Archives For patience

Over the past few blog posts that we have observed David show great respect for the king by killing the Amalekite man who claimed to have killed Saul. Then we observed David follow God regarding how he should proceed in becoming king of Judah.

Patience

Today we get to see another example of how to faithfully serve and follow God and our leader when we see David Practice Patience in God’s Timeline.

In 2 Samuel 3 we observe David Practice Patience in God’s Timeline through the reaction he has when presented with opportunities and ways to become king over all of Israel. 2 Samuel 3:1 starts out by telling us that a battle between David’s men of Judah and Ishbosheth’s men of Israel "was the beginning of a long war between those who were loyal to Saul and those loyal to David. As time passed David became stronger and stronger, while Saul’s dynasty became weaker and weaker.” David is slowly gaining strength and momentum in his rise to become king of Israel.

Later in chapter 3 of 2 Samuel we see a change happen when Abner, who is the commander of Ishboseth’s troops of Israel, becomes angry with Ishbosheth and pledges to give Israel over to David. Based on careful study of both 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, Abner is one of the true leaders under King Saul and King Ishbosheth. Abner seems to be the one in power, the one who silently leads Ishboseth. The people and leaders of Israel are more loyal to Abner than they are to Ishboseth.

Because Ishboseth angers Abner, he decides to hand over all of Israel to David. In 2 Samuel 3:10 Abner pledges, “I’m going to take Saul’s kingdom and give it to David. I will establish the throne of David over Israel as well as Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.” Abner follows through on his promise by sending messengers to David and goes to meet with him to discuss the possibility of turning over all of Israel to David.

However, while Abner is leaving to return to Israel, he is murdered by one of David’s commanders. The murder of Abner wrecks the plans for David to be anointed King over all of Israel, but this section of David’s life shows us great insight into the patience David displays in God’s timeline.

Several times throughout our study of the young life of David we see evidence that most people know he is anointed to become king. Here are several examples:

  • Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3, 1 Samuel 23:17)
  • Saul (1 Samuel 20:30-31, 24:20)
  • Men in the cave with David (1 Samuel 24:4)
  • Abigail (1 Samuel 25:30)
  • Abner (2 Samuel 3:9)

These are all times when people know David is anointed to become the next king. 

In addition to everyone else knowing the plans God has for David to become king, David also knows that he is anointed to become king. David has known this since he was about 15 years old. A person would think that David would jump all over the opportunity to become king over Israel, but from what we read in 2 Samuel chapters 2 and 3, that is not what David does.

Don’t get me wrong, David does do a few things to advance and make progress on God’s plan. Here are three:

  1. He asks for Michal: Michal is his former wife and Saul’s daughter which could be interpreted as a sign he is planning to be king of Israel and that he needs to have the “king's bloodline” to allow him to be king.
  2. He listens to Abner: When Abner sends him a message about wanting to discuss the possibility of becoming king, David throws a feast and listens to Abner’s offer.
  3. He has more wives from strategic families: Some of those marriages might be seen as strategic alliances since David married women from other nations near Judah. 2 Samuel 3:2-5 tells about the sons who are born to David while he is king of Judah in Hebron. These sons born are probably a sign of David wanting to make sure he has heirs to the throne. 

Based on this section of David’s life and what we have read, David does not seem very eager to take over Israel. All he does when Abner comes to him with a plan to make him king over Israel is to say, “OK” and then have a feast. Just as David does a few mild things to become king, we can also observe what he does not do: violently take the kingship of Israel. He practices patience in God's timeline.

As we have seen David model for us, it is good to practice patience in God’s timeline. God has a plan for you and I. It is good to work to make progress towards what God has promised us, but we need to practice patience in God’s timeline.

Question: How can you practice patience in God’s timeline?

As we have seen from 1 Samuel and some of the Psalms that we have read, David is hurting, sad, and desperate.

When we endure following a poor leader (just as David did), we need to be mindful that we are not as tough as we might think we are. While our leadership and character is tested we might have less patience to handle circumstances and situations that come our way.

Patience
Where we left off yesterday in our study of the young years of the life of David is when he restrains himself and his men from killing Saul in the cave. Then, once Saul leaves the cave, David confronts Saul. He says that he (David) is innocent of the accusations that he is trying to harm Saul, but that Saul has tried to kill him. (You think your leader is bad, David's leader actually threw spears at him in an attempt to kill him!)

In chapter 25 of 1 Samuel we get to see David's patience tested.

In this chapter David has moved down to the wilderness of Moan where he and his men are protecting the herds of a wealthy man named Nabal who owns 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. It was a common practice at that time for brave men to help protect shepherds and sheep from wild animals and thieves. Sheep were often the main income for families so this was a very important task.

David hears that it is time for Nabal to shear the sheep and collect the profits. So he sends 10 of his men to ask Nabal for a "tip" for their efforts to keep Nabal's sheep and shepherd's safe in the wilderness. Nabal harshly turns David's 10 men away saying they deserve nothing.

When the men return to tell David that Nable refused their request, David loses it and says to his men, "Get your swords!" (25:13). David and 400 of his men head toward Nabal's home intending to kill him, saying, "A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!" (25:21-22). David is clearly on a mission to kill Nabal and every man part of Nabal's household.

Luckily for David, Nabal's wife, Abigail, greets him with gifts, grace, and respect. These gifts along with her sincere apology for angering the anointed king of Israel eases David's anger. Thanks to Abigail's discernment and quick response to David's men, who were harshly turned away by Nabal, David decides not to kill Nabal and everyone in his home.

David's faith in God's promise and patience waiting for that promise to come true helps David refrain from killing Nabal and his household. That would have been something David regreted for a long time. Abagail says to David, "When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel, my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the LORD has brought my master success, remember your servant" (vs. 30-31).

The point of this story we are going to focus on is that David was at the end of his rope. He was almost killed by Saul on multiple occasions, is running from Saul, and has lost most of the prestige he had received as a leader, warrior, and commander in the Israelite army. When he is denied by Nabal, David loses all self control. He becomes angry, grabs his sword, and swears to kill Nabal and lots of innocent people.  

It is akward to say, but this is a position many of us may find ourselves in as we struggle with working for a poor leader or having to deal with situations we can no longer tolerate. 

Here are a few observations of David's faith and patience:

  • Faith: reliance, loyalty, or complete trust in God; a system of religious beliefs. (NLT Study Bible)
  • Patience: the power or capacity to endure without complaint; something difficult; disagreeable; for bearable; long suffering. (NLT Study Bible)
  • After all of the running, hiding, and restraint, David does not have any patience left.
  • David responds quickly without any thought. In fact, he responds in anger.
  • David's emotions (and hunger) control his actions. 

Because David "ran out of faith and patience" he almost did something he would have regretted at a later date. If he would have killed Nabal and everyone in Nabal's household it would have been a terrible mistake that might have haunted David for years.

Know what happens in your life that takes away your faith and patience.

What takes away my faith and patience is when I do not get alone time in the morning with God. I have written about this before, but in the mornings I need at least an hour to journal, read my Bible, and pray. When I am able to have that time alone with God I feel grounded, centered, and ready to take on the day and handle it well. If I have several days where I do not have that time with God, I quickly become irritable, lose my tempter, and anger easily. My friend Daniel experiences less faith and patience when he is overly busy and when he does not get quiet time. You might have a similar thing that happens when you begin to have less faith and patience.

While studying the life of David in Chuck Swindoll's book, David: A Man of Passion and DesintyChuck reminds us:

God doesn’t give you patience on credit. Every day is a new day.[1]

Every day is a new day and we will need to keep faith and patience. Every day we must remind ourselves of the promises God has given us and the faith we have in Him.

We might not be as lucky as David to have someone to prevent us from doing something we will regret. We need to be careful and find ways to keep our faith in God and stay patient to wait for His promises to come true.

Question: For us as leaders, what happens in our lives that puts us in a position of patience and faith?


[1] Churck Swindoll, David: A Man of Passion and Destiny (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 106.