Today I was teaching a class from 1 Samuel 22-23. This is the point at which Saul has allowed his jealousy and paranoia to overcome him and he has begun his persecution, indeed his murderous rage against David, and David is on the run from one place to another. Sometimes, in his flying by the seat of his pants, David engages in deception (The Gath king, the priest Ahimelech, and others). His deception ultimately gets Ahimelech, 80+ other priests, and all the residents and livestock of Nob slain by Saul’s henchman, Doeg the Edomite.
As I ‘m reading this I’m thinking, “This is a man after God’s own heart?” He’s flawed. Of course, everyone remembers David’s indiscretion with Bathsheba and his attempt to cover it up that led to the death of her husband, Uriah. So we know David’s no saint. And yet, God loves him. God had selected him and had Samuel anoint him as the future king as a mere youth. His favor was with David when he slew Goliath and, as David points out, when David killed lions and bears as he protected his father’s flocks.
Then I noticed something. David was still talking to God and God was still talking to David. Even as he ran from Saul and was backed into corners time and time again, he was protected from capture. And David did not get impatient and give in to the temptation to slay Saul, which he surely could have done. He waited. He trusted God. He was obedient to the purpose for which he had been chosen – to ascend to the throne in God’s timing and according to God’s will, not his own. Now that is something that I believe could gain God’s favor.
Sometimes I fret over slips of my self-chosen halo, feeling that I can’t possibly please God. But God seems to have a bigger plan in mind than rapping my knuckles over a poorly chosen word or an impatient snit. (Don’t get me wrong, He does zing my conscience over such things.) But He hangs in with me. And I hang in with Him.
In receiving a cross one time, I was told, “Christ is counting on you.” My response was, “And I am counting on Christ.” I think that kind of evidence of relationship – “staying at the table”, as I heard it called one time in a reference to Jesus’ communion with his disciples even when he knew he’d been betrayed, is the kind of steadfastness God has toward us, even when we fail Him. And we can do no better than to continue to go to Him, even when we’ve messed up, even when we feel broken and unworthy, and trust that His love is enduring and will patiently correct us and get us back on track.
I want to be one after God’s own heart. I want to be called a Friend of God.