“For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.”
— First Samuel 20:31
Here Saul tells his son Jonathan that by siding with David, he was forfeiting the kingdom Saul was seeking to pass on to him. In Saul’s view, Jonathan was heir to his kingdom. Someone should have asked Saul, “Shall you decide who will be Israel’s king? The kingdom is God’s, not yours, and it is His decision who will rule!”
No matter how badly Saul may have wanted Jonathan to rule after him, it was not his to decide. This intention of Saul’s—to establish his descendants as Israel’s monarchy by force—was very offensive to God. David’s line was chosen instead. Later, when David set his son upon the throne, it was done according to God’s revelation, not for his own continuation (1 Chron. 28:5–7).
It is very common in religion to assume that spiritual things can be passed on by way of inheritance. Many otherwise spiritual men have sought to find a place for their children in what the Lord has given them. Eli allowed his sons to serve as priests when they were not worthy (1 Sam. 2:22), and even Samuel attempted to set his sons up to govern Israel after him, in spite of the fact they did not know the Lord and even took bribes (1 Sam. 8:1–3). Samuel seemed to be perfect in every way except this. How difficult it is for a father not to want to see his son follow in his footsteps!
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, page 37.
Tomorrow: “We Serve and Pass On” (2)