Shadows of the past1
4 While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. 5 So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. 6 Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!
7 “‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. 8 Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’”
- 1 Samuel 25:4-8
This is not what David expected.
Kings should live in palaces or fight battles. David found himself living in the wilderness with his band of 600 warriors. Watching. Sheep. Do you see that? David and his army spent their time protecting shepherds, a wall around them in the wilderness.
In this way, David rode the fine line between the duties of a king and the dangerous life of a mob boss. There’s a world of difference between protecting your citizens and running a protection racket. A king had the right to collect taxes and levies (this, incidentally, is one of the reasons the Lord advised the people against asking for a king in the first place). But David wasn’t the king yet.
He found himself in the in-between part of his story: anointed but not yet ascended to the throne. And those in-between places can be so challenging.
Our souls long for security, resolution, clarity. We may be happy to relocate to Point B, but we want to know the location of Point B and how long it’ll take to get there. Despite our wishes, we have moments in life’s journey when the path becomes unclear and the destination become uncertain.
Shadows from the past loom over us - David back among the sheep. We may respond to these in-between moments in immature ways. Maybe the future will never happen. Maybe the fallen giant was just a daydream, wiped away by gritty reality.
Over the next several days, we’ll see what David needed in this time of transition (and what we need!). But today we wanted to just share one word: favor.
David desperately needed favor. From others. From the cosmos. From the Lord. He just needed a break, a glimmer of light to dispel the shadows. We all need this – this shining favor – to make it through the in-between times. And we all have this to offer to others when they’re stuck or in transition.
Look for the light today. Let your light shine. May the favor of the Lord shine upon you.