Friday, January 16, 2015

David’s humiliation and disappointment turns to his advantage

In 1 Samuel 29  we see David working for king Achish in Gath, living as a mercenary with his men.  He fully expects to take part in a battle fighting on the side of the Philistines, but when the Philistine leaders of other cities see David and his company, they are determined he will not be part of their army on the grounds that he might turn into a fifth column and attack them from behind while they fight the Israelites in front.

Achish has to break this news to David, and he says all kinds of nice things to David about how good he’s been, but I notice he doesn’t tell him why the Philistines don’t want David with them.  This makes me think that Achish was worried sharing that info would give David ideas and he would really become a fifth column then.

This rejection must have been humiliating to David, to be rejected and for no good reason he could see.  However, we see in the next chapter (1 Samuel 30) that this turned out to be a really good thing because when David and his army come home early, they discovered their city Ziklag had been attacked, spoiled, and all their families had been carried away captive!

Why is this a good thing?  It looks very very bad, but they were able to get revelation to go after them, and they eventually recovered everyone.  (I totally recommend reading about the circumstances yourself; it is neat to see the circumstances that line up so nicely and neatly that enable them to recover all their families and belongings.) 

See, if they had been part of the Philistine battle, they would have fought their own people, possibly been part of those who killed Saul and his sons, and when they returned to Ziklag much later, their city would still have been attacked and kidnapped, but the trail would have been so cold that they probably would have lost their families, a much greater tragedy.

The story in these two chapters teaches again that all things work together for good to them that love God.  Likely all of us have had or will have disappointments or humiliations that seem crushing at the time and seem to close off opportunities.  However, if we can reserve judgment and carry on as best as we can and seek revelation, we may find that those very events are the means of preventing greater loss and open even better opportunities.  It takes time and patience and perspective to see this.  (One example that comes to mind is that of Elder Hugh B.Brown’s experience with cutting down a current bush in his yard and then being passed over for promotion because the Lord meant to make something else out of him different from what he wanted.)