Recognizing the Hand of God.

1 Samuel 25-26

The LORD gives his own reward for doing good and for being loyal, and I refused to kill you even when the LORD placed you in my power, for you are the LORD’s anointed one. ­– 1 Samuel 26:23 NLT

Life has its ups and downs. There are days when things go well, and days when things go poorly. At times we can make decisions that are totally in line with God's will and other times when we stubbornly and stupidly decide to do things our way. But as believers there is one thing that is always consistent about our lives – the sovereign presence of God. In these two stories found in chapters 25 and 26 of 1 Samuel we are reminded of God's sovereign purpose and presence in the life of David. In the story of Abigail, we see a rather hot-headed David reacting to an undeserved snub by the foolish Nabal. This wealthy man had the audacity to refuse David's request for food for his men after they had protected Nabal's shepherds and livestock in the wilderness. David's reaction was to wipe out Nabal and every other male who worked for him. He is hot and it appears that David has had just about enough of being treated like a second-class citizen. He has been hiding in caves, running from Saul, and eking out a living for he and his men for some time now. So Nabal's response pushes David over the edge. The only thing that prevented David from following through with his ill-conceived plan was the quick-thinking of Nabal's wife, Abigail. She intervenes, bringing David and his men a peace offering and pleading with David to spare Nabal's worthless life. She appeals to David to reconsider what he is thinking and not to avenge himself against Nabal. Her intervention spared David from doing something he would have regretted. But was this just quick-thinking on the part of Abigail? Or was it the sovereign hand of God directing her decisions and giving her the words to say? I tend to think it was the latter. David seems to recognize that it was God who had sent Abigail. "Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murdering the man and carrying out vengeance with my own hands" (1 Samuel 25:32-33 NLT). God had used Abigail to prevent David from acting rashly and potentially harming his future legacy.

In chapter 26 we see the hand of God again as David is presented with yet another opportunity to eliminate the threat to his life by taking the life of Saul. In a situation similar to that found in chapter 24, David is betrayed by the Ziphites, resulting in Saul and his 3,000 mercenaries coming after David in the wilderness. In the middle of the night, David and one of his men sneak into Saul's camp, finding him sound asleep (thanks to God), and David takes Saul's spear. He rejects the counsel of his own man to see this as a God-given opportunity to kill Saul, even though it was probably tempting to view things that way. Instead, David appeals to Saul and claims his own innocence. He acknowledges that God had given Saul into his hand, but that he refused to take Saul's life. David saw God's hands all over this situation. He had used the betrayal of the Ziphites and the anger-driven response of Saul to bring him right to that exact spot. God had caused Saul and his entire camp to sleep so soundly that they never heard David come into the camp. But David also knew that God was going to deal with Saul just like He did with Nabal – according to His own terms and in His own timing. David could trust God to take care of everything. He didn't have to take matters into his own hands.

God was there and David recognized it. But do I? Do I see the hand of God at work in and around my life? He is sovereign and in complete control. I don't need to panic. He prevents me from doing things I don't need to do and then does for me things I would never think to do. He uses others in my life to guide and direct me. He uses circumstances to teach me. He is in large and in charge, and I can trust Him.

Father, help me to see You more clearly and more consistently in and around me life. I know You are there, but I don't always recognize or acknowledge Your hand in my life. Open my eyes. Help me see. Amen