Having read the life of David from 1 & 2 Samuel over the last couple of weeks, I was struck by the power of David’s words as he was escaping from the treachery of his son, Absalom. In 2 Samuel 15:25, David instructed Zadok and the Levites to return to Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant with these words, “If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place.” But it was David’s next words which captured my attention, “But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.” When facing one of the most tragic and heartbreaking events of his life, a conspiracy to replace him as king, perpetrated by his own son, David had the courage and faith to declare his trust in God’s righteous judgment. Instead of lashing out at God in anger, he committed his future, and that of his family to the hand of God.
Often we are tempted to question God’s goodness when we face trial and hardship, but David provides a powerful testimony of one who had experienced unjust persecution, personal tragedy and loss, even God’s judgment on himself, his family and his nation while pursuing the strength and grace that comes from a deeper relationship with God. The very same God who allowed David to be hunted in the wilderness by a troubled King Saul protected and provided for him and his men, fulfilling His promise to make David Saul’s successor in Israel. It was the same God who allowed the wives and children of David and his men to be taken captive by Amalekites, nearly leading to a mutiny among David’s troops, who restored them without harm into David’s hand. And even when David and Bathsheba’s son was taken by God in judgment, it was his absolute confidence in God’s providence that tempered his grief. When Absalom took possession of the throne of Israel, David continued to trust in the good pleasure of God’s will.
David’s response to tragedy was not a product of some sort of fatalistic view of the world but of his complete trust in God. There was no fear in David’s voice when he sent the Ark, the visible symbol of the presence of the invisible God, away from himself and back to Jerusalem. To outsiders, this type of response seems to contradict all reason and logic, but to a child of God, nothing could be more reasonable. The same God who allows tragedy to enter each of our lives has already explained that the purpose of such things is to lead to our glorification. He says to us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” even as he allows us to lose loved ones, suffer financial loss or endure broken human relationships, and it is to His words we must cling in those times. It is only by faith, firmly rooted in our unchanging, all-loving, all-knowing God that we might repeat David’s words, “…let him do to me as seems good to him.”