Summary: Fleeing for his life because the king was determined to kill him, David fled from one dangerous situation only to enter into another dangerous situation. Where does a child of God go when danger is all around?

For the choir director: according to “A Silent Dove Far Away.” A Miktam of David. When the Philistines seized him in Gath.

Be gracious to me, God, for a man is trampling me;

he fights and oppresses me all day long.

My adversaries trample me all day,

for many arrogantly fight against me.

When I am afraid,

I will trust in you.

In God, whose word I praise,

in God I trust; I will not be afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?

They twist my words all day long;

all their thoughts against me are evil.

They stir up strife, they lurk,

they watch my steps

while they wait to take my life.

Will they escape in spite of such sin?

God, bring down the nations in wrath.

You yourself have recorded my wanderings.

Put my tears in your bottle.

Are they not in your book?

Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call.

This I know: God is for me.

In God, whose word I praise,

in the LORD, whose word I praise,

in God I trust; I will not be afraid.

What can mere humans do to me?

I am obligated by vows to you, God;

I will make my thanksgiving sacrifices to you.

For you rescued me from death,

even my feet from stumbling,

to walk before God in the light of life.

PSALM 56:1-13 CSV

Here is a song that most of us can relate to. Oh, wait a moment! We don’t know the melody! Okay, though we don’t know the melody, we certainly understand the meaning of this prayer that David has written. Who of us has not experienced a time when we felt ourselves seriously threatened and we didn’t know where to turn? It may have been physical danger that threatened our life. I suppose it was more likely a financial reversal that endangered our ability to provide for our family. It could even have been the dissolution of friendships that left us feeling utterly isolated. Or it might have been a threat to our reputation, leaving us disoriented and unsure of how to respond. Whatever the circumstances may have been, we felt like a dove on distant oaks.

That is a graphic description. Though we may not have surrendered to despair, as the pressure mounted we felt as though we were hearing the mournful song of a dove. We searched the branches of the trees about us, and at last somewhere in the distance we saw the dove producing the forlorn song. And we felt as though the mournful song was being sung for us at that moment. We were sad, exhausted, and drained. If only we could rest for a moment, we thought to ourselves; if only Jesus would come NOW!

In our exhaustion, we find ourselves identifying with Motel in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Motel was speaking with the Rabbi at a time when the Jews are being forced to leave their village when he said, “Rabbi, we’ve been waiting for the Messiah all our lives. Wouldn’t now be a good time for Him to come?” What’s taking so long, Lord?

Amos cautioned the people of Israel against longing for the Day of the LORD. The Lord GOD directed Him to write,

“Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD!

Why would you have the day of the LORD?

It is darkness, and not light,

as if a man fled from a lion,

and a bear met him,

or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,

and a serpent bit him.” [1]

[AMOS 5:18-19]

Amos paints a graphic word picture. A man encounters a Judean lion. Fleeing from that danger, he runs into a Syrian brown bear. Wow! Talk about a problem! Okay, maybe some readers might conclude this wasn’t such a dreadful scenario. Therefore, in order to ensure that the reader fully understands the serious nature of the caution he provides, the Prophet of God continues with his description by suggesting that the fleeing man runs into the house to escape the animals he had just encountered. Exhausted, the man leans against the wall, only to be bitten by a death adder. Does the prophet have your attention now? It is as though all nature conspired to trap the man, sentencing him to death.

David had precisely that dilemma. Fleeing from one immediate danger, David ran straight into another situation that threatened to deprive him of his life. Saul was determined to kill David. The king was jealous because David received greater praise than did the king. Jealousy boiled up in Saul’s soul, driving him to attempt to kill the younger man. He attempted to induce David to fulfil dangerous, almost impossible missions, to please the king. In a maddened rage, Saul precipitously tried to kill David with his own hand. At last, the king dispatched his loyal guard to kill David.

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