Faith or Striving

The story of David taking over the kingship of Israel from Saul is probably one of the most well-known in the Bible. There is so much to learn from this story. We can talk about David’s courage when he defeated Goliath as opposed to the fear displayed by Saul. Then of course there is David’s submission to God’s anointed, despite the obvious wrongs committed by Saul against David. There is a teaching about the brotherly love between David and Jonathan and so you can go on and find many other lessons.

However, there is one aspect of this story that we often miss. There was one big difference between what drove the later Saul to action and what David’s motivation was in doing what he did.

The attitude of Saul can be seen in the story of the battle with the Amelekites. God told Saul that he will hand over the enemy, but that Saul had to completely destroy everything. Saul carried out the first part of the instruction and the battle was won. However, after this, he failed to destroy everything as God commanded. He saved the life of the king and kept the best of the livestock. When Samuel learned about this, he went to visit Saul. On arrival he was told that Saul went to build a monument in his own honour at Carmel. This incident of disobedience was the beginning of the end for Saul.

David’s attitude was the opposite. His famous speech to Goliath is indicative of how he acted out his faith for the remainder of most of his life:

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47-NIV)

Do you notice the difference? Saul did almost what God wanted and empowered him to do, but then he took all the glory for himself – in fact, he even built a monument in his own honour.

David on the other hand was always sure to give the glory to God and one gets the impression that David himself was often in awe of what God did through him.

The difference between the attitudes of Saul and David can be summarised in 2 simple words: Saul lived a life of striving whereas David lived a life of faith.

When we strive, we seek our own glory, even doing good things, but always with the motivation of self-glorification. When we live in faith, we display an attitude of awe and wonder at what God is doing – we simply follow his commands word-for-word and then stand amazed at what he does through our lives.

God has a wonderful plan for each and every one of his children. In Ephesians 2:10 Paul assures us that “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)

The question that every believer has to answer is this: Do I have the courage to be blindly obedient to God’s commands and then, when I achieve success, to give Him and Him alone all the glory and honour? Or would I rather build a monument in my own honour? You choose: faith or striving …

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Christian business principles, based on Biblical Truth