Rather than reading the Old Testament in “regular” canonical order, and by book, I’m reading chronologically, and slowing down so I can enter in to the story (it my sound all metaphysical, but it’s just asking, who is here? what is happening? why did they write ___?) So anyway . . .
Enter 1 Samuel. Samuel. Saul. David. Jonathan. Saul is the “man’s man.” Head and shoulders taller than everyone. Handsome. Impulsive. Impatient. Thinks he needs to do God’s job for him.
Until his kingdom is ripped away. But Saul is still king. Still in power. Miserable, but still in power. Paranoid, but still in power.
David. Didn’t ask to be famous. Youngest brother. Herding sheep. Just doing his job. Anointed king. But not really king yet. Obeys his dad; checks on his older soldier-brothers. Misunderstood by them. Mocked. Put down.
Until the battle with Goliath. God gets the glory. Israel gets a win. David is suddenly a household name. And then there’s paranoid Saul, the king who is not the king.
And David, in the palace because Saul conscripted him. David, best buddies with prince Jonathan; true love and future husband of princess Michal. now seen by king Saul as a true rival rather than a loyal subject and soldier and son.
Misunderstood. Doing the right thing with the right attitude, and it still goes terribly wrong (i.e. having to run for your life from the palace where you are supposed to be living as king, running from your new wife and your best friend, making your home in a cave with a price on your head)
How does David get through this?
“…behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow… to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:2,3)
Despite what he sees, he tells himself the ultimate truth —
“In the Lord I take refuge . . .The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see. . .the Lord tests [to refine like gold] the righteous. . .For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds. . .” Psalm 11:1,4,5, 7
God understands. God sees. God is at work. God is Sovereign. This “misunderstood-ness” and affliction is to refine him, not to destroy him. God is the judge. He will deal with Saul. David’s job is to obey God and walk in integrity.
When I am misunderstood, it’s so easy to lash out. I want to be vindicated. I want everyone to know that I was right.
But the more important lesson may be that God is burning out the pride and self-promotion that I can so easily wear, and refining me so that He is displayed in my life. Refinement is rarely pleasant. I still like to be right. I still like to be liked.
But God does see. God does know. God does love me. I can take refuge in Him.
And in Him my soul is safe. . .