1 Samuel Bible

Practice Patience in God’s Timeline

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.


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?

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at