(1 Sam 18-25, and Psalm 59)
Sometimes fear is spelled SPEAR.
This spear glints in the light – sinister and serious. It wears a menacing smile, taunting and terrifying.
King Saul fiddles with his spear, turning it round and round, watching with fascination as it catches the light and casts sparkling reflections.
Without warning, he looses the spear at lightning speed, arrow-straight.
On three occasions Saul hurls his spear at David, intending to pin him to the wall – dead. In each instance David dodges the spear and flees, leaving Saul seething at the sight of his angry spear imbedded in the wall.
It’s a love-hate relationship. Saul loves David, yet hates him with furious jealousy and suspicion. Saul may feel guilty about his conflicted feelings, but when burning rage strikes, it strikes hard and his spear flies.
With an unpredictable Saul on the throne, David lives the life of a fugitive . . .
holed up in caves,
watching his back,
trying to figure out how he got to this place.
Is it sometimes like this in the Valley?
Do you sometimes wonder how you got to this place?
Are you sometimes bothered because . . .
your carefree life has disappeared,
unpredictability haunts you,
your new normal involves spear-dodging?
Are you fearful of . . .
what today holds?
what tomorrow holds?
and all the scary things in between?
Where is the refreshment?
Sometimes refreshment presents itself right in the middle of something that is not going well at all. You’ll see what I mean.
David holes up on the remote ranch of Nabal, a wealthy sheep owner. He and his men live among Nabal’s shepherds, offering protection and good will.
At the celebration time of sheep shearing, David sends a request to Nabal to look upon him and his men with kindness and send a small gift.
Somehow David has missed the memo that Nabal is a mean-spirited sort of man. Nabal is not disposed to sending gifts. He is more comfortable with insults, and he has plenty of them for David.
David is hot to retaliate, but in the nick of time Mrs. Nabal intervenes. She meets David and his men with wine and cakes. She calls her husband what he is – a boor and a fool. I’ll bet it feels good to say that out loud.
Then she offers David this word of refreshment:
Even when you are chased by those who seek your life, you are safe in the care of the Lord your God, just as though you were safe inside his purse!
Safe inside God’s man bag – how calming and cozy – how secure.
But look deeper. It gets better.
What is the most important item in your purse? I’m betting it’s your ID.
What if the best refreshment in the purse of God is His ID, His identification, His holy reminder to you of who He is and how He feels about you? What if Who God is, is the very thing to stand up against your fears?
On spear-dodging days, picture yourself sheltered in the quiet of God’s purse – safe.
Repeat and absorb the truth of who God is and how He feels about you.
Let the truth refresh you and calm your fears.
See you next week.