The second half of 1 Samuel deals with the escalating tension between King Saul and David. Saul is convinced that David is out to steal his throne. Ironically, David is to be the next king – not because he sought that role out, but because God had appointed him to it. Saul had failed to trust God – and God wanted someone after his own heart to be his kingly representative. (Not, as the story shows, that David was by any means perfect. But the difference between him and Saul was that David actually wanted honour God and give him glory and live a life in service to God).
Here in chapter 23, we find David in hiding from Saul. He’s just had a victory over the Philistines at Keilah, rescuing the Israelites there. David was doing the job of the king: looking after the people of Israel as and when God instructed him. But the people of Keilah, God tells him, would hand him over to Saul. So David and his men had to leave. Away from Keilah, they begin roaming the countryside. Saul is hunting him, but God prevents Saul from finding David.
This “not finding” certainly seems to be a God-thing: Jonathan has no trouble finding him. And this is the bit that I want to highlight. Jonathan finds David and encourages him to stay strong in his faith in God. Jonathan is aware that in all of the turmoil of what is happening, David needs to be reminded to keep on trusting God.
If we were perfect, we’d trust God completely no matter what. Job lost? Trust God. Difficult circumstances? Trust God. Worse situations? Trust God. Don’t know what to do? Trust God. Being attacked? Trust God. We’re not perfect though. Sometimes, when the going gets tough, our trust in God can begin to waver. It’s then that we need someone to come alongside us and give us a reality check. We need to be reminded that God is trustworthy. We need to be taken out of ourselves, so that we can see that it makes absolute sense to keep on trusting God.
Jonathan was convinced that Saul would never find David, and that David would be the king of Israel, and that Jonathan would be next to David. Now, as it turns out, Jonathan died in battle before David became king. Was Jonathan wrong to trust God? No. Did he have all the details right? No. Was his trust misplaced, then. No. Jonathan trusted that God’s will would be done. And it was. Our understanding of what God’s will is might not always be 100% accurate. But we can be sure of this: if God wills it, it will happen – no matter what.
Here’s my takeaway from this. God is trustworthy. Even if you’re being attacked unjustly by a homicidal king – God is trustworthy. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, God is trustworthy. Jesus promised in John 6 that nobody can snatch those that God has given him out of his hand. Do we trust God? Do we trust Jesus?
Romans 8 would be a good chapter to read round about now….