2 Samuel 21

When Righteousness and Justice Reign.

“During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD.” ­– 2 Samuel 21:1a NLT

As we have seen, David was far from perfect. He made a lot of mistakes as a father and as a king. But the one thing that set David apart from Saul and the vast majority of the kings who would follow him, was his devotion to God. He truly was a man after God’s own heart. He cared for and was passionate about the things of God. He desired to do God’s will and obey His commands. When he failed to do so, he willingly accepted God’s rebuke and patiently sought His forgiveness. We see time and time again where David sought the face of the Lord. He wanted to rule according to the will of God. He wanted God to be the one to guide and direct His steps. And chapter 21 shows once again how David was able to rule righteously and justly. He sought God’s face. He turned to God for wisdom.

David found himself ruling during three years of extreme famine. The land was suffering and so were the people. So David sought God to find out the cause of this event, and God gives him the reason. It was because Saul had been unfaithful to Israel’s covenant with the Gibeonites. Saul had evidently refused to acknowledge Israel’s treaty with the Gibeonites (Joshua 9) and put some of them to death. As a result, God punished Israel with a famine (lack of fertility). When God informed David about the cause of the famine, he determined to right the wrong, according to the Mosaic Law. He made sure that justice was done. He asked the Gideonites what it was going to take to bring them satisfaction (propitiate) and remove (expiate) the famine from the land. But at the same time, David acted justly by keeping his promise to Mephibosheth, he son of Saul. He protected Mephibosheth and did not turn him over to the Gibeonites. David also removed the bodies of the seven men who were executed and gave them proper burials, along with Saul and Jonathan. In this whole affair, David acted righteously and justly. And because of David’s actions, God restored fertility to the land again.

David’s actions illustrated that he was a covenant-keeping, righteous-ruling king just like God. He did what was right, even if it meant correcting a wrong that someone else had committed. He willingly cleaned up the mess that Saul had made and restored God’s blessing on Israel in the process. This chapter gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to rule righteously and justly. And this can apply to a father in his home, a business owner at their office, a pastor over his flock, or a politician over his constituents. And it begins with seeking God’s face. David was able to do what was right and just because he had a right relationship with God. He knew the heart of God. He also knew the law of God. He was not at a loss as to what was going to be required to right his wrong. So he was able to respond quickly, appropriately, and justly.

Father, may we learn to rule and reign like David, regardless of the size or scope of our “kingdom.” May I learn to administer justice in my home in a godly way. May I learn to respond to the spiritual famines in my life by seeking Your face and doing Your will in order to see justice done. Give me a heart like David had. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men