Burning Bridges

Isn’t this how the Living Word is supposed to work? It cuts deep, it rightly divides soul and spirit, it gets down to my real attitude, my true thoughts and heart’s desires.

‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭29:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The entire Philistine army now mobilized at Aphek, and the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine rulers were leading out their troops in groups of hundreds and thousands, David and his men marched at the rear with King Achish. But the Philistine commanders demanded, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish told them, “This is David, the servant of King Saul of Israel. He’s been with me for years, and I’ve never found a single fault in him from the day he arrived until today.””

If you have been following the story, We find David in a pickle. The words of King Achish paint a picture of a loyal and faithful servant.

Wait – what?

Can you believe I’m using “loyal and faithful” as words to describe a man who not only left Israelite territory because he needed to put distance between himself and the one he was called to serve, but also has been spending the last years with their enemy the Philistines?

I say loyal and faithful because King Achish is sticking up for David when questioned regarding David’s involvement in this battle.

Achish uses these words to describe David, “the servant of King Saul of Israel”.

That could only mean that David and his men probably never bad mouthed or dishonored the crazed man they were forced to flee from.

Right there is a lesson to be learned.

How many of us burn bridges?

Well if I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve been known to demolish them. When I was done with someone, I was DONE!

I’ve used the reasoning that most people use, maybe even you yourself have used it.

“I’m never going to let them hurt me again!”

Or

“Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!”

Yep, those are ones I’ve used. I’ve not only taken people off my Christmas card list, I’ve taken them off my prayer list.

I know,

…”and you call yourself a Christian!”

Hey, I know you have seen the bumper sticker that says, “Christians aren’t perfect just Forgiven!” I lived that as if it were my personal ethos.

I’ll wait for those that had to look that word up.

Don’t we have the dumbest ideas? It’s almost like a Christian get-out-of-jail-free card; act anyway you’d like to act and use forgiveness as an excuse. I’ve heard leaders of the church say this often, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” But there’s nothing Biblical about that; it’s not Scriptural!

If anyone had the right to cut someone off it was David; a man who was unjustly accused, unrighteously attacked, lied about, and slandered.

Men have murdered for less!

How could David suffer such humiliation and still act with honor and integrity?

And why do I act like I have the right to play the avenger? This part of the Scripture is really challenging me. I need to take a deep look into myself and find the root of pettiness and self-importance. I read this and ask…

”John, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!”

If David didn’t exercise his right, what gives you the right? It’s challenging me to rethink how nasty I’ve really been. How very much UNLIKE Christ I have on occasion acted. I’m deeply embarrassed and repentant right now.

But isn’t this how the Living Word is supposed to work? It cuts deep, it rightly divides soul and spirit, it gets down to my real attitude, my true thoughts and heart’s desires.

When I first read this chapter, I didn’t think that there was much to talk about. The next chapter gets really good. Things are about to pop. But for some reason this portion really struck a chord in me. It could have been so easy to gloss over it, to comment on some other part, but God really wanted to reveal something in me.

To me.

John, when you exercise your rights, you damage people unnecessarily.

Now I’m not being insensitive to people that have suffered violent and criminal acts against them. By no means! Criminals need to be punished. That’s NOT what I’m talking about. I’m talking about PRIDE and FEELINGS, I’m talking about petty rivalries and shame. I’m talking about things I ask God to forgive me for that I want Him to punish others for.

Not too many of my enemies would ever come to my defense. I’ve built walls after I burned bridges and I’m convicted by this verse.

Oh that my foes could describe me in such a fashion.

“This is John, servant of the Living God, and I have found no fault in him from the day that he arrived until today.”

Father God,

This one wasn’t easy! Forgive me for my petty, selfish behavior. Enable me to mend relationships that I have destroyed in my self-righteous indignation. I pray that these few words will also stir the reader to do a “system check” in their lives and relationships. Jesus, you were the only one who ever had a right, but still didn’t exercise it. Help us to be more like you. And may those that really KNOW me, recognize a real change in me from this day forward. Amen.

Love y’all

-Keep Pressing

soulKANDY

David Who?

Perhaps today I am your Abigail. Reminding you that there is a call, a plan, a purpose, and a grand design for your life.

The scene is set during sheep shearing season, something David as a shepherd would have naturally known. Like harvest time for the farmer, shearing season marked the end of long nights out in the elements for the shepherds. It was a time to shear the sheep and process the wool; it was a time to celebrate and be merry.

David doesn’t ever seem to be able to catch a break. He is constantly hounded by Saul and his army, and now when it appears that just when he is finally at a time of respite and peace from Saul’s pursuit, this man Nabal pushes David to his limit.

David would have known that the owner of the flock would be popping open the wine bottles, opening the storehouses, and getting the barbecue grill clean and ready.

David and his men have spent a good part of the season out in the fields near the place where Nabal’s shepherds were grazing the sheep. It most likely was throughout the colder season because the sheep would have been shorn to keep them from overheating as the weather gets warmer, and also because this would be just before any lambs would be born. It would give the sheep time to grow back their coats before the cold weather returned. So as a former shepherd, David realizes this is a festive time at the Nabal Ranch.

Scripture backs this up by stating that it is a time of festivity, a special occasion, and a day to celebrate. So Nabal was about to have a feast worthy of a king.

So here is what you missed in case you are not familiar with the story…

Nabal is throwing a party for the shepherds to celebrate this season and David is asking for a portion because as he sees it, he and his guys provided security for Nabals shepherds and sheep.

We cannot overlook the fact that David was a shepherd. He knew the dangers of being out in the open with sheep. Danger from marauders and danger from wild animals. David himself said he encountered bears and lions while tending sheep, so he knew what it meant to be secure and protected for an entire season.

All he was asking for was a share in the festivities. Just a little bit. But David’s messengers come back with this response from Nabal…

1 Samuel 25:10 NLT

“‘Who is this fellow David?’ Nabal sneered to the young men. ‘Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.’”

Who is David? To David it probably sounded more like-

WHO IS DAVID!?

I don’t know what was actually going through David’s head, but if it was me I’d be saying,

“Ask Goliath’s brothers!- they know who David is…

“In fact, ask any Philistine! They’ll know who David is.

“Why don’t you ask your King? He knows who David is.

“Saul Killed thousands – I killed ten thousands.

“What kind of stupid question is, ‘Who is David?’

I’ll show you who David is!!!!!”

Yep, I’m sure it went just like that, or very close. Because what comes next is the sound of David sharpening his sword and strapping on his armor. Nabal and his household are about to find out exactly who David is.

1 Samuel 25:21-22 ESV “Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good. God do so to the enemies of David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.””

Who is going to protect Nabal now? Nabal was the original guy who kicked the hornets’ nest.

It’s ironic that a few decades later David’s own son would write about this type of knee-jerk reaction and response in Proverbs 26:4 MSG, “Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself.”

David would have been perfect for a Snickers commercial. He isn’t very happy when he’s hungry.

But is this response warranted?

How do we respond when we are embarrassed?

How do we respond to those who have offended us?

Are the words of a foolish person enough to get you to forget who you are?

The anointing oil that Samuel poured over David’s head has long vanished; the words spoken over his life are a distant memory. The plan of God and his purpose grow dimmer with each passing day.

The one who believed in him, his friend the Prince, hasn’t kept in touch. And the ones who are with him depend so much on him that the burden of responsibility is wearing him thin.

This is the same David that writes the following in Psalms 139:16-17 ESV, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

You see, God knew that one day David would feel disrespected and respond irrationally. Even while knowing that David was eventually going to get to a tipping point, He called him still and anointed him.

It doesn’t really matter what men think of you or how they size you up.

If God be for us…

Word on the street was that David was running like an escaped slave.

But..

The truth is that David was nothing but loyal to King Saul.

And God sent Abigail to remind him.

Remember who you are, David! You will be the Leader of Israel and you will have a lasting dynasty, God Himself is your protector and He will remember His promise concerning you.

David relented from his folly; from taking action against a very foolish man. And he was spared the guilt and shame that this rash decision would have brought him.

What is it that you need to rethink?

Perhaps today I am your Abigail. Reminding you that there is a call, a plan, a purpose, and a grand design for your life.

Remember who God says you are.

-John