I love painting pictures with words; and in addition to my books, I occasionally write essays for a Christian blog. They’re usually just a few hundred words long, with nuggets of wisdom wrapped around Biblical stories. I’ve got a few I’ll be posting here over the next few weeks; here is today’s:
There’s Always Hope
1 Samuel 29.10 So get up early in the morning, you and your masters’ servants who came with you. When you’ve all gotten up early, go as soon as it’s light.”
David spent years running from King Saul. The man was certifiable and wanted him dead in a bad kind of way, even though David wanted nothing more than to serve the king’s elect until his time to be king arrived. Having grown tired of running and hiding and not being able to assure the safety of his family and his men, David made a fateful decision:
1 Samuel 27.1 David said to himself, “One of these days I’ll be swept away by Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape immediately to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will stop searching for me everywhere in Israel, and I’ll escape from him.”
Probably not the wisest move for the future king of Israel, allying himself with his mortal enemy, but in a moment of weakness, a moment of emotion versus fact, a moment of doubt, a moment of thinking he knew what to do with his life better than God did, David did what we’ve all done: he made a mistake. A costly one. David wasn’t just going to be hanging out with the locals. He wasn’t going to just go into Philistia and say, I’m just gonna hide here until Saul is dead. No. He was expected to serve. Raid neighboring towns and tribes, especially Israelite ones. Be the personal guards to the king’s son. Do as commanded by the king. This is a heavy price to pay for the future king of Israel – he would be losing the respect and love of his people, even before he gained the crown.
Then the armies of Israel and Philistia meet. It’s been a year and four months since David joined the ranks of the enemy. He started off his tenure there by killing Israel’s enemies and lying about it to his commander, Prince Achish. But now, he will have no choice: he will have to kill his countrymen.
We get no indication though that David would have any issue with it. He and his men march proudly alongside Achich, a mistake that compounded itself. First David decided he knew best for his life, and now, he is serving the enemy, willingly:
I Samuel 28: 2 David replied to Achish, “Good, you will find out what your servant can do.”
We all make mistakes. We all justify and compound them. It’s human nature. But at some point, we have to decide if we indeed know best. We have to acknowledge that God in his infinite wisdom sometimes allows us to go through persecution, like David did, so that we can grow, and learn compassion, and become the persons God has called us to be. Even if we never know the reason why we go through what we do, we can’t live life without him. It won’t always be easy, it’s worth it in the end. For our sakes. For the sakes of those whose lives we will impact and for the sake of our nation(s).
But wait. We’re marching into battle against our former countrymen, about to make our mistake catastrophic. And worse yet, we’re still justifying it. We’re clinging to the lies we’ve told ourselves. We might be lost, but the situation is not.
I Samuel 29.6 So Achish summoned David and told him, “As the Lord lives, you are an honorable man. I think it is good to have you working with me in the camp, because I have found no fault in you from the day you came to me until today. But the leaders don’t think you are reliable.
Everyone thought it was a great a idea to have David fighting…except the enemy itself. The commanders of the army cornered the prince and in so many words, told him to send David packing, lest he decide to switch sides during battle, something perhaps even David didn’t consider, because his response was:
I Samuel 29:8 “But what have I done?” David replied to Achish. “From the first day I was with you until today, what have you found against your servant to keep me from going along to fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”
I’ve been faithful, he said. I just want to serve. I want to prove my worth. I want to show you who I really am. I can’t keep running, hiding, I wasn’t made for that. I was made for this. I was made to stand out, to take charge, to be in charge, not do nothing.
What is your mistake? Is it concerning a job? A relationship? Finances? Family? Seemingly nothing? Whatever the argument, it boils down to this: “I know what I’m doing.” And with that, our mistakes are now changing the way we think.
But there’s always hope in God. Achish didn’t let David argue. He said, yep, you’ve been a great bodyguard and more than that, a good friend. But it’s best if you just go home. Then he added, don’t do anything the commanders will judge as wrong, just get up early in the morning and go as soon as it’s light.
A word of advice, as Achish was afraid his commanders would hurt David. Nay, kill him.
Even in the land of the enemy, while serving the wrong master, while in the midst of a costly mistake, God was protecting David.
We don’t fight Philistines, but we do face off against personal demons that would otherwise take us out. Demons we entertain. Enemies we’ve taken up with. Mistakes that would throw us off the path God has been directing us towards.
But like David, God is still with us and he’s still looking out for us. We may be quick to give up on God, on everyone else, and worse yet, ourselves, figuring we’re too far gone, but God hasn’t. He sees the end from the beginning and if he says there’s still hope for you, there is still hope. So don’t give up, because no matter what mistakes we’ve made, there’s always hope for you in God.