Read His Words Before Ours!
As David hid in the darkness at the back of the cave, it must have seemed like the perfect opportunity. His enemy was alone and unarmed.
With the whispers of his men urging him forward, David crept behind the unsuspecting Saul. For years, Saul’s jealousy drove him to relentlessly pursue David, seeking to kill him.
Surely, this was the moment to finally put a stop to it.
What’s more, the prophet Samuel had anointed David as king, and yet, years later, Saul remained on the throne.
Surely, this was the ideal opportunity for David to claim his destiny.
But, to the surprise of his men, while David cut a piece from Saul’s robe, he chose not to harm the man himself. He knew this was not God’s way.
This was not how waiting was supposed to end.
David had plenty of practice at waiting. From the day he was unexpectedly marked out as the future king, he waited approximately fifteen years until he was finally crowned.
We may question why.
Why did God make him wait so long?
Was there any purpose behind the delay?
It’s common to ask similar questions in our own times of waiting. It can feel as if God has forgotten us, and we wonder why He is making us wait.
David’s story encourages us to see there are valuable lessons to be learned during times of waiting. Delay is not merely something to endure, but a time God can use.
Often God has to first work in us, building our character, so He can later work through us. We certainly see this truth reflected in David’s story.
David’s anointing was not something he had sought or expected. He was not of royal birth, and he was the most unlikely choice as the youngest of eight brothers. Though often disregarded by his brothers, God looked at his heart, knew his potential, and chose David.
Straight after his anointing, we see David learn humility and service. While he knew he would one day be king, he was first called into service of the current king, Saul, working for him as musician, armour bearer, and later, an army commander. He showed great loyalty and respect to Saul, even as Saul’s behaviour became increasingly unreasonable and angry.
We see David learn to trust in God and His power. He had already learned this as a shepherd boy when God helped him fight off bears and lions attacking his flock. This gave him the confidence to tackle the giant Goliath, and that remarkable victory must have boosted his faith even more.
This faith was surely tested as Saul’s jealousy grew, leading him to attempt to kill David on multiple occasions. David must have wondered why waiting on the Lord was so hard. But we also see a remarkable trust that God was still sovereign and, in the midst of the seeming chaos, He had a plan.
This is shown in David’s words to the king of Moab as he asks if his parents can find refuge there, “Please let my father and mother stay with you until I know what God will do for me.” (1 Samuel 22:3)
He didn’t yet know what God would do, but he trusted God would do something, and that God was still for him.
We also see David grow in integrity, continuing to strive to behave well towards Saul and respect his position as king instead of retaliating in anger, as shown by the choice he made in the cave.
In his refusal to take matters into his own hands, we see his trust in God’s timing. He knew God’s plan would prevail, and becoming king was not something he had to make happen by himself.
“As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him [Saul] down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. However, as the Lord, is my witness, I will never lift my hand against the Lord’s anointed.” (1 Samuel 26:10-11)
Finally, the obvious lesson to learn in a time of waiting is patience, and David certainly had plenty of opportunity to develop this.
It may be encouraging in our times of waiting to know that while David waited well and learned a lot along the way, he didn’t always find waiting easy.
The specific situation Psalm 13 references is unclear, but it is a helpful example for us of a prayer in a time of waiting. Four times David asks, “How long?” as he wrestles with the wait, but the Psalm ends on a mark of hope as he chooses to trust God’s goodness.
Maybe this is the key to waiting well.
We can trust God’s character even when we can’t understand our circumstances, holding onto the sure hope He is still working even when we struggle to see how. Ultimately, we can trust that, in His own perfect timing, His purposes will prevail.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!