Living For God.
1 Samuel 23-24, Romans 14
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. – Romans 14:7-8 ESV
David had no idea what was going on in his life. It had to have made no sense to him why he was having to spend his life as a fugitive, running from the wrath of King Saul. He had done nothing wrong, but he was still under a death sentence, with a bounty on his head and an entire army hounding his every step. We know David struggled with his circumstances because he wrote his feelings down in the form of psalms. Psalm 54 records his impressions when the Ziphites attempted to betray him into the hands of Saul. “…strangers are attacking me; violent people are trying to kill me. They care nothing for God” (Psalm 54:3 ESV). But in spite of his dire circumstances, David was going to trust God. “But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!” (Psalm 54:4 ESV). David took the attitude that his life was in God’s hands. He was going to live in such a way that his life glorified God. Which is why, when given the chance to take Saul’s life in the dark recesses of the cave in the wilderness of Engedi, David refused. Instead, David responded, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him” (1 Samuel 24:6 ESV). David was willing to let God be the judge between he and Saul. He knew that he was innocent of any wrong doing and that God would avenge him. He was going to live his life for God’s glory and honor, not his own.
What does this passage reveal about God?
As bad as things seemed to be for David, God was always there. The intensity of the situation would seem to have communicated otherwise. It seemed that Saul was always just around the corner, seeking to take David’s life. Each time David found a place of rest and the opportunity to enjoy a brief respite, Saul would show up again. The sheer stress of it all had to have weighed heavily on David. It seemed that no matter where he went, Saul was always there, just a few steps behind him. But David knew God was there as well. So he called out to him. “Come with great power, O God, and rescue me! Defend me with your might.Listen to my prayer, O God. Pay attention to my plea” (Psalm 54:1-2 ESV). David turned to God in the midst of his troubles. And he put his trust in the character and nature of God. He had seen God rescue in the past and he knew that God could rescue again. “I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you; I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good.For you have rescued me from my troubles and helped me to triumph over my enemies” (Psalm 54:6-7 ESV). While David may not have understood or even liked his circumstances, he was not going to use them as an excuse to live in a way that would dishonor God. Instead, he was going to trust God and honor him through obedience and faithfulness.
What does this passage reveal about man?
Saul thought God was on his side. In spite of all that had happened and the words of the prophet, Samuel, telling him that God was taking away his kingdom and giving it to another, Saul continued to believe that God was going to give him victory over David. But his actions were far from godly. He was motivated “by fear, anger and revenge. Nothing he was doing was honoring to God. He could justify his actions all day long, but one day he would have to give an account to God for his actions. Saul’s motivation was purely selfish. It was all about him. He was not interested in God’s will or bringing God glory. He was obsessed with prolonging his own kingdom and preserving his petty reign over Israel.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
The apostle Paul stresses that our lives should be lived in order to honor the Lord. “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:7-8 ESV). As children of God, our lives don’t belong to us. We are not here to bring glory and honor to ourselves. We exist for God’s glory, not our own. David seemed to know that fact. He lived with an eye on God’s glory. While he could have easily justified taking revenge on Saul, he was not willing to do anything that was outside of God’s will. He was content to let God be his judge. He was going to do the right thing, not the expedient or logical thing. David’s circumstances were difficult. He was being forced to live in less-than-ideal conditions. But as Paul wrote, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Romans 14:17-19 ESV). It was not about David’s comfort. It was about God’s glory. It was not about ease and affluence, it was about righteousness and godly influence. Even while running for his life, David was busy fighting for God’s kingdom, seeking to eliminate the enemies of God’s cause. Rather than live for himself, David lived to honor God. And he was willing to die for God, if necessary. Because he knew that “whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8 ESV).
Father, may I continue to learn the lesson of living for You, rather than for me. I want to honor You with my life, regardless of the circumstances of my life. I want my actions to bring You glory instead of me. Help me learn to see my life as belonging to You and not me. Help me to see the circumstances of my life as opportunities to watch You work and to give You glory and thanks for all that You do. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men