Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 1:1-27, 2 Samuel 2:1-32, Psalm 60, Romans 12:14
Have you ever watched the 1950s movie, Sunset Boulevard? Norma, an aging Hollywood starlet, longs for a comeback. She’s deluded enough to think that by sheer force of will, she can break back into the business with a new movie. It goes horribly wrong for her, and the movie ends as she descends a staircase, guilty of murder, smiling and waving to the flashes of reporters’ cameras as she’s taken into police custody. Norma couldn’t loosen her vulture-grip on her own fame to see reality.
Now, I’m not usually a wide-eyed crazy lady clawing at the scraps of my imagined life—or am I? Do I try to hold onto things that are gone and out of my control? Do I secretly attempt to force God to do my bidding? I suspect that because of our sin nature, we all try to control our own circumstances, instead of trusting God to go to bat for us.
The aging starlet reminds me of King Saul. While Saul was still in power, Samuel anointed David as God’s choice for king (1 Samuel 16:1). Instead of gracefully stepping down, Saul raged on, fighting for years against both David and the will of God.
Look at the story from David’s perspective. He was the youngest and the least impressive of all his brothers. Although Samuel did have a small family ceremony after he anointed him, not much changed right away for David. He was still the little brother who had to tend the sheep.
But one very significant thing did change immediately: the Spirit of the Lord came upon David and departed from Saul, who was then plagued by an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:14). Although David didn’t actually assume the throne for years after he was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord was with him. That was more valuable than 10,000 thrones. While Saul scraped and grasped to keep control of his kingdom, David waited on God’s timing and spent the years learning to listen to the Lord.
Despite the Lord’s clear choice of David as king over Israel, Saul was unwilling to give up the kingdom. He knew David would be king, but he was unable to let go of his delusion of power before his death.
David didn’t have to scramble and fight for the crown. The Lord chose him; He gave David the throne (2 Samuel 2). David didn’t have to take matters into his own hands. God had everything under control, and He still does. His faithfulness frees us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Like David, we are free to bless, and not curse, those who would seek to harm us (Romans 12:12,14).
We don’t have to claw, hustle, and scratch to make things happen in our lives. God is still sovereign. In spite of all Saul’s labors, his day was over as David’s was ready to begin. David waited patiently for the Lord, and we can, too, with confidence. God will defend and protect us.