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Dear Brother, Consider the Shadow of Shaddai

June 20, 2018

Dear brother,

I know your vocation requires your astute awareness of your position under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1). After reading 1 Samuel 18-19, along with Dale Ralph Davis’ commentary [1] this morning, I sat on the couch strategizing how to share what I had read with you. For God’s Spirit used it to remind me of how he’s shielded me from seen and unseen enemies, from the fulfillment of my own desires, and from particular experiences.

You are now—and you continue to be—so in need of reminders that you too reside under the Great Wings (Psalm 91:4). So it’s my hope that what you read here will magnify the Almighty and inspire you to trust him for his vigilant protection over you, his servant.

The Story of David’s Danger

Here’s 1 Samuel 18-19 in short:

David’s dearest friendship is endangered as he receives the love, favor, and sworn allegiance of Jonathan, prince and son of his enemy, King Saul (18:3-4). David’s workplace then proves unsafe when his employer—also King Saul—twice overcome with an evil spirit, tries to pin him to the wall with a spear (18:10-11; 19:9-10). This erratic employer also becomes David’s father-in-law, only through a scheme to eliminate David by challenging him to kill 200 Philistines (national enemies) and prove it through less than dignified means. This feat will win him the bride, Michal (18:25).

Saul then stalks David in his newly-wed homestead, forcing David to flee out a window with the help of his sketchily secured wife (19:11-12). Saul’s henchmen pursue David to the prophet Samuel’s house. They, along with Saul, are knocked silly with prophecy by God’s Spirit, and David escapes again.

Yahweh’s Protection

I praise God for Dr. Davis’ careful discerning hermeneutic here:

…the Christian should ask the question: How much of David’s experience can I write over into my own life? Can I simply say that what God has done for David, he’ll do for me? I cannot do that for myself…My life holds a far more modest place in God’s kingdom plan and the scheme for my life is almost totally hidden from me. I have no clear and specific promise or appointment as David did for the kingship.

Nevertheless, when all qualifications are stated, it seems I can still claim “Davidic protection” in principle, that is,

I can be confident that God will keep me until whatever he has ordained for me to be or to do is accomplished. Some would perhaps crave more; but that is no small comfort.

I do not need to share David’s experiences; it is enough to know David’s God.

As long as the Angel of Yahweh keeps pitching his camp around those who fear him and delivering them (Ps. 34:7) I should be content.

No, I may not (I hope) shinny out of a window at night to run from my killers and write Psalm 59 because of it, but if David’s God is my God I can still enjoy his quiet, diverse, instructive protection. (163, emphases mine)

Three Ways God Protects His People

David’s God is your God. He will keep you until whatever he has ordained for you to be or do is accomplished. Here’s how your God protects his servants:

1. In secret

God has revealed through a myriad of promises that he means to protect you, his child (Psalm 5:11; 20:1; 91:14). But he does not always reveal the means by which he’ll keep this promise.

You don’t have to see the Lord’s “secret service” members at work; they are there (Psalm 91:11-12). He is active and effective in eliminating your enemies. You may be asleep to the workings of his heavenly elite on your behalf, but you have the promise that he’s disseminating your dangers.

[Tweet “But God’s favor toward you is so strong, he’s content to fight for you out-of-sight. “]

You know that our worst enemies are unseen (Ephesians 6:12). It seems we are in far more danger than we can perceive, no matter our occupation. But God’s favor toward you is so strong, he’s content to fight for you out-of-sight. He’s committed to combat on your behalf, though it might take you until eternity to praise him for it.

You must trust that he keeps his promises, for he never lies (Titus 1:2). He’s said he’ll protect you, and he’s hard at work whether you see it or not.

2. Through his self-sufficiency

We can sometimes identify an ally in God’s work, but we must remember that our deliverance comes ultimately from the Deliverer, who commands and completes our rescues. God rescued David through the help of his friends—and he might do the same for you—but when his Spirit struck Saul with prophecy, he made it clear that he can protect without human means. He can strike someone silly if he needs to. See,

Providing the “way of escape” is supremely the work of Yahweh. True, he may use human instruments (a Jonathan or a Michal) to provide such protection, but sometimes he bypasses them (e.g., Samuel) in order to make clear that “salvation is from the Lord” (Jon. 2:9 NASB). The means of deliverance must never eclipse the source of deliverance, and sometimes the Deliverer makes that point abundantly obvious. (161)

God has not only promised you his support, he’s also quite capable of delivering on his promise, through whatever means he chooses.

3. With success

Now hold your enemies in mind, and ponder this great encouragement:

David’s protection should have proven instructive to Saul…He should have seen the hopelessness of his murderous schemes…You can bash yourself against omnipotence but the success rate is nil. Heaven laughs at such stupidity (Ps. 2:4)…There is a whole eschatology (scheme of last things) in 1 Samuel 19:18-24 and it should steel the faith of all who love the appearing and the kingdom of the David to come [Jesus Christ!!] (see Ezek. 34:23-24). (162)

You know this, but it’s always worth repetition: The worst danger to face mankind is universally inescapable apart from the pure grace of God. And you have miraculously come through it.

You were God’s own enemy (Romans 5:1). And “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31)—the most fearful thing. You had no way to escape the eternal judgment of God’s vengeful wrath for your sin, which you actually deserved.

But God intervened.

He opened your eyes to see the danger you faced. You experienced the miracle of conviction over your sin, because God granted it. Through his Word he revealed to you the message of salvation and gave you faith: that you could be reconciled to God through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ, and be saved by his life (Romans 5:1).

He gave you Jesus’ righteousness—a uniform any military decoration pales in comparison to.

He gave you his status: a prince in the kingdom of God—a higher position than any this world can offer.

He gave you his favor and his love—a bulwark mightier than death itself.

And he gave you his Word that you will be rewarded for his righteousness with an eternity in perfect safety with God, who is the very fount of joy and life.

And so you find yourself under the Shadow of the Almighty. You are his child, and he has sworn to you his protection.

God Will Spread His Protection Over You

In David’s story, David was God’s king, and he would be crowned no matter how many minions Saul sent against him. God will have his way in your life, too. Whether in secret, in your sight, or by a million different means, your God—David’s God—will spread his protection over you.

You will face many enemies, whether men, or angels of darkness, or weapons, or your own weakness and sin.

But he’s “able to keep you from stumbling”so that your own sinful heart will not conquer in the end. He’s able “to present you blameless before the presence of his glory”—silencing the accusation, attacks, discouragement, and despairing whispers of your unseen enemies, while triumphing over your physical enemies by raising you in glory with him for all eternity. And he’s able to do these things “with great joy” because you are no longer his enemy, but his redeemed son through Jesus Christ (Jude 24-25).

He’s not only able, he’s willing, and he’s promised to do these things for you:

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;

I will protect him, because he knows my name.

When he calls to me, I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him

and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

Love,

Eden

[1. Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (Focus on the Bible Commentary Series), (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2000).] [Photo Credit: Lightstock]

The Author
Eden Parker

Eden Parker is follower of Jesus. She graduated from Wheaton College with a Bachelor's degree in Christian Education. If you entered her day unawares, you'd find her running—figuratively for the Father in work & play, literally for her fitness, and physically on the good gift of coffee and all the strength Jesus provides. Eden writes at her website.



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