Relationships are tricky! They are hard. Wonderful. Agonizing. Edifying. Annoying. Hurtful. Anger producing. Heart wrenching. Relationships bring out the best and the worst in each of us. Including me!
Relationships can be lifelong or short term. Some relationships bring joy and comfort while others bring heart-ache and worry. If I am honest, all relationships bring some of both.
Recently, while reading 1 Samuel 23 and 24 in my Two-Year Daily Bible, King Saul’s relationship with David hit a nerve. Ever since my book, Every Reason to Leave, came out last year, my husband and I have experienced extreme warfare from our enemy, the devil, Satan, the serpent. Throughout this year, we have often reminded each other-you are not the enemy, Satan is. This is exactly how God spoke to me through the reading of His Word this week.
As I observed the plot, here’s what God showed me:
- Saul, king of Israel, was pursuing David to kill him (1Sam. 23:14,21-23) because he was jealous of David, and thought David was his enemy. But, because David’s relationship with God was his #1 relationship, and because David trusted God deeply, David chose not to kill Saul when, providentially, he was given the opportunity. David knew Saul was God’s anointed, that God had placed Saul on the throne and that God would remove Saul from the throne in His own timing.
- David chose to trust God for protection and for God’s timing concerning his own kingship, by leaving Saul’s destiny in God’s hands.
Here’s what struck me:
· Saul was chasing the wrong enemy, expending all his energy, time and focus on the wrong thing! David was not his enemy. His own pride was his enemy.
I do the same when I think of my husband, or a friend, as my enemy, and spend all my time battling that person. While that battle may not be with swords and an army, it is equally as fierce and debilitating and prideful when it takes over my thoughts and actions.
· David put the whole situation in God’s hands. This is a decision he made. He said:
“May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but by my hand I will not touch you.” 1 Sam. 24:12
And in verse 13, David said, my paraphrase, I will not meet evil with evil, rather I will offer good for evil.
And then, David humbled himself, calling himself a dead dog, a flea.
These are choices I can make every day, in every situation, in every relationship:
· To leave the situation in God’s hands, praying and trusting God will right every wrong, if not today, someday.
· To bless my offender, rather than return evil, and pray for strength to do this, because God says in Proverbs 15:1, “a gentle answer turns away wrath.” And, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” Ro.12:19 NKJV
· To humble myself, realizing that, in view of who God is, I am but dust (Gen.3:19), a vapor. James 4:14 says: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away”. (NKJV)
Why would I want to make these choices? Because, 1Sam. 24:19 says: “May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today.”
God will reward me when I make these choices, these obedient choices that reflect the nature of God, His grace and kindness, His forgiveness. Instead of the judgment I deserve, HE will reward me with joy that comes from obedience, because I have left the battle in God’s hands. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus14:14
Relationships are tricky, indeed.
Perhaps it’s the relationship with myself that needs the most tending:
Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness…Mtt.6:33
Take my thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ …2Cor.10:5
Repent when the pride of my heart is deceiving me…Jer.17:9, 1Jn.1:9
Trust God for the situation…Pr.3:5-6
Choose joy daily…Neh.8:10
And finally, O, Lord, may I watch and pray so that I will not fall into temptation. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. (Mtt.26:41)