David, the undefeated warrior, has just backed down from several in-house fights. His king has tried to kill him on several occasions. He superiors have stalked him in his own home seeking his life as well. His wife has slandered him and blackened his good and honorable reputation. What more can God’s providence do to this poor guy?
David runs away. And I would bet my swiftest slingshot that that was the hardest thing he ever did. Consider what he could have done.
David had the strength and the power of God. He had the favor of God. He likely could have struck down both the king and the king’s men efffortlessly, divorced his betraying wife, and justified it all appropriately claiming self-defense. The throne was his, after all. He could have taken it by force and did just that which the homicidal has-been (Saul) expected him to. And I don’t doubt that all of that would have been acceptable within the law of God.
Fortunately, as interested and invested as David is in living by and defending the law, he is infinitely more interested in living by grace. Lord knows that a time is coming and has already come wherein David, too, is going to stand in need of tremendous, radical grace himself.
Having the strength, power, and justification to protect oneself is one thing. Recognizing that self-preservation is antithetical to the gospel is quite another.
David was like Christ – having every right and reason to wreck it all with his righteous wrath, but having love, wisdom, and patience enough to know that what this world needs is not more wrecking balls. It’s not more wrath – it’s grace.
So, instead of slinging the stones and swinging the swords that he was so gifted to sling and swing, David lies down his weapons. He humbles himself so far as to get into a basket and rely on a woman to lower him down. He runs away to a place where he can be even further abased. And this is the story of where he went:
Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. 19 And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul,and they also prophesied. ~1 Samuel 19:18-20
Instead of fighting his way to the throne, David cries out to God (Psalm 59.) He confides in Samuel. Samuel – another exceptional leader who just might understand what David’s going through. David’s not the only one who’s been rejected by Saul and his company is he? Samuel is just the man to carry David through the fight he struggles most with – the fight that must be fought with weapons this warrior has never wielded.
Notice that Samuel, the good and godly leader whom God’s people had rejected, is still leading. He’s head over the prophets. Samuel was leading the godly all along. It was only the ungodly who had dismissed him.
Apparently, even among prophets, there are traitors. Someone had told Saul where David was. But when Saul came out to kill David once again, he closed his eyes and God gave him a big surprise! More on that later, though. For now, let’s consider these things:
Often, we may have every right and reason to fight against the powers that be. We may have the strength, the power, the justification, the law, and even the favor of God on our side. But remember, Jesus did, too. And justice may indeed be found in that context. Grace, however, will not. And without grace, we make mincemeat of the gospel. Besides, we need grace as much as Saul did. Hell, we are Saul.
But Jesus is David. He was grace when it made perfect sense to wreck it all. He was love when hate abounded against him. He was prayer when he could have been machetes and mincemeat pie along with his buddy Peter. Let us learn from him today and allow grace to transcend all things.