And the Lord said,”Rise and anoint him, for this is he.” 1Samuel 16:12
I started blogging on my first trip to Israel two years ago. My goal then, and now, was to help you see and feel a what I was experiencing. To make the invisible become a little more visible. However, I don’t think I can ever do justice to the mountains of Ein Gedi.
Ein Gedi is the remote dessert oasis that David retreated to in an effort to escape the murderous wrath of his father-in-law, King Saul. It is a unique blend of wasteland and a rock climbers paradise. Blazing hot, red sand combined with sheer, rugged and impossibly vertical cavernous walls lining the canyons of Ein Gedi. It is the perfect place to flee. One would have to be incredibly motivated to continue the pursuit once it had reached this region.
Which is exactly the case with King Saul. Overcome with jealousy for the new found and well deserved favor that David has achieved, the King is hellbent on ending the threat to the status quo. David has found a cave in the mountains of Ein Gedi, with enough room to accommodate his 600 men. (Trust me, it’s possible!)
The back story. Saul has proven to be a puppet king, doing what the people wanted rather than obeying the voice of the Lord. As a result, the Lord has had Samuel anoint David to be king. One problem. Saul is still on the throne. It is not a matter whether David will wear the crown, but when. It is a promise he lives with, as well as a tension.
He is not the first person to live in the already and not yet. Caleb lived over forty between the time God promised him the hill country as an inheritance in the land of Canaan. Mary lived nine months, treasuring the knowledge that the baby she carried was no ordinary child.
Back to the story. David and his men are hunkered down in the back of one of the many deep caves of Ein Gedi. Suddenly loud voices are heard outside, accompanied by the distinct sounds of many horses. It’s Saul and his men! David’s men quake with fear. Then, in walks Saul. Alone! He needs to “relieve himself.” Of all the caves! David’s men are buzzing, whispering into to his ears to seize the moment. This must be the Lord, they insist! Strike him and down and assume the promised kingdom. This is confirmation!
It would be hard to deny. Had God really directed Saul into the one cave David had made his hiding place? The potentail for a Hollywood moment was there. Picture it: King walks into a cave by himself. Moments later, David emerges from the same cave holding the head of the King. All Saul’s men bow down and pledge their service to the new king. Must be God!
Did God want the boy who had taken down a giant named Goliath to become King by killing a man with his robe down? Imagine his first press conference. “Uh, King David, how did it happen? Tell us how you killed King Saul?” Next question!
Back to the cave. Despite overwhelming pressure to take the easy route of instant gratification and a spike in public approval, David refuses to take the bait. He knows that one day he will wear the crown. It’s not a matter if, but when. It’s not a matter of whether, but how.
He knows that what is gained through disobedience can only end in disaster.
Are you waiting for God has promised? Are you in the tension of the “already and not yet?” If so, you are in good company. Caleb, Mary and David would encourage to wait. To wait patiently. To wait on the Lord. He who promised is faithful, and He will do it. Even when all signs are pointing to confirmation, listen to that still small voice that says not yet. He is not slow in keeping word.
It’s not a matter of whether He will, but how He will.