I wander how much Jesus must have related to David and his story. I am sure when Jesus read "a man after Gods own heart" he longed to be known as a man with that heart. Yet, Davids life was full of trouble and turmoil.
David goes out and defeats Goliath and he is praised as a Mighty warrior. From this, contempt and hate begins to take hold in the life of Saul. Suddenly, this young boy who had played the harp for him and helped him win a huge victory is the subject of his evil desires. Saul tries killing David. He attempted to do this with his own spear, sending David into perilous fighting situations, all while David was faithful to serve him.
I am sure this confused David as he went into hiding. David had already been anointed king over Israel, but from his perspective, he would not live to see the throne. David had forged a close friendship with Jonathan, Sauls son, yet not even that or marriage to Sauls daughter seemed to turn the heart of the king toward him. He had helped Saul win battles, secured victory in the name of Saul, was there to play sharp anytime Saul was troubled, yet still he was hated.
Now David has to flee, leaving behind all he had known, including his best friend Jonathan. He weeps as he says goodbye to Jonathan, knowing he will more than likely never see him again. Davids life had been turned upside down, yet one thing seemed to remain true, David trusted and hoped in God!
The life Jesus lived was similar in so many ways. Despised by the ones he came to save. Rejected by those who should have loved him the most. Several times attempts were made on his life by the hands of the people he had performed miracles for and even fed along the way. I imagine some of his nights alone with his Father, Jesus too must have wept as he pondered the enormous hatred vented toward him, causing him to live in the hedges and highways. Yet, like David, Jesus committed his heart to pursue the heart of His Father's. Jesus determined to remain true no matter what it cost him! Jesus loved the Lord his God even through the pains, tears, and sorrows of being hated by those he served.
May my heart be like that of David, like that of Jesus! May I love even when I am hated. May I serve even when I am despised. May my heart ache for the salvation of the very ones who seek to destroy me. May my focus be like that of Jesus, to remain faithful regardless of my circumstances.
When I think of the life of David, I tend to remember beating the giant and the wars he won. I think of the Psalms he wrote about green pastures and still waters. Or that he was anointed king and served as king for many years and that Jesus is a descendant of David.
1 Samuel 21 begins a chapter in Davids life that is far from "glamorous." David goes begging for bread from the priest at Nob. He lies about why he is there and seeks help from the priest. He also gets Goliaths sword because he fled from Saul in such desperation that he took nothing with him. This is the beginning of a period in David's life where he is constantly living on the run, hiding in the wilderness, and scraping to get by.
In 1 Samuel 21:10-15, David actually pretends to be insane, allowing drool to run down his beard all to try and save his own life. The point being, Davids life was not always pretty and peaceful and full of prosperity.
I know for certain this part of David's life meant a lot to Jesus. Jesus would not live the life of a king here on earth as David did. Most of Jesus' life looked more like this part of David's life. People hunting him down trying to kill him. Wondering in the wilderness, sometimes very hungry for food. Jesus even quotes this portion of Davids life when he and the disciples are accused of taking wheat heads from the fields on a Sabbath (did not David and his men eat the bread meant only for priest?)
And Jesus lived with the reality, as did David, that those who helped him would suffer. At the end of chapter 22, Saul had the priest who unwittingly helped David (remember, David lied about why he was there) killed along with the entire town of Nob. It was a message to the rest of the Israelites that any who sided with David would surely die.
Jesus knew all who followed him would face trouble, trials, and tribulation in this world. Unlike David, he did not lie about his mission or why he was here, and he did not hide from his followers what following him would cost them "In the world you will have trouble."
Jesus learned from David's life that simply being anointed as Gods chosen one did not mean a life of ease and prosperity. What he did learn was that being God's anointed meant being hated by those who rejected God. Following God could (and would for him) mean having your life out in danger and possibly dying for simply being His anointed one.
Jesus learned from David that his life would not be easy, but he also learned it would be more than worth it! (Because the story continues)
As I sit here in Cincinnati I pondered what I read early this morning. 1 Samuel 23 and 24. Wow, how deep the impact seemed to be here.
In 23, David hears members of his tribe are under attack by the Philistines. He "inquires of the Lord" and asked if he should go help and if they would win. God tells him clearly to go and that they would win.
But when David rallied the men, they did not want to go. They cried that the Philistines and their own people under king Saul would prefer them dead, so why should they help? So David paused and again "inquired of the Lord" if he should go. Again, God tells him to go and confirms they will be victorious. Therefore David obeyed and went.
Once there, they defeated the enemy, and just as his men assumed, Saul caught wind of it and was on his way to kill them. Again, David "inquired of the Lord" wether Saul meant him harm (answer: Yes) and if the people he just saved would turn him over to Saul (answer: They Will). So David fled.
As Jesus heard this story, I am certain the thing that stuck out the most was that David continually "inquired of the Lord" before making a move. David wanted to do what God wanted him to do. He wanted to go where God wanted him to go, regardless of the logic or possible danger. Jesus learned that David's decision was not a matter of logic or common sense, but of obedience to God.
We see the impact this had on Jesus as he consistently can be found "inquiring of the Lord." He declared "I do what I see my Father doing. I go where my Father sends me. I obey my Father." How did Jesus know what to do? When and where to go? He "inquired of the Lord."
I pray that this story would impact me as it did Jesus. That I too would "inquire of the Lord" and that I would boldly obey regardless of what others may say or what logic would presume. May my decisions be rooted not in common sense, but in obedience to my God!
1 Samuel 25
Jesus reads/hears the story of David, Nabal, and Abigail. David is sending men to get some provisions from Nabal, but Nabal is a harsh man and sends Davids men away empty handed. In fury, David mounts up with full intention of killing Nabal and all his men.
While on his way, Nabals wife Abigail comes out and meets David with provisions. David has just uttered a curse on himself if he does not lol Nabal and all that is His by nightfall and then Abigail arrives. She bows before him, begs him pardon her harsh husband and accept her gift. She uses these words:
28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”
David goes home, Nabal soon dies, and David takes Abigail as his wife.
How rich these words were to Jesus. He was constantly done wrong, mistreated, despised, and he held the power to slay all who opposed him. Yet here, in the words of Abigail, he is spoken to and sees that his grace and mercy and patience would not only spare him from doing something he would regret, but that it would also bring him what his heart desired! Having not avenged avenged himself, the Lord would bless him and he would have great success.
As a bonus, Jesus was given a gift for his obedience and his Father presented him a bride, both beautiful and fair to look upon in the body of Christ.
Such Impact. Such Grace. Such Mercy. Such Love.
May I live as Jesus lived as he learned to live through the impact this story had on his life.
So I know it has been a few days, but they have been good days filled with laughter, celebration, work, friends, and family. But they have also been filled with impact.
Closing out 1 Samuel 27-31, we read of Several different things. First we see that David goes and lives among the Philistines and he becomes friends with the ones who were once his enemies. Then Saul is facing battle and goes and sees a witch, (even though he had banned witches and seers from the land). Why did he do this, because when Saul called on the Lord, the Lord was silent. So Saul had the witch bring up Samuel so he could ask how the upcoming war would turn out because Saul was terrified.
In 28:16-19, Samuel answers Saul, but it is not the words he wanted to hear. These words would have deepened his terror. "The Lord has turned away from up and become your enemy . . . Because you did not obey the Lord."
These stories of impact on Jesus have a consistent balance to them. They are words of wisdom and strength balanced with words of warning. Here, in Saul, Jesus sees the terror that will befall a man who turns away from doing what God commands and attempts to live life by his own rules or do his own thing. Saul had everything handed to him, yet the Lord tore away it all, including peace in his heart and Saul lived in fear and terror from that day forward. He clung to the physical things in his life, his wealth, his throne, and he in the process disobeyed God. This led to him being abandoned by God and losing not only his joy in life, but also everything he he'd dear (wealth and position)
But there is a balance in here, but it too is not always a pretty picture. David goes with his new found friend, the Philistine king, to war against Saul. However, some of he Philistine leaders are concerned about his loyalty and David is sent home. Upon arriving, they find their town, Ziklag, has been attacked, burned, and all their wives and children taken captive. David and his men weep to the point of exhaustion. His men almost turn on him, "But David found strength in the Lord his God." (30:6)
What happens next shows why God chose David as his next king. Remember, God looked for a man after his own heart. Look what David does. 30:8, "and David inquired of the Lord, 'Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?"
Any other man would have risen up in anger and ran after the raiding party to save his wives and children. But David stopped and asked God what he should do and if he would succeed. God tells David to go and that he would succeed and David does just that. Not only does every man get all he lost back, but they also increased their wealth by taking home more than they had before. Once he returned home, the victor, he took the plunder and divided it among his men and then he sent some out to all the elders of Judah as well.
How wonderful the balance of these two stories for Jesus. First, the warning of what would happen to him should he forsake the commands and ways of God. He saw his total destruction if he were to have his kingdom torn from him if he disobeyed God. All he longed for, to be with his Father, would be forever stripped from him. But then to see the balance in David who went through an exhausting, miserable circumstance, much like Jesus would face, having an enemy take all that was precious in his eyes. A suffering so deep that the tears flowed until David was exhausted. All his men, like the people did to Jesus, would turn on him, yet David found strength in the Lord.
Jesus learned from this story of great sorrow and suffering that the only way to overcome was to find his strength in the Lord. And to then immediately take that strength, and not run head long into fighting the enemy, but to use that strength to "inquire of the Lord." To ask for direction and guidance. To seek His face and not only ask for direction, but to ask if it would succeed.
In this story, Jesus knew to seek his Father's face when sorrow overtook him and to ask his Father, as he had lost all his sheep who had been taken captive by his Enemy, and he inquired of the Lord, "Dad, will this be successful?" And His loving Father would tell him "Pursue them, you will surely overtake them and succeed in the rescue!" In other words, "Yes my Son, go to the cross, our plan of redeeming our people will succeed and you shall be like David,
30:18-19 "David (Jesus) recovered everything the Amalekites (Satan) had taken, including his two wives (the bride of Christ). Nothing was missing (of all He has given me, none shall be missing), young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they (he) had taken. David (Jesus) brought everything back."
What a wonderful story of warning followed by promise and encouragement for Jesus.