Monday, March 21, 2011

1 Samuel 19-23

Sorry to be late with this posting, as usual Sunday has been a long day for me including a quick trip to the Lake of the Ozarks to be recognized by my old education companions who honored me with an Emeritus Educator award.  It was nice but it caused me to lose a few hours sleep.  I am writing this on Monday morning before resuming my normal church duties.  Hope it is helpful to you as you think about David's life in the wilderness as Saul pursues him relentlessly.

Just a few thoughts; the 1st about the friendship between Jonathon and David.  What a wonderful but tragic thing to see.  Jonathon recognizes his Father's madness and pledges his loyalty to the one that he knows is blessed by God.  How difficult that must have been to deceive one's own father.  And how difficult to be ordered to kill his best friend!  Jonathon refuses and he and David make a pledge to each other.  The result of that pledge much later is the story of Jonathon's son Mephiboseth (2 Samuel 9) who is protected by David because of his pledge of love to Jonathon.

Most of the rest of these reading are about incidents in David's life as he evades the pursuit of his pursuer Saul.  Jonathon saves him, Mical saves him, the Priest of Nob saves him, his feigning of madness saves him, others who grow weary of the king's madness join him and become part of David's defense.

In all of this God's hand can be seen.  How difficult it must have been for David to feel God's presence as he hid in caves and the wilderness, as he trusted his parents to the care of strangers when he took them to the King of Moab for protection from Saul.  But God was there, encouraging by his Holy Spirit and providing providential care that prevented Saul from finding and killing this one who was "a man after God's own heart".  Later many of these incidents become the inspiration for the Psalms that David wrote as he worshiped the God who was his protector.  Remember to read the descriptors when we get to our reading of the Psalms.  Just a few that come to my mind are Psalm 34 which was written out of David's experience as he feigned insanity to elude the Philistines.  Psalm 52 written about Doeg the Edomite who betrayed David and the slew the Priests of Nob who have David bread and the sword of Goliath.  Psalm 142 written about his experience as he hid from his pursuers in a cave. 

We must be careful, even in the most difficult times of our lives, to remember that God is present in all things and that while all things are not good, God can use all things for good.  Trusting in his benevolence, his mercy and his love will help us to keep a positive outlook as we experience the bumps and bruises of life.  God can use our wilderness experiences and times when life is crushing us to shape us into something even more useful for the kingdom work that he is preparing us for.  Be faithful in all things and look for a few good friends like Jonathon who will be an encouragement and protector as you make your way on the upward path that leads to God's glorious eternity.

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