A Lesson From David
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Psalm 37:5, 7).
The interval of time between the election of a president of the United States of America and the beginning of his term of office is approximately two and a half months. When a new candidate has been elected in November a kind of interregnum takes effect, as in the case of our recent election. President Carter was still president during the transition period, yet President-elect Reagan was kept informed about major national and international developments while he prepared himself to take office in January. Transfer of power was co-operative and reasonably cordial.
Saul the first king of Israel, and his successor David went through a transition era also. It was a period of years rather than months and could hardly be called a time of cooperation or friendliness. In fact King Saul wanted to murder David. After he had ascended the throne Saul, God’s and Israel’s chosen king, displeased God by disobeying Him, and God rejected him as king. Then God sent Samuel the prophet to anoint David as Saul’s successor. From that time until Saul’s death Saul would not abdicate but defended his sovereignty with all his might, endeavoring time and again to destroy David.
A remarkable demonstration of David’s character is shown in 1 Samuel 24. King Saul was pursuing David relentlessly. In the wilderness of En-gedi, tired and experiencing some physical distress, Saul entered a cave for a rest stop. David and some of his men were hiding deep in the cave and they seeing this as providential opportunity to kill Saul, urged David to do so. But David restrained them. Instead, unnoticed by Saul, he cut a piece from the hem of the king’s robe and let Saul go unharmed. To his men, and later to Saul, David spoke some of the most moving words in all Scripture: “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord” (v. 6; cp. v. 10).
No wonder David is called a man after God’s own heart! He had been promised the kingdom. He had himself been anointed as king. He might well have thought that Saul’s coming into the cave was the hand of the Almighty delivering Saul to him. He did not try to help God out, however. His way was committed to God and he waited patiently for Him. He would not raise his sword against Saul but trusted that God would redeem His pledge.
Let us learn a lesson from David. Frequently we call upon the Lord for guidance, his help, His blessing. Then we go ahead of Him and follow our own way. We accept some circumstances as being His deliverance for us and then, without waiting for confirmation, jump ahead and try to help God with our own imperfect deeds. Like Peter we thrust the sword without waiting for the answer to our question. “Lord,” Christ’s disciples inquired when the Saviour was about to be arrested in Gethsemane, “Shall we smite with the sword? And one of them (Simon Peter, Jn. 18:19) smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear” (Lk. 22:49-50).
It is the beginning of a new year. Shall we say with David, “I will not put forth mine hand” — until the Lord Himself directs us to raise it? “Commit not thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him and he will bring it to pass.” Happy New Year.
—E. Schuyler English
in The Pilgrim