How do you become a David when you serve a madman like Saul or are faced with a rebellious son like Absalom? How do you avoid manipulating people and events to grasp a kingdom before your turn comes? How do resist hanging onto a kingdom when someone tries to take it from you? How do you resist the temptation to move too soon or hang on too long? How do you avoid getting hit by a spear when your enemies start chucking them at you?
These questions are woven into Gene Edwards short book, A Tale of Three Kings: A study in brokenness. The book was referenced in the first chapter of Andy Stanley’s new book, Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. Stanley credited the book for given him perspective during a difficult season of life. Curious, I found a copy at my local library and decided to read it.
The short book provides a profile of three kings—Saul, David, and Absalom. David was sandwiched between Saul, a madman who tried to kill David on numerous occasions and Absalom, a rebellious son who tried to kill his father and steal the kingdom from him. Recognizing that Saul was the Lord’s anointed, David resisted the temptation to become a spear throwing maniac like Saul. He walked away and allowed brokenness to become the condition of his heart rather than ambition.
David later faced a similar temptation when his son, Absalom, tried to steal the kingdom. Edwards describes David’s response when he says,
“I will leave the city. The throne is the Lord’s. So is the kingdom. I will not hinder God. No obstacle, no activity on my part lies between me and God’s will. Nothing will prevent him from accomplishing his will. If I am not to be king, God will find no difficulty in making Absalom to be Israel’s king. Now it is possible. God shall be God!”
In his response to both Saul and Absalom, Edwards points out that David chose to walk away alone. Rather than divide the kingdom, David simply left and allowed God to use brokenness to shape his heart for the next assignment.
I was encouraged by the message of the book. Having worked with a few Sauls and Absaloms over the years, I could identify with David’s plight. At times, I wanted to be a spear thrower like Saul. At other times, I wanted to steal the kingdom like Absalom. But I learned that walking away and trusting God to fight for me is much more effective.