If you are like me, there are times in life when it seems relatively easy to follow Jesus. That often can be when things are going well, and I am not experiencing significant problems. The real test though is how I respond when the pressure is on.
This thought hit me when I was reading about Saul and David in 1 Samuel 28 and 30. They responded to pressure differently. In the first section, Saul is fearful because of the massive Philistine army that is ready to attack Israel. He is feeling the pressure, and he responds as follows,
“When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.’” (1 Sam. 28:5-7)
When God did not respond to Saul, he turned to a medium without any hesitancy! He wanted someone to answer him and did not seem to care from where the information came. He pursued what he thought was right regardless of what God wanted.
Contrast Saul’s response to how David responded to pressure. While David and his men were out raiding the enemies of Israel, the Amalekites attacked his hometown and took everything including wives, sons and daughters.
If that happened to your family, how would you respond? For me, I probably would have reacted and took off after the raiding party without thinking. Instead, notice what David did.
“Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep… And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God… And David inquired of the LORD, ‘Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?’ He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.’” (1 Sam. 30:4-8)
David’s first response to unthinkable pressure was to strengthen himself in his relationship with God and seek his direction before he acted! Wow! I think I would have pursued the Amalekites assuming that is what God wanted. Instead, David yields to God’s leadership and makes no assumptions even regarding the desperate circumstances of his family.
How often do I naturally do what I think is best without seeking God’s leadership? Father, thank you for this amazing contrast between Saul and David and how they handled situations that were severe. Help me to be like David. Help me to seek you first before I do what I think is best. May I learn the lesson to strengthen myself automatically in you and seek your guidance as my normal course of life when times are good and when the pressure is on.
Following Jesus with you,