Stretching the borders of my faith
The life of David is a perfect example of faith stretched to the limit…
There is one man in the Bible whose life fascinates me. That man is David. From the time he was anointed as king of Israel by Samuel, his life took some very dramatic twists and turns that appeared to be taking him further and further away from his destiny! David went through some difficult times thanks to Saul his predecessor, from having a spear hurled at him, having to feign madness, hiding out in the desert, to taking refuge in caves. Not what you would expect from the life of one who was destined to be king, right? David, however, never lost faith – and this is what I will dwell on today. Can my faith stretch as far as David’s did?
Let’s read on…
David in the city of Gath
At some point, David had to flee from Saul and hide out in the land of the Philistines, in the city of Gath. Now – the people there had heard all about him, and they knew he was a threat to their lives and their safety. They quickly told Achish, the King of Gath, that David was not someone they wanted in their city, yet David had nowhere else to go. Guess what – he had to pretend he was mad – drooling and acting crazy. Can you imagine what was going through David’s mind as he did all this in an effort to preserve his life?
Psalm 56:1-2 “O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me.” (NLT)
David must have felt very lonely and desperate. He had nowhere to turn. If he went back to Israel, Saul would pursue him relentlessly. If he stayed in Gath, he would surely die.
Psalm 34:6 “In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” (NLT)
The Lord answered David’s cry! When Achish saw how crazy he looked and behaved, he let him go! Because David had chosen to trust God even in that desperate moment, his prayers were answered.
Psalm 34: 15 “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.” (NLT)
Psalm 34:22 “But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.” (NLT)
David’s reaction in this situation may seem weird to all of us, but I want to suggest that as he prayed for deliverance, perhaps it is God who gave him the wisdom to act like a madman. Whatever the case, the Lord delivered David, because he trusted in him. Yes, David was afraid and uncertain of what lay ahead at that point, but he still chose to trust in God!
Psalm 56:3 “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” (NLT)
David in the Caves
What would a potential king be doing holed up in a cave? Hiding from Saul, of course! Saul was determined to kill him because he knew that David was destined to take away his throne.
Caves are not very nice places. They are dark, cold, damp, stinky and full of bats! I can imagine David had some moments of soul-searching when in the cave, wondering why he had to hide out in such a place, yet he was destined to be a king. Here are some of his thoughts, from Psalm 142.
Psalm 142:1-3 “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.” (NLT)
David was clearly not happy about his situation when he uttered the words above. He however maintained his faith in God, by pouring out his heart to him and letting him know how he felt. David, however, did not let the circumstances he was in affect his faith in the Lord.
Psalm 57:1-3 “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.” (NLT)
Sometimes I feel like I am in a cave, honestly. I can be sitting on my favourite chair in a brightly lit room but the troubles of this world envelope me like the walls of a dark cave. Next time I feel like this, I will do what David did – pour out my heart to the Lord, acknowledge that he is my helper, and rest in his unfailing love. That alone will cause the darkness to melt away.
Psalm 142: 5 ‘Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”’ (NLT)
David in the wilderness
Once again David finds himself in a place that is not fit for kings – the Desert of Ziph. We all know what deserts are like – dry, hot, dusty, and generally uncomfortable places to be, especially for someone who is not used to the weather!
If David was a king, however, he would be in his palace, sipping cool drinks as he listened to reports from his army commanders. Even if he was living in the desert, his servants would have made sure he did not experience any form of discomfort! Sadly, that was not the case. David was an ordinary man, fleeing from Saul, and his present hiding place was within the vast desert.
David was a thirsty man – not just for water, but for the presence of the Lord. In his weary state, he needed to feel God’s presence quench the dryness in his spirit. David needed God.
Psalm 63:1 “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.” (NLT)
It is interesting to note at this point that David did not seek to quench his spiritual thirst anywhere else apart from the Lord. I am sure there were plenty of opportunities and ways to quench this thirst, but David chose to stick with who he knew and trusted – the Lord. See what else he says in Psalm 63 below…
Psalm 63:6-8 “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” (NLT)
Despite the fact that he was going through an extremely difficult season, David never lost his faith in God. He knew that God was his helper, even though he was not yet out of the woods. In fact, David found joy in the Lord’s presence, not because the Lord was able to deliver him, but because he knew who God was – a loving, caring God who watches over his people and always wants the best for them.
David went through a lot more than many of us will ever go through, yet he never lost his faith. What a huge challenge that is for all of us – are we ready and willing to have the borders of our faith stretched, and will we continue to trust in the Lord when this happens?
Dear friends, thanks again for stopping by and reading this week’s inspiration! Are you ready to stretch the borders of your faith? How about your share this article with your friends and family so that they can be challenged to stretch their faith a little bit more! Have a great week ahead!