1 Samuel 28-31; Psalm 18
David’s life to this point in the story has been a whirlwind. At a young age he was anointed as the eventual successor to Saul as king. He followed by scoring a legendary victory in a battle against Goliath that made him the hero in his Hebrew nation.
Just as quickly as David ascended to heights he had to deal with challenges. The first came in the form of jealousy Saul. Saul plotted to force David into an life threatening challenge of killing 100 Philistines to win the hand of his daughter in marriage (one in which David doubled on expectations.)
Saul’s jealousy eventually turned into an all out murderous rage sending David into hiding for much of his early adult life. David’s Psalms illustrate the fear and consternation he felt as he reached out to God both for answers and protection. God did protect him and even he even as he walked upon Saul and could have killed him on two occasions and the future king didn’t.
Instead, David stayed faithful to the Lord’s plan even when he had no idea what the outcome would be. Even as he fled to Philistine territory for safety David never became negative. Bringing his thoughts before the Lord he always accepted the answers he received.
Finally, in 1 Samuel 28-31 the tide begins to turn for David. Saul has lost his mind and his decision to consult spirits rather than God ensures his demise. He dies falling on his own sword far from David’s presence and knowledge. Meanwhile David returns to Ziklag (back in Israelite territory) and despite finding that the Amalekites have raided his home and taken his and his men’s families captive, he quickly petitions the Lord and brings back all the family and bounty.
This success is celebrated in Psalm 18 where David – despite his past troubles – recognizes and gives gratitude to the Lord for always being by his side. “You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O Lord.” -Psalm 18:48-49.
It may seem easy to praise God on the cusp of victory, but reading David’s Psalms from the heart of his most troubling moments shows that David lived in mortal fear of being captured and killed while never having any insight as to how things would work for his benefit. Yet he didn’t grow restless, he maintained a steady faith that no matter the circumstances or amount of time passed the Lord would take care of what said would be.
It takes great faith not to waiver when there is no solution presented. What made David a great King is the same thing that made him great before he was a King. Leadership doesn’t change a person, it merely makes them more of what they already are. David’s faith to wait for the Lord’s plan to play out while trusting and consulting in him even when it seemed everything had turned against the young man are evidence to what the Lord knew would make him the greatest king of Israel.