preserved the way for unity of God’s people.
II. A Shepherd King (5:1-25)
Read v.2-3. “In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’ 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.” After Ish-Bosheth’s death, there was no king in Israel. Now, elders representing all the tribes of Israel came to David. After a long time, they accepted David should become the king not just of Judah but of all 12 tribes of Israel. So David made a compact with them. It meant it was a binding agreement- David would be their king; and they would willingly submit to his rule. This would be for the peaceful and orderly rule of the nation. But the compact was not only between the king and the people. It says it was before the Lord. It meant God was a party to their compact. Their nation would be bound by the submission of the people who were under the king and the king along with the people were all under God. This is a major reason the nation of Israel would go on to be blessed in the future. When the Pilgrims came to America they signed Mayflower compact. It was their covenant to live as a nation under God’s authority through the governing authorities of the land. And God blessed America through that godly foundation. (pic David anointed).
From v.2 we see there were three reasons David was made king by the people: 1) They said, “You are our own flesh and blood.” Though they had been enemies of David, they realized they were brothers and should not be enemies. 2) They also remembered how David had led many successfully military campaigns as an officer under King Saul in the past. He defended their nation as a soldier and leader. He was willing to sacrifice his life protecting God’s people. Especially significant is #3) v.2b “And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.” They acknowledged that it was the promise and plan and will of God for David to be their ruler or king. Not a ruler who burdens the people in order to gain power for himself, but a shepherd it says. God is a shepherd for his people. God loved his people, and wanted a shepherd to take care of them. A shepherd does not beat the sheep and eat the sheep, but rather tenderly cares for them. Isaiah described God’s shepherd relationship with Israel this way: “He tends his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (Is 40:11) Earlier, Israel demanded a king. But God said they rejected him as their king. (1 Sa 8:7) They got King Saul who represented them and fought for them according to their desire. But Saul did not have the shepherd’s heart of God for the people. He spent so much time trying to advance his own position- especially he viewed David as a threat. Now God wanted to give his people a king that sought after God- who saw God’s people as God’s sheep who needed a shepherd. In the gospels Jesus saw the crowds of people coming to him. He did not think, “Hey, I can use these people to form a campaign and be declared king over them.” Rather, it says he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd (Mk 6:34). As God loved the people of Israel and established David as their shepherd king, God loves us and established Jesus as our shepherd king. Worldly kings rule by force. They make people miserable and oppressed breaking many promises. But a shepherd king rules with the love and compassion and faithfulness of God. If we submit ourselves to the Lord Jesus, he will drive out our fear and rule us with the peace and shepherd’s heart of God.
In v.6-15 we see David’s first victory as king over Israel. He and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites. God had promised the people of Israel they would drive out the Canaanites and they would get the promised land (Ge 15:19-21; Dt 7:1). In Judges 1 we see that Israel displaced all the Canaanites, but were unable to overcome the Jebusites. So David recognized it as God’s unfinished business for his nation. The city was protected by high cliffs and walls, so the Jebusites were confident they were safe, even mocking David saying in v.6, “Even the blind and lame can ward you off!” But David captured Jerusalem which became his residence and the capital of Israel. Now our shepherd king Jesus is reigning in the New Jerusalem in the kingdom of God. We eagerly anticipate living under his loving rule as those living under David.
David’s kingship was off to a roaring start. Even the Gentile king of Tyre to the north recognized David as an honorable king. He wanted to have peaceful relations so he sent material and labor to build David a magnificent palace. How did David become so powerful? Read v.10. “And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.” Here we see all David’s accomplishments were not based on his own goodness. It was because the Lord God Almighty was with him. God made David very powerful through his presence. In Genesis Joseph suffered for many years in prison after false accusation. It says, “The [prison] warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” (Gen 39:21-23) How important it is to keep personal relationship with God so we can have success as God’s people. V.12 also says, “And David knew it that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” Here we see how David responded to his new life as a successful king. He had lived a tough life, especially being unjustly persecuted and pursued by Saul. He could have said, “I deserve all this for the trouble I’ve been through.” That’s what happens in many rags to riches stories. In the book of Daniel (4:28-33), Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon walked on the roof of his royal palace and boasted, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Then a voice from heaven came and rebuked him for not acknowledging the Most High God, and for seven years he ate grass like a cow in the field. David did not succumb to the temptation of pride and become corrupted. It says David knew the Lord established him as king and exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. God did not bless David for David’s sake. God blessed David for the sake of God’s people. God used David as a shepherd king and blessed him so he could be a blessing to others. God blesses us with families, education, jobs and houses not so we can take pride in our accomplishments, but so we can be a blessing to others and glorify God. God blessed the Boyd’s with a nice house, but they open it up for students to have Bible study, fellowship, prayer and a place to sleep to get up early for morning prayer.
In the remainder of the passage, David faces the enemy Philistines on two occasions. They wanted to snuff out his kingship while it was still in it’s infancy, so they went in full force to search for him. Read verse 19. “…so David inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?’ The Lord answered him, ‘Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.’” So David went and defeated them. He gave God the credit in v.20 saying, “…the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” Some time later the Philistines formed another attack so in v.23 David again inquires of the Lord. This time God responded with a different strategy telling David to circle around behind the enemy and wait until they heard the sound of marching in the tops of the trees because that will mean the Lord was going in front of them to strike the Philistine army. God wanted David to depend on the power of God which would come through an army of angels like special forces against the enemy. V.25 concludes saying David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines. In the past Saul inquired of the Lord, or asked Samuel to inquire of the Lord for him, but he did not obey the Lord. We can see David as the shepherd king who prayed. He prayed and depended on God to protect God’s people. When we pray we have God’s direction. When we obey we can have power and victory. Last week we were alarmed when we heard that Daniel Seo was in a coma from a swimming accident. But M. Jacob gave good direction: pray for Daniel’s restoration so God may be glorified. He could have died, but God mercifully delivered him when his people prayed. (pic David praying)
Thank God for showing us how he raised a shepherd king to rule his nation with the heart of God. Thank God for his shepherd heart for us. May God raise us as shepherd leaders who lead others to Jesus our shepherd king.
Read key verse 5:2b