I am thinking about David this morning, and how hard it must have been when he was hiding out in the wilderness for all those years. He had been a shepherd. I like to think that he wrote Ps 23 when he was out tending his father’s sheep, and he built a close relationship with God then. That relationship and understanding of God is what allowed him to slay Goliath.
He had been one of the most respected men in the kingdom. His best friend was the king’s son. He led the soldiers and killed many enemies. He even married the king’s daughter.
So it must have been a cruel twist to have to run away to the barren places, and always move from place to place, being attacked, fearing for his life and the lives of the men who were with him.
It must have been hard not to resent that God would allow this to happen, after all he had done to maintain his integrity and serve God. It seemed like the foulest of injustices.
How could David continue to trust the Lord in all of this? How could he believe God still had his back, when he wrote things like, “how many are my foes, many rise up against me,” (Ps 3) and “How long will you assault a man?” (Ps 62:3)
Yet over and over again he would maintain, “But you are a shield about me O God. You give me glory. You lift up my head.” and “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Ps 62:1-2)
All of us have to go through these cruel twists, these times when we’re giving to God and everything is going great and the worst happens. And we can’t help but feel betrayed, thinking, “How could God allow me to be in this situation?”
Can we believe that God has us in the secure iron grip of his hand, as David said in Ps 139? “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Can we believe that He is fierce in protecting us? That when we pray in our distress, it is as David wrote in Ps 18, “The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. . . He parted the heavens and came down . . . He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. . . he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
I am trying to believe this more firmly. My trials are so small compared to what David endured.
My soul finds rest in God alone. He alone is my fortress.
I hide myself in Him, and trust.
And through the watches of the night, I recite to myself this little song that I wrote:
Keep me in the circle of Your love. May Your right hand hold me fast. May Your arms hold and carry me close. May Your comfort envelop me. Wrap me in the solace of Your peace, resting on Your mercy.
And I remind myself that much of what I face is like this verse from the old hymn, “God Moves in A Mysterious Way.”
You fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds you so much dread. Are big with mercy and will break In Blessing on your head.