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Serving your way to the throne

The books of 1 and 2 Samuel (originally a single unit), contain a rich tapestry of truths as they unfold for Israel the story of how the monarchy came into existence.  In doing this, they show that David was no rebel in ascending to the throne.  Despite Saul’s unworthiness as king (1 Samuel 13-15), David refused to take the throne presumptuously.  Although he was urged to take Saul’s life and had opportunities to do so, he rejected them all (1 Samuel 24,26), and later brought the harshest of punishments upon one who claimed to have been involved in Saul’s death (2 Samuel 1:1-16).

In addition to showing what David didn’t do, the narrative reveals to us something he did that was very important --- he served!  Soon after the youthful shepherd is identified and anointed to be the successor to Saul, he finds himself in the palace of the king.  But he is not there as a prince, an intern, or a political appointee.  He is there to serve (1 Samuel 16:15-23).

Specifically, he is there to serve Saul, the very man he is to one day replace.  Until that day comes though, his job is to take care of Saul and that is exactly what David does.  He didn’t complain that his work was beneath a future king or seek to slough it off on someone else.  The writer tells us that he did it so well that Saul requested that David be made his servant on a permanent basis (16:21-22).    

God’s plan for David’s basic training for kingship was service!  He wanted Israel to that know their king, the one who heart was after His, served his way to the throne.  This is not only in contrast to Saul’s self-servings ways, but also to David’s grandson, Rehoboam, who by his refusal to serve would later cause the kingdom to be split in two (1 Kings 12).  It was no coincidence that the nation was at the height of her power when a servant occupied the throne. 

Centuries later, a descendant of David showed that ultimate power consisted not of how many served you, but by how many you served.  Like David, He served His way to the throne.  Like Him, we will find ourselves at the height of our power when we choose to serve.

How close to the throne are we?  

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