I’m Amazed

My years in youth ministry (1981-1992) were wonderful times! This picture is from the early ’90s on a mission trip with my First Pres group. Betsy, Marlene, Katherine, Eleanor and Tiffany were five of the faithful of the group. Great memories!

I Samuel 19

These Old Testament narratives continue to amaze me. Why God does what He does in the way He does it and the timing He does it, is a wonder. It just doesn’t always make sense to me. But God is God, and well, I’m not! Praise God! V1 of this chapter simply says, “Now Saul told Jonathon his son and all his servants to put David to death…” If God always intended for David to be king, why didn’t He just make David king? Why inflict this long, agonizing period of time for Saul to be king and fail over and over again?  Why did God choose Saul only to later cause him to fail? Sure, Saul was a failure on his own but consider these two verses: 18:10, “…the next day, an evil spirit FROM GOD came mightily upon Saul.” And 19:9, “now there was an evil spirit FROM THE LORD on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand.” On both occasions, Saul tried to kill David with his spear, but David escaped. Saul’s jealousy, fear and hatred for David continues for years and David is in hiding for much of it.

There is a purpose!

I guess one of the outcomes of this period of hiding for David was the penning of many of the Psalms where David lays open his heart of anguish and pain before God. These are beautiful Psalms that have ministered to millions for thousands of years. That would be one of God’s purposes for David’s trials. Additionally, theses chapters, I Samuel 18&19, introduce us to the unique love and bond between David and Jonathan. 18:1 “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathon loved him as himself…then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.” In 19:1 when Saul told Jonathan about his plan to kill David, Jonathan warned David and helped him escape. This will happen many more times.  Yes, Saul hated David but God gave him Jonathan.

Our lives are narratives and God is the author

So, why does God do what He does in the way He does it and in the timing He does it? We will never understand exactly. But in this case, with David as the main character, God is at work, forging David’s heart for God through a combination of Saul’s hatred and Jonathan’s love and a whole lot of other influences and circumstances. Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who is at work in You both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” In I Samuel we are reading the story of David written by God for God’s purposes. Our lives are narratives also and God is the author. He is at work. May we be aware and mindful that God is always leading us, teaching us, prompting us, using others in our lives to forge our hearts and minds into what He wants for us. Let’s consider the fuller passage in Philippians 2:13-16, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling (live life in awe, reverence, humble submission), for it is God who is at work in You, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or complaining, so you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.” Amen!