April 21 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“All the people took note and were pleased;
indeed, everything the king did pleased them.” ~2 Samuel 3:36

The books bearing the titles 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were originally presented as a single book with two parts. As we have seen, 1 Samuel focuses on the rise of the monarchy, the anointing of King Saul, and the early life of young successor David. Second Samuel spotlights David. Although the biblical writers don’t gloss over David’s weaknesses and imperfections, the book portrays him as the ideal king, the one whose descendants would rule Israel forever.

Even after the death of King Saul, the rightful successor, the man anointed by Samuel, must fight for his throne. In order to understand these stories, read them as sophisticated political dramas. Ancient people were every bit as strategic in their political maneuvering and alliances as modern people. David builds shrewd relationships and makes strategic decisions.

The take-away from today’s reading is found in 2 Samuel 3:36, which is quoted above. David embodied the qualities that make a great king. He had natural political instincts, he was an experienced warrior, and he was a person of integrity who loved the Lord! What a powerful combination! While David possessed this raw talent, it took a while for God to mold him into the man he became. During his years on the run, he learned to fight, to lead, and to pray effectively. But God was not done teaching him. David had seven and a half more years of learning to do after Saul died! He must have wondered sometimes if he would ever realize his dreams!

If you’ve wondered the same thing, take heart. Do not be discouraged if it takes a while to reach the dreams that God has given you. He has things to teach you right now in the place where you are, and some lessons can only be learned with time. Too often, when we look at a successful person (like a great king), we see only his crown. We do not see the “hidden years”, years spent working, or training, or studying, or praying, or struggling. In over two decades of pastoral ministry, I’ve yet to meet a successful person without a backstory of sweat and sacrifice. Those who carry out great tasks for God or receive His richest blessings almost always endure a period of testing. I say this to encourage all of us to persevere through the trials God allows into our lives. Endurance is one of God’s tools for making complete Christ-followers (Jas. 1:2-5). May we each be like the persistent widow who refused go away or to accept “no” as an answer (Luke 18:5). May we persevere in prayer because of our faith in God.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.