12. It might not be smoothsailing (2)

The Lord wants you to follow His Voice and to do what He requires of you. But it might be very difficult. It might not be the life you envisioned for yourself. We discussed the life of Paul in the previous devotion, but I would like to continue now and look at the life of David, a man after God's heart.

You all know the story of how Saul (Israel's first king) got jealous of David and realized that the Lord was with him now, and subsequently tried to kill poor David. David had to flee for his life. He fled to King Achish of Gath, but when the king's officers began complaining to the king about David being there, David pretended to be insane. The king dismissed him from his sight and David fled to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers, relatives and men who were outcasts of the society for some or other reason, joined David there and he became the leader of them all. He also asked the king of Moab for royal protection for his parents, which the king agreed to do. Then as you continue to read in 1 Samuel, Saul was constantly on David's trial. Wherever David went, Saul followed with the intention of killing him. David had to find refuge in the wilderness and finally settled in the strongholds (caves) of En-gedi. David twice had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he didn't, he chose to wait on God. Finally David fled to the Philistines and lived there among them in Ziklag. One day the Philistines were going into battle against the Israelites. David wanted to join them, but the King of the Philistines wouldn't let him. David and his men returned to Ziklag and found their home burned to the ground by the Amalekites. All their women and children were carried away. David's men were so grief stricken that they wanted to stone him. But the Lord was by David's side and gave him the courage to persuade his men to follow the Amalekites and regain everything that was stolen from them. They did indeed recover everything as well as some extra plunder from other battles the Amalekites had fought. I can go on and on with the story of David, but in short he suffered a lot before he became king.

Please allow me to quickly sum it up in my own words. He had to flee his home and leave his wife behind, his father in law wanted to kill him, he lost his best friend, he had to pretend to be insane, he had to live in the wilderness and constantly flee for his life, he had to get protection for his parents otherwise they would have been killed too, he had to go and live amongst his enemy, he had to endure the heartbreak of losing everything he had in Ziklag, even his own men wanted to kill him etc etc. It was one heartbreaking story after another. But look at what David's response towards the Lord was during these times. For example, he wrote Psalm 34:8-10 after he had to pretend that he was insane in front of King Achish:

"Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh the joys of those who trust in Him! Let the Lord's people show Him reverence, for those who honor Him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing."

And look at one of the psalms he wrote whilst he was being hunted by Saul:

Psalm 57:7-9 "My heart is confident in you o God; no wonder I can sing Your praises! Wake up my soul! Wake up, O harp and lyre! I will waken the dawn with my song. I will thank You, Lord, in front of all the people. I will sing Your praises among the nations."

Wonderful isn't it. He also knew the secret to happiness. He also knew that tough times will come, but that the Lord will always be there for him. And look where he ended up. He was the best king Israel ever had. He was called a man after the Lord's heart. And the same applies to you. Tough times will come, it will not always be easy to follow the Lord's plan for your life. But you can also be a person after the Lord's heart. You can also be a person the Lord can be proud of.

Let's say you are called to work in your profession and do it in a godly manner. There will come times where you can become frustrated and want to swear at others, there will come times when you are tempted to have another drink with your colleagues instead of going home, there will be times where you want to lie your way out of a situation, there will be times when you want to gossip and gang up on someone you don't like. But stand strong and live a godly life. Your example may change lives and win people for the Kingdom of the Lord. Maybe you are called to be a housewife and look after the kids. It can be a very difficult thing to do. There will be times when people would look down on you for not working, there will be times when your kids will drive you up the wall, there would be times when you want to scream and just leave and there will also be times when you feel exhausted and emotionally drained. But don't despair, you are busy with the most important work in life. You are preparing your kids to go into the world and be godly men and women, the most amazing thing anyone can be.

Whatever it is you are called for, know that there will be difficult times, but know that there will be good times too. And most importantly know that it will all be worth it. Know that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords is proud of you.

Lord Jesus help us in the difficult times to look up to You and gain our strength from You. We cannot do anything without Your guidance and support. Amen


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