God’s People, part 50: Fugitive

Read 1 Samuel 20

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“This made Saul very angry. ‘What’s this?’ he said. ‘They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!’” (1 Samuel 18:8)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

thefugitive3Part 50: Fugitive. Back in the early 1990’s there was a Harrison Ford film that came out, called Fugitive. It was a remake of an earlier television series and it tells the story of Dr. Richard Kimble who comes home from performing emergency surgery to find his wife has been brutally murdered. What’s more, he gets accused of being the murderer, convicted and sentenced to death. On the transfer to the State Penitentiary, the inmates being transferred pull off an escape and, though he had nothing to do with the planning of that, Richard Kimble finds himself a fugitive on the run.

The whole film centers on Kimble’s struggle to keep his newfound freedom all the while solving the mystery surrounding his wife’s murder. He’s out to find out who killed his wife and exonerate himself in the process. Imagine being accused of something you never did, and imagine having to also deal with the grief of losing the one you loved in the process. Imagine the tragedy, the pain, and the horror of that scenario.

This story is not a new one. In fact, it is quite ancient. The story of David and King Saul is a similar story. David had loyally served the king; however, the king knew that his days were numbered and he had a hunch, as strong hunch even, that David was going to be the end of him. As such, King Saul sought to kill David at every turn, including using family and friends closest to David to lure him to his death. That plan ultimately backfired and Saul’s paranoia became a self-fulfilled prophecy; however, much of David’s early adult years were spent on the run and in hiding as a fugitive.

Like Dr. Richard Kimble, David was innocent in that he had not actively sought to undermine or overthrow the king. Yet, the king was not without reason for distrusting David. First, Samuel had told Saul that his reign would end and that he was going to find a replacement for him, someone who was not of his bloodline. David was anointed by Samuel and, no doubt, word of that had to have reached the king’s ears.

What’s more, while David could display great restraint and humility, he also had an ego. He was a successful warrior and was being cheered on like celebrity, over and above the king. At one point the crowd shouted, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7 NLT)! Also, there’s no evidence that David did anything to stop the crowds in their cheering.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that David did anything to “deserve” Saul’s treatment. Saul was wrong, period. Saul’s reaction to David was further evidence that he didn’t have what it takes to be King, and his ego was even larger than David’s. So, the weakness we are addressing today is that of the ego. Every human being has one, some just have larger ones than others. But we all have them.

The challenge today is to open our hearts and allow Christ to put our egos in check. It is okay to think well of one’s self, to be proud of one’s accomplishments and to want to succeed in what one does. Those things are good qualities; however, there is a fine line we ought not to cross. Open your hearts and allow God to soften them so that your egos don’t run away with you, making yourselves or those around you into unnecessary fugitives.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“You can either be a host to God, or a hostage to your ego. It’s your call.” – Wayne Dyer

PRAYER
Lord, help me to find freedom from my ego so that, in humility, I may be a host to you and one of your vessels of service to others. Amen.

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