David has a strong network keeping him safe. Yet, the one who is truly in charge is God.
It’s like that for us, too. We have family and friends cheering us on, keeping our best interests in mind. Even more important, God is present, hovering and protecting. His protection can often involve a learning experience.
What do you think of David’s daringly effective intelligence network? Brilliant together, yet each has a job to do–a bit of espionage in this story of David and Absalom’s dispute. I’m not sure David is as upset with Absalom as it appears Absalom is with his father. What brought that on, do you suppose? Could it be that David ignored the situation when Amnon raped Absalom’s sister?
Can you recall a time when you cried out to God, wanting something so desperately, only to have your prayer answered differently than you wanted? I’m guessing that’s a common occurrence. In today’s reading, we see how David responds.
In the time of earnest asking (or pleading), David kept himself set apart from his normal routine. He was fervent in his plea to God to spare his son. David knew God’s proclamation of death for the child was a result of his own sinfulness. We see David acknowledge his wrongdoing when he confesses to Nathan.
What struck me in this reading is how the relationship between David and God seems so natural, almost like they’re old friends. I have not personally had a conversation like that with God where I am totally clear on a particular life or death, what should I do next, kind of question.
We see first the victory over the Philistines. We didn’t see David rushing ahead before God with confidence and might. David prayed. First and foremost we need to keep that model in mind. Before rushing forward with decisions in our life, we need to get on our knees.
Why is it we are never satisfied in life? We are always looking for the next “thing” to bring happiness, contentment, or success. I can remember saying things like, “when we finally get settled, I’ll feel better,” or “when we can finally afford that new car, everything will be okay.” We even hear such lament in our reading. “If only we had a king,” the people are saying.
Samuel had been acting for years as their judge, and before him we read of many other judges in the Book of Judges. Along the way, we sensed the people were wanting a king. In this reading we understand why.
We know from reading through the book of Judges how God raised up leaders for a certain victory and to watch over a certain region. After all the Israelites have been through with the fiasco surrounding the Ark of the Covenant, the people were feeling abandoned by God. By using Samuel in this way, God let the people know his power was still with them.
Thankfully, the people understood the seriousness of the situation and heeded Samuel’s advice. “Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” The day the people gathered at Mizpah, for what sounds like a revival of sorts, was the day Samuel was appointed as judge.