Memo 1079: Intense Times
Have you ever felt overwhelmed, wishing that things would stop coming at you so quickly and with such intensity? It's a common experience for us all, for when God gives you a throne—a place of authority and fruitfulness based on your purpose and gifts—it doesn't happen in isolation or a vacuum. By that I mean your life doesn't stop in other areas like family, finances, relationships, and ministry. Things can occur in any of those areas that will seek to divert your attention and energy to tend to those matters, which can easily consume you. That's exactly what happened to David as we look this week at his family's insurrection that almost cost David his throne and his life.
TIME TO FLEE
Last week, we looked at Absalom, David's problem child, and this week his son was back at it, but this time with evil intent:
A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.” Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.” The king’s officials answered him, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses" (2 Samuel 15:13-15).
David didn't have time to meet with his son to try and reason with him. He didn't have time to feel sorry for himself or others. David had to lead even though he was probably in emotional pain. We will see in a later study that David's heart was to save his son, but for the time being, he had other matters to attend to—like people who were still looking to him for leadership and direction. When you read the rest of 2 Samuel 15, you see that David had to make a number of decisions while still putting his hope and trust in God that one day he would return to his throne.
How intense can it get for you when you assume the throne of leadership God has for you? Probably more so than you imagined. This story causes me to think of the Apostle Paul, who was certainly no stranger to persecution and pressure as he carried out his apostolic duties. He shared some of his challenges with us:
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked (2 Corinthians 11:24-27).
As if that wasn't enough, Paul added, "Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?" (2 Corinthians 11:28-29). Paul couldn't take time to tend to his own problems for he was involved in the care of others. He had to lead while enduring intense times, honestly confessing,
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
Proverbs 24:10 says, "If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!" The Message translation states it this way: "If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place." If you are serious about sitting on your throne, then you'll have to learn how to rule in times of trouble. Those times taught Paul that his challenges came so "the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body." Your tough times will do the same but only if you stay the course, even when the course is rocky and foggy. As one author once wrote, "tough times never last, tough people do." It's time to see how tough you really are, or rather how tough the God in you can make you to be! Have a blessed week.