How these chapters parallel current events in this American election year 2016!
In Chapter 1, David learns of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan from a detested Amalekite trying to convince David that he killed Saul as an honor to David, when he is really trying to save his own skin. David does not know that Saul has killed himself, but he does know that anyone claiming to have killed the Lord’s anointed king deserves to die, so David has the man executed based on the man’s own words.
Then, even though Saul was David’s bitter enemy, he mourns Saul, but glowingly honors his brother Jonathan, whom he loves more than life itself. David’s lament repeats several times, “How the mighty have fallen!”
Indeed, a lament for America today?
With Saul dead, the men of Judah anoint David as their king in Chapter 2, but Abner, commander of Saul’s army, declares Saul’s son Ish-bosheth to be king over the tribe of Israel, thus dividing the nation of Israel. In a stunning face-to-face meeting between Abner and David’s commander Joab, civil war breaks out between Judah and Israel, with Joab ultimately defeating Abner; David becoming stronger; and the house of Saul growing steadily weaker.
In Chapter 3, Abner offers unity to David by bringing the tribe of Israel to David, who would then be King of Israel. But Joab, who is loyal to David to a fault, sees Abner’s offer as treachery and murders him, really in revenge for Abner having murdered Joab’s son earlier.
In Chapter 4, Ish-bosheth is murdered by two vagabonds trying to curry favor with David, but David sees through the plot, and once again reaches for the highest godly standard of perfect unity – killing Saul’s son is an affront to the Lord’s anointed even though Saul is now dead.
In Chapter 5, with all of Saul’s opposition to David removed, all the tribes of Israel acknowledge they have known all along that David is God’s chosen king, and they anoint him as King of Israel at last.
Talk about the fog of war! Could this be any more complicated?
Amid human temptation and disobedience, though, is God’s steady hand, slowly maturing his chosen one through the refining fire, never wavering from Samuel’s command from God to anoint the unlikely shepherd boy named David.
God knows very well whom he has chosen as our next President, but we do not know whether that person will be a restoration of America from God or his judgment against us as a nation. We do see the same patterns in both parties of our government – treachery, intrigue, and even intramural civil war! Many believe America may not even survive.
Do these chapters suggest what we should watch for? If one candidate cries, “Enough in-fighting; ‘Shall the sword devour forever?’ (2:26), that person may be like David, chosen by God to end our political civil wars and restore the unity of all Americans. Cast your vote here. This is what to watch for when life gets messy.
If no candidate reaches for perfect unity of all Americans, we can expect that we are heading more toward a new Saul as God’s judgment.
Pray now and every day that God has chosen a David for us, a man with a heart after God, for restoration and unity of America.