There are times when we just desperately desire to be somewhere other than where we are at this very moment. We want a walk in the country - but we are in a hike in the wilderness, complete with all kinds of threatening things! We want the solitude and refreshing of a cabin in the woods - but we are in the mess and mire of battle. In these times, we often cry out for deliverance - then find ourselves getting more than a little impatient with the "delay" in getting any help!
Open your ears, God, to my prayer; don't pretend you don't hear me knocking. Come close and whisper your answer. I really need you. I shudder at the mean voice, quail before the evil eye, as they pile on the guilt, stockpile angry slander. My insides are turned inside out; specters of death have me down. I shake with fear, I shudder from head to foot. "Who will give me wings," I ask—"wings like a dove?" Get me out of here on dove wings; I want some peace and quiet. I want a walk in the country, I want a cabin in the woods. I'm desperate for a change from rage and stormy weather. (Psalm 55:1-8 The Message)
David's in the same place - he wants a quiet retreat to a cabin in the woods, but he's up to his eyeballs in attacks from all sides. I really associate with the life-lessons of two people in the scripture - David and Paul. David because he made so many mistakes, was a real guy willing to share about the real stuff he went through, and he always reminds us of the grace of God at every turn. Paul because he really exemplified an over-achiever, the true "type A" personality in action, yet under the anointing of God, touched thousands for Christ.
David's life is before us today. He has found a place in the territory of the enemy - the Philistines. He is running from King Saul - out to take his life because he sees the anointing of God on David. He runs to Gath - to the courts of King Achish. The land of Gath is known for one pretty popular guy in scripture - Goliath. Here is David, going into the land of the giants, alone and on the run. There is no lonelier place to find oneself than "on the run". In our running, we actually go places we'd never even have considered before. He goes deep into the territory of the enemy, actually hoping to find some solace for his weary body and spirit.
In arriving, he is noted as the "man God has anointed the next King of Israel". He is acknowledged for his slaying of tens of thousands, compared to the thousands taken by Saul. In turn, he becomes quite nervous about his surroundings. No wonder! He is smack-dab in the midst of the enemy of Israel, trying to find a place to hide out! Ummm...I don't have to be a Bible Scholar with tons of degrees to know this is kinda silly! So, to attempt to deal with their threat to him, he feigns madness. Salivating, acting like some lunatic, he pretends to be something he is not! Okay, now we may not have gone to this extreme, but have we ever pretended to be something we are not? Uh-huh...so, we cannot really point one finger at David without a few pointing back our way, right?
Now, in the midst of the enemy, acting like some lunatic possessed with some weird disorder, he cries out to God. I am always amazed by how silly we actually act BEFORE we cry out to God for his intervention! We crave nothing more than God's deliverance - to be carried away on the wings of a dove - yet, we run to the furthest points AWAY from him! Then, when we are good and deep into the thick of our mess, we cry out. Look at what all David's running and pretending has achieved:
- Mean voices attack him and give him worry.
- The looks of people make him cower.
- He cannot escape the guilt others want to pile on him.
- The untruths about him are spreading like viscous rumors.
- His guts are in knots.
- He cannot get out of the present mess fast enough.
Now, before we are too hard on David, we need to keep in mind our own response to our life. We are equally "runners" and equally "fearful" of those things which we don't really understand. We attempt to find solace wherever it seems practical - not fully realizing the "running" just places us further away from our real "escape" from the mess.
As we consider this passage today, a couple of things surface:
- We all run! How far we run determines how much ground we will have to "make up" in our return.
- We all experience desperation! How much despair we each endure differs based on our response God's reminders of our lack of complete trust. Desperation is an outflow of a lack of trust - we just don't "see" God's purpose in our present circumstance, so we doubt his ability to navigate us through it.
- We all desire deliverance! Sometimes we don't realize our need for deliverance until we are face-to-face with the enemy. In the midst of being "closed in" by the accusations of our enemy, we often find ourselves crying out the loudest - looking to be carried away on the wings of a dove!
Not sure where you might find yourself today - but if it is deep in the enemy's camp - don't delay in crying out. God's wings wait to carry you to a place of safety. Masking your fear behind a facade of "crazy behavior" will not make you safe in the presence of the enemy. Only the wings of God's grace can do this!