A Lesson from the Cave

Kind of crazy times in the world around us. Too much stuff that makes so little sense. And too much temptation to get spooked and take matters into our own hands.

Cue my reading this morning in 1Samuel 24. What an illustration of submission and faith. What an example of doing it “God’s way” even when we feel there is more than enough justification for doing it “my way.” It’s a reminder that while we might want to take matters into our own hands, we can trust the hand of God. It’s a lesson from the cave.

Here’s the scene . . . Saul and 3,000 elite fighting men from his army have received a tip on where David is hiding and they’ve gone after David and his band of 600 misfit followers. Saul is intent on destroying David. He is driven by jealousy, ego, and just a lousy overall disposition. Saul is almost out of his mind with fear and paranoia and he’s definitely out of the will of God. In short, Saul’s mostly out of control.

Anyway, Saul needs to “relieve himself” and so he steps into a cave to do his business. Guess what? David and his men have been hiding in the recesses of the cave. Saul is a sitting duck (no pun intended). David can do with him as he wishes. David’s men are certain that this must be the doing of the Lord and that David has the green light from God to take Saul out.

This is David’s chance to end the running . . . to take the throne which God has already promised him . . . to give Saul what he deserves. But, he passes on the opportunity. Instead he cuts off a corner of Saul’s robe as evidence of what could have been . . . and then let’s Saul do his thing and leave . . . un-touched!

Why??? Surely God has orchestrated these circumstances. Who wouldn’t have thought David justified to stop Saul’s crazy, murderous obsession to kill David? Killing Saul would have been an act of justifiable self defense. But David didn’t harm Saul. In fact, he regretted even cutting the corner of his robe. So, why?

He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORDs anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORDs anointed.”

(1Samuel 24:6 ESV)

David did not have the freedom to step outside the lines of authority established by God. For better or worse, Saul was David’s king. Chosen by God . . . anointed by God . . . given the throne by God. David would not raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed. Instead he would entrust himself to the Sovereign God.

“May the LORD judge between me and you, may the LORD avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you . . . May the LORD therefore be judge . . .

(1Samuel 24:12, 15a  ESV)

Let the LORD be judge. What faith! What confidence! What a submissive and trusting heart!

I’m not unlike David’s men that day. I can come up with a dozen arguments of why David would have been justified to take matters into his own hands. But that’s what it would have been — taking matters into his own hands. And this man after God’s own heart knew that the reason for this “chance encounter” in the cave wasn’t about Saul, it was about David.

It was a situation ordained to test his faith, to secure his trust in the One who is forever trustworthy.

Oh, what a lesson in letting God be God–even when it might be easier or quicker or apparently safer to take matters into our own hands. A reminder to rest on the word and the promises of God. To acknowledge Him as active and present in our lives, and in the world around us, even when it seems we are stuck in a dark cave. To believe that He works all things together for good for those who love Him and called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28), even when those “things” make no sense.

Submitting isn’t always easy. Waiting can be even harder. Being dealt with unjustly, no fun. Watching circumstances unfold that that make no sense . . . that can be almost unbearable.

But when I remember, and when I believe that the God who called me is Sovereign and works all things according to His will . . .

. . . then I can wait, because of His all sufficient grace, . . . and I can let God be God . . . for His all deserving glory.

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