2 Samuel 3-4
Then all the people came to persuade David to eat bread while it was still day; but David vowed, saying, 'May God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down.' Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, just as everything the king did pleased all the people. – 2 Samuel 3:36-37 NASB
David was now king. Saul was dead. You would think that things would be looking up for David right about now. But instead, the first days of his reign were filled with war, deception, murder, intrigue, and difficult decisions. The kingdom is divided. Saul's son, Ish-bosheth, is king of Israel to the north, set up by Saul's former commander, Abner. He reigns at the bidding of Abner and owes his position to Abner's power and influence. He is a puppet king.
David was king over Judah to the north, and the passage tells us that David's power was growing while the power wielded by the house of Saul was waning. And in the midst of all this, Abner decided to switch sides and align himself and the kingdom of Israel with David. He bails on Ish-bosheth and turns the control of Israel over to David. David and Abner make a truce and all seems well. That is until Joab, David's commander finds out. He is still angry over the fact that Abner killed his younger brother, Asahel. So when he discovers that David has made an alliance with Abner, he takes matters into his own hands and personally kills Abner.
Now, as if that was not enough, poor Ish-bosheth ends up getting killed by two of his own commanders, who bring his head to David, in hopes of gaining favor with the newly crowned king. But to their shock and surprise, the payment they receive for their efforts is death. David has them executed for having murdered an innocent man.
These were not easy days for David. But through it all, he ruled righteously and rightly. He mourned the loss of Abner. He avenged the death of Ish-bosheth. At no point do you see David enjoying the demise of his enemies or gloating over the death of his rival king. Even while surrounded by conniving, manipulative people who made poor decisions and created extremely conditions in which David had to reign, David did so with integrity. He did not seek revenge on those who had made his life a living hell all those years. While he could have turned on Abner and had him killed for the role he played in David's years as a fugitive, David was willing to make peace with him. David could have rejoiced over the death of Ish-bosheth, but instead he mourned. David's reaction to the circumstances of life reveals a lot about the kind of man he really was. What do the circumstances of life reveal about YOU?
Father, I want to be a man after your own heart like David was. I want to react to the circumstances of life with integrity and righteousness. Continue your life-transformative work in me. Amen