He learned his lesson

First David was being chased relentlessly by Saul.  He was discouraged and evidently despaired of receiving God’s promise of ascending to the throne of Israel.  Then Jonathan came and encouraged his friend in the Lord.

But you wonder, don’t you, “did he learn his lesson?”  “Did the truths about God that Jonathan used to strengthen him remain his?  Did they transform his life?”

As short time after his interaction with Jonathan, David faced a second test.  This time, a battle didn’t go quite as planned.  Here’s the report:

When David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive.  Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep.  Now David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.  Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters… (1 Samuel 30:3-6)

This time it wasn’t just one angry and hostile man who wanted to kill David, it was all his own men who had lost their families because of a decision David made.

David was in the same scenario.  Things haven’t turned out the way he anticipated and he is threatened with death.  And this time, Jonathan wouldn’t show up to encourage him.  What would David do?

But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6b)

While not the exact phrase as in 23:16, it is the same verb that is used.  In response to his trouble, David applied the discipline of turning to the Lord and reminding himself of the truths and realities of God.  He did not need Jonathan to encourage and strengthen his heart because he had learned to feed himself on the truths of God.

David learned his lesson.  His response in this new circumstance demonstrated that in his earlier interaction with Jonathan he genuinely was teachable and trainable.  Moreover, he found his strength in the grace of God.  He was strengthened by trusting the words God had spoken and he did not trust his emotions or what his eyes were perceiving in the circumstance.

So here is one question for us:  when we have been encouraged by others about some practice in our lives that needs change and transformation, do we demonstrate that we have really learned that truth by practicing it on our own the next time we are in a similar situation?  Moreover, are we willing to trust in the grace of God more than what we see with our eyes?  Will we trust our ever-wavering emotions or will we trust the Lord to do what He has promised?

We demonstrate progressive sanctification in our lives not only when we respond to the teaching of others, but when we later recall and implement on our own what we have been taught about the sustaining grace of God.

David learned his lesson.  Are we as teachable as David?

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