what do you think?
Which statement best describes your attitude when you have to wait a long time for something?
I feel frustrated and angry, and everyone knows it.
I feel angry, but I keep the anger inside and it stresses me out.
I really don’t care.
I feel excited because I know the thing will be worth waiting for.
I try to change the situation to see if I can make things happen faster.
I lose interest and move on to something else.
did you know?
What did it mean to be a king in Bible times? A king was far more than just a head of state, much more powerful than a president or prime minister today. While a king in the ancient world would usually have advisors or counselors, he wasn’t required to take their advice. He was considered “above the law.” Everything in the nation was believed to be the king’s property—including all the people—and the king was free to use the land, its resources, and its people as he chose.
The idea of having a king was new for the people of Israel. Until Saul was chosen king, the Israelites had had no single, all-powerful ruler except God. The role of king placed a huge amount of power in the hands of one man. He couldn’t be voted out of office—removed only by death! When David was crowned king, people in Israel hoped to have a king who would rule justly and follow God’s laws, rather than one who would abuse his power and make his people suffer as so many kings at that time did.
INTO THE STORY
“In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. ‘Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?’ he asked. The Lord said, ‘Go up.’ David asked, ‘Where shall I go?’ ‘To Hebron,’ the Lord answered.
“So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.”
“Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David.”
“The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
“Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, ‘For some time you have wanted to make David your king. Now do it! For the Lord promised David, “By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.”’
“Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole tribe of Benjamin wanted to do. When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men. Then Abner said to David, ‘Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires.’ So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.”
“All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, ‘We are your own flesh and blood. 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 covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.”
(2 Samuel 2:1-4, 10; 3:1, 17-21; 5:1-3, NIV)
OUT OF THE STORY
If God had chosen David as king, why did David have to fight a long and bloody civil war to secure his right to the throne?
Do David’s actions throughout this story indicate that he was, in fact, following God’s will? Why or why not?
What was David’s attitude toward his defeated enemies? What does this tell us about David?
How do you think David felt about finally becoming king after waiting so long?
What type of leader do you think David was, considering that the elders of Israel asked that he become king over them as well as over Judah?
How do you think David was able to maintain his faith in God, and his trust in God’s promise, when he had to wait so long and fight so hard to become king?
“After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’” (Acts 13:22, NIV).
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV).
“Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness” (Psalm 72:1, NIV).
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NKJV).
“Faith is trusting God— believing that He loves us and knows best what is for our good. Thus, instead of our own, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness.”—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 253.
Read 2 Samuel 5:3.
David was called by God as a young boy to become Israel’s king, yet he had to wait for many years and experience many hardships before he finally wore the crown. What do you think kept him going during his years as an outlaw? What obstacles did he still face even after he was crowned king of Judah?
During those years, David’s faith must have wavered at times. It seemed as if God’s promise was so far from being fulfilled. Yet the difficult experiences of those years prepared him to become the king Israel needed.
How do you feel when you pray and do not seem to see results? Why does God’s plan sometimes include waiting, struggling, and learning?
2 Samuel 5:3 tells us that after David’s long years of struggle and hardship he finally received his promised reward: he became king of all Israel. We too will receive God’s blessings if we learn to wait patiently for Him.
Read Romans 8:28.
When we read the stories of King David, we step into a world very different from our own. It’s often more like a fantasy novel than like the world we know: a world where kings rule by absolute power and disputes are settled by hand-to-hand combat. A world where a young man’s destiny can be changed forever by a prophecy that takes half a lifetime to fulfill.
Yet in this remote and ancient world, God taught His people lessons that are still relevant today. How clear is your sense that God has a plan for your life? Even if it isn’t clear, or easy to trace, in what ways are you able to believe that it is there?
Like David, we may spend years preparing for our destiny, but those are never wasted years. God is with us as He was with David throughout the years in the wilderness—teaching, guiding, training.
Read Jeremiah 29:11.
The fulfillment of the prophecy Samuel made when David was a teenager finally came about on the day that David was crowned king of the united kingdom of Israel and Judah. God kept His promise, just as God always does.
How does the story of David help you trust God’s promises?
It may take a long time before others see and recognize what God has seen in you all along—the person you are capable of becoming. During the years David was a shepherd boy, an outlaw, and a pretender to the throne, God always saw him as a king. Eventually, others recognized the person God had created David to be.
Read Isaiah 40:31.
Read the Flashlight section of the lesson. As Ellen White describes in this passage, life takes unexpected twists and turns. Just look at the lives of celebrities who can be popular and adored one minute, hated or forgotten the next. But when we, like David, allow God to take control of our lives, we can be assured that life’s twists and turns will always end up being for our good. Can you think of some “ups and downs” in your life that have worked out for the best in the end?
This week’s Punch Lines come from various places in the Bible. Choose the one that speaks most directly to you and look it up, noting the context in which it is written. How does that verse, its context, the account of King David’s life, and yours all relate to one another?
Read 2 Peter 3:9.
Can you think of an area in your life where it’s hard for you to trust God’s promises? Maybe you’ve prayed for help in a situation but don’t see any immediate results. As you think of David’s long journey to the throne, write a brief prayer telling God what you want to happen in your situation, and promising to trust Him with the future outcome. (Use the Notes pages in the back of your study guide.)
Read Jeremiah 1:5.
David was probably just about the age you are now when he was anointed by the prophet Samuel and began his journey to the throne. By age 30, he was king of Israel.
Where do you imagine yourself at age 30? Take a little time to picture your own future. Do you believe that God has a plan for you? Do you have a sense that He is calling you toward a particular role, or is the future still very unclear for you? Do you trust Him to lead you in the direction that’s best for you?