John Summerville, Elder
David has been said to be “a man after God’s own heart” and in today’s reading we get a glimpse of what that means. David is being pursued by King Saul and his 3000-man army with the intent to kill David and eliminate him as competitor to the throne. David and one of his favorite warriors, Abishai, have an opportunity to slay Saul as he and his army are sleeping. I would like to think that I am seeking God’s heart in all things but quite frankly in this ‘kill or be killed’ situation, I might be thankful to God for this opportunity to slay my would-be slayer. But instead, David spares Saul’s life and takes the bold move of seeking asylum with the enemy of Israel, the Philistines.
So what is going on here? David doesn’t seem to be thinking rationally. In fact, quite the contrary. He is obviously in great distress as his psalm indicates as he is being pressed by enemies on every side, and yet his conclusion is, “in God I trust: I will not be afraid. What can man do to me.” David has been anointed by Samuel and had a sense that he would one day be the leader of his people, and yet he was willing to let God do the work in God’s time. We can see from the passages of scripture we read today that David trusted God implicitly and that God was indeed not only faithful to protect him from Saul, but He also actually gave him favor with the Philistines. We can also see God acting in the hearts of the people as even fighting men from Saul’s own clan came to join David’s army.
The events that take place in these passages of scripture illustrate once again one of the dominant messages God has for us. “Trust Me as David trusted and watch Me do the work in your life.” Trusting God does not mean that we will always do what might seem right in our own eyes, but rather act in accordance with the Spirit of God.
How I wish that I could internalize that kind of total trust. “What can man do to me? I will not be afraid.” I have a long way to go and have taken many wrong turns over the years, but in the areas where I have trusted God, his faithfulness has amazed me. When my wife, Shelly and I and our new baby first moved to Vermont 30 years ago, we had very little income and lived several years below the poverty level. We were determined to trust God in this and continued to return the tithe to him from the little income that we had. Today, I can only stand back and be amazed at God’s blessing. Trusting God doesn’t always seem like the rational thing to do but it is the right thing to do.
Thank you, David, for being a model for us in trusting God to guide you, to save you, and to use you. May we surrender our lives to God everyday and trust that he will work all things for good. Amen.