Do you ever get discouraged? Do you keep trying to do your best, fighting through the slings and arrows this fallen world shoots at you, only to come to a point where you feel it will never end; that eventually you are just going to lose? I’ll tell you, many a day I have felt that way. Many a day I have felt like I was fighting a losing battle; that the world was stacked against me and there just wasn’t much point to continuing. I’m reminded of that because of something David says in today’s passage.
1 Samuel 27:1 ESV
“Then David said in his heart, ‘Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.’”
David has been jousting with Saul for a while now. He doesn’t want to take the life of Saul but Saul sure wants to take his. David had several opportunities to end this struggle by killing Saul but David wouldn’t take the shots when they came. David knew that God had put Saul in his seat of authority and it was not David’s place to unseat him. David knew to leave justice to God. It was God’s task to discipline His anointed not David’s. At the writer of Hebrews stated, quoting Deuteronomy:
Hebrews 10:30 ESV
“For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’”
David spent years living in caves, hiding from Saul, afraid for his life, unsure of when, if ever, it would end. Still, he wouldn’t take a short cut that might very well be against the will of God. Brothers, Jesus didn’t promise us that following Him would be a walk in the park. In fact, Jesus said it would be difficult to follow Him. Most heroes of the Bible, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and on and on, had their low points. Some had many low points. Some had seemingly nothing but low points. Having trouble in the world is not a sign that God doesn’t love you. Frankly, if the amount of trouble you have is in any way an indication of how God feels about you, I’d have to say the more trouble you have the more He must love you.
The Apostle Paul has become an inspiration to me. His life got extremely difficult after he submitted his life to Christ. He was stoned, attacked repeatedly, the subject of multiple assassination plots, and imprisoned multiple times. In fact, after having been arrested because others were trying to kill him, Paul was shipped off to Rome for adjudication by the Emperor. Along the way to Rome he was shipwrecked during a storm that lasted for many days. He swam to shore in the midst of that storm and went to gather wood to throw on a fire. As he was about to throw a log on the fire a poisonous snake jumped out and bit him on the arm.
Here is a faithful servant of Christ just trying to do what his Lord and Savior has asked him to do and it seems to be just one catastrophe after another! I don’t know about you but I’d probably have come to my breaking point long before this sorry string of unfortunate events. And yet, in his epistles Paul sounds as if he is overflowing with joy and peace. How can that be? It can be because his eyes are riveted upon Christ rather than the world.
I think that is the problem for you and me today; we have our eyes more on the world than on Christ. When your eyes are solidly on Christ, the struggles of this world are merely uncomfortable distractions. That doesn’t mean we are overjoyed about our troubles; I have a hard time believing Paul was happy to be imprisoned or stoned but with his eyes firmly on Christ and eternity those hardships didn’t rattle his faith.
David was a man after God’s own heart. That’s what God called him; and yet he felt like giving up from time to time. You are not alone when you find yourself feeling the same way. Many a hero of the Bible has been there. Of course, you are not alone in another way as well. If you truly belong to Christ, He goes with you through your troubles. As you face your struggles in life keep your eyes firmly upon Christ realizing that your troubles are only for a time and that in the sweet by and by it will all seem as nothing.