Have you ever had to run for your life? I haven’t. Not in a the-king- is-trying- to-throw- a-spear- at-me-every-time- he-sees- me kind of way at least. Thankfully. But as I read about David fleeing from Saul in chapters 20-23, I resonated with, and even envied, a piece of his journey – direction.
“On that day, quickly go down to that place where you hid yourself the first time and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of the stone, as if I’m shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy after them, saying, “Go find the arrows.” If I tell him, “Look, the arrows are on this side of you,” then come back, for as the Eternal One lives, you are not in any danger. 22 But if I tell the boy, “No, the arrows are beyond you,” then flee, because the Eternal has shown you that you must leave. 23 But as for the agreement that we have spoken together, the Eternal One is witness to it forever.”
David is faced with either staying where he is, unsure about his safety at any given moment, or running for his life. I found it interesting that David’s answer came in the form of arrows. How often do we jokingly wish that some arrow would just appear, pointing us in the right direction?
Do I major in this or that? Do I take the unpaid internship or the decently paying job I don’t really want? Do I live here or there? Do I go to grad school? Where do I go to grad school?
So many of my recent conversations with friends are spent trying to answer these questions. And while as I read this, I wished that like David, some arrows would help me make a decision – help my friends make their decisions – I also knew that those arrows didn’t point in any particular direction for David.
They just told him to go.
We don’t have to run for our lives in the same way David did, but we still run for our lives. We choose to run toward one thing or another, hoping that we’ll like the way life looks when we get there. And if we choose to run toward Jesus, we can trust that some of the missing pieces will begin to fall into place as we run.
David had the benefit of some arrows to set him off in the right direction, but more importantly I think, he had a friend who wanted the best for him. Jonathan was willing to lay down his life for David. He was willing to be the one God spoke through, telling David he needed to go.
I hope that as you read through these chapters in 1 Samuel, you can identify who plays the role of Jonathan in your life. Who will you allow God to speak through to you as you run for your life – trying to discern which direction to go? And I hope that as you go, you will trust God in the places where you don’t see any arrows.