David Enthroned at Hebron
William Trew, Cardiff
During his exile the days of David were spent under the government and guidance of God. In every circumstance that had developed, he had consulted God and had found his strength in patient waiting for God to work out His Own way. The opportunity had been given him again and again to “hasten events,” but in the knowledge that he had been chosen of God, he had patiently waited the accomplishment of God’s purpose. And now, as we open the 2nd book of Samuel, we still find him clinging to God and seeking Divine guidance. Saul was dead; the crown was already in his hand, 2 Sam. 1. 10; and the circumstances seemed to call for immediate action. But David will not move until he has been given a plain word from God. In obedience to the Will of God clearly revealed, he went to Hebron, and there he quietly waited for whatever God would do next. In this man’s heart the throne of God had already been established in power. And when at last the people of God became united under his leadership, God was “enthroned upon the praises of Israel” Psa. 22. 3. R.V.M., and king and people walked together with delight in the ways of the Lord. It is still the highest privilege of those who have been appointed by the Holy Spirit to the place of leadership, to guide the steps of the saints into the ways of God, themselves the pattern, in submission to the Word and obedience to the Lord, of all He desires His people to be. “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” Psa. 144. 15.
Anointed King over Judah.
David speaks of the principle of Divine rule to which it is the happy privilege of all the people of God to submit themselves. For that very reason he was sent by God to Hebron, and the kingdom was established in his hands there. Hebron means Communion, and the place of enjoyed fellowship with God is the place of happy submission and glad surrender. Significantly enough, the men of Judah (PRAISE) were foremost in this, and without waiting for the co-operation of the other tribes, assembled at Hebron and anointed David king over them. True worship will always find its power in enloyed communion and realized fellowship with God. “That this was obedience to the Divine will by which David had been long set apart to this position, saves them from the imputation of independence, with which otherwise they might have been justly charged. The Lord was the Supreme King over Israel, and therefore, when His mind was clearly known, obedience was that which alone would make for any proper unity. The course of Abner and the other tribes was mere rebellion.” (GRANT).
Disunity among the people of. God—let us confess it with shame and repentance—is the direct result of rebellion against the Will of God clearly revealed. When Balaam looked upon the tribes of Israel, he saw a beautiful picture of order and unity, the secret of which lay in the fact that one principle of rule was acknowledged by all. Num. 24. 5. The Unity of priestly brethren of which the psalmist sings so sweetly, will only be realized in Israel when at last the King Priest is in their midst, Psalms 132.133. Then will the promise be fulfilled, “I will make them One Nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and One King shall be king to them all......so shall they be My people, and I will be their God” Ezek. 37. 22-23. Heaven owes all its blessedness and glory to the fact that “the Throne of God and of the Lamb” is there. Nor can we of this day improve upon the Divine pattern for the order of the assembly of God. In the words of the apostle, “With all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord” 1 Cor. 1. 2, we have described the character of every local assembly as Divinely ordered. Christ is enthroned as Lord in the midst of His people. To refuse Him the devoted allegiance we owe Him, is the spirit of rebellion that drives apart, and keeps apart, God’s precious saints. This evil principle is fully exemplified in Abner. He asks no counsel of God. His name means “Father of Light” but his wisdom is from himself, and he moves in that light which, when it is a matter of discerning and walking in God’s ways, is darkness indeed. It was not that he had no knowledge of the purpose of God concerning David. Later he had to retrace his steps, and make confession of the fact that all the while his spirit had been one of rebellion against the revealed Will of God, 2 Sam. 3. 9-10: 17-18. Knowing the mind of God as he did, he yet pursued a path of wilful disobedience, which led him ultimately to his death, and hindered for seven years the unification of the people of God under the leadership of their God-appointed king.
Anointed King over all Israel.
At last the purpose of God for David was realized; and His promise fulfilled. In the place of enjoyed communion with God every rebellious spirit is subdued; every heart is won; every will is unreservedly surrendered. “Thy people shall be voluntary offerings in the day of Thy power.” Psa. 110. 3. (Lit:) Therefore to Hebron came all the tribes of of Israel, saying, “Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was thou that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, ‘Thou shalt feed My people Israel, and thou shalt be leader over Israel;’.....and king David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel.” 2 Sam. 5. 1-3. R.V.M.
These are relationships that we may still claim, as we think of our Glorious Lord enthroned in Heaven, and these are reasons that still may be urged for wholehearted and devoted surrender to Him as our absolute Lord.
The City of David
The anointing of David as king over all Israel, was followed immediately by the taking of Zion. Called henceforth “the city of David,” it became permanently associated with his name. But the scriptures habitually speak of it also as the place of which the Lord made choice “to cause His Name to dwell there.” David, as we are told in the record, brought the Ark there, 2 Sam. 6; and, as we read in Psalm 132, in response to his prayer, the answer of God was, “The Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. ‘This is My rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it’.” The throne of David and the throne of God were together in the same place; the higher and the lower kingdoms were now united; David would act only as the viceregent of God, to make the rule of God paramount among His people; and thither would the tribes go up to keep their holy convocations, “unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord”, Psa. 122. There, in due course, would the Sanctuary of God be built for the dwelling place of the Presence of God in the midst of His own, and the priesthood serving before Him Divinely ordered, would lead a happy people in their worship, the richness of which would make glad His heart.
As we translate this typical history into the language of the New Testament, and get to know the practical value of these principles in our own experiences, may we, with eyes upon the assembly—sanctuary of God today—be able to say, “How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts;” and with the same writer, who esteemed it such a dignity to be in fellowship with God in the sanctuary, that he found supremely attractive the path of separation that that necessitated, say “A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I would rather stand at the threshold of the House of my God, than to dwell in the tents of lawlessness,” Psa. 84. 10. Newberry. “Tents of lawlessness” are on every hand of us, outside of which He stands. “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Rev. 3. 20.
Such an one enjoys a continual feast.
This series on the Books of Samuel will he concluded in our next issue, and will be followed, we hope, by a number of articles on the Books of Chronicles, by Mr. Harry Lacey.