1 Samuel 20; Psalm 59

Getting to Know God Through Adversity.

“But as for me, I will sing about your power. I will shout with joy each morning because of your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety in the day of distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.” ­– Psalm 59:16-17 NLT

David knew God. When we get introduced to David for the first time in the book of 1 Samuel, he is standing before King Saul and the army of Israel telling them about the exploits he had accomplished by God’s power. David had defeated a lion and a bear and knew that it was because of God the he had been able to do so. He trusted in God’s power. He had experienced it first hand. He knew God to be faithful. But there was a lot about God that David didn’t know. He was a young man with limited experience. He had been a shepherd, working for his father. His life experiences were limited. But God had chosen him to be the next king of Israel. He had been anointed by God for the job. But there is a big difference between being anointed and being prepared. God was going to enroll David into His School of Leadership. Not just teach him what a good king should do, but to introduce him to the one true King.

I’ve always found it interesting that God had Samuel anoint David to be Saul’s replacement, but then left Saul on the throne. Then God removed His Spirit from Saul and placed an evil spirit on him that caused him to react in rage and anger toward David. God caused David to prosper and every time David did, Saul because increasingly angry. So much so, that he tried to pin David to a wall with a spear – twice. God was behind all of this. He could have just removed Saul from his throne and put David in his place, but God had other plans. And those plans included David going through some extremely difficult days. He would lose his position, his wife, his best friend, and ultimately, his mentor Samuel. But David would gain so much more. He was going to learn things about His God he would have learned no other way. It was going to be through adversity that David learned reliability and sovereignty of God. As David experienced the hatred of Saul and was forced to run for his life, he would find himself with nothing to trust in, except his God.

That is why David’s Psalms resonate so well with most of us. They are journals of his life – intimate glimpses into those dark moments of the soul where David honestly and sometimes glaringly shares his heart. Psalm 59 is just such a Psalm. In it, David expresses his feelings as he runs from Saul and his men who want to take his life. David cries to God for deliverance. He admits that he feels like God is asleep at the wheel and unaware of his circumstances. He begs God to destroy them. But through it all, he learning things about his God that he didn’t know before. He already knew God was strong. But now he is learning that there is more to God than just power. He is a God of lovingkindness and tenderness. He is a refuge or place of safety when times are tough. He is a stronghold where David can hide when his enemies are out to get him. David is learning about God as he is forced to trust and lean on God. God is using adversity to educate and prepare David for what lies ahead. His reign will be a long one, and it will be filled with ups and downs, successes and failures. David is going to need God, but more than anything else, he is going to need to KNOW God. It is in the tough times that we learn the tenderness of God. It is in the difficulties of life that we learn nothing is too difficult for God. It is in our moments of despair that we discover God is a source of hope. Our adversity is God’s opportunity to reveal to us just who He is in all His glory.

Father, thank You for adversity. I don’t like it, but I realize that it is in the difficulties of life that I really get to know You – IF I will learn to turn to You. David had nowhere else to turn. But when he did look for You, he always found You, because You are faithful all time time. David got to know You as he went through the difficulties of life. Help me to see You in the dark moments of my life, not just the good times. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org