Early in this semester, I started attending a local Bible study in the small town where I attend school. This was something that I felt lead to do since believers are called to sharpen one another, as Proverbs 27:17 tells us. When we began this Bible study, we began by going through First Samuel, and we are now proceeding through Second Samuel. These two incredible books in the Word of God tell the intriguing story of David and his journey to be king of Israel. With this journey, we find many stumbling blocks along the way in which David had to trust in God to overcome. What I found interesting about these situations is that David trusted God to get him through the situations as well as summoned up incredible courage to get through them, as a man of God is called to do. Not only does he show incredible courage, but he also does so while showing great amounts of love towards his enemy, Saul.
In the first part of First Samuel, Israel desires an earthly king, and Saul is chosen. Saul quickly chooses to disobey the Lord in many ways, causing God to reject him as king. 1 Samuel 15:23(b) tells us: “Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being King.” God soon tells the prophet Samuel to anoint David, the youngest son of Jesse, the next king over Israel. This is where the courageous journey begins.
David, being just a small boy, defeats perhaps the greatest soldier of the time, Goliath (1 Samuel 17). It is interesting to note, after hearing how powerful Goliath is, how David compares this conquest to the time that he killed a lion and a bear to save his father’s flock of sheep (1 Samuel 17:36). David takes great courage and kills this mighty Philistine with a sling, perhaps the most basic weapon of the day. This is an incredible story, and David is just getting started.
Saul then gets jealous of David’s conquests, for it is stated in 1 Samuel 18:7 that “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Upon hearing this, Saul resents David and tries to kill him for the rest of the book. David is forced to flee with his small band of four hundred men, ally himself with the Philistines for more than a year (1 Samuel 27), and endure the death of his best friend Jonathan, who is one of Saul’s sons. However, after Saul’s death (he died with Jonathan), David mourns Saul, even though Saul hated David. In 2 Samuel 1:12, David weeps and fasts until the evening, mourning the loss of Saul and Jonathan. When an Amalekite comes to David and lies about how he killed Saul, David is irate because the man was not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed; David then has this man killed as a punishment. Later, David praises the men who went and buried Saul after his dead body was mocked by the Philistines. David is noted with saying, in 2 Samuel 2:5, that “You are blessed in the name of the Lord, for you have shown this kindness to your lord, to Saul, and you have buried him.” We see David showing immense love, even towards Saul, who hated him. David was truly “a man after God’s own heart;” he was courageous and followed God, even when it was hard.
As a man, I take heart in this, knowing that if David can endure those life-threatening circumstances while acting in courage and love, I can do the same with whatever life throws at me. It would have been easy for David to submit to Saul’s oppression, but he knew that it was God’s will for him to become king over Israel. As men, we need to be the leaders, whether it be in the home, church, or in society, who will stand up for God’s truth, even though it will be difficult. The Bible says that everyone who desires to follow Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12); we may lose the cultural wars in our society as it moves away from the principles of God’s word, but we need to stand fast for God. Let’s stand up and be courageous by leading our families in the Lord, steering them in the right direction in order to keep them from the pit-falls of evil. Let us always treat women with the respect as the beautiful creation of God that they are by loving our wives and girlfriends as ourselves, treating our mothers, sisters, wives, and friends with beautiful respect, and keeping our eyes and minds pure by not lusting after other women; keeping our minds sexually pure is becoming increasingly difficult, but God will not tempt us beyond what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Let us stand boldly for the truth, even amidst the most dire circumstances. Lastly, in this case, let us pray for one another and remain accountable to other believers. We cannot go through life’s hardships alone; God knew this, and has put many people in our lives who are able to help us with our struggles. The bottom line is that Christian men who love and desire to serve the Lord need to stand up with Godly courage, as well as with love that will win others to Christ. The world desperately needs Christians who will stand up amidst opposition, and I believe that we are all called to do this at some point.
Christ honors those who stick up for Him (Matthew 10:32). It will not be easy, but the rewards are great. The world is crying out for men who will stick up for the Truth of Christ, and we need to answer this call. Let us make like David did and courageously follow God, while never failing to love those who persecuted him. Doing so will exalt Christ in our lives, and others will be able to see the Truth through us.