(Today's post by James Rooks)
1 Samuel 29, 30
Keep in mind that David knew who he was, or rather who he was destined to be. Throughout this season of his life it would have been really easy to take short cuts, or at least get a little impatient. However there was always a steady hand of trust in God's timing that guided his actions and the way that he dealt with others. David had to wait for 15+ years from the time that he was anointed to be the next King of Israel until he was finally crowned. David's story in its length from the day of his anointing by Samuel until he took the throne included (but was not limited to) the following: sheep herding teenager, giant killer, hero, and fugitive. I wonder how many times during those days, months, and years on the run did he wonder out loud “did Samuel know what he was talking about?” I think about his assent to fame and how he might've been thinking “I've arrived!” Only to see Saul go insane with jealousy. Through it all David's story to this point is not one filled with short cuts and mistreating others in an effort to get to the top. In fact, it would be the exact opposite.
As I read through chapters 29 and 30, I see the anchor of patience in God's timing playing out in 2 distinct scenarios. First in chapter 29 we see the Philistine leaders having a conversation about David. They were in a bit of a catch 22 because he was going to be helping them in battle, but they were afraid that if he turned against them, that they would lose. They knew of his loyalties, but they also knew how dangerous he could be as a leader and warrior in battle. Now David wasn't king yet, but he was the leader of a rag tag group of cast offs. The cool part here is that it is clear that David didn't wait until he was validated with the crown to carry him self as a leader of men and a capable soldier. Even David's adversaries knew who he was and what he was about.
Flip over to chapter 30 and we see see David and his men pursue and get back what had been taken from them. In the pursuit they had 200 men stay behind to look after all their stuff (they also happened to be too tired to carry on). After the battle, the 400 men who had gone on to fight wanted to keep the spoils of battle to themselves. They didn't think that the 200 men deserved to take part in the rewards of the battle because they had not been on the front lines. David set the 400 straight because he saw the value of the 200 as well. When I step back and look at this scenario, I wonder how many times we've elevated and rewarded those on the front lines, but forgotten the value of the ones who work behind the scenes to hold everything together. This is true in many areas of life: family, work, and church. David set a precedent here that says “everyone's role is mission critical”.
In all this I can't help but find myself admiring the way that David carried himself. He was leading like a king before he was recognized as King. Even in the valleys, David sought God's counsel and led the men that were around him. He was so consistent in character that even his adversaries trusted him and were afraid of him at the same time. David's life reads like a highlight reel, but I believe it is during times like 1 Sam 29 & 30 that we see what made the man who he really was.
My take aways today? We don't have to wait until we've arrived at our destination to start being who we were called to be. We've got so many Biblical examples of this. It's a shift for many of us, but a necessary one I believe. Secondly would be valuing the work of others in the Kingdom, especially the ones who are doing the work that might not gain the most recognition. How would the people around us be impacted if we lived like we knew we were Heaven bound? How would the teams that we work on be better if we played a part in making sure they knew their role was mission critical?