What do you do when there is nothing you can do? And who do you turn to when your friends are ready to kill you, and your enemies have already tried?
In the culture of blame that our society has become, it is important for believers to keep a firm grip on one of the central aspects of God’s dealings with men: the Lord has no interest in making it easy to follow him.
While we might blame the mother who smacked us (or didn’t), what are we going to do with God, who seems only too happy to allow our lives to go pear-shaped, just when we thought we had it all together. It will find out what you’re made of, he smiles. And be assured – it will.
David in the Bible was an excellent shepherd who would certainly have made ‘employee of the month’ – until Samuel ruined all that. Next thing, he is facing out a giant, and then learning to protect himself from another deadly foe – his own king!
Surely this is unreasonable! Seems so to me as well. But it is worth remembering that God is in charge and we are not. And his ways are higher than ours.
Chased around like an outlaw, David takes a fit of human reasoning, and decides to leave Israel for a while to get some peace. And just 16 months later Saul gets what’s coming to him and it seems that finally things are looking up.
You’d think so. But in fact, that was the cue for the fiasco of Ziklag. While David and his men were away, the Amalakites had struck – gone was everything and everyone they held dear.
Now even David’s own men were talking of stoning him. If anyone had the right to hold a pity party it was David, but instead we read these glorious words: “David found strength in the Lord his God.”
And that is what we must do. Those who want to follow the Lord learn that ease and godliness make poor bedfellows. It is the road to hell that is broad. The road up is always just that: up!
Instead of collapsing, David did the very thing that Saul found himself incapable of: he got the answer from God. Go down after these Amalakites, because “you will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue” he is told. And even though a third of his men were too exhausted to go with him, David did just that.
Interestingly, it was from the plunder of this victory that David sent gifts to the elders of Judah, paving the way for his return – this time as king.
So, as one wise man has said, next time life kicks you, be sure that it kicks you forward!