Do you remember that children’s rhyme? “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That was the taunt I would use when being bullied. I’m quite sure I wasn’t as bold or brave as King David in almost inviting the ridicule.
Never did I give God credit for the teasing I received. Despite the situation King David finds himself in, he is still clinging to God’s promises and trusting that what he is encountering has God’s stamp of approval on it. Yet he does say, “And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”
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.”
Probably the most well-known of all Bible stories we learned as children was the story of David and Goliath. All sorts of images pop up for me, from the felt board stories of my wee years to play acting the story with children with costumes and sound effects when I was Children’s Ministry Director.
We are going to take our time as we walk through this story. Maybe new messages will pop out for us. Sometimes we tend to rush through things, especially when they are familiar. I guess we want to conserve our “energy” for handling the more complex or new things we encounter each day.