Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Is there a Tension that needs my Attention?

So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.” 1 Samuel 24:6 NASB

Today’s question is somewhat related to yesterday’s in that it reflects our ability to be tuned in to the spirit of God, and know our hearts are being guided by the spirit and not our flesh.

The example of this principle is another amazing story from the OT, this time involving David, just prior to his ascension to the throne of Israel.

This amazing account happens in the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 24.  Saul has returned from battle, and some of his me report that David has been located in The Rocks of the Wild Goats.  At this point in their history, David has been basically exiled.  Saul has tried on a couple of occasions to kill David, so David and some of his men have retreated to the countryside for their own safety. Don’t overlook this.  David, the man anointed by God to be king, is being pursued by the current king.  And not just the king, Saul brings the army with him.  It is a sad day in Saul’s life for sure.

As the story goes, they reach the area where they believe David is hiding, and Saul experiences the call of nature.  That’s right; he has to go to the bathroom.  The words translated “relieve himself” literally mean “to cover his feet,” so we know what the nature of his business in the cave actually was if you know what I mean…

In an amazing twist, Saul goes into the cave alone, and it just so happens (providence? YES!) that he chooses the very cave where David is hiding out.  David’s men are almost giddy.  They say to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’”

Now, just imagine that scene.  Saul is pursuing David, presumably to kill him.  God has promised David the throne, and evidently that He would deliver his enemy into his hands.  It doesn’t take a giant leap of rationalization to conclude that this could be that moment.  In addition, Saul is very vulnerable squatted over in the cave.  David’s eyes are adjusted to the low light, he has every tactical advantage.
Also, imagine the dramatic impact this could have.  There are 3,000 men outside waiting for the king to return.  Saul goes into the cave, and David steps out with Saul’s crown, his robe, and just for dramatic effect, his head in his hand!  Who could make this stuff up?  This is the perfect moment that David and his men have been waiting for.  In one quick act, the regime changes, and only one person has to die.  Could it be a more perfect setup?

But, and that’s a big ‘but,’ for some reason, this is not what happens.  Somewhere between leaving his men and approaching Saul, a tension arises within David’s heart.  And he pays attention to it.  Instead of cutting off Saul’s head, he snips off a piece of the robe.  He explained it to his men this way: “I swear before the Lord: [capital L], I would never do such a thing to my lord [lowercase l], the Lord’s [capital L] anointed.”  In other words, David realized that even though Saul is technically his enemy, it is by his own choice and not by David’s action.  In addition, he recognizes that Saul is still the king, and has been put in place by the Lord himself.  He rightly concludes that only God should remove Saul from power.

Do you catch that?  Everything we could see about the situation said “go!” except for that little bit of tension, that one little red flag.

As we go about our daily lives making decisions about this and that, we need to especially careful when there exists some tension about which way to go with a decision.  A word of warning here; often, the tension will not be observed by us personally.  More likely, it will be pointed out by a close friend or confidant, or maybe even a parent.  This is important, because we often dismiss these pesky observations as noise in the decision making process.  This is why we need to ask the question “Is there a Tension that needs my Attention?”  When we do this, combined with the other questions we’re looking at this week, we’ll make better decisions and have fewer regrets.  Is there a tension that needs your attention?

Scripture to Claim:
“I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  (Psalm 121:1-2, HCSB)

Submitted By Keith Warren

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