Max describes David’s status as: “No place in court. No position in the army. No wife, no priest, no friend. Nothing to do but run. Wilderness begins with disconnections. It continues in deceit.” David’s wilderness is having no one he can go to or count on for support in his time of need.
All David can see is wilderness, he can’t see God, so he decides to take matters in his own hands. He goes to Gath, the hometown of Goliath, hoping to be accepted. He continues to deceive people. David pretends to be insane and feigns epilepsy. The Gittites fear epilepsy so they threw him out of the city.
David is all alone but with nowhere to turn He remembers he is not alone. He prays:
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings, I will make my refuge!”
Max continues: “Make God your refuge. Not your job, not your spouse, your reputation, or your retirement account. Make God your refuge. Let him encircle you.”
Max shares a story of a man, Whit, raised in a Christian home. He was married with a good family and became a leader in his church. He was sucked into gambling where he lost much more than he won. His wilderness became gambling, so his escape was to embezzle from the bank that employed him. After an audit, the bank called Whit in for a meeting. He knew he was caught, and his planned escape was suicide. The police caught up to Whit before he could pull the trigger. He turned back to his faith while in prison and returned to church work after his release. After a period of a few years, a congregation asked Whit to serve as their senior minister.
Max encourages: “Are you in the wilderness? Crawl into God the way a fugitive would a cave. Find refuge in God’s presence. Find comfort is his people. Cast your hat in a congregation of folks who are one gift of grace removed from tragedy, addiction, and disaster. Seek community in God’s church. Refuge in God’s presence. Comfort in God’s people. Your keys for wilderness survival.”
Let’s close with this thought from Max: “You’ll never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”
The saga of David versus Saul continues with David on the run. David has amassed several hundred people who are loyal to him. With Saul right on his heels, David and his followers seek refuge in a cave. Saul and his men decide to take a rest stop just outside the cave.
Saul enters the mouth of the cave and Max writes: “David and his men were hiding far back in the cave. With eyes dulled from the desert sun, the king fails to notice the silent figures who line the walls. But don’t you know they see him. Their minds race, and hands reach for daggers. One thrust of the blade will bring Saul’s tyranny and their running to an end. But David signals for his men to hold back. He edges along the wall, unsheathes his knife, and cuts not the flesh but the robe of Saul. David then creeps back into the recesses of the cave.”
“David’s men can’t believe what their leader has done. Neither can David. Yet his feelings don’t reflect theirs. They think he has done too little; he thinks he has done too much. Rather than gloat, he regrets:”
“Later David felt guilty because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. He 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.” I Samuel 24:19
After Saul exits the cave, David holds up the piece of cloth and shouts to Saul, “I could have killed you, but I didn’t.” Saul’s stunned response is “If a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely?” This is not the last time David gives Saul grace.
Saul continues his hunt for David. While Saul and his army are camped, David and one of his soldiers sneak into Saul’s tent and take his spear and water jug. The soldier begs him to kill Saul but David refuses. David retreats to a safe distance and shouts to Saul: “God put your life in my hands today, but I wasn’t willing to lift a finger against God’s anointed.” Once again David grants Saul grace.
Max goes on: “Once again, we think about the purveyors of pain in our own lives. It’s one thing to give grace to friends, but to give grace to those that give us grief? Could you? Given a few uninterrupted moments with Darth Vader of your days, could you imitate David?”
Maybe you can because we seem able to overlook the small stuff most of the time. But those who commit that grievous wrong and are repeat offenders? “The Sauls who take our youth, retirement, or health? Could you forgive the scum who hurt you?”
Max writes: “Vengeance fixes your attention at life’s ugliest moments. Score- settling freezes your stare at cruel events of your past. Is this where you want to look? Will rehearsing and reliving your hurts make you a better person? By no means. It will destroy you.”
David did not look at Saul as an attacker but saw him as a child of God. Max explains: “Your enemies still figure into God’s plan. Their pulse is proof: God hasn’t given up on them. They may be out of God’s will, but not out of his reach. You honor God when you see them, not as his failures, but as his projects.” YOU ARE ALSO GOD’S PROJECT!!
Seeking revenge on those who have harmed you is no way to spend your life. Jesus did not: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to who judges justly.” I Peter 2:23 NIV
Max advises: “God dispenses perfect judgments. Vengeance is his job. Leave your enemies in his hands. You are not endorsing their misbehavior when you do. You can hate what someone did without letting hatred consume you. Forgiveness is not excusing.”
“To forgive is to move on, not to think about the offense anymore. You don’t excuse him, endorse her, or embrace them. You just route thoughts about them through heaven. You see your enemies as God’s child and revenge as God’s job.”
“Forgiveness is choosing to see your offender with different eyes. We give grace because we’ve been given grace.”
Facing Your Giants - Max Lucado - 2006 -Thomas Nelson Publisher