Saturday, November 15, 2008

How Long?

7 Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, "God has handed him over to me, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars." 8 And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.

 9 When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod." 10 David said, "O LORD, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. 11 Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, God of Israel, tell your servant."
      And the LORD said, "He will."

 12 Again David asked, "Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?"
      And the LORD said, "They will."

 13 So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

 14 David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. 1 Samuel 23:7-14

How long?

Have you ever asked that question?

Of course you have, it starts when you're a child on a trip, right? And then, we ask that about so many other things in our lives. But, have you asked God that?

Ever felt that God didn't care because He kept letting the attacks come? David must have, "come on God, can't you take care of Saul?"

Actually he probably had been reciting this prayer over and over since the cave in 1 Samuel 22;

I cry out to the Lord;
      I plead for the Lord's mercy.
I pour out my complaints before him
      and tell him all my troubles.
When I am overwhelmed,
      you alone know the way I should turn.
   Wherever I go,
      my enemies have set traps for me.
I look for someone to come and help me,
      but no one gives me a passing thought!
   No one will help me;
      no one cares a bit what happens to me.
Then I pray to you, O Lord.
      I say, "You are my place of refuge.
      You are all I really want in life.
Hear my cry,
      for I am very low.
   Rescue me from my persecutors,
      for they are too strong for me.
Bring me out of prison
      so I can thank you.
   The godly will crowd around me,
      for you are good to me."
Psalm 142

Funny how we don't trust that He knows what He is doing, but if we are patient and endure trials our character is shaped and our hope in Him is increased.

Have you ever been at a place where the frequency of "the attacks" just seem to accelerate? You know the saying when it rains it pours? Usually this happens because those attacking us think we are vulnerable and are close to giving up. That's what Saul thought.

David endured and consulted God on every decision. How many decisions do you make on a daily basis? Is God consulted in them?

Another thing I noticed, David didn't let his personal battle spill over into those who had no stake in it. If he would have stayed, the town would have been pillaged and possibly it could have led to a civil war that would have affected generations.

As a leader I must make sure my personal battles don't affect the innocent around me. I've seen how personal battles between opposing leaders can cause people to chose sides and split the flock. David chose not to do this and neither should we; no civil war should ever happen in the church because of leadership struggles.

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