David is an excellent example of a man who walked together with God. He was chosen and set apart by God to be king. He was anointed by God’s prophet, Samuel, to this. David prayed to God, asking for direction in his decisions. He knew how to hear God’s voice, too, so he recognized God’s answers to his prayers. Then, David submitted to God by following the LORD’s instructions. David was established by God as king.
But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul' army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul's son Ishbosheth. There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel. (2 Samuel 2:8-9 NLT)
Abner and Ishbosheth, however, were not soo good at walking together with God. Ishbosheth was not chosen, set apart, or anointed by God as king of Israel. He was simply a son of the previous God-selected king. There is no indication that Ishbosheth or Abner prayed to God, asking for direction in this decision. If they did ask, they clearly did not know how to hear God’s voice. If they did hear God’s voice, they either did not recognize it or simply did not submit to God.
As the war between the house of Saul and the house of David went on, Abner became a powerful leader among those loyal to Saul. One day Ishbosheth, Saul's son, accused Abner of sleeping with one of his father's concubines, a woman named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah. Abner was furious. "Am I some Judean dog to be kicked around like this?" he shouted. "After all I have done for your father, Saul, and his family and friends by not handing you over to David, is this my reward--that you find fault with me about this woman? May God strike me and even kill me if I don't do everything I can to help David get what the LORD has promised him! (2 Samuel 3:6-9 NLT)
Abner may have had poor intentions, but his decision to help David become king of the northern tribes was a good one. Notice what he said to Ishbosheth. He is going to help David “get what the LORD has promised him!” Abner knew that the LORD promised to make David king. Abner and Ishbosheth were purposefully working against the LORD.
That was the beginning of a long war between those who were loyal to Saul and those loyal to David. As time passed David became stronger and stronger, while Saul's dynasty became weaker and weaker. (2 Samuel 3:1 NLT)
David became stronger and Saul’s followers became weaker for one and only one reason: The LORD chose David. The tribes in the north just were not willing to submit to God. Abner, though, finally came around. He got together with the elders of the northern tribes of Israel and tried to convince them to change their course.
Meanwhile, Abner had consulted with the elders of Israel. "For some time now," he told them, "you have wanted to make David your king. Now is the time! For the LORD has said, 'I have chosen David to save My people Israel from the hands of the Philistines and from all their other enemies.'" (2 Samuel 3:17-18 NLT)
Notice again what it says, “I have chosen David…” Abner, Ishbosheth, and the elders of the northern tribes all knew that David was the LORD’s chosen king. Finally, they gave in. They sent Abner to talk to David and join all the tribes of Israel back together again, with David as their king.
Then Abner said to David, "Let me go and call an assembly of all Israel to support my lord the king. They will make a covenant with you to make you their king, and you will rule over everything your heart desires." So David sent Abner safely on his way. (2 Samuel 3:21 NLT)
How about you? Are you more like David, submitting to God as King right away? Or, are you more like Abner, struggling against God until you finally give in and allow God to be your King? How quickly to you submit to The King?