God and Our Mistakes
“I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. This poor man cried and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles… The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.” (Psalm 34:4-7)
The outpouring of gratitude expressed in this psalm came on the heels of an unlikely series of events in David’s life. Saul had become jealous of the young captain who had led the king’s armies to a number of tremendous victories over the Philistines. In his insane jealousy, Saul attempted to kill David, sending the young man fleeing for his life—right into Philistine territory.
Huh? Of all the places he could have gone, David went to Gath—the very hometown of Goliath, the Philistine champion he had slain. What was he thinking?
Perhaps he panicked and ran to the closest city outside Israel. Whatever the case may be, it was clearly a foolish decision—one in which he made without the Lord’s counsel.
But stupid mistakes are different from sinful actions. One can’t help but think of the plight of Samson, who, some thirty years prior to this, also found himself in the hands of the Philistines. In his case, it was the lust for foreign flesh that drove him into Philistine territory. In the end, his eyes had been gouged out and he was thrown bleeding and whimpering into a foul prison cell.
David’s plight was not a result of sin but of making a poor decision. As a result, he found himself alone in a hostile city, in the very grip of the enemy. One of the Philistines recognized him. “Is this not David the king of the land?” the man exclaimed. “Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” (1 Samuel 21:11)
David knew he was in deep trouble. Short of a miracle, he would not survive the day. He began crying out to God in his heart. The Lord came through by giving him the idea to act as though he had gone insane.
Before he knew it, he was safely out of the city, running back to the safer environs of Israel. He walked away from the frightening ordeal with the conviction that God had commissioned heavenly warriors to watch over his life.
Both of these men had been called by the Lord to accomplish a mission on behalf of His people and their respective ordeals at the hands of the Philistines reflect the way the Lord worked on their behalf.
We may not face the wrath of Philistines, but we do have enemies bent on our destruction. We may make occasional mistakes, but if we will reject the soothing words of spiritual seducers, the Lord will always come to our aid—even in the case of stupid mistakes!
And how about you? Have you ever made a bad decision that put you in a difficult predicament? Did you cry out to God for His help? Didn’t He come to your rescue just in time? God is not obligated to thwart the natural consequences of sin, but He can always be counted on to show compassion to His children when they make terrible mistakes.