I love King David. Who doesn’t?
I spoke about Saul and David to my small group, five years ago, and loved preparing the talk from Samuel and Kings. One of the things which struck me was that your trajectory is far more important than where you currently are.
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Saul, to all appearances, was at the top of the heap. He had power, prestige, wealth, good looks, a large family, kingship and a palace.
And yet… and yet. Instead of enjoying what he had, he was, almost incredibly, tormented by jealousy and insecurity, by the fear of losing it, the fear that someone would come up from behind and take what he had.
He could see clearly that God’s favour and blessing was increasingly on David, and not on himself. He could presciently see what God was doing and did not like it one bit. Being aligned with God’s purposes was all very well when it exalted him, but he could not face the fact that his time in the sun was coming to its natural conclusion.
And so he tries to block what God is doing. Saul hounds David, and, in the short run, is triumphant. David is on the run. He hides in caves, afraid, cold and hungry.
While Saul is at the very top of the heap, David, declared the enemy of the King of Israel–and without resources, patrons, wealth, power or position–is at the very bottom of the heap.
As we read Kings, we realise that, in the long run, where Saul and David currently stood meant nothing. What mattered was their trajectory–where they were going.
David: consistently growing in inner strength, as he learns to strengthen himself in the Lord, and eventually in obvious strength.
Saul: consistently losing, first, inner strength, and eventually obvious strength.
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Two phrases often repeated in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Kings give us an insight into why David’s life was successful in the eyes of God and man, and why he eventually was blessed in his military, political, administrative, literary and spiritual endeavours: “God was with David.” ” David walked with the Lord.”
And because of that, we also read this frequently repeated phrase, ”the House of David grew stronger and stronger, and the House of Saul grew weaker and weaker.”
The house of the down and out, the man who had no wealth or political support, nothing but the Lord, grew stronger and stronger, while the house of the King, with wealth, power, courtiers, an army, sycophants and tax revenue grows weaker and weaker.
Because David walked with God. Because God was with David.
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I was electrified by the study. I was depressed when I prepared the study, creatively blocked, not writing at all, miserable in the large charismatic, rather toxic, Oxford church I then attended, and overworking at my own business which was suddenly and overwhelmingly taking off.
I wasn’t where I wanted to be in external, visible terms. Inwardly though, I was seeking God, seeking to hear his voice, to rest in his presence and love, to grow fat on his word, and to align my life with him. And I realised forcibly that what matters is your trajectory, where you are going, not where you currently are.
As long as I was walking with God in humility and repentance, seeking his blessing, trying to do his will, continually revising my life when I realised I was not aligned with him, then, if it pleased him, “my house” like David’s, would “grow stronger and stronger.”
So be it, Lord. Amen.
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When we play the deadly, destructive, dispiriting game of comparisons, we often compare our beginning or mid games, let’s say in blogging or writing, with other people’s end games and feel dissatisfied.
But what we really need to look at is our trajectory. If it’s healthy, we will eventually, inevitably, be okay. And if it is not satisfactory, we need to seek God. Repent where we need to repent, change where we need to change. And walk with God upwards into the light.
Whether we are seeking to lose weight, or to establish a blog, or a business, don’t get discouraged about where you are. Look at your trajectory. It’s that’s good, you’ll be okay. If your trajectory is disheartening, but you are walking with God, you will be okay too.
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Wherever you are today in your life and career, walk with God. Ask him to reveal his ideas, plans and strategy to you, and align your writing, your blogging, your finances and your life with his ideas. And then, as you walk with God, you too will grow stronger and stronger, because you will be walking with God, and God with you.