Who Do You Trust?
Note: This is a condensed version of the longer article here.
I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away… I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel… But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you… Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you… (King David in Psalms 31:9-19)
David is one of the most amazing people in the Bible, because he was a simple person who had a simple faith. We have more text about David than anyone else in scripture, because we have both historical narrative about his life, and numerous Psalms written by David himself which give us great insight into his life. We know about his weaknesses, failures, and sins, since so much is written about him. If there is one person in the Bible that just about everyone can relate to and look up to, it is David. As a young shepherd boy, the youngest of his father’s sons, God took him out of the fields from tending sheep and anointed him as the king of Israel.
David quickly gained fame among his people in his famous encounter in battle with Goliath, the giant Philistine warrior, as recorded in I Samuel 17. Goliath defied the armies of King Saul and they fled from him in fear: “When the Israelites saw Goliath, they ran away in terror.” But David looked at him with the eyes of faith, and years of working faithfully for his father in the field protecting the family’s wealth in their livestock had taught him some important principles about trusting God: “No one should be afraid of this Philistine! I will go and fight him. I take care of my father’s sheep. Any time a lion or a bear carries off a lamb, I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. And if the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death. I have killed lions and bears, and I will do the same to this heathen Philistine, who has defied the army of the living God. The LORD has saved me from lions and bears; he will save me from this Philistine.”
As this famous story goes, David kills the giant easily and instantly with only a sling and a stone. His trust was not in superior weapons, but in the Lord’s faithfulness to him: “You are coming against me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the Israelite armies, which you have defied. This very day the LORD will put you in my power; I will defeat you and cut off your head. And I will give the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds and animals to eat. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a God, and everyone here will see that the LORD does not need swords or spears to save his people. He is victorious in battle, and he will put all of you in our power.”
So life for David took a dramatic turn after this great victory. He was pledged to the king’s daughter in marriage, was exempt from taxation, and became a leader in the army. His life was one of fame and fortune after this event, right? No! What followed was a life of intense pain and suffering, of persecution and constant dangers, of facing terror and death on almost a daily basis. The battle in the spiritual realm had just begun.
Even though David had been anointed as the next king, and David enjoyed favor with the people after he defeated Goliath, his predecessor king Saul was not about to give up his power and reign as king so easily. What followed for David was more than 10 years as a fugitive running away from Saul. He lived in caves and had to travel away from his home and country, gathering a band of men who were criminals and misfits to help him in his battles against the enemies of his country, as well as protect him from the attacks of Saul. As has been written previously, when one enters the Kingdom of Light in the spiritual realm, one also enters into an intense battle with the spiritual rulers of the kingdom of darkness. God does NOT take us out of this battle – he gives us power to endure and overcome through our faith and trust in him, understanding that we are co-heirs with Christ to eternal life and the kingdom of heaven. David had faith that one day he would become king, and he even had more than one occasion where he could have killed King Saul, but he put his trust in God waiting for God’s timing to bring everything to pass, in God’s timing, not his own.
It was during these many years of running as a fugitive that David wrote some of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, in the book of Psalms. David recorded some of his most intense experiences of persecution and sickness, of homelessness and betrayal by friends:
“I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away… I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel…” (Psalm 31)
One theme we see over and over again in David’s Psalms is that those who put their trust in the Lord, will never be disappointed. Sickness, for example, is something David suffered constantly during those years on the run. Sometimes he attributes the sickness to his sins, other times it is the result of persecution and just simply following God’s path for his life, and having to deal with intense stress that brought about physical sickness. But his remedy is always the same:
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you. Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me. Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! (selected verses from Psalms 31)
David always ran to the Lord when he was in trouble or sick. His eyes of faith always saw the light at the end of the tunnel, because he trusted in God’s love and God’s purpose for this life. David knew God’s love and experienced it on a daily basis. He was a man that changed the world, because he took God at his word, and he never doubted God’s unfailing love for him.
Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. (Psalms 6:4)
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. (Psalms 13:4-6)
For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken. (Psalms 21:7)
But just as David’s experience with God’s unfailing love did not end the day he defeated Goliath, so our experience does not end the day we are born again into the Kingdom of Light. We must continue to live in faith, trusting God’s unfailing love for us and engaging in battle with the kingdom of darkness. The spiritual forces ruling in the world today through the kingdom of darkness have set up a world system that is not based on God’s unfailing love and his creation. Today it is based on Darwinian evolution and man’s own knowledge and achievements. Just as David wrote above,“I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD,” we have our own idols we trust in today, such as science, technology, materialism/wealth, “insurance”, and many other things that are contradictory to trusting in the Lord. Many of these things are not bad in and of themselves, but if we are trusting in them they have become idols, and we are not engaged in battle against the enemy because we are no threat to their kingdom of darkness. It would be like David staying with his sheep on his father’s farm after he had been anointed king, rather than entering into the battle and defeating the giants that got in his way as he trusted in God’s unfailing love to establish the kingdom, the kingdom which was promised to David.
Some of you reading this today are facing your own giants, and you are tempted to react as King Saul and his soldiers did in fear, instead of trusting in the Lord with child-like faith in his unfailing love for you. You lack experience in living inside of God’s love and daily care for you. Others of you reading this are not even in the battle because you trust in things around you that the world system has provided and they have become idols in your life. You are not a threat to the kingdom of darkness, and therefore you have little or no experience in the spiritual battle.
So who are you trusting today? Do you live your life with child-like faith believing that you are in the Kingdom of Light, born again spiritually into God’s family and enjoying his unfailing love? Or are you trusting in the world system around you, which is built upon a faulty foundation of Darwinian evolution and man’s knowledge, trusting things like the modern medical system which generally believes all sickness is only at the physical level, and is today the number 1 cause of death in America? How about the food you buy to feed yourself and your family? Who are you trusting in when you shop for groceries or eat out? In the US today less than 1% of the population feeds the other 99%, while in the days when Abraham Lincoln was president about 50% of the population was feeding the nation. Are these people supplying our food today worthy of our trust? How about government? Do you trust in the government to take care of you the way the people of Israel did when they went to Samuel and asked for a king to be appointed who would solve all their problems and fight all their battles? How about your financial situation? Who are you trusting for that? Are you trusting in insurance companies and retirement funds along with your employer to take care of you during tough times or emergencies? Are they worthy of your trust?
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes (government). (Psalms 118:8-9)