Have Patience In God’s Purposes

The Big Idea

When God gives us purposes and promises, we can have faith that he will fulfil those things in his own timing. There is no need for us to resort to ungodly means to try to short-cut the process.

Bible Passage

1 Samuel 24

What’s Happening?

At this moment in the story, David is on the run from Saul. Saul is still king, even though God has withdrawn the anointing from him. David has been anointed (though not yet crowned) to be his successor. David has also developed public popularity through defeating Goliath, become best friends with Saul’s son Jonathan and married Saul’s daughter Michal. In Saul’s eyes, David is a threat. Jealousy consumes him and he wants to hunt down and kill David.

After pursuing David for a while, Saul heard that he is hiding in the wilderness of Engedi, and so he took an army of 3,000 men there to try to find David. David had hidden himself away in a cave in the Wildgoats’ Rocks, and that just happened to be the very cave that Saul decided to use when he needed a wee.

This presented David with a unique opportunity. His enemy was before him, alone and defenceless. Saul was at David’s mercy and there was nothing preventing David from killing him, putting and end to the threat to his life and stepping into the kingship that God had anointed him for. In fact, some of his men encouraged him to make the most of this moment and do just that.

For David such an action would be unthinkable. It was God who anointed Saul in the first place, and in spite of what has happened since, this was significant. To attack Saul would be to undermine something God had done. It was all well and good to want to see God’s promise fulfilled, but it would not be right to attempt to make this happen by ungodly means, nor to try to force the process. If God has promised, we can have faith that God will bring it about in his own timing.

David, then, choose a different path. He sneaks up on Saul and cuts a corner off of Sauls’ robe without Saul noticing. He then waits until Saul leaves the cave and confronts him in public, explaining that he had not taken the opportunity to harm him and showing Saul the corner of his robe, as proof that he meant no harm.

David’s actions were enough to end the pursuit. Saul recognised that David was in the right and was no threat to him. He also realised that in the future David would be king as God had said, and asked David to make a commitment not to cut off his offspring. He took his troops and went home.

David’s choice to act righteously and to trust in God for what was promised rather than attempting to take it by force led to a peaceful resolution and a successful reign. He had patience in God’s purposes and that patience was rewarded by the Lord.

Taking It to Jesus

Jesus had a similar opportunity to grab his purpose early by compromising his values. The devil offered him all the kingdoms of the world (which would be his anyway) without having to go through the cross first, if only Jesus would bow down and worship him. Jesus resisted this temptation and continued in faith and patience to walk God’s way and to step into this purpose only when the moment was right.

Potential Applications:

  • When we have opportunities to compromise our values to achieve a result that we believe is God’s purpose, to understand that the ends do not justify ungodly means!
  • Live faithfully in what we are called to today – and trust God for the things he has promised for the future!