Read 2 Samuel 3:1-39; 5:1-5; 1 Chronicles 11:1-3
Unity Under David
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Those words are attributed to the fifteenth-century monk and poet John Lydgate. And there is truth in it. Even if you do everything right, there will be someone who thinks you should have done something better.
In the transition from Saul’s kingdom to David’s, there was division. Saul’s son Ishbosheth assumed the throne and reigned for a short time in Benjamin, while David reigned over Judah from Hebron. For seven and a half years, the kingdom was divided until a dispute between Ishbosheth and Abner.
Abner tried to switch sides, but Joab refused to trust him and decided to murder him. David’s reaction won the respect of many. “And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, ‘God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!’ Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, since whatever the king did pleased all the people” (2 Sam. 3:35-36).
They proclaimed, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel’” (2 Samuel 5:1-2). After seven and a half years of reigning over Judah in Hebron, he was anointed king over all Israel and began to rule from Jerusalem, “according to the word of the Lord by Samuel” (1 Chronicles 11:3).
Was David’s reign perfect and without incident? Did he always have the support of all the people? Sadly, no. David was human and failed at times. He sinned and brought harm upon the nation and upon his family. But here for a moment, Israel was united under one king, and “whatever the king did pleased all the people.”
The King we serve today is none other than Jesus Christ. Sadly, there are people who are not pleased with Him. They want to do things their way and ignore His authority. If we serve Him and follow the will revealed by inspiration, we can enjoy unity in the kingdom—His church—today. Are you pleased with your King?