Daily D – 1 Samuel 23:14
David now stayed in the strongholds of the wilderness and in the hill country of Ziph. Saul hunted him day after day, but God didn’t let Saul find him. 1 SAMUEL 23:14 (NLT)
Camping in a secluded spot under the stars resets our perspective. Listen to the whip-poor-wills repeat their songs. Watch for shooting stars. Soak in the silence. Roughing it now and again relieves us of certain pressures. Baptized in the beauty of the night, breaths come slower and fuller. Tension relaxes.
I like camping. My bride’s idea of roughing it, however, is a Motel 6.
David and the four hundred men who gathered around him, which soon became six hundred, lived in the great outdoors for a long time. Their lodging included forests and caves. While this is okay for a short while, soon a Motel 6 sounds pretty good. They do, after all, leave the light on for you.
David was on the run from his father-in-law, King Saul. Saul the Tall held the title, but he knew it was slipping away. David was next in line, but that was a reality for a distant day. Now Saul sought David with murderous intent. No campsite became home for long.
Why were they in this predicament? In part because Saul chose to do God’s will his own way. He was impatient. He stepped beyond his role, intruding into space reserved for priests and prophets. He may have been the originator of the saying, “Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.” Before you play that card again, remember how it worked out for Saul the Tall.
There is a fundamental difference we observe in the lives of Saul and David. Saul wanted God on his side. David wanted to be on God’s side. There is an important shift here. Saul’s way led to jealousy, treachery, destruction, and death. David’s way led to praise, thanksgiving, perseverance, and success.
Saul did things his way. He and Frank Sinatra sang from the same sheet of music: “I did it my way.”
David did things God’s way. David still has more enduring hits of praise and worship than Frankie Hollywood.
Saul was determined that David’s unending camping trip would end in shed blood and death. “(B)ut God didn’t let Saul find him.” Nothing Saul attempted succeeded in his attempts to kill David. Everything David did honored God, served Israel, and saved lives.
A couple of lessons are self-evident. First, rather than asking God to be on your side, get on God’s side. Second, do God’s will God’s way. One other, obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22). Permission really is better than forgiveness.
I will do God’s will God’s way.
Our Father, you are the focus of the story, not me. I am to align my life and attune my heart to you. The good life is found in the security of being in the right place doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. I will follow you as you lead me into this most blessed estate. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.