Suffering and Righteousness

“The surgery of life hurts. It helps me, though, to know that the surgeon himself, the Wounded Surgeon, has felt every stab of pain and every sorrow.” ― Philip Yancey

1 Samuel 26:1-27:4

The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hidingon the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?” So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search there for David. Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.

Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.

David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?” “I’ll go with you,” said Abishai. So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him. Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

12 So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep. 13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. 14 He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?” Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?”

15 David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. 16 What you have done is not good. As surely as the Lordlives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the Lord’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”

17 Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?” David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18 And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! They have driven me today from my share in the Lord’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.” 22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The Lord delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.

27 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”

So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal.When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.

Cross, Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, Daily Devotion, Suffering

I saw the movie ‘Paul- the Apostle of Christ’ recently with my friends. The movie really brought to life the characters in the Bible and made real the suffering and persecution the early church had to go through for their faith. Their suffering seemed so unjust and their faith and courage in the face of the horror was humbling.

As we reflected on the movie with my friend we talked about the struggles and suffering that we have in our life. We discussed the raw emotions that we have when we are in the midst of it. The anger (even towards God), the hurt, the unfairness of it all and how it leaves us broken and shattered to pieces. We talked about how easy it was to hold on to bitterness and how hard it is to let go of the hurt and battled with the question of how to respond in the face of it all.

Up until now, David has shown righteousness and faithfulness in his character even when he was being treated unjustly and his life had been threatened by the corrupt king Saul. David had opportunities to take revenge and kill Saul, but he trusted in God to deliver him from his troubles. David, who seemed like a promising king fails when we read on to chapter 27 as he takes matters into his own hands and leaves God’s presence to go take protection from the Philistines, the archenemies of Israel.

Jesus, our true King, also endured suffering at the hand of corrupt leaders. Jesus had done nothing wrong, he was innocent, yet he had to suffer for our sake. Just like David had opportunities to kill his enemy, Jesus, as the Son of God, had the power at any time to crush His enemy but he did not retaliate. Jesus endured the suffering that was required to establish his kingdom. 1 Peter 2:21-23. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. 23. When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for the righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

My friend concluded our conversation saying that one thing she had noticed in her life was that through her sufferings she is being moulded and her values are changing to reflect the kingdom values.  She stated that her suffering is a true life changing experience to change her to be more like Jesus.

Head: David wrote several Psalms while he was on the run from Saul. These Psalms give insight to his emotions and his heart. Read Psalms 31 for example, to gain insight to how David, the man after God’s own heart responded to his suffering.

Heart: Reflect on your own life and the suffering you have experienced.

Hands: “Offer your pains to God. Pray for the strength to endure. Above all, develop a habit of conversing often with God. Adore Him in your infirmities. At the very height of your suffering, ask Him humbly and affectionately (as a child to a good parent) to help you accept His will.” – Brother Lawrence

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I pray that help me have the same attitude as you did, help me forgive easily and not take offence when I feel I have been treated unjustly. Help me bear the burdens of those near me who are suffering. Most of all, I thank you for suffering on the cross for my sins and being our true King worthy of all praise and all glory. Thy will be done. Amen.

A song to listen to: It Is Well

Petrina Rangiawha– Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina