David 5

1 Samuel 24:8-12

I have had my share of adversaries in my life. Just like everyone else, there is always someone who, for some reason or another, doesn’t like me or seems to “have it in for me.” And, I must confess, some of these conflicts have stirred a fait amount of anger in me.

But, I have found that when I encounter the other person in the presence of their own family – children, siblings, parents – I come to realize that they are not entities which exist in a void, but they are people like me. That makes it a little easier to forgive and forget.

Saul has been pursuing David. While searching for him, Saul enters a cave where David is hiding but does not see him. David has the opportunity to kill this adversary, but instead cuts away a piece of cloth from Saul’s robe.

How does David greet Saul? What does David want to know from Saul? How does David prove he is not out to harm Saul? What is David’s final vow?

If any man had the right and plenty of reasons to kill another, David did. Close reading of the many chapters detailing Saul’s relationship with David indicates that this king is mentally and emotionally unbalanced, excessively jealous, and apparently unable to see reason.

David has had a great deal of torment from King Saul. Beginning in 1 Samuel 18 Saul has sought ways to kill David, and twice tried to “pin him to the wall” with a spear. Because of this animosity and jealousy David has had to live in exile and in hiding. Yet, when an opportunity to end the conflict comes, David refuses to do harm to Saul. (David spares him again in 1 Samuel 26:9.)

David has every reason to kill Saul but he will not because he respects the man, even though Saul does not deserve respect. David recognizes that, although Saul has been rejected by God, there was a time when Saul was chosen by God (see 1 Samuel 10:1).

We may be in conflict with others. We may be angry with other people, and there may in fact be those who intend us harm. But we must remember that even our enemies are children of God. Even those who will do us harm or torment us with words are loved by God.

As difficult as it may be to love our enemies, it might be easier when we remember that they are part of the family of God. If God can love them, perhaps we can too.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Pray for your enemies.

David 4

1 Samuel 21:4-6

One day last summer when it was particularly hot and dry, a meter reader knocked on the door of the church and asked for a drink. We don’t have a drinking fountain, but I was able to find a can of cola for him in one of the refrigerators. On that day I was reminded of this story.

David is on the run from Saul and has gone to Nob. Tired and hungry, he has asked Ahimelech the priest for food. What does the priest have? What assurance must David give? What does Ahimelech give him?

This story is the one Jesus refers to when he explains that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-28). Jesus’ reference seems to be a commentary on the unnecessarily strict rules and regulations of some religious practices, as well as a comment on holy attitudes versus holy actions.

But I find this passage about David somewhat symbolic. Receiving the consecrated bread, to me, is reminiscent of the anointing that he received from Saul in 1 Samuel 16:13.

The bread that Ahimelech had was holy bread, consecrated bread, bread intended to serve God. Yet this bread is given to David for his sustenance, to refresh him and give him new strength. In a way, this bread became a gift from God to provide for David. David was being fed from the Lord’s table.

The chilled can of soda was not a consecrated drink, but giving it was an act of grace in the Lord’s name. David also was the recipient of a gracious act in the name of God. He was helped in a difficult time, and that help can be seen as coming from God.

Like David, we may find ourselves on the run from troubles. We may not literally be on the lam, but we may emotionally feel that we are being pursued by heartache, hatred and malice. Where can we find the bread that will give us strength? Where will we receive a cool drink?

When we turn to the Lord we are always welcomed by God. He invites us to come to His table again and again. Whether physically finding the nourishment we need, or spiritually receiving the rest and refreshment that gives us strength, God gives freely from His table to all who turn to Him in need.

Before continuing on your journey I encourage you to come to the table of God and be fed.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Ask God for strength from His holy bread.

David 3

1 Samuel 18:1-4

While working at a local newspaper, each editor was assigned a certain number of pages that were that editor’s responsibility. Yet, no page ever went to press until at least two editors had signed off on the sheet. It was common for us to say, “I need another pair of eyes.”

Having a companion in the work, a different perspective, was very beneficial in avoiding mistakes and establishing confidence that we were doing a good job.

In today’s passage we see the beginning of a relationship between King Saul’s son, Jonathan, and David – a relationship which will last a long time. How does Jonathan feel toward David? According to verse 3 what does Jonathan do? What does Jonathan give to David?

David, champion against Goliath and the one who was anointed to be the future king, is taken in by the royal family. But David is not alone. The king’s son has established a bond with this young hero and pledges to be faithful to him.

As a sign of this pledge, Jonathan offers his robe, tunic, sword, bow, even his belt. He gives all of these devices, items of protection, to his friend. It is a sign of trust that there will be no barrier between the two.

David now has a loyal friend who will help him in all the ordeals that he will face. (You can read about all of these in 1 Samuel 19 and 20.) And we see similar pledges in 1 Samuel 20:14-15 and 1 Samuel 20:42.

As we go through life it is important to find someone you can trust, someone you can turn to for good advice, someone you can count on for a fresh perspective on certain situations. Most people can find another person to be a companion, one who can be relied upon. These friends can be a true help in times of trouble or doubt.

But if you feel there is no one you can truly trust enough with your problems, you need to remember that you have a friend who can be counted on. Jesus loves you as himself. I believe that each of us can turn to Christ in times of doubt or uncertainty and that Jesus will respond. We may not be able to see his face or touch his hand as we can with mortals, but he is just as real as any person in your life.

It is good to value relationships, to tend them and have them grow. But we must never overlook the companion and friend who is also our Savior. Go to Jesus in prayer whenever troubles confront you and he will be your companion though it all.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Is there something in your life that requires the presence of Jesus for your comfort and confidence?

David 2

1 Samuel 17:45-49

Young David had been brought into the service of King Saul (1 Samuel 16:18-23) and the Israelites are at war with the Philistines. The Philistines have a champion, Goliath, a giant among men who mocks the Israelites daily and challenges them to fight. Only David, a shepherd skilled at defending the sheep from lions and bears, is willing to face the giant. And David has only a sling and some stones.

Why is David confident? What will be the result of David’s victory? What does David do?

Most people are familiar with this conflict between the giant and the little shepherd boy. The story is not only an inspiration for those facing insurmountable odds, but it also is a reminder of the faith and confidence we should all have in life.

David relied on the skills he had learned and honed while tending sheep. There were times when wild animals – lions and bears – would try to steal the sheep, but David would kill the animal and save the flock.

Each of us faces challenges in our lives at one time or another. We may feel that tasks in our job require an effort beyond our capabilities. We may struggle with relationships with other people, relationships that make us feel insignificant or threatened. We may feel that our faith is under attack, that events and situations bring up questions and doubts in our hearts.

Whenever we feel that we are not up to the task at hand – whether at work, in dealing with others, or in holding firm in our faith – we must remember David. He took the simple skills he knew and put them to use for a greater good. He armed himself with faith in God, with an unshakable confidence in the Lord’s power. This gave him the ability to overcome his enemy and do the impossible.

Each of us has skills in something. We may look at those skills as something powerful or as something weak. But that skill can be made into something wonderful if it is employed for God.

And we must add faith in God as part of our attitude when facing challenges. We are given confidence of overcoming all obstacles if we can completely believe that God is with us and that He will assist us in what we do. With the Lord on our side we can overcome any giant that stands against us.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What is your biggest challenge? What skills can you hand over to God so that He might help you overcome the challenge?

David 1

1 Samuel 16:10-13

For the next several weeks we will be looking at God’s table of abundant blessings and His invitation for us to join him. To prepare for this, we thought it might be helpful to have an understanding of who David is.

We are in the process of trying to find an electric guitar. The search is proving to be longer than I expected, but that is okay since we want to get the best quality at the lowest price. When making any purchase I am usually quick to make a decision, while my wife takes longer and does more research.

In 1 Samuel 16 we have the story of Samuel being sent by God to anoint a replacement for King Saul. How many sons were rejected? Who was left? How did Samuel know to anoint this one? What was the result?

The king, Saul, has been rejected by God and God wants someone to be the replacement. He has told Samuel to go to the home of Jesses and anoint the son that God chooses. Samuel had at first wanted to select Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab, because he was so big and strong. But God told Samuel that He looks at the inside, the heart, rather than the outward appearances.

It isn’t until the youngest son, David, a boy of about nine, ten or eleven is brought in from watching the sheep that God reveals His decision. Samuel is told to anoint this handsome boy, not because of his strength and size, and not because he is ruddy and healthy, but because God knows his heart.

God knows that David will be a loyal and obedient servant, and so God chooses him as the next king.

Now we have two lessons for ourselves. First, God does not judge on outward appearance, therefore neither should we. We should not pass judgment on others by the way they dress or the way they may talk or act in public. We should get to know the real self, the deeper person within. Those whose appearance may at first seem coarse to us may in fact have the purest of hearts.

Second, since God does not judge on outward appearances but judges the heart, we should spend less time worrying about how we might appear and spend more time refining our heart. Are we genuine in our faith? Are we truly loving and caring in our hearts, or is what we do done for show?

DAILY CHALLENGE: If God judges the heart, what would He say about yours?