Have you ever felt like David?
So many opportunities came his way that could have led to him being offended.
We have been looking at the main one – Saul’s hatred towards him – but he also had to endure men who where loyal to him and others who were not, he had to choose to live with the Philistines while not being one of them, and just when it looked like David was about to receive the promised kingship, Abner, a commander of Saul’s army went to Mahanaim and proclaimed Saul’s son Ishbosheth King of Israel (2 Samuel 2). This is the same Abner who was with Saul when he said, “And I now realize that you are surely going to be king, and Isreal will flourish under your rule.” (1 Samuel 24) If Abner heard this, why did he make Ishbosheth king? I don’t know.
It’s really interesting to see how David patiently waited on the Lord, for around 30 years for the call to be king to come to fruition. I believe this ability to patiently wait upon the Lord also helped David to not be easily offended. He knew beyond a doubt that God would provide for him at the right time.
How was he able to not become offended?
- David sought God for advice: 2 Samuel 2:1 – has David asking God if he should return to Judah, God says yes, and David asks which town and God says Hebron. This is David’s way of dealing with things.
- David knew God’s ways: Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they who love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
- David understood God’s love: – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever. [Remember God tells us He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.(Hebrews 13:8)]
- David patiently waited on the Lord – Isaiah 40:31 – “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and faint not.” And Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
What about us?
- We need to understand that offenses are inevitable they will come – Matthew 18:7 – “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” — David understood well that offenses would come, so he made sure to spend time in prayer, the study of God’s word and singing praise songs. He knew that his rest would be found in his shepherd (Psalm 23). We need to understand that offenses can come from two sources: A) what we do (sins of commission) or b) by we don’t do (sins of omission). Also, keep in mind that there is a built in punishment for those who offend.
- This may seem strange but sometimes an offense that happens can be good for us. How, well nothing is wasted with God (Romans 8:28). Romans also tells us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds – learning how to deal with trials in a godly manner helps us to develop better character (Romans 12:1-2). Example – God can take an offense in our lives, like He did with Joseph, to bring about a better end. Joseph’s story – his brothers sold him to the Midianite merchants, who sold him to Potiphar who had him put into prison, where he interpreted two dreams and a couple of years later, Pharoah needed the meaning of a dream revealed and Joseph was brought to him, God worked through him and he became 2nd in command of Egypt and was able to be used by God to provide for His people. And this was his remark when he finally met his brothers and could have been offended but wasn’t – “Do not be afraid, for I am in the place of God. But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” (Genesis 50:19-20)
- This puts offenses into their proper perspective – we choose whether or not we will become offended. Proverbs 19:11 – The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.”
Can we ever become angry?
- “Be angry, and do not sin. (Ephesians 4:26). Keep in mind, that anger can become toxic–not only for those to whom we direct it but also for ourselves. This is why James admonishes us to be “slow to anger” (James 1:19-20)
We need to grow to the point where our reactions are as sanctified as our actions. What do I mean by that? It’s easy to study and decide how you will respond but we need to start to actually respond the way we should and the more we do the more godly our reactions will become.
Just like David we have many opportunities to become offended – and just like David we should be committed to prayer, reading, studying and meditating on God’s word so we will know how to conduct ourselves when the offenses come.
Abba Father, I thank You for Your word that teaches us how to follow You. I thank You that when we don’t follow Your ways that we are able to ask for forgiveness and start from that point to follow Your ways anew. Abba, please help us to be so full of Your peace which surpasses all understanding so that we will not be easily offended. Help each one of us to be more aware of what we say and what we do so we can cause less offense. Thank You that Your love keeps no long record of all we have done wrong and help us to exercise the same respect towards others.