Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 18 – 30; 1 Chronicles 12:1-22
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. – Psalm 34:17-18
After David killed Goliath, Saul no longer saw David as a humble servant but as a threat to his own popularity and throne. David spent the next few years running from Saul’s anger and attempts to kill him, a time when he possibly wrote many of the Psalms that now help us when we face hard times. Saul hunted him day after day, but God didn’t let Saul find him (1 Samuel 23:14b). Once more, God was protecting David.
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me.
My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness. – Psalm 57:1-3
For years Saul continued to chase David in an attempt to kill him. Time after time David was given the opportunity to retaliate and end Saul’s life but he refused. David saw value in Saul’s life by looking at him through the eyes of God instead of through his own victim eyes. He showed no signs of hatred or vengeance towards Saul but instead pleaded with him time after time to see his heart – to see that he loved the king and would be loyal to him.
“Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king – he is the Lord’s anointed one’” (1 Samuel 24:10b).
David’s men encouraged him to take advantage of these opportunities by killing Saul, but David was looking to God for his reward, not for the praise of men. “The Lord gives his own reward for doing good and for being loyal, and I refused to kill you even when the Lord placed you in my power, for you are the Lord’s anointed one. Now may the Lord value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles” (1 Samuel 26:23-24).
David had the opportunity to carry out vengeance against another wicked man – Nabal from Maon. Nabal’s wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. She wisely went to David with generous gifts of food for he and his men. She recognized that God was with David and asked for David to trust God instead of retaliating against Nabal.
“…The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life. Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch!…” – 1 Samuel 25:28b-29
David praised God and thanked Him for Abigail’s good sense. He sent Abigail home in peace and promised not to kill Nabal. The next morning, Nabal had a stroke and 10 days later the Lord struck him and he died. David recognized that the Lord was again taking care of him; that he could trust God to fight his battles for him. Sometimes the Lord sends us into battle with our enemies and sometimes He calls us to do nothing and let Him fight the battle without us.
David married the beautiful and sensible Abigail. He also married Ahinoam from Jezreel, making both of them his wives. David moved on from that area with his men and continued to hide from King Saul. Because of Saul’s jealousy, David was forced to live among the Philistines – who also rejected him. He tried to join their army, but they sent David and his men back home because they were foreigners and the rulers did not trust them. When David and his men returned to their home, it had been destroyed and their families captured. His men wept and became bitter, but David “found strength in the Lord his God” (30:6). God was faithful and gave David and his men victory over those who had raided their homes, and they were reunited with their family members receiving back all of their possessions and more (30:19)
So what can I find in my morning coffee to energize me spiritually today? To value life as God values life, and to trust God with all He has given me, finding my strength in God and God alone. There may be times when we suffer due to the choices of others. There may be times when we would be justified in our retaliation or anger. But my soul will NOT find rest in hatred or self-pity. It will find rest in God alone. God is God and if we truly trust Him, we will leave justice in His hands and look to Him for our reward and for our rescue.
In the words of David:
When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn…
I pray to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.” – Psalm 142:3a,5
I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. – Psalm 52:8b-9a
But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!…
I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For you have rescued me from my troubles and helped me to triumph over my enemies. – Psalm 54:4-7
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?…
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!
So now I walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light. – Psalm 56:3-4, 8-9,13b