Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 10/15/09

Saul Attacking David, Guercino, 1646

“For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
2 Samuel 7:22-23

The days and the weeks, the months and the years since David left the pastures and the fields where he tended and cared for his father’s flock couldn’t have been anything he had expected. His life twisted and turned in so many significant ways. Once the great hero of the Valley of Elah as he slew the giant Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, it was not long before Saul viewed him as a threat to his power and his rule. He would look upon him with scorn and contempt, sending David into exile as he fled to places where the King’s long arm could not reach him. He knew that to stay was to risk capture, and, in that captivity, to forfeit his life.

Yet the Lord did not let that happen. He had plans for the life of His servant and He would not just give David to the hands of His enemies that his days would draw to a close, the life crushed from his lungs. He would not just abandon the same boy he had shown so much favor to in the Valley of Elah, forsaking him now in the present struggles and the current ordeals that sought to rob the life from him. He would guide him, He would protect Him, He would shelter him even as it seemed like everything he knew was coming to an end and soon so would he. There was one faithful assurance, one blessed trust that he could put all of his hope in. The Lord, his God, was by his side even in the darkest of days that now enveloped his life.

Now… now as David gave his praises to the Lord, as he called out to Him, it would not be in agony or in pain, it would not be in suffering or in trials, it would not be amidst his plight and his despair. No, for now he wore the crown of Israel, sitting upon the throne of the mighty in the halls of power, ruling over the people of God as their king. From the dank, grim caves he hid in as Saul hunted for him, to royal palace in all of its splendor the Lord had guided David all of the days of his life, showing him that He had a grand design and a wondrous plan for his life even when it seemed like everything in this world would have weighed down and crushed him amidst the heavy burdens that overtook him.

Perhaps, at moments, the young David had wondered, after all he raised up his voice crying out to the Lord and His mercies on more occasions than he perhaps now cared to remember. He was left to feel the hurt and the misery of what had seemed to be such a hopeless estate. There were times when it had to feel like there was no light at the end of the tunnel for which he could look upon and chart the course of his spirit towards. Yet, even as the spirit seemed amidst desolation and despair, the soul… the soul, God strengthened and preserved until that time when David could see the fullness of God’s plan for him.

The hope and the trust, the faith and the belief that David had in his confidence in the Lord would never be disappointed. As he relied on God with all of his expectations, placing all of his fears and his doubts, all of his hurt and sorrow, all of his grief and agony at His feet, he shown that God does not just abandon His people, nor does He just leave them to their suffering. As he once proclaimed to Saul, “The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee” (1 Samuel 17:37) so now the Lord once more showed him in his life.

The nature of God and the love that He has for His people, it does not change. The mercy and the compassion that He shows, it does not just fade away as one generation fades to the next or one age gives way to another. As He was there for David, guiding him all of the days of his life, protecting and sheltering him through all that He faced and all that He knew so too does He guide the lives of His people in the present age and in the current world. He is there showing His devotion and His grace, giving strength to them in their hour of need and saying unto them that He has a plan and a design for their lives.

Like it was for David, it is perhaps hard at times, in a world so prone to chaos and suffering, to see that plan or to see those designs. As evil seems to be on the rise and wickedness on the march it is perhaps hard to believe that God could possibly be there working His will and His ways. There is a brutal captivity in this temporal existence that seeks to make slaves of men and women, and rob them of their lives and their assurances. It comes in many forms, from the captivity of tyrants and terrorists who subjugate and murder, persecute and hold hostage, and the slavery of those who rob the innocence and the life from their victims, to the captivity of the spirit and the body that the Devil inflicts through sickness and poverty and disease and pestilence and addiction. There are just so many ways that the old Adversary, through his corruption and iniquity, seeks to ensnare us all.

We see the signs of this struggle and this despair in the world all around as we battle not just the worldly wickedness, and pray not just for those taken prisoner and captive in far off lands, but for all who are held in captivity throughout the world regardless of what that captivity may be. There is so much agony and pain, so much suffering and sorrow and it just seems to be everywhere around us as challenges mark our way and turmoil guides our days.

Yet we have hope. We have a transcending, encompassing hope that surpasses all human knowledge, wisdom and understanding. It is the hope that we gain in our reliance in God and our faith that He shall be there to guide us through the days of struggle and hardship, pain and hurt. It is the confidence we have that He shall deliver us just as He delivered David. Through His Son, our Savior, Christ Jesus, we have been reconciled unto Him, delivered from the dark hold that sin, death and the Devil had over us. In that same love He guides us through all of the days of our life, shining His grace in our lives making us strong where we had been weak, and giving us courage where we found nothing but fear.

Regardless then of what the Devil may throw our way, regardless of what captivities may seek to grab a hold of us, regardless of what power this world may seek to assert over us, we know that in His love God is there for us through all that we are and all that we do. He has a plan for us, and He leads us to it according to His righteousness. There is nothing in this world or of this world, there is no evil or wickedness, no iniquity that can be inflicted that can separate us from that truth of His encompassing love and compassion, His overshadowing mercy and grace for His people.

Whatever then the world may bring, whatever captivity it may seek to ensnare you with, trust in the promises of the Lord and the wonders of His love, knowing that He shall never fail you or forsake you. He will deliver and He will do so in strength even when it seems like all of the courage has fled from us. This we shall always know, this we shall always have hope in and it is a wondrous blessing of freedom and liberty for our spirits that will forever guide our souls to the promises of His assurances for our life.

In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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