Today’s reading: I Samuel 21-24.
David was God’s chosen man, a man after God’s own heart. Yet for ten years he lived on the run as Saul constantly sought him in order to kill him. David was forced to send his parents into exile, and anyone who had dealings with David, no matter how innocent, was in danger of execution by King Saul.
Now David and his men were in the Desert of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon. Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David. Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.” Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. I Samuel 23:24-28
Though it may seem strange to Americans who have enjoyed religious freedom, David’s experience is not unusual. The Bible is full of reminders that the life devoted to God is often a life full of conflict and persecution. It may be that the American experience is the exception rather than the rule. Believers suffer conflict because:
- We are in the world but not of the world (John 15:19). Jesus said the world hated his followers because they did not follow the ways of the world. Our rejection of the world’s values brings the world’s hatred.
- The world for now is under the rule of Satan (John 12:31). Paul said that Satan’s spirit is at work in those who live in opposition to God (Eph 2:2).
- God uses our afflictions to teach us perseverance, in order that we may be complete and lack nothing (James 1:2-4).
I’m encouraged to see that David continued to live a godly life despite his suffering. In contrast to Saul’s hatred and destruction, David kept on doing the right things:
- He sought God’s will whenever he made important decisions.
- He rescued people that were in trouble, even though he lived in constant danger himself.
- He respected God’s authority. Though Saul hated him and threatened his life, David spared Saul’s life more than once because he knew God had put Saul on the throne.
Each of us deal with hardships in our lives. Sometimes we bring it on ourselves; sometimes it happens because we live in a fallen world. If it does happen because of persecution, remember David’s example and continue to live a godly life. And remember that the persecution is not aimed at you but at the LORD you are following.
Image by Hilde Skjølberg on Flickr, CC by-nc-sa 2.0