v 3. So there at Hebron, King David made a covenant before the Lord with all the elders of Israel. And they anointed him king of Israel.
From the very outset of his reign David was determined to keep God at the centre of national life. This covenant, or agreement, with the leaders of all Israel in the presence of God set the pattern of ‘rule by consent rather than coercion’. Unlike the vast majority of rulers in ancient times David was able to lead the nation without oppression; he was not a dictator but more of an accepted leader who had the confidence of his people.
That pattern of leadership remains the best and most fruitful even today. It undergirds the best principles of democracy and when genuinely embedded in the affairs of state makes for stability and peace in society. There may be moments when we despair of democracy, especially when leaders and the general population get out of step, or apparently dictatorial decrees fly in the face of common sense and only benefit a minority of the people while disadvantaging a majority.
I doubt if any of us would say that Democracy is a perfect way of Government, or even God’s pattern for good government. What it generally achieves however is to maintain responsible government by consent of the people – and that is just what David achieved as King.
This relationship between Government and people is something about which we should be praying in our day and age. Bitter arguments and disputes have not made politicians flavour of the month – they need our prayers for wisdom and good judgement in the affairs of state. We do well to heed Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 2 ‘I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. ‘