For the last several weeks I’ve been studying 1 Samuel and it has quickly become one of my favorite Old Testament books. In this book we are introduced to Israel’s first king, Saul, whose actions do not line up with God’s Will. We are also introduced to Israel’s coming king, David, who is described as a “man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
Just to give you a little background, basically Saul is appointed King of Israel, ending the nation’s former theocracy (governing by God alone) and beginning its monarchy. Saul, although anointed by God, does not follow God. When God decides enough is enough, He informs Saul through His prophet Samuel that his kingdom will indeed end, for He “has found a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). That man is David. Although David has been appointed and anointed as king, he will not become king until Saul’s death. Saul, in jealousy and anger, continuously attempts to murder David, which brings us to where we are now.
In 1 Samuel 24, David is hiding in a cave, on the run from King Saul. Saul, unaware of David’s presence, enters the cave and, although he is close enough to kill Saul, David spares him! Here he is, literally close enough to end the threat Saul poses on his life and he chooses to let him go. All of the men with David encourage him to kill Saul, saying, “Look, this is the day the LORD told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you…’” (1 Samuel 24:4). Yet, David chooses to let him live.
Once Saul is a reasonable distance away, David calls out to him, begging him to end the chase, promising that his hand “will never be against [Saul]” (1 Samuel 24:12). Saul agrees to stop chasing David and they each go on their way. Saul, however, in his envy cannot keep his promise and his hunt continues just as before.
In chapter 26, David is walking among Saul’s camp while they are all asleep. He and the man with him, Abishai, approach Saul, “lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head” (1 Samuel 26:7). Abishai then says to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” (1 Samuel 26:8). David’s response here is similar to that in chapter 24: “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the LORD’s anointed and be innocent?” (1 Samuel 26:9). Again we see David putting God’s Will above his own, though his will would make his life a lot easier--and would make him king over all of Israel.
I’m sure that in all of this, David continually prayed that God would end Saul’s pursuit of him. I'm sure that he begged God to take him out of his difficult, life-threatening circumstances. And every time he did, God surely promised to keep him safe, though He never chose to do it the way David probably wanted Him to. Everyone around him repeatedly told him to kill Saul, but David chose not to. It even seemed that God was delivering Saul into David’s hands, but David knew better. He could have followed the advice of his men, taking Saul’s life. But instead, David sought God’s Will alone.
I don’t know about you, but there have been countless times in my life where I have been faced with a choice between my will and God’s Will. Sometimes the people around me encourage me to do my own will. Sometimes it may even seem like my will is God’s Will. But if I seek His guidance, I often find a different answer than I’m expecting.
David desired God’s Will and His glory over his own comfort and convenience. Do I?
When I face the most difficult of trials, will I choose what is best--God’s Will--or what is easiest--an end to my suffering for my convenience? His purposes and His glory rarely come easily. David knew it. I know it. But my actions aren’t always in line with what I know and believe.
My challenge for you--and for me--is to seek God’s glory and Will over our own. The message of Scripture is consistent and we are challenged by God’s Word to face hard places, rather than look for an easy way out. Let’s do that together.
In His Grip,