Do you have enemies? Fortunate is the person who can answer “no” to that question. But for most of us, there are at least some people in our lives we could categorize that way.
Our goal as Christians is to be sure that any enmity that exists is not a result of our actions. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:18 “…as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
No one in the Old Testament lives this out better than the prophet Daniel. In the sixth chapter of Daniel, jealous co-workers set out to destroy him. The Bible says they tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel to discredit him in the eyes of his boss, King Darius, but could find nothing. Then we read this:
We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the laws of his God. – Daniel 6:5
In other words, if they’re going to get Daniel in hot water with the king, they’ll have to put him in a position of choosing between the King of the Medes & Persians and the King of the Universe – because they were certain he’d choose God over the king.
What a statement on Daniel’s character!
Would someone seeking to discredit you or I have the same dilemma?
Christians should be the most honest people in the office, the people who work the hardest and treat their co-workers the best. They should leave the best tips in restaurants (especially on Sunday!) and treat both those in positions of authority and positions of service with honor and dignity. In short, With God’s help we should seek to live each day as Paul instructs in Titus 2:8, such that any who oppose us would be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands – I Samuel 23:14
In I Samuel 15, God rejects Saul as king because of disobedience then in chapter 16, Samuel anoints Jesse’s son David as the next king. But, there was a problem. Saul was still alive and well on the throne and not in any hurry to give it up.
After David defeats the giant Goliath, King Saul takes David into the palace and into his family. But Saul soon becomes jealous of David and begins to pursue him relentlessly trying to kill him. Probably not the life David had in mind when told he would be the King of Israel!
In the passage above we see an interesting dynamic. God is controlling the outcome yet David still acts. David knows he will be king because God has promised that he will. Nevertheless, David hides from Saul. Why? Because God’s sovereignty over all things does not preclude human action. God ordains the ends as well as the means and human action is the means He’s chosen to achieve His ends.
There’s a parallel here for our Christian walk. David was never in danger of being defeated by Saul and losing the kingship, yet he continued to work hard to avoid capture. Believers are never in danger of losing our salvation, yet we are called by the Apostle Paul to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Saul pursued David in unbelief and was destroyed. David hid from Saul in belief and was saved. God’s sovereignty is no excuse for inaction. Followers of Christ are called to trust God and work hard recognizing that ultimately the results are up to Him and knowing that He will keep His promises to His people.