July 17, 2015

Let your little light shine

1 Samuel 30:1–31:13, 1 Peter 2:18–25, Psalm 131:1–132:18

Christians are given the Spirit of Jesus Christ. He changes our lives and because of Him, we are not like others who have no faith. In Israel’s David, I see a changed life. David has the attitude of the Messiah. This man’s life was not perfect, yet much of it pointed to the greater King who was to come.

In today’s OT reading, David and his men were sent home by the Philistine army only to find that the Amalekites had raided their city and taken all the women and children captive, and plundered the city. “And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” Then “David inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?’ He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.’” (1 Samuel 30:5-8)

Even though he wept with the others, he went immediately to the Lord for both strength and direction. This is a God-thing.

As David and his men chased after the Amalekites, they found an Egyptian. They gave him bread and water, a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins, for he had not had anything for three days and nights. He’d been with the Amalekites, but fell ill and was left behind. David promised him safety if he would lead them to the enemy camp. He did, and when arriving there, “David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him . . . .” (1 Samuel 30:11–20) David was good to an enemy and was rewarded with success. This too is a God-thing.

On the way home, “David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” This is a worldly response.

But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” (1 Samuel 30:21–24)

David’s response made my heart leap. It points to Jesus and His plan of redemption. None of us have earned the spoils of salvation. Some enjoy life and do very little in God’s kingdom. Others fight spiritual battles and serve with all their heart and energy. Yet both receive the same reward. This makes no sense to the worldly mind, but this is also a God-thing.

The NT reading gives more of the same. One verse describes the attitude of David toward his Philistine patron, but also his attitude toward his own men. “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” (1 Peter 2:18) David was not a respecter of persons, nor is Jesus Christ. All who will may come to Him and receive grace.

David sets a good example, but more importantly, he points toward a greater King and a greater example: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:21–23)

David was like that, and this is why the psalmist wrote: “There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.” (Psalm 132:17–18)

David shines. Of course, Jesus shines brighter, and because of Him, my little light can shine a little bit too.

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