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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Gap Life (1 Samuel 21:10)

"That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath."

Life often doesn't make sense. David was anointed king by Samuel when he was a youth (around 17 years old). Just about everything that follows seems to negate Samuel's anointing David as Saul's successor. David spends the following thirteen years running from King Saul, who tries again and again to kill him. I call this "the gap life"---the time between the promises of God and the fulfillment of those promises.

Why do some people successfully navigate those years of living in the gap while others give up and quit? David's response in Psalms 5 provides a number of clues:
  • David cries out to the Lord while on the run - "Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help" (5:1, 2a)
  • David cries out the Lord at the beginning of his day - "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation" (5:3)
  • David appeals to the holiness of God - "You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil . . . 5:4-6)
  • Though David serves under an unstable earthly king, he bows to the King Eternal, the King of Glory - "Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray . . . in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple" (5:2, 7b)
  • David doesn't fight against his circumstances or against the people driving his dire circumstances; he beseeches God to act on his behalf - "You destroy those who tell lies . . . Declare them guilty, O God. Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you" (5:6, 10)
  • David depends on the Lord in the midst of his circumstances -"Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies--make straight your way before me" (5:8)
  • David sings to the Lord - "But let all who take refuge in you be glad, let them ever sing for joy" (5:11)
  • David trusts in the Lord to protect him - "Spread Your protection over them [those who take refuge in God], that those who love your name may rejoice in You" (5:11b)
  • David appropriates God's presence and favor - "For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous, you surround them with your favor as with a shield" (5:12)
God doesn't drop us into the gap life and leave us without direction and hope. Those who've lived before us teach us how to walk by faith in the gap. And, to God, the making of a promise is a fulfillment of a promise. David would become king, but in God's time and through God's preparation. In the meantime, the gap life teaches David much about The King of Israel and about what it will take to be a good king by having to run from a bad one
God promises to conform believers into the image of Christ. Instead of cooperating with God and trusting Him with what we don't understand we spend much of our time fighting against the very tools that He uses.

David teaches us how to cooperate with God as we navigate the gap life. David also teaches us that moments of panic or fear may occur (he pretends to be insane in Achish - 21:12-16). We learn that it is by prayer and praise that anxious thoughts are reined in. We don't fake it until we make it but we faith the promises of God until we experience His peace. Welcome to the gaplife!

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Psalm 5, Psalm 59, Psalm 133, 1 Samuel 21:1-15, Psalm 34
Psalm 59
  • List the requests that David asks of the Lord in this Psalm.
  • As David runs for his life how does he view God?
  • List the metaphors or imagery that David uses to describe God's protection and watch care?
Psalm 133
  • The dew on Mt. Hermon feeds the Jordan River, which waters the entire country. No dew on Hermon, no River Jordan. Just as you can't have the Jordan without Hermon so it takes the efforts of both brothers to experience unity. What does this Psalm express about David's heart toward Saul and their relationship?
1 Samuel 21
  • Where is the one place David turns to in need?
  • What happens at this place?
  • What does this episode in David's life tell you about him and his situation?
Psalm 34
  • What does this Psalm communicate about David's spiritual life and about his view of God during this low point in his life?
1 Samuel 22:1-5
  • How had Saul's chasing David affect his family?
  • Even though David is the youngest son how does his family view him?
1 Chronicles 12:8-18
  • What does David demand from those defecting to him from Saul's army?
  • From which tribes do the defectors come from?
  • What does this tell you about Saul's leadership?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to show you where you are responding incorrectly to where you are in the gap life.