The Armor of Light.
1 Samuel 21-22, Romans 13
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. – Romans 13:11-12 ESV
David was on the run. He was a fugitive with a bounty on his head, even though he was completely innocent of any wrong doing. He had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel. He had faithfully served Saul as both a servant and a soldier, and yet he found himself a victim of false accusations and suffering for his success as a soldier. Saul was jealous of David and feared him. He inherently knew that David was a threat to his kingship and so he was willing to do anything and everything to eliminate him as a threat.
But rather than retaliate, David simply accepts his fate. Much of what David does in response to his situation reveals why God referred to him as “a man after my own heart.” David was far from perfect. He would make many mistakes along the way, but he did have a heart for God and a sensitivity to God’s leadership in his life. When he was forced to seek refuge in the caves of Adullam, David’s family soon joined him, fearing retribution from Saul in order to get to David. But David, knowing that life in the wilderness would be too much for his aging parents, sent them to Moab, the homeland of his great-grandmother Ruth. David expressed his trust in God when he told the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me” (1 Samuel 22:3 ESV).
What does this passage reveal about God?
David had no idea what God was doing, or why? But he was willing to trust Him. In his heart he knew that God was somehow behind all of this. God was directing his path and orchestrating events in such a way as to prepare David for his future role as the king of Israel. When David fled from Saul, he was lone. He had left behind his wife, Michal; his mentor, Samuel; his family; and all of his comrades in arms. But by the time David arrived at the cave of Adullam, he found himself far from alone. “And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men” (1 Samuel 22:2 ESV). God would provide David with an army. Yes, it was an army of misfits and malcontents, but God would gradually transform these men into the mighty men of David.
What does this passage reveal about man?
It is interesting that the men who joined David in the cave of Adullam were in distress, in debt, and were bitter in soul because of King Saul. He had made their lives miserable. In essence, these men were joining David in hopes that he might rebel against the rule of Saul and bring them relief and release. But interestingly enough, David did not give them the satisfaction of seeing Saul dethroned. All throughout his time in exile, David remained committed to the king. He continued to fight for the nation of Israel and stand opposed to its enemies. When given the opportunity to take Saul out, David would refuse. When encouraged by his own men to kill Saul, he would reject it. David knew that Saul was still king of Israel. He would not raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed, even though Saul was unjust in his actions against him. David was living out the words of Paul found in Romans 13: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Romans 13:1-2 ESV). Later on, when faced with what appears to be a God-given opportunity to take the life of Saul, David would say, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24:6 ESV). David may not have like his circumstances. He may not have fully understood what God was doing, but he was willing to trust Him and wait for His outcome. As best as he knew how, he would refuse to take matters into his own hands.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
Paul goes on to write, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:11-14 ESV). David was living in a period of personal darkness. Things looked bleak and foreboding, but he was going to “put on the armor of light.” He was going to walk properly, living just as he would as if everything was bright and sunny. Circumstances were not going to dictate his behavior. He would not use his predicament as an excuse for sinful behavior.
I must do the same thing. I must live in the light, dressed in the armor of light and empowered by the love of God. I must constantly remind myself that salvation is nearer than I realize it to be. My God is in charge. My God is fully aware of my situation. He is not asleep, indifferent, preoccupied, or powerless. Like David, I must realize that my reaction to my circumstances is a huge indicator of the condition of my heart. My fear, anger, desire for revenge, and tendency to take matters into my own hands, reveal my lack of trust in God. l must wake up from my sleep and recognize that God is nearer than I realize. He is at work in and around my life, constantly providing salvation from my circumstances, and slowly transforming me into the man of God He longs for me to be.
Father, help me to live alert not only to my circumstances, but to Your presence. Let me focus on You rather than on what is happening to me or around me. I want to learn to put off the works of darkness and live in the armor of light. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men