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CHAPTER XII.

II SAMUEL AND I CHRONICLES.

THE REIGN OF DAVID.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD BOTH INWARD AND OUTWARD.

Keynote: Luke xvii. 20, 21.

AND the Lord said unto Samuel, how long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing that I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite; for I have provided me a king among his sons."

Immediately following the rejection of Saul in 1 Sam. xv., we come in chap. xvi, to the anointing of David. The desired king had failed to deliver, and the Lord, who is rich in grace, now meets Israel on their own ground, and out of evil brings forth good. They had asked for a king in their folly and wickedness, and the Lord, having administered the needed reproof and chastisement turns this very sinful desire into a means of richest blessing. He chooses a king for them who 185 shall be after His own heart, and who shall lead them on to hitherto undreamed of triumphs. For we must not suppose that rule in itself is opposed to God. On the contrary, we are taught everywhere throughout the Scriptures the lesson of submission to the Lord, and to that which is according to His mind. Even if we submit to earthly authorities, it must always be "in the Lord." And while there must not be vicarial rules governing instead of the Lord, there must always be that rule which witnesses to His presence in the midst of His people, guiding and controlling them Himself personally, even though He may make known His will through the mouths of His servants.

David is an exemplification of this sort of rule. He governed Israel only as a witness of the Lord's abiding presence. He was not the Lord's vicar, but the Lord's instrument. And therefore his language always was: "For the kingdom is the Lord's; and He is the governor among the nations."

To my mind this bestowal upon Israel of a king after the lord's own heart, is a most blessed illustration of the truth of that word that "all things work together for good to them that love God." Al1 things -- even our very mistakes and failures. Earthly parents seek to do this in their limited measures, striving always to make every failure of their children a stepping-stone to the acquirement of some greater good or some deeper lesson, which could not have come perhaps in any other way; and surely far more will our Heavenly Father, whose wisdom 186 and power are limitless, do the same. Therefore we may come to Him in happy confidence, with all our tangled skeins and ruined lives, and trust Him to pick them up just where we give them to Him, and to make all things work together for our final good.

The king after God's own heart did not, however, at once upon his anointing, gain the supremacy. For many years he was a fugitive in the very country of which he was the rightful king, hunted, as he himself says, like "a partridge in the mountains," xxii. 20. And in this he is a wonderful type of the true David, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lived in the world which belonged to Him, as a fugitive and an outcast, with no place even "wherein to lay His head." In fact, all through the Bible, David is used continually as a type of our Lord, and even as His mouth-piece, as we see in the Psalms; and we are warranted therefore in expecting to learn from the story of his life many wonderful lessons concerning his great Antitype. I cannot go into all the details of these. But the one especial lesson I desire to bring out here, is, that in reference to Christ as Head over His kingdom, and His ways as our King, both in the inward and the outward kingdom. We see Him in type here as the "Captain of our salvation," leading us on to victory, and "delivering us out of the hand of our enemies," and causing us to be "more than conquerors" through His mighty power.

David reigned to conquer Israel's enemies. In 2 Sam. iii. 18 we read, "For the Lord hath spoken of David, 187 saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies." And Jesus also became our King "that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us," Luke i. 71. At the close of his reign David could say, "Is not the Lord your God with you? and hath He not given you rest on every side? For He hath given the inhabitants of the land into mine hand; and the land is subdued before the Lord and His people," 1 Chron. xxii. 18. And Jesus also said, "Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world." "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

The very followers David had during this time of his rejection, are wonderfully typical of the followers of the Lord Jesus now. "Every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented gathered themselves unto him," xxii. 1, 2. And of our Lord we read, that "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not;" and that those who did receive Him were, like David's followers, the poor, and the unhappy, and the sinful. For we read that the "common people heard him gladly," and that "the publicans and the harlots went into the kingdom of God" before the religious men of that day. Moreover, the Pharisees and the Scribes murmured concerning Him, saying, "This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them," Luke xv. 2.

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Throughout the whole book of 1 Samuel from chap. xvi. onward, the conflict between Saul and David went on, a striking picture of the convict between the two sorts of rule in the heart of the believer, on the one side the commandments of men, and on the other God's anointed King. And well will it be for us, if, during this conflict, whether it be long or short, the language can be used concerning us, as was used in this case, "Now there was long war between the house of Saul, and the house of David; but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker," 2 Sam. iii. 1. In such a conflict as this, the end, even though long delayed through our unfaithfulness, is sure to come, and the day will at last dawn for us as for Israel, when every power in our nature will acknowledge the supremacy of our King, and when with our whole being we will crown Him Lord of all. This blessed consummation came to Israel in 2 Samuel after the death of Saul. "Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel," 2 Sam. v. 1-3.

The books of 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles are taken up 189 with the story of David's reign. They are full of deeply interesting incidents bringing out much valuable typical teaching, but it is not within the scope of these lessons to go into the details of this. It is enough for my purpose to consider the grand outlines of David's kingship over his people, and the blessings he brought them. His first introduction to us in 1 Sam. xvi. 1, and xvii. 34, 35, as a shepherd keeping his sheep, and risking his own life to rescue one little helpless lamb that had been seized by a lion, show us the sort of king he was likely to be; caring for his people more than for himself, and fulfilling at any cost to himself the duties of ownership and control. And surely in this he sets forth, though but faintly indeed, the character of our King, the Lord Jesus, who is also the "Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep;" and who leaves the ninety and nine that have never gone astray, in order to rescue and save the one that was lost. "And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd," Ezek. xxxiv. 23.

A shepherd and a king seem widely separated in rank, and yet, if we but understand it, their duties are the same, and their responsibilities are alike. Each is bound to care for, and protect, and bless to the utmost limit of his ability, those who are under his control; and no man is fit to be a king who is not a shepherd as well. Christians are accustomed to looking so exclusively on their side of the question, their duties and their 190 responsibilities, that they lose sight almost altogether of God's side, and thus miss a vast amount of comfort. The responsibilities of an owner, and much more of a Creator, are greater than can be expressed. Parents feel something of this, and by a universal instinct, which is inalienable in our natures, all parents are held responsible within certain limitations, to their own consciences and to their fellow-men, for the well doing and prosperity of their children. In the same way owners of animals, or owners of property, or owners of anything, are bound to care for, and protect, and watch over that which they own, and are held responsible to repair if possible the damages which come to their possessions. Even children feel this sense of responsibility, and will go, perhaps reluctantly, to feed a bird because it is theirs, and rejoice in being released from that duty, because their property has been transferred to another owner. The position of authority and ownership, therefore, brings responsibility, and a king is bound to care for his subjects. Surely the subjects may take the comfort of this, and may rest their souls, in a glad deliverance from every anxiety, when under the care of a wise and loving Ruler. To my own mind there is immense comfort to be found in this thought. Our King is also our Owner. For, says the apostle, "Ye are not your own, but ye are bought with a price." Therefore we may safely leave the care and management of everything that concerns us, to Him, who has Himself enunciated as an inexorable law that "if any man provide not for his own, he 191 hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." I feel sure, therefore, that it was not without significance that the Lord took David "from the sheepfolds, and brought him to feed His people and Israel His inheritance." He surely meant, I doubt not, to make him a type of that future King, whose control is and can be nothing but blessing to His people, because He is also their Shepherd and "careth for His sheep." I would that every one could realize the blessedness of this thought. For I feel sure that if they did, there would be no longer any delay in their surrender to this glorious Shepherd King; but like it was in Israel's case as related in I Chron. xii., there would come to our David "day by day to help Him," until there would be "a great host, like the host of God," saying, "Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse." And there would be then indeed among us, as among them of old, "joy in Israel." For there are but few joys like the joy of entire surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. The soul that has tried it knows this, and to the soul that has not, I can only say that the control of unselfish love is always lovely, even when that love is earthly, because in the nature of things love can choose only the best for its beloved one, and must pour out itself to the last drop to help and to bless that one; and that therefore the control of God, who is love; who is not merely loving, but is Love itself, must be and can be nothing but infinite and fathomless blessing.

I shall never forget a scene in my past life when I first 192 fully realized this blessed kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was in a great open air meeting, which, accounting for the difference in time, was held just at the hour when the infallibility of the pope was being proclaimed in Rome; and one of the preachers present stepped forward on the platform and proposed, that, while this was going on in Rome, and the pope was being crowned with a new and blasphemous honor, we there should rise and crown Jesus Lord of all, by singing the well-known hymn beginning, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name." In an instant, the thousands present were on their feet, singing it with a burst of loyalty and enthusiasm that seemed almost to carry us away. And over and over we sang that hymn, with a meaning it never had to us before, while hundreds of hearts did then and there crown "Jesus Lord of all" in their whole being, as they had not until this moment dreamed it could be done. It was a never-to-be-forgotten hour, and many have been the testimonies that have come to me since, of the lasting and blessed results that have come into the lives that at that moment took Jesus to be their King. Come then, dear readers, as Israel did, "with a perfect heart," and make the Lord Jesus King over all that you are and all that you have. Let the "government be upon His shoulders," and rejoice in the blessed promise that "of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever."

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As far as appears, David led his people on to continuous victory, and the secret of it was his childlike dependence upon the Lord. Every step of the way he testified continually to his own weakness, and to God's strength. Over and over we have the expression used concerning him, "and the Lord was with him." When confronted with the giant he said to Saul, who told him he was not able to fight the Philistine, "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." And to the giant himself he said, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth: that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands," 1 Sam. xvii. 45-47.

In everything David saw a present God. Unlike Saul, of whom it was said that he "inquired not of the Lord," we find David continually in every time of need going to the Lord for advice and guidance. "And David inquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go up and smite these Philistines?" "Will the men of Keilah deliver me up?" "Wilt thou deliver the Philistines into mine hand?" "Shall I pursue after this troop?" "Shall I overtake them?" And the Lord always answered these inquiries as simply as they were asked, "Go, and smite these Philistines." "The men of 194 Keilah will deliver thee up." "I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand." "Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all." See 1 Sam. xxiii. 2, 4, 10, 11, 12; xxx. 8; 2 Sam. ii. 1; v. 19, 23; xxi. 1; 1 Chron. xiv. 10, 14. The simplicity and directness of this intercourse and communion between David and the Lord his God, is very striking, and reveals a most blessed oneness. In a faint way it prefigures the human life of dependence and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and teaches us our own privileges of a direct and personal intercourse with our Father, who has told us "in everything to make our requests known unto Him"; and who surely must mean to grant us as sure a response as He did to David. Let us then in everything "inquire of the Lord" with childlike confidence, believing that He hears us, and expecting a certain reply.

Even when David failed, he "encouraged Himself in the Lord his God," 1 Sam. xxx. 6, and at once looked to Him for a deliverance from the consequences of his failure. Everywhere and always, he seems to have been on terms of such blessed intimacy and oneness with the Lord, that nothing could come between to break it. No wonder that God called him a man after His own heart; 195 for such utter confidence in His love, and submission to His will, could not but please Him.

One of David's first acts after his establishment upon the throne of the kingdom, was to bring up the Ark of God from Kirjath-jearim into its rightful place in Jerusalem, Israel's central city; the "city of David" as it was called, because it was his presence there that made it the "throne of the Lord" for Israel. During Samuel's rule, the Ark of the Lord had been rescued from the hands of the Philistines, and had been brought as far as Kirjath-jearim, 1 Sam. vii. 1, 2, but had been left there, with no tabernacle for it to dwell in, and had been brought into "the house of Abinadab in the hill," the only man who seems not to have been afraid of its presence; and who is therefore surely a type of some hidden faithful Christians now, who, in a time of general coldness, yet retain in their own hearts the Lord's conscious presence. The ark remained in the house of Abinadab twenty years, and during all the reign of Saul it seems to have been utterly neglected, for we see no mention made of it, and are told in 1 Chron. xiii. 3 that they "inquired not at it in the days of Saul." As soon, however, as David was firmly established on his throne, the story of which is given us in 1 Chron. xii., we read in chapter xiii. that he "consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds and with every leader," and said "unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you and that it be of the Lord our God," . . . "let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of 196 Saul; and all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people," 1-4. Chaps. xiii., xv., xvi. give us the account of this restoration. Because of ignorance of the Lord's ways. some difficulties were experienced in the restoration, and there was a delay of three months, during which the ark again found refuge in the house of one faithful Israelite, Obed-edom the Gittite, whom the Lord "blessed with all his household, because of the Ark of God," 2 Sam. vi. 11, 12. 1 Chron. xiii. 9-14. But David finally "prepared a place, and pitched for it a tent," and having learned how to seek the Lord after the due order, he "gathered all Israel together" and said, "None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto Him forever." And he said unto the priests and Levites, "Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. . . . So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy. So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David 197 had pitched for it: and they covered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. And he dealt to every one of Israel, both men and women, to every one a loaf of bread, and a great piece of flesh and a flagon of wine." And we read that there was joy and gladness, and that "on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren. Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people." 1 Chron. xv. xvi.

As the ark was the only dwelling-place of the Lord in the land of Israel, where His presence was consciously known, all this seems to me to be a type of that restoration to the soul of the believer, of the conscious presence of the abiding Comforter, which will always be one of the first results of the establishment of Christ's rule in the heart. And the joy which accompanied this in Israel's case, as also the feeding of the people with bread and meat, and wine, are surely symbolical of the joy of restored communion, and the feeding upon Christ which it always brings. Henceforth, as we have seen, throughout the whole of David's reign they "continually inquired of the Lord" about everything. And I believe that only those souls where Christ consciously dwells can literally in everything "make their requests known unto God."

Having established the ark in its proper place, as it 198 were, in the heart of the nation, David next turned his attention to the nation's enemies. "Now after this it came to pass that David smote the Philistines and subdued them, and took Gath and her towns out of the hands of the Philistines," 1 Chron. xviii. 1. Also "he smote Moab, and Hadazezer, and the Syrians, and the Edomites, and the children of Ammon, and the giants, and the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went," see 2 Sam. v., viii., x., xviii., and xxi.; also 1 Chron. xviii.-xx., for the account of his battles and victories.

David was in fact made king for this very purpose; for the Lord had spoken concerning him saying, "By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies," 2 Sam. iii. 18. And of our Lord also it is said that He was sent in order "that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life," Luke i. 74, 75. As far as appears, David was always victorious, and at last he could say in that wonderful song which he "spake unto the Lord" "in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies," "I have pursued mine enemies and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them." "For thou hast girded me with strength to battle; them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I 199 might destroy them that hate me," 2 Sam. xxii. 38, 40, 41. And in all this he was, as I have said, a type of Christ as our conquering King and Captain, leading up on to continual victory.

But although thus victorious, David's whole reign seems to have been a time of conflict. So much so was this the case, that when he wanted to build a House for the Lord to dwell in, the word of the Lord came to him saying, "Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth," 1 Chron. xxii. 8, xxviii. 3. Only in the reign of peace, could this temple be built, and therefore David, the man of war, was compelled to leave this work to Solomon, the prince of peace. And it was not until the end of his reign, as he handed over his kingdom to Solomon, that he could say, "The land is subdued before the lord and before His people," 1 Chron. xxii. 18. Experimentally, therefore, the kingdom of David was a type of that stage in the soul's history, when only conflict is known, and when Christ is apprehended only in His character as our conquering Captain, leading us on to battle. Many souls know no other Christian life but this, and live therefore in perpetual convict. But David's battles were for the purpose of conquering Israel's enemies, and when he had accomplished this purpose, he handed over into Solomon's control a kingdom which had "rest from its enemies all round about." And Christ as our Captain also meets and conquers our enemies for us, in 200 order that He may hand over the inward kingdom, thus made peaceful and at rest, into the hands of Christ as our Solomon, the Prince of Peace, who giveth "peace always by all means." Conflict precedes peace, but conflict, if victorious, will always bring peace. And never to pass beyond the experience of conflict into the experience of peace, would seem to prove that the soul had not apprehended Christ as a victorious Captain, before whom the land should be in very truth subdued, and into whose hand all its enemies should be delivered. Many Christians stumble here, and never pass beyond the reign of David. They cannot believe in the accomplished victories of our Lord Jesus Christ, but think they must fight and conquer the foe for themselves. They lift up, not the shield of faith against their enemies, but the shield of doubt, and are, as a consequence, sorely smitten by his fiery darts. But one lesson taught us by this history of the kingdom under David, seems to me to be simply this, that we must apprehend the Lord Jesus Christ as our conquering King and Captain, in such a way as to cause us to put all our battles into His hand to fight, and to leave all our enemies to Him to vanquish. He has overcome the world by actual conflict. We overcome by faith, 1 John v. 4. The fiery darts of the enemy spent their strength on Him. He has furnished us with a shield of faith wherewith we can quench them all, Eph. vi. 16. By faith we can say in very truth, "The land is subdued before the Lord and before His people," and can enter into the 201 kingdom of rest and peace, which He has obtained for us.

The story of this peaceful kingdom will be found in our next chapter. And I would urge every one, who is travelling with me throughout the length and breadth of this land of ours, to pause here, and, before turning the page that will introduce them to the reign of Solomon, to ask themselves definitely and personally whether the kingdom of peace is their kingdom, or whether they are ready at once to enter upon it. If not, the way is plain. Crown the Lord Jesus as thy conquering David, Lord of all in thy heart and life, from this moment onward, and enter by faith into His accomplished victories. "Come unto Me," he says, "and I will give you rest." I can give it, for I have won it for you in a sore conflict with the enemy. Believe me that he is an already conquered foe. Let me deliver you out of his hands. Let my peace reign in your hearts, and claim a continual triumph. I have labored, enter ye into my labors. For "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith;" and "who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God."

Canst thou not hear His voice saying something like this to thee, dear soul, and wilt thou not believe Him? If thou wilt, then we may together turn our page into the kingdom of peace, and may by faith enter therein and dwell there.

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Texts concerning the kingdom of God: -- Ez. xxxiv. 23Luke i. 31-33Is. ix. 6, 7I Cor. xv. 25Dan. vii. 13, 14Matt. xxviii. 18.  Ps, ii. 6-8.  Eph. i. 20, 21John iii. 35Is. xxiii. 1Jer. xxiii. 5.  Hosea iii. 4, 5Jer. xxxiii. 14-17Jer. xxx. 9Zech. vi. 13Ps. cxlv. 13Zech. ix. 9 with John xii. 14-16Zech. xiv. 9Luke xxiii. 2Acts xvii. 71 Tim. vi. 15 with Rev. xix. 11-16John xviii. 36Luke viii. 1Matt. iii. 2Matt. xii. 28Mark i. 14, 15Matt. xiii. 11Mark x. 15Acts i. 3Acts viii. 12Acts xxviii. 28-31Luke xvii. 20, 21John iii. 3Col. i. 131 Cor. xv. 50Rom. xiv. 17Col. iv. 112 Thess. i. 5Luke xii. 32Luke xxii. 29Matt. v. 3, 20Matt. vii. 21Matt. vi. 10, 13Rev. i. 5, 6Rev. iii. 21Rev. xi. 15Rev. xx. 4Matt. xix. 28.

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