“Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.”
II Samuel 3:1
After the death of Saul, David was anointed king over the house of Judah. However, Abner, the captain of Saul’s military, made Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, king over Israel. Though Saul was deceased, the battle continued between some of his followers and the house of David. Our text describes the “long war between the house of Saul and the house of David” and the result of the conflict. “David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.” Saul, through his disobedience and rebellion, had forfeited his ability to rule God’s people. David was chosen by God to succeed Saul. Although Abner made an effort to keep the kingdom of Saul in power, David was destined to reign. Gradually, the house of Saul weakened, and the house of David ruled.
These two kings, as well as their lifestyles, illustrate practical lessons for our own spiritual growth. Saul represents the result of prideful living. He began his service as king in a humble way, but that soon gave way to presumption and self-will. On the other hand, David represents humility and dependence on the Lord. Saul is a picture of a man serving in the flesh, while David is a picture of a spiritual servant. We have to deal with these two principles in our individual lives. Will the flesh or the spirit govern us? Will we walk by faith and dependence upon God, or will we trust in ourselves and rely on our abilities? As there “was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David,” we are in a continual battle within ourselves. The New Testament says, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17).
If the house of David could represent the spiritual part of the believer, we see that it was growing “stronger and stronger.” In our personal growth, we want to see the spiritual man growing “stronger and stronger” and the flesh waxing “weaker and weaker.” Who is winning in our lives? As we deny ourselves and our carnal appetites and consistently yield to God’s will, we will see the spiritual man growing “stronger and stronger.”