Making an escape is not new for David. However, taking a whole household and then some takes a lot more planning and strategy. I can just picture the procession. It would have been impressive to be sure. No panic, only calculated strategy.
David seems to be calmly handling this situation. His faith is strong, and we hear him surrender to God. While he wants to be able to return to Jerusalem, he defers that to God. Not sounding fearful of death, David goes on to say, “But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”
This is one of those texts we should read and reread. It’s good for us to see David’s heart overflowing. This is how David responded to the message Nathan brought in our last reading. Think for a moment about how you would respond. The LORD really gave David something to think about.
David prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD?” I see humility and almost disbelief in his words. David had to be thinking “why me, I’m nobody special.” After all, wasn’t David was just a shepherd boy with musical talent? He had to realize all his victories had been because that’s how God wanted it to play out. David’s prowess as a mighty warrior was a gift from God.
Think of the restraint! David has opportunity again to take Saul out of the picture once and for all. And again, David lets Saul, God’s anointed king, live. This is a beautiful picture of trusting God, wouldn’t you agree?
David even had to control his man, Abishai, from taking this golden opportunity. It was a teachable moment to show Abishai the importance and respect that God’s anointed one should receive. Despite Saul’s evil intention to kill David, David gives mercy once more. David affirmed his trust in God, “Surely the LORD will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle.”
When we think of vows in our day, our minds go immediately to a bride and groom standing before God and a room full of people. The wedding vow is meant to be the promise or pledge that seals the marriage with God looking on. Fun fact: In doing a little google search, I learned that not all cultures or religions use vows during a wedding ceremony.
Unfortunately, some people don’t take their vows as seriously as they should. If you aren’t able to keep your word, you shouldn’t give it in the first place. I held on for years as a battered wife because of the vow I had made to my first husband. I had made this vow in the presence of God. For me to break it and seek divorce would mean I was letting God down, didn’t it? I struggled with that for years.
Have you ever done something you were told to do but had no idea “why” you were doing it? I’m sure Gideon had a bit of that going on when God told him, among other things, to “pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it.”
What do we see here? Gideon didn’t question God but got to work on the requested task. He did wait until the dark of night so he would go undetected. Gideon was pretty sure that this plan would cause a big stir and may have even feared for his life. Yet, he listened to God. That’s my takeaway from today’s reading.