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Friday, April 22, 2016

Only a Test (1 Samuel 26:5)

In the old days Saturday morning cartoons were interrupted with dark screens and words declaring, “This is a test, only a test.” 

Life is like that. One minute things are going great and then, like a black screen interrupting a favorite show, some sudden event interrupts our quiet. That moment appeared unexpectedly in David's life, "Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army camped around him" 1 Samuel 26:5).
Circumstances presented an opportunity to be done with King Saul once and for all. Circumstances test, tempt, and teach David. 
David’s circumstances test his resolve to trust the Lord.  Would he react in the flesh and kill King Saul, since the opportunity had arisen, or would he continue to trust the Lord to defend and protect him?
His circumstances tempt David to listen to counsel that contradicts what he knows to be true about God, “Abishai said to David, "Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands." The position of king is God’s to give and to take away. It also tempts him to act upon what appears to be true about his circumstances. David's response reveals his understanding of his circumstances in light of God's revealed character. What his advisors see as providential David sees as a temptation to "touch the Lord's anointed." A promise made by God is His to fulfill. 
His circumstances teach David much about God's sufficiency. David's  circumstances, by giving him opportunity to experience God, help him know God as his rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, horn of salvation, stronghold and savior.
What does this story reveal about our interpreting God’s will? 
Circumstances are not, in and of themselves, a reliable gauge to understand God's activity. More is going on in the spiritual realm than what can be seen with the natural eye. David saw God while his counselors saw David’s circumstances. 
Circumstances test our trust in God, tempt us to operate in the flesh, and teach us by moving theology from the pages of Bible into real life experience.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
2 Samuel 22
  • According to verse 23 what is the key to David's ability to rightly respond to God in the midst of difficulty?
  • What does meditating on God's ability do for his mental state? (See also Isaiah 26:3)
Psalm 14, Psalm 53
  • Lack of accountability for one's actions characterizes the agnostic or the atheist. They often take advantage or make fun of the righteous. What does this Psalm teach you about those who dismiss God?
1 Samuel 26
  • This is the second opportunity David has to take Saul's life (see chapter 24). What prevents David from killing Saul?
  • What does David's men, King Saul and his army learn about David from this event?
  • What does this tell you about the circumstances that you are facing?
  • What does David say to King Saul that reveals his humilty?
  • How does God use this event in David's life? In King Saul's life?
Turning truth into prayer
Take your difficult circumstance to the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you appropriate Him as your rock, refuge, fortress, deliverer, shield, horn of salvation, stronghold, and savior.