Joyfully Serving My Master

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Content to Wait on God

I was reading in 2 Samuel 4 last night. The setting is that Saul and Jonathan died 7 years earlier. David was king in Judah for 7 years, but Saul's son, Ishbosheth has reigned in all the rest of Israel. Two men from Ishbosheth's army heard that the captain of the army, Abner, was dead and decided they wanted to get into David's good graces by killing Ishbosheth. They killed Ishbosheth in his sleep and brought news to David, expecting great commendation. However David reacted to the news just as he did when he heard that Saul and Jonathan were dead. He had the murderers executed. In the case of Saul's Death, David tore his clothes and mourned. His question to the man claiming to have killed Saul was, "How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?" (2 Sam 1:14).

David knew that he was chosen by God to replace Saul as King over Israel. He had been anointed many years earlier while he was the youth caring for his father's sheep. He did not become king over Israel though until he was 30 years old. If he was 15 when he was anointed (some scholars say he may have been as young as 10), then he had 15 years of waiting time before God's word to him actually came to be. Whatever the exact number of years, it was a long time for David to wait. I think we see here a bit of the difference in David's heart that caused God to say of him that he was a "man after His [God's] own heart." (1 Sam. 13:14)

So what was it that was most important to David? It certainly wasn't power or prestige, though he had been promised both. He showed in his reaction just what mattered: God's will being accomplished. Saul was God's anointed. Therefore David would not harm him though he twice had the opportunity to kill him. Therefore David mourned, wept and ordered the execution of the one who claimed to have killed Saul. David had told Goliath that "the battle is the Lord's" (1 Sam 17:47b). His actions demonstrate clearly that David not only believed that the battle was the Lord's, but that the kingdom, the king and his own life were God's to do with as God pleased. It was that sweet confidence in God's control that allowed David to wait contentedly until God placed him on the throne. He did nothing to try to push his own timetable, though he had opportunity to do so. He knew that God's timing was best and was content to wait.

I think that's where my heart so often strays from being "after God's" heart. I get excited about something, maybe even something good that I believe would please God. Then I want to quickly forge ahead and do it NOW. And I get myself into trouble by trying to push into things that weren't meant for me to be into yet. Now, David wasn't idle during all that time of waiting. He was busy leading an army, and he did take over as king of Judah immediately after Saul's death. There was certainly no hesitation in accepting the responsibility as God gave it to him and to work hard to prepare himself and his men for the task ahead. But he did not force God's hand.

So the question is, am I willing to wait contentedly on God as He works in me and in others hearts to bring about the right time? Do I really want to be a woman after God's own heart? You know, there was another in the story who was not willing to wait. It was Saul. He got impatient with God's prophet and did things his own way. And God took the kingdom from him because of it and gave it to another who had a heart after His own. So who will it be today -- Impatient Saul or Content David?