Just like that! King David’s reign is off to a great start because the Lord bursts through! In David’s own words, “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” The Philistines fell twice! Each time, David consulted with God first. God responded. David obeyed.
The pattern is predictable. When we ask God for something, he will answer. Sometimes the answer isn’t what we expect. For instance, David was probably pretty surprised when God gave him a game plan that was totally a sneaky, “take by surprise” kind of move. But David didn’t question it or think he had a better way. We sometimes think we have the better way, don’t we?
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.”
Saul really messed up this time! He didn’t listen to God! He heard what he wanted to hear. Boy did that speak to me! I can’t say that I’ve ever had such an intentional message from the LORD such as Saul was given by Samuel. But when it comes to instructions from an authority figure, I have been known to try to figure out a better way.
Saul didn’t follow God’s instructions to the letter. He made a judgment that keeping the good stuff and sacrificing it would be a good idea. In his head, it sounded good. His army was happy to have some spoils of war, too. But that is NOT what God had said to do.
Don’t we all long for a conversation with God like Samuel had that night? To hear a voice audibly calling our name! Would we be like Samuel and think it was someone else, for us our spouse, the neighbor, or the television? We need to be listening. We need to be still.
I loved what Eli told Samuel after he realized what Samuel was hearing was the voice of the LORD himself. Then Samuel knew exactly what to say. “Speak, your servant is listening.” What a beautiful line we should all remember for when God calls out to us next time.
God sees it all. The good and the bad. In the case of our reading today, we learn of a man named Achan. Surely, his claim to fame in this story is nothing to be proud of. Did he seriously think he could do what the Lord had forbidden and be okay? His belief in God must have been a little shaky. His trust was in his own abilities, and his desires for wealth or prestige must have totally clouded his good sense.
Now, it’s easy for us to point fingers at Achan, isn’t it? We’re probably wondering how he could have done such a thing. But how often have we stretched the truth, broken a commandment, or dishonored God in some way only to try and keep our sins hidden from view. Maybe those around us are oblivious, but the one who counts is God. He sees it all.