Your glory, O Israel, is slain on the high places!
How the mighty have fallen!
At the end of 1 Samuel, the Philistines execute a stunning series of victories that sweep from the Mediterranean coast to the Jordan valley. King Saul was killed, and along with his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua was beheaded and carried triumphantly to Philistia.
While this illustrated Saul's weakness and Israel's vulnerability, it did not represent a loss of territory that Israel would have to recapture. Raids such as these were not about expanding territory, but about acquiring spoil. The Philistines were not interested in governing the areas they raided, but wanted easy targets for regular "shopping trips."
Constant tension within, and constant threat from without, were hallmarks of the Judges era, when a tenuous confederacy was held together by nothing more than a shared history and a common God. The central government of Israel's king was to have provided effective protection, but when the LORD's hand left him, and Saul's distractions mounted, his ability to govern his passions, his army, and his territory faltered. This once-great warrior’s final battle completed his failure: Saul’s forty-year legacy was now completely negated.
Except, there was David. 2 Samuel opens After the death of Saul, when David had returned from striking down the Amalakites… David is grief stricken when he learns of the deaths of both his greatest enemy and his greatest friend. Judah is ready to declare him king, but one of Saul’s remaining sons makes a claim to the throne, and much of the nation follows him. Judah and Benjamin, again at war. Nothing has changed.
Except, there was David. Consider how he treats the Amalekite messenger in chapter 1, how he handles the divided kingdom in chapter 2, and how he deals with Abner – and Joab – in chapter 3. Israel’s king was supposed to be different. It’s now up to David to prove that it’s possible.
Our verse for this week is Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Samuel 1 through 3. Now let’s read it!
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.