2 Samuel 16-18, Psalm 91
A few years ago, on a routine day in my office, I went into a room to discuss with a couple the results of her 20 week anatomy ultrasound of her baby. The couple had a 5 year-old daughter who was sitting on the father's lap. After telling them the good news that the ultrasound looked beautiful, and that they were going to have another daughter, they promptly asked me if it was too late to abort the child. To be honest I was both shocked and sickened by the question. My pro-life views are known by the majority of my patients. I responded in reflex, promptly, telling all the reasons why they should preserve the life of this child. It was obvious that my response was falling on deaf ears. So I excused myself for five minutes, and with the chart open, I poured out my heart to God and waited for direction. The patient inside as well as much of my staff probably didn't know why I was in the corner of the office with my eyes closed and the chart open. When I felt I was given a directive by God, I went back into the room with a new approach which resulted in a change of heart on the part of the parents. They gave birth months later to a beautiful baby girl. My mistake, which I and probably many are guilty of is rushing into a situation or a discussion without God. We make a mistake if we either make decisions or make comments quickly before we have time to approach God.
When David is fleeing Jerusalem, one of the first to approach him is Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, Jonathon's son. We will learn that what Ziba tells David in 2 Samuel 16:3 is a lie, as will be revealed when David meets Mephibosheth upon his return in 19:24-30. Yet, without bringing the situation before God, and having no way to decipher whether or not Ziba was telling the truth, we read David's words in 2 Samuel 16:4, "So the king said to Ziba, "Here, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours." In chapter 17 we see Absalom make a similar mistake. He was given the counsel of Ahithophel, followed by the advice of Hushai (who was a spy for David). Without stopping to consider or pray, we see his response in 17:14, "So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel." Though David was a godly man and Absalom was not, they both made the mistake of responding reflexively rather than waiting on God. Towards the end of today's reading we read of an ambitious Ahimaaz who wants to run and tell King David the good news of Absalom's defeat before having all of the information. Despite being warned by Joab not to go, he insisted, so we read the encounter between him and David in 2 Samuel 18:29, "The king said, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about." Like I did in my story above, this man rushed into a situation without bringing it before God and waiting.
Many of us are like Ahimaaz wanting to talk with or without a message. We would all be wise to first get the message first, then talk. Many of us make decisions like David did with Ziba. Rash decisions are often poor decisions. When in a time of trial, our thinking is often not clear as it might be at other times. If able, and often there is time, we should slow down even for a few minutes and seek God's counsel before acting. We must also be careful of only bringing the big things before God, and leaving the smaller or "inconsequential" things to our own logic. These small things can become big things if not thought through. The amazing thing is that though we are stretched and pulled in a million different directions, often with what seems to be little to no time to think; we have a God in Heaven who is always available and always has time to listen. People often say we need child-like faith, and that is true. This doesn't mean to be naive or ignorant. The world preaches we should move from being dependent on our parents to independent. But the truth is to be mature in our faith is to move from being dependent on our parents to being completely dependent on our Heavenly Father.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: