Faith is a necessary component of our growing closer to God and experiencing all that He has for us. Yet, it can feel like our faith is in short supply at times. God understands this about us and encourages us to grow in our trust in Him. The Bible is filled with men and women who trusted God, despite what they saw happening around them. One person of faith who stands out in particular is King David of Israel.
David was born into a family of modest means. He was the youngest of the children and had a number of older brothers. As a young boy, perhaps a teenager, he was one anointed by the prophet Samuel to become Israel’s next king. Israel’s current king, Saul, had been found wanting in God’s eyes and was to be deposed from the throne for his lack of faithfulness to God. Saul had been the people’s choice to be king, but David was God’s choice.
But rather than ascend to the throne, as he should have, David found that Saul wanted to kill him. Saul had sensed that David was somehow a threat to his dynasty, and had sought for the next 10 years to hunt David down and prevent him from ascending to the throne.
1 Samuel 21-26 records a season of David’s life wherein his trust in God’s faithfulness was put to the test many times. It was during this time of fleeing from Saul’s murderous intrigues that David was faced with the choice to trust that God would fulfill His promises in His time and in His way. A number of truths helped David through this time of testing.
David lived by was that God always keeps His promises. Every now and again, we all experience the fallout of someone promising to do something on our behalf, but never following through with it. God, however, never fails to keep His promises. The Bible records several promises for God’s people. For example, Paul tells us of God’s promise to live among His people as a Father would with His sons and daughters (see 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
Knowing that God is good when our circumstances are not, and that He is a promise keeper and not a promise breaker, will encourage us to remain faithful and pure in our day-to-day choices. The Bible contains many promises that apply to us as believers. Spend some time discovering and meditating on the various promises God has made in the Bible. Many study Bibles print such lists in their appendix material.
David also understood the principles of God. Principles are basic truths that generally apply to everyone and at all times. The power behind a principle is that we guard against making decisions based solely on how we feel. I have personally witnessed tragedies in the lives of otherwise well-meaning people. Some fell into adulterous affairs or transacted shady business deals, all based on how they “felt” at the time. Following God’s principles can help us immensely in avoiding such mistakes.
I have often found in my own walk with God that simply following a principle of Scripture was often the very answer I needed to hear when seeking God for guidance on a particular issue. His principles are those general truths that He asks us to live by, regardless of whether or not He has provided any specific directions to us personally.
David rested in the provision of God for his failures. David at one point decided that it might be more expedient to live among the Philistines for a while, perhaps as a means of avoiding Saul altogether. The local Philistine ruler began to trust David, and even asked him to fight against Israel during a coming battle. But God graciously intervened and prevented David from having to fight against his own people, the Israelites.
I find it most comforting that God’s grace is able to make up for the mistakes and outright dumb decisions I have personally made over the years. Now, while our mistakes can and do cost us something, God has a way of working out His plans in spite of the decisions we make, just as He so graciously did in David’s life.
David practiced the praise of God. David found time to praise God, despite his harrowing times in the wilderness. Praise has a way of focusing our thoughts and minds on the Lord. When this happens, we begin to see problems in light of who God is, rather than being tempted to view God through the lens of our problems.
David trusted in the power of God. David had seen at least two recorded instances where he could have taken control of his own fate and killed King Saul himself. In one case, David and his men just happened to be hiding in the very cave into which Saul had gone (1 Sam. 24:3ff.). Later, David and one of his men actually managed to slip into Saul’s camp undetected and remove Saul’s spear and water jug (1 Sam. 26:1ff). When faced with the opportunity to kill Saul himself, David recognized that Saul’s life was in God’s hands, not his (1 Sam. 26:9-11).
So often we are tempted to “fix” our problems when it seems that God is too distant to even care about our circumstances. But this can be a critical error on our part. If you are ever faced with the opportunity to do something that seems to be out of keeping with the principles and truths of the Bible, do NOT do it! God will never tell you to disobey His written word in order to accomplish His greater will.
We see that David trusted in God for the long haul and was eventually rewarded by God for his faith. Inheriting the promises may at times take considerable patience on our part. When God allows us to wait on Him, we must use that time to draw closer to Him and hear what lessons or guidance He might want to give us. As we do, we will discover that He has been there all along and will accomplish all that He desires.
Allen can be reached at [email protected]