No silver bullet
1 Samuel 21 – 22
David is understandably very popular with the people. In a barbaric period of history when the nation of Israel is almost at its peak, having subdued many of the local tribes, David has despatched the Philistine champion and routed their armies on many occasions. His fame is legendary! Famous, successful and popular! What else could David have? The kingship!
Have you ever had a very awkward family problem? David did. Oh, he was getting along fine with his wife – the Bible says Michal was in love with David, and he was so close to his brother- in- law Jonathan that he loved him (Jonathan) more than himself. But his father-in-law was the problem and he just happened to be the king. He sent his soldiers out to kill David. I’ll bet you don’t have a family problem this bad?
So what did David do?
1. He enquired of God (through the high priest).
2. He took God’s advice (from Ahimelek).
3. He waited so see the outcome of God’s response 22:3.
David didn’t do a “Jonah”. Ever do one of those? You know, when you are pretty sure what God is expecting of you but you don’t want to do that. “It’s humiliating God! I know if I apologised it would make things better but hey it’s not my fault – that other person caused the problem.”
Although David sought and followed God’s will he didn’t abandon his thinking skills. He lied to Ahimelek about his mission, pretended to be mad in front of King Achish and planned for the safety of his parents with the Moabites (gentile tribe) while he got away from Saul. Alas, what is the saying “don’t shoot the messenger”? It did not go well for the priests whom Saul had killed for advising David.
What should we make of this passage? There is not always a Disney ending in this life, even if we try to follow God. Ahimelek assisted David and was executed for carrying out his spiritual role. David broke the law eating the consecrated bread, lied to the priest and deceived the King of Gath and yet escaped to later become king (spoiler alert: he finished his kingship in absolute misery).
However, I’ll go with David! Ask God ; try to follow the Sprit’s guide; wait for doors to open but keep my wits about me. And in the end, it may not go well for me but I trust God for my eternal salvation whatever happens in this life.
Rev 12:7 – 17
One very important thing to keep in mind when reading Revelation is that it is John’s description of his vision. It does not describe a reality but a vision in which symbols stand for other things. Yes, the dragon stands for Satan and yes the lamb stands for Jesus because John tells us that. But other events are symbolic and we must be careful about interpreting the vision in any way literally. Who are the angels who were fighting and how were they fighting? What does the river represent? How does the Earth take sides? We can speculate but we can’t know. One thing is clear enough, that there is or will be a time of spiritual warfare where Satan attacks people of faith.
Now we know in a small way why David could not prevail. He was likely not fighting just Saul or the Philistines but a spiritual foe; a foe who wages a spiritual war against those who keep God’s commands. The difference between Saul and David is that Saul was disobedient and God abandoned him. David was obedient and God’s favour rested on him. Life is a spiritual battle which is fought with the ammunition of obedience to God. Disobedience anyone?