It’s raining today. A real thunderstorm is ruling the skies outside. The raindrops (which my meteorologist sister has informed me are not, in fact, teardrop-shaped, but instead flat spheres) are beating on the roof and blowing against the window panes, and making a lovely racket.
I love thunderstorms. They give me a reason to stay inside. These are the days when I wish I didn’t have $22 in library fines so I could have a good book to read that I haven’t read hundreds of times before. But, alas, I am a library felon, so I will have to either check out books in my mom’s card (and be extra careful to not rack up a fine) or read a book I’ve read before. Which isn’t a tragedy. Re-reading books is actually a joy for me.
like reading my Bible. I’ve read the whole thing before, many books multiple times. Good thing there are 66 to choose from, otherwise I’d have read it so many times it’d be old –
but the Bible doesn’t get old.
God’s words are “living and active and sharper than any two-edged soul, piercing even to the joints and marrow”. Does that sound like a book that you can get sick of? A book that loses its value after being read a couple times? Nope.
So, I always have something to read, even if it’s not a library book.
I was reading in 1 Samuel again today.
I’m the kind of reader who has to read the whole book. I read the Bible in sections, books at a time, which gives me context for each story and also just gives me peace that I didn’t miss anything in that book by just reading a chapter. (A much better way than just reading random chapters, I think, but I am definitely biased.)
Back to the point, I was in chapter 26 where David spares Saul’s life for the second time.
As I read, I’m seeing the story play out in my head, and I’d like to share with you what I see.
Curtain opens on David, hiding out in the desert with his men. They’re sitting at night in a circle (and I’m imagining like 20 men, even though I know there were hundreds more), contemplating their next move around a campfire (no marshmallows, though), when David asks, “Who will go with me to Saul’s camp?” He gives them a searching look, and finally, his nephew, Abishai, gives his assent. “I will.” The kid, probably in his twenties since David isn’t that old at this time, grab his things, and the two of them set out to Saul’s camp.
Saul is sleeping next to his commander, Abner, son of Ner, completely surrounded by his sleeping army. Well, little protection the army gives, because David and Abishai simply creep up to where Saul is sleeping with his water jug next to him and his spear stuck in the ground beside his head. (side note: who does that? Why the heck would you keep your spear stuck in the ground by YOUR HEAD while you slept? There is probably some cultural thing that I’m missing here, because I see no logic in that at all.) Nephew boy gets all excited, seeing that this is an opportunity for him to help out his uncle by using said spear to do Saul in; he says he can do it in one blow, but David vetoes that idea right away.
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”
Hang on, let’s close the curtains for a second. It’s intermission, and I have a bone to pick with David.
Hey there, David. I have a question for you: why would you go to Saul’s camp in the first place, go up to him while he’s sleeping – all the signs of an intended attack – to just steal his spear and water jug? Can you provide some rationale for that one? hmm?
Well, since I had no answer for that, I went to Wesley’s commentary. Then I realized that David wasn’t trying to create an opportunity for attack and simply changed his mind at the last minute – he was looking for a chance to prove his innocence.
Prove his innocence? Intermission is going to be a little longer, because we’ve got to talk about this.
PROVE HIS INNOCENCE? Who has been more faultless than David? (at this point, at least.) He was just some guy tending his sheep out in the field when Samuel came to tell his that he’d be king one day. Then he was just a kid bringing food to his older brothers, who were cowardly warriors, who ended up being the only one who trusted that God was who He said He was and that He would deliver them from the Philistines. Then, when Saul was tormented by evil spirits, David played his harp to soothe the king.
So far, Saul has no reason to be pursing David to take his life. But, then the spirit of the Lord leaves Saul because God has rejected him as king, and His presence goes to David, the anointed king.
I think that would suck, to be rejected as king. To have God’s presence leave you. The Bible isn’t clear about whether or not Saul was aware of the presence leaving him, but he wasn’t comatose, so I figure he could tell. There is a stark difference between living a life with God’s presence and one without it.
I bet Saul saw that David had God’s presence and that he lacked it. I bet that’s what drove him to want to kill David. And David, spotless lamb that he is in this part of the story, just wants to clear his name, to be faultless in Saul’s sight.
That is a man after God’s own heart. “Just take his spear and water jug, so he’ll know that we’ve been here without harming him, and let’s get out of here. I will not lay a hand on the man God has anointed as king, even though it would be self-defense since he’s out to get me.”
I want to be after God’s own heart.
Our society today tells us to listen to our hearts and to follow what we think is best, what our desires tell us. In my experience, that doesn’t lead to anything good. In Jeremiah 17:9, it say that the heart is deceitful above all things.
Now, tell me, does that sound like something to listen to?
No, I want to be after God’s heart. I want my heart to feel like His does: to break when I fall short of His standards for me, to desire that all people know Him, to feel splanchna, that compassion in your gut, when I see injustices.
I want to have the trust that God will take revenge in his own time if it’s needed. To know in my head and my heart that I am insufficient and He is all-sufficient.
I’m pretty sure that getting to that point is called growth.
Water me, Lord.