1 Samuel 24:4: “This is the day the LORD spoke of when He said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands to deal with as you wish’” (NIV).
Observation: Saul has gone into a cave, apparently to rest from midday heat, unaware that David and some of his men were themselves hidden within. Seeing Saul at rest and realizing this was a unique opportunity for David to kill Saul, David’s men urged him to take action, justifying it by claiming it’s what God intended by orchestrating these remarkable circumstances.
Application: Perhaps the first thing we ought to note about verse 4 is that David’s men were flat wrong; God had never said He would give Saul into David’s hands for David to do with as he wished. God had indeed on several occasions given David a promise to one day lead the nation; He had also assured David that the kingdom would one day be taken from Saul. While these promises had surely expanded David’s heart with vision, his men were seriously overreaching in their misrepresentation of what God had actually said.
The second and perhaps more important thing to understand about the story is that even knowing God’s general plan for David’s life still left him in the dark as to its timing. Had David acted to take Saul’s life he would have been fulfilling God’s promise in the flesh. Rather than waiting for God’s perfect timing, David’s acceleration of the implementation of God’s plan would surely have turned intended blessing into an agonizing source of regret for the rest of David’s days.
How easy it is to project myself into this story. Sadly, though, I would often best fit the role of David’s men, rather than that of David. In innumerable ways, God has been gracious to reveal wonderful promises to my heart. Just to know that the God who created the vastness of the heavens deigns even to consider me is a daily astonishment; to know He actually intends good for me rather than evil is beyond comprehension.
My shortcoming is this: having some sense of His promises for my life, I assume He must intend them for now. Today. “Seize the moment,” my heart cries! Make it happen. In such presumption I am almost always wrong. David was wise enough to understand that God’s timing is not always revealed as clearly as is God’s plan. He had spent enough time contemplating the beauty and majesty of God to know that if God had ordained some good thing for his life, He was perfectly capable of bringing it about in His perfect timing.
Prayer: Father, I shudder in self-disappointment when I think of my presumption in believing that I knew Your timing as well as Your promise. Forgive me for moving ahead of what You have clearly revealed. Cause me to wait in contentment upon You.