A Picture Perfect Picture
There’s something undeniably awkward about a group picture—the awkward shuffle of bodies and careful positioning of shoulders, shirts, and elbows that makes me feel like I’ll end up looking like a mannequin with chronic pain, no matter what.
The trick to it all is catching the perfect victim to be your photographer; the perfect combination of bossy, kind, and goal-oriented. You see, you need someone who is willing to take a group of self-centric humans and somehow herd and silence them for long enough to snap that perfect picture. In the moment, the only one who understands why it matters where you put your arm is the photographer. It takes someone who can see the big picture to really understand the details that will affect the outcome.
In I Samuel we find a story of two kings. Both were called of God. Both made mistakes. Both dealt with consequences. David came into Saul’s story with a bang, stealing his fame, his comfort, and eventually his throne. Most of us reading this are probably familiar with their stories so I won’t bore you with all the unnecessary details.
For the sake of this topic, I want to bring us to the point where we first meet David. He had recently been anointed by Samuel, so he knew he was called, but I’m sure it still caught him off guard to be called to the king’s home in service. We know Saul sought him for his talent, something David had developed for years in the fields. Those were the everyday parts of his life, something we can assume was only intended for personal use, not the service of the king.
Saul had recently sinned and lost the Lord’s favor. In fact, I Samuel 6:14 reads “The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul , and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.” When the Lord departed from Saul, it left a terrifying void, something that could not be eased with anything other than the presence of God. To feel the power of a God on your side and to lose that to an empty hole and a torturous spirit was enough to drive him to extremes, finding comfort alone through a future king’s song.
Have you ever wondered what separated Saul’s story from David’s? What makes one man’s mistakes seemingly “worse” than the other? Or at least, what earns the decree of removal from one man and the forgiveness and blessings on the other?
I believe the single difference in these two stories can be boiled down to a single difference—posture.
Here’s what I mean. Saul was brought to the throne on the people’s request. David appeared at God’s request. We see an immediate result in the way they lived their lives, handled their struggles, and ran the kingdom. Saul feared the people more than God, so he often bent his will to the wrong areas, and his stubbornness toward God led to his demise. However you will find that David, just as human as his predecessor, never forgot where his strength, salvation, and throne came from. . No matter how many times David messed up, and he did mess up plenty, he always found a place of repentance and worship with God.
Saul was a rigid and unyielding man; he didn’t allow God to shape and shift him. David learned early on that the only way to live was to let God be his center and security. David had a stance of repentance, a posture of worship, a position of praise. He allowed God to move him and use him, to “adjust his stance,” to perfect the big picture.
Sometimes life feels like a big awkward group shot. You are never 100% sure how it’s all going to turn out, whether you look like the mess you feel like or if you’ve managed to pull it all together somehow. But we don’t have to do this on our own. We have a God who sees the big picture and knows what’s going on beyond our messy little worlds. He sees the good in store because He has the plan.
So let us take a lesson from David and examine our posture. Is it moldable and trusting? Do we value our image over His?
If life was one big group shot, would you be a Saul or a David?
Olivia Dummer is a student in Blue Springs, Missouri where Jason Huckaby is her pastor. She writes and keeps an inspirational blog hoping to encourage others and share what she’s learned about God.