It’s good to plow through all of David’s story. His psalms will now leap from the pages of your Bible!
2 Samuel 14-16. After Absalom, one of David’s sons, is banished after murdering his brother, Amnon, David invites him back to Jerusalem. But Absalom was bitter. He speaks against his father, gathers an army, and proclaims his kingship over Israel. Did David banish him again for such treason? No, David decides to run away while Absalom sleeps with David’s concubines on the palace roof to claim the throne in the sight of all Israel (Psalm 3). Some chose David; others sided with Absalom. Betrayers and followers were obvious (Psalm 41 and 55).
2 Samuel 17-18. All this wasn’t enough for Absalom. He must eliminate David. So he considers two options: 1) summon a large enough army to implicate all of Israel in a coup, and order them to execute David only, minimizing the casualties (Ahithophel’s advice); or 2) he could kill David himself and wipe out all of David’s followers (Hushai’s advice). Not knowing which plan Absalom would follow, Hushai secretly sets in motion a spy network to alert David. Absalom takes Hushai’s advice, dies in pursuit of his father, and David regains the throne (Psalm 118).
2 Samuel 19-24. What does David do with the betrayers? He pardons them. He seeks “the face of the Lord” and tries to set things right, but then takes a census to see how big his kingdom had become. Oh, boy. It’s easy to focus on the numbers! Yet once again David realizes his sin and repents (Psalm 38-39). He sings a song to God “on the day,” “in that season of his life,” about the God who hears the cries of his people no matter what kind of mess they’re in (2 Sam 22; Psalm 18).
With all his flaws, what made David great? David’s greatest legacy was not that he was a perfect father, king, husband, musician, shepherd, warrior—or perfect anything. He tells us what made him great in his song to the Lord: “your gentleness made me great” (2 Sam 22:36).
Be encouraged! With all your flaws and no matter what kind of mess you’re in, God’s gentleness makes you great, too.