David was 30 years old when he became king, and he reigned 40 years. The leaders of the tribes of Israel came to David and recognized he was the one who led all of Saul's military campaigns, effectively admitting David was really the leader. David wanted to be centrally located as he reigned, and he selected Jebus as the city he wanted to live in. Jebus was the home of the Jebusites, and they were fierce warriors. Because of the way Jebus was built, there were deep valleys on three sides of the walled city, and it was easy to defend the fourth. The Jebusites were confident no one could defeat them...that the blind and lame could ward off any potential intruders. So, David and his men entered the city via the water supply. He took over the city and the named it The City of David. It is important to note Jebus, now Jerusalem was on the border between the tribe of Benjamin and the tribe of Judah. Jerusalem had never belonged to any of the tribes so no one could accuse David of playing favorites in setting up his new capital.
In Deuteronomy 12:1-7 God promised the Israelites He would choose a place where they could come and worship him once they were settled in the promised land. He must have revealed to David that Jerusalem was the place. We read that David became more and more powerful because the Lord was with him. Israel was to be a nation that lived different from everyone else. They were to worship one God and live in the covenant relationship they made with the Lord. They were warned not to make alliances with neighbors who would compromise their relationship with the Lord.
It is quite possible Hiram of Tyre was just beginning his reign as David moved to Jerusalem, and the gifts he sent were his way off recognizing David's accession to the throne. Like the Israelites, Hiram’s kingdom also bordered Philistine lands and he was no doubt happy David had defeated them. It was also important for Hiram to maintain good relations with the Israelites because the Phoenicians depended on Israel for food and the maintenance of trade routes. We also read in Deuteronomy 17:17 the Lord prohibited Israel's kings from taking many wives but both David and Solomon after him seemed to have ignored this law. Some of the wives were chosen so that David could enter into political alliances. But their multiple wives and kids caused nothing but chaos and trouble for their lifetimes.
Twice we see David fight the Philistines and twice we see David consult the Lord first, making sure he was doing the will of the Lord. He may have used the Urim and Thummim or he may have had the prophet Gad seek the Lord's will. The second battle with the Philistines God gave David a battle plan which he followed. With this victory Israel regained the territory Saul lost in his last battle. In subsequent battles David would continue to regain territory and cities lost by Saul.
The other big event here is bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. It was supposed to be kept in the Holy of Holies, behind the curtain. It was the mercy seat of God, where He dwelt among His people. But for over 75 years the ark had been absent from the divine sanctuary at Shiloh. The Philistines had captured it while Eli was judge and they returned it when the Lord sent judgement on them. It then went to Beth Shemesh and then Kiriath Jearim and it was guarded in the house of Abinadab. David wanted the ark in Jerusalem for several reasons. He wanted to honor the Lord and give Him His rightful place as King of the nation. But David also wanted to build the sanctuary for the Lord. Bringing the ark to Jerusalem was the first step. The ark also symbolized ‘one nation under God’. The presence of the ark meant the presence of the Lord, and the presence of the Lord meant security and victory. Everyone was excited to move the ark to Jerusalem.
David's first attempt to move the ark to Jerusalem failed miserably because the Levites did not carry the ark on their shoulders with the poles as they were supposed to do. Instead, they put the ark on a new cart, drawn by oxen. This was the pattern the Philistines used in returning the ark, not the command given by the Lord at Mount Sinai. As harsh as this story seems, the lesson is this. God's work must be done in God's way of it is to have God's blessing. When the ground became uneven and it looked like the ark would fall off the cart, Uzzah put his hand out to steady the ark, not wanting the ark to hit the ground. And he was killed. No one was to touch the ark. There is no evidence that Abinadab was a Levite or that his sons Uzzah and Ahio were even qualified to be near the ark, let alone touch it. David was afraid and immediately took the ark to the home of Obed-Edom, who was a Levite. The ark stayed there for three months.
What we see here is that at the beginning of new eras in God's history with His people, He needs to remind them He is in control and they are not to be like other nations and tribes. God’s people must obey God's Word. We saw it here with Uzzah touching the ark of the covenant. We saw it with Aaron's two sons Abihu and Nadab when they offered false fire to the Lord in the tabernacle. And there was Achan who took some of the spoils of war intended as a dedicated offering to the Lord. All of them disobeyed the commands of the Lord, and they paid for it with their lives. Now, David is determined to do God's work in God's way. He sent the Levites on the ten-mile trip to the house of Obed-Edom. And they brought the ark to Jerusalem on their shoulders. And David danced with all his might. We see a picture here of David acting as both king and priest as he offered many sacrifices to the Lord as the ark is brought to Jerusalem. As the procession came into Jerusalem, David's wife Michal saw him dancing. She believed he was being undignified and her heart turned against him.
We see in Michal the same temperament as her father Saul. David recognized in her the pride and spiritual blindness of her father. He reminded her that the Lord had chosen David to replace her father as king and that he would do what the Lord prompted him to do. From that day on David ignored his marriage to Michal. For a wife to have no children was a disgrace in that day, especially if her husband rejected her. But this was actually a blessing from the Lord because it prevented Saul's family from continuing in Israel and therefore threatening the throne of David. The Lord wanted the line and throne of David to be kept apart from any other dynasty, because David's line would culminate in the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. That will be the theme of the next chapter in David's story.
Chapter seven is what is known as the Davidic covenant. David wanted to build a house for the Lord, and it bothered him that he was living in a house and the ark was still in a tent and he shared this with Nathan the prophet. This is the first we see of Nathan, but it will not be the last. He seems to be the prophetic voice of the Lord to David during his reign. First off, the Lord reminded David he had never asked for anyone to build Him a house. David was called to be a shepherd to His people, but he would not be the one who would build the house for the Lord. That honor would go to his son Solomon. This covenant promised rest to God's people. There was a promise of hope and in this covenant, God announced to David that the Messiah would come through his family. The Lord promised that there would always be a descendant of David on the throne and Jesus is referred to as the son of David. David would have a house forever, a kingdom forever, a throne forever and would glorify God's name forever. The throne of David ended in 586 B.C. with Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. But the line of David continued and brought Jesus Christ the Son of God into the world. The covenant God gave David was unconditional; all David had to do was accept it and let God work.
David prayed a prayer of thanks. First, he focused on the present as he gave thanks for the mercies God has shown to him. Next David looked to the past and God's amazing grace towards Israel. And finally, David looked to the future God revealed in the covenant He had just delivered to David. David prayed for the fulfillment of the promise. And he stood in awe of who God is and what He had done.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W