Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Creeping Discouragement: I Sam 25-27

We're beginnning to see the signs of discouragement and fatigue in David. 

Just yesterday, we saw how he stubbornly refused to get offended over a mountain of real insults.  Now, in Chapter 25, he sets out to kill the entire household of one of Caleb's decendents over not getting invited to a party.  God sends a wise woman to rescue him from such stupidity, but it's clear he's getting jumpy.  One of the first signs of fatigue is a short temper.

He takes someone with him to scout out Saul's camp and has to keep them from killing the king.  Instead, he takes Saul's canteen and spear.  This time, David's tone is not so meek.  He insults Abner for not taking care of the king.  He questions whether God has sent Saul against him--I'll bet David is beginning to wonder.  He complains about being away from home and away from God's presence.  Complaining is the second sign of fatigue.

Saul tells him he can come home, but David doesn't trust him and for the first time doesn't appear to trust God to take care of him either.  Instead, he takes his entire group and settles in enemy territory.  They live there for 16 months, secretly expanding Israel's territory while lying to the Philistine king.  Self-reliance, double-speak and compromise are also signs of fatigue. 

God does still take care of him, but David's heart is not in a good place.  Many of the Psalms of lament are written during the time of his wanderings and exile.  I'm grateful for their frank descriptions of his fatigue and his continual return to the Father, regardless of how he feels.  Sometimes seasons of pain last longer than our hearts can hold out.  David's life demostrates that God is there with us even when we are no longer capable of making rational decisions.  Sometimes it is this discouragement itself that grows our intimacy with the Almighty.  He faces discouraging circumstances all the time.  When we bring our fatigue to Him, we can learn to relate to Him in a new way.

The acronym HALT has been used by AA to stand for life's most common triggers: hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  It's not a bad list.  Celebrate Recovery uses the acrostic HEART: when you check your heart you check to see if you are:
      R--Resentful or

If you notice that your heart is in any of those places, then it's time to stop and recharge, even if it's just for a few minutes with the Father.  It may not make the situation better, but it will give you the strength to move on and brings God's resources to help you where you've already given in or given up. 

What about you?  Are you showing any of these signs?  Is your Heart needing a recharge?  Take a cue from David--for that matter, read some of David's laments in Psalms.  God is not ashamed by our weaknesses and honored David when he frankly told God all of his sorrows.  Will he do less for you?

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