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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, July 6, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading |2 Samuel 5:1–5, 9–10

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh. For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years. David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inwards. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him. (NRSV)

Although today’s passage is short, it marks an incredible moment in Israel’s history: the united monarchy that Saul began—bringing the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah together—reaching its absolute apex under the leadership of David. David’s ascension to the throne was an astonishing rise for the youngest of Jesse’s sons, and his thirty-three-year reign became known as a time of peace and prosperity even amidst his personal struggles and shortcomings. Future generations, including many in Jesus’ time, looked back to this time period as a sort of “golden era” in Israel’s history—and many believed that the coming messiah could restore (or even expand) the glory of David’s time.

It is difficult, however, to separate this short passage from all that would come after it. The years following David and his son Solomon would see the monarchy and kingdoms divided, with each eventually falling to bigger, stronger neighbors and the people taken off into exile. The rise and fall of the united monarchy was both traumatic and formative for Israel, and it expanded their understanding of what it meant to be in covenant with God. God’s covenant does not guarantee us peace and prosperity in this world; the covenant instead reminds us that we remain known, loved, and claimed by God no matter what circumstance we are in. In times of celebration, and in times of struggle, God abides with us—so let us thank God for that truth.

Holy God, I am grateful for your eternal covenant with us, reminding us that we are your people and that you will be with us no matter what lies ahead. May I live filled with that promise. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

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