Thursday, May 7

Both/And

Scripture: 2 Samuel 15-16, Psalm 32, Matthew 25

2 Samuel 15:25–26 Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. 26 But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”

Observation

When David heard of Absalom’s conspiracy, he quickly left Jerusalem to spare the city and save his own life.  The priest, Zadok followed and brought the Ark of God from the Tabernacle.  But David sent Zadok back to Jerusalem and the Ark back to the Tabernacle—or literally “His dwelling place.”  David reasoned that if the Lord saw fit (if he found favor in the eyes of the Lord), then the Lord would bring him back to Jerusalem and he would see the Ark and the Tabernacle again.  But if the Lord was through with him (not pleased with him), then let God do what He thinks best.  

In other words, David entrusted the whole situation to the Lord, and believed that God would do what He wanted.  “It’s up to God.” 

But there is no fatalism, no resignation, no giving up in David.  With his next breath, he asks Zadok and Abiathar and their sons to be his spies in Jerusalem and keep him informed.  Then David sends his friend Hushai back to Jerusalem to be an advisor to Absalom and to counter and frustrate the counsel of Ahithophel.  

For David, leaving things in God’s hands and taking matters into his own hands were not two opposite and irreconcilable acts.  For him, it wasn’t either/or.  It was both/and.

Trust the Lord…AND make your plans.  Leave it to God…AND do your best.

Application

This is a common dilemma.  We often pit God’s work and our efforts against each other.  We think either/or when we should be thinking both/and.  

There is a story of two grade school boys dawdling on their way to school.  A couple blocks from school, they heard the bell ring.  One of the boys dropped to his knees and began praying he wouldn’t be late.  His friend took off on a dead run and shouted, “I’ll pray while I run!”  

The second boy was thinking both/and.  So was David.  So should I.

I spoke with some leaders who were questioning whether to apply for the Payroll Protection Program that the government offered.  They were wrestling with this question: Is applying for the loan denying our faith that God will provide?  Are we not trusting God?  As we discussed this, we decided it was not either/or.  You can trust God and still receive help from the government. 

One last story: this one’s a parable.  A man was trapped on the roof of his house during a severe flood.  He prayed for God to rescue him.  A raft came by and offered to pick him up; he declined, saying that he was waiting on God.  As the waters continued to rise, he continued to pray.  Then a motorboat came by and offered to pick him up.  Again, he declined, saying he was waiting for God.  The waters rose until he was on the pinnacle of his roof.  A helicopter flew over and dropped a line.  He refused, shouting that he was waiting for God.  Eventually, the flood covered his home, swept him away and he drowned.  When he stood before God in heaven, he protested, “I prayed and expected you to save me and you didn’t.  Where were you?”  And God answered, “What do you mean?  I sent you a raft, a boat and a helicopter—and you refused my help!”

That’s either/or thinking.

It’s not either/or.  It’s both/and.  Trust God…AND do your best.

Prayer: Lord, help me to trust You completely, and do my best today.  Deliver me from either/or thinking and help me think both/and.