Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 15:23-16:23, John 18:25-19:22, Psalm 119:113-128, Proverbs 16:10-1.1
My heart goes out to King David. He had to flee from home because his son, Absalom, betrayed him and led a successful coup. He has declared himself king and David has had to flee in the night. Not only has David been betrayed by his son, he has also been betrayed by the people who followed him, including at least one trusted advisor, Ahithophel.
One thing that caught my attention is that God is silent in this passage. We don’t see him sending a message by way of prophet, nor writing a message on the wall. We don’t see angels visiting David to assure him all is well. Does this mean God has left David? Does this mean God doesn’t care? No, absolutely not. God has always been faithful to David, even in His darkest hours, even in His moments of deepest sin. Isn’t that what faith really is? According to Hebrews 11:1,
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Let’s look at that verse in several translations and meditate on its truth:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].
Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see.
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.
The truth is, God is not always loud. He often works in gentle whispers. He often works in situations and through other people. And these times of silence are for the strengthening of our faith. These are the times we cling to truth because it is true, not because we feel it. We put our full confidence in the hope of the promises of God because we believe they are true and worthy.
Faith is often fulfilling and joyful and upbeat and fun. Faith is also silent and difficult and a struggle and may even threaten our core beliefs. But we must hold on to the promises of God, even in the midst of the struggles.
Yesterday, I noticed which direction David was fleeing. He was being forced back to the wilderness. (2 Samuel 15: 23, 28) Back to the place where his ancestors wandered for 40 years. He was being forced to exit the Promise land. He walked that direction, weeping as he went, head covered and feet bare as a sign of mourning. He was not trying to be stoic. He was not hiding the fact that he was hurt and scared. And in the midst of that time of grief, we see small evidences of what was unseen; the evidence that God was still there. A faithful friend, willing to mourn alongside him; a kind servant providing him with practical food and provisions—these were all whisperings of God saying “I am still here. I have not abandoned you.” And we can be a part of God’s whisperings to others when we reach out to those in mourning.
There are many other observations and nuggets of truth in today’s passage, but let’s end with this one. David went to the Mount of Olives, the place where people worshiped God on the way to the wilderness. It was not an easy journey. He had to climb to the summit of the Mount of Olives, and this journey was made even more difficult as he carried the great weight of grief. But he went. And it was there on the summit that he found the comfort of a faithful friend. Going just beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, he was further comforted by the servant with practical provisions.
Do you feel you are headed to the wilderness? Life sometimes forces us in that direction. Do you feel that God is silent right now? He is not really. He has left us His Word as a comfort, His truth as a secure promise. Go to the summit in the midst of your journey to the wilderness. Go to worship God. He is waiting and ready to show you encouragement.