June 13, 2014
READ: 2 Samuel 3:12-16
“All right,” David replied, “but I will not negotiate with you unless you bring back my wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come” (v.13).
When it is first read it seems like a love story. In truth it’s the record of what might have been one of David’s most heartless acts.
David had been at war with King Saul (2 Samuel 3:1). After Saul’s death, his field commander Abner decided to switch sides and support David’s claim to the throne (vv.8-10). “Make a solemn pact with me,” Abner said, “and I will help turn over all of Israel to you” (v.12). David agreed, but on one condition: “Bring back my wife Michal” (v.13).
Michal was Saul’s daughter. Saul had originally given her to David as his wife, but later had given her in marriage to another man, Palti, when David fled (1 Samuel 18:27, 25:44).
But it’s possible that there was no romance here. Michal was valuable to David for other reasons. Some commentators cite that a reunion with her positioned him as Saul’s legitimate son in law and strengthened his claim to the throne. Disregarding Michal’s wishes, and Palti’s feelings, David claimed his political treasure. Palti wept for Michal as she was dragged back to David (2 Samuel 3:16).
We often think of David as a man after God’s own heart who was kind to the disabled and the elderly (1 Samuel 13:14; 2 Samuel 9) and as someone who spared his enemy’s life when it was his to take (1 Samuel 24). But as Eugene Peterson says, here David may have been at his worst: “A man who sacrifices his humanity at the altar of power.”
So what are we to make of David’s life? “The story of David is not a story of what God wants us to be,” Peterson says, “but a story of God working with the raw material of our lives as he finds us.” David’s life is a reminder that God takes and uses sinful, imperfect people.
Feeling too sinful to be accepted by God? Feeling too imperfect? God’s grace will take you as you are—imperfectly acceptable. —Sheridan Voysey
Matthew 2:13-23 ‹365-day plan
other side of David’s sinful, imperfect life.
Do you think God expects you to be perfect? What separated sinful, imperfect David from someone like Saul?