Forcing God’s Plan; Accepting God’s Plan

I was glad to get in a good workout at our pool this afternoon. The hot weather made it a nice mid afternoon activity as well. This next week I begin some planned workouts with my trainer at the fitness center and am eager to see some good results over the next two months.

This next week is my “official” start as Director of the Larimer County Energy Action Project (LEAP). I’m looking forward to being involved in this important area of activity for our county and state.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… Saul…said, “You are a better man than I am. You have been good to me, but I have done wrong to you.  You told me what good things you did. The Lord handed me over to you, but you did not kill me. People don’t normally let an enemy get away like this, do they? May the Lord reward you because you were good to me today.  I know you will surely be king, and you will rule the kingdom of Israel.” 1 Samuel 24:16-20 NCV

I have just finished reading through 1 Samuel. Almost half of the book deals with the anointing of David to be King following the rebellion of Saul and then Saul trying to kill David because of jealousy and paranoia. When the prophet Samuel went to the house of Jesse and anointed his youngest son David as the next King we read two important statements of contrast, “From that day on, the Lord’s Spirit worked in David….But the Lord’s Spirit had left Saul…” (1 Samuel 16:13,14)

David was anointed King, but he was not ready to be King. The journey from being shepherd of sheep to being King of Israel was not simply a matter of waiting, but it was a matter of testing. We see David as a “harp player”  summonsed to help calm the disturbing moods and spirits that came upon Saul. David was Saul’s bodyguard and his most trusted and successful general. But David’s popularity turned a paranoid Saul against him.

David would spend years on the run from Saul in the wilderness. David, as a brave and successful warrior, knew how to fight, but he also knew when to flee. That kind of wisdom would be critical to his leadership as King. David had to make a choice, he had to allow God’s promise and plan to come about in God’s way and in God’s time, or he would be arrogant and aggressive and fight for himself.

David’s road to the throne was through a wilderness filled with trouble. Those experiences as a fugitive were his school of leadership and personal development that prepared him to establish a dynasty in Israel. David learned to trust in the Lord and cry out to Him. As a result, we have many of the Psalms that we do which encourage us today from what David went through, how he responded and what he learned.

David learned that when you honor the Lord and honor others, you will be honored. We see this when David revered Saul as “God’s anointed” even though he had been anointed as Saul’s successor. David’s character and conduct in this test and in future actions as King won him favor in the eyes of the people.

David learned that every opportunity to “win” is not God’s winning plan. Or as my pastor recently commented, “not every opportunity for victory is the time for victory.”  We read accounts of how David had the opportunity to twice kill King Saul. But he refused to take Saul’s life or let his men do it for him and then hind behind their actions, claiming he wasn’t guilty. This is one of the most challenging concepts of following God’s will for our life. We pray for “open doors” but we need wisdom to know if an “open door” is God’s will or God’s test.

David learn that how lead and influence others and call them to a higher standard.  [David] said to his men, “May the Lord keep me from doing such a thing to my master! Saul is the Lord’s appointed king. I should not do anything against him, because he is the Lord’s appointed king!” David used these words to stop his men; he did not let them attack Saul.” (1 Samuel 24:6,7)

In contrast to David’s control over his men, we see Saul disobeyed the Lord in fear of his men. Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. (1 Samuel 15:24 ESV) We see Saul instead of leading his men with faith, courage and strength; lead from the fear of his men and succumbed to their will.

David learned how to be a “man after God’s own heart” instead of a man after Saul’s heart. He chose not to fight Saul, as Saul was fighting him. He submitted himself to the Lord and followed the Lord’s directions. When the Lord said it was time to fight, David fought and won. But he wasn’t afraid to wait patiently for the Lord’s timing and plan to be fulfilled in his life.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”  (Psa. 40:1-3 ESV)

We can be thankful for the Lord’s plan and purpose for our life. But the true test and choice is accepting the fulfillment of the Lord’s plan by our patience and trust or forcing the Lord’s plan through relying on our own wisdom and resources.