Editor’s note: The following article is written from a message by Student Pastor Geoffrey Graff.
I like risks. My dad is an adrenaline junkie, so family vacations have included hang gliding, bungee jumping and white-water rafting. Perhaps my biggest risk was asking my wife Eden to marry me. That was certainly one worth taking.
There’s a man in the Bible who took a risk worth taking, too — King David. His choice may not have been “risky” in the way we think of the word. It didn’t involve stock markets or big business deals. But it was every bit as uncertain.
To understand, we have to know his backstory.
David was anointed as Israel’s future king. Afterward, he was mistreated and almost killed multiple times by King Saul, his father-in-law who was supposed to mentor him.
When Saul died, it seemed David’s time had finally come. But Abner, Saul’s army commander, pulled a sly move.
He gathered people together and announced King Saul’s son Ish-bosheth as the new king. He had no authority to do this. But as a friend of Saul’s family and an enemy of David’s, this was his job security. (people in Bible times aren’t so different from us!)
Ish-bosheth happily obliged. He wanted his daddy’s throne, even though he wasn’t prepared or purposed for it. Ish-bosheth sought success through connections. Abner sought success through coercion. What did David do? He chose a riskier pursuit.
David sought success through character.
See the risk now?
Strategy would’ve suggested he rally the troops, seek revenge and claim what was rightfully his. And he had the strength and support to do it. Yet, he chose character as his battle weapon. And God honored him for it. In the end, David not only became king. He pleased God, unified a nation, and became the most beloved king of Israel.
What can we learn from his example?
Live ruled by God
“After this, David asked the Lord, ‘Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?’” (2 Samuel 2:1)
In other words, “God, before I move, is this what you would want?”
Many times, we are moved by our fears, our emotions and our desires. It’s easier to make decisions based on those things rather than a heart open to God — especially when we’ve been wronged. But we are wise to follow David’s example and seek God’s guidance and then yield to it. We can find that guidance through God’s word, God’s church and godly counsel.
Live innocent before God
David’s men eventually killed Abner, against David’s will. His response?
“I vow by the Lord that I and my kingdom are forever innocent of this crime against Abner,” 2 Samuel 3:28.
He didn’t agree with their decision. In fact, David later held a funeral to honor Abner and even wrote him a song to make his point clear. His priority was not revenge, justice or even success, but rather innocence before an Almighty God.
That does not mean we shouldn’t biblically address wrong done to us. There is a place for that.
But we can’t embrace God’s presence with unclean hands or impure hearts. When our desire for revenge, success or anything else supersedes our desire to be innocent before God, we can be sure his best plan is being compromised.
A life guided by God and innocent before him can be a risky one. Few choose it. Like David, we can take the risk and watch God write an incredible story.