“But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.”1 Samuel 23.5
You never know who you are going to bump into when you are travelling. That’s one of the exciting things about going on a long journey. Sometimes people simply exchange pleasantries. Sometimes they want to chat and you have a meaningful conversation.
However, I was quite unprepared for what I encountered on a recent flight. A young woman sat down in the seat next to me wearing a surgical mask. I decided there and then that I shouldn’t take this personally! After all her friends in the row behind were also wearing masks. I don’t know exactly why they were wearing masks, but it seems that people in Japan sometimes do this either because they are sick and don’t want to spread their germs or because they are afraid of catching something from the people around them.
Either way, in covering their faces like this, they revealed their sense of vulnerability.
A sense of vulnerability can cause us to build protective shields around our lives.
When David was on the run from King Saul, he headed for Moab, a foreign country where he would be beyond the reach of his enemy. It was understandable given that David had to provide for and protect his parents as well as himself.
However, safe and all as Moab was, God had other ideas. The prophet Gad revealed to David that God wanted him to leave Moab and go back to Judah. He was to leave the protection of Moab and travel back into Saul’s territory. He was to move from what seemed to be a secure position into one which seemed far more exposed.
In short, God wanted David to trust Him to protect him instead of trusting the fortifications of Moab.
When we are feeling vulnerable or facing an unknown situation, it is easy to retreat into what we think is a stronghold. Like the lady on the plane, we pull on our mask and hope for the best. Or like David, we seek out a Moab. Yet it’s at this very time that God wants us to trust him. He wants to prove Himself as our unseen protector.
We know that in the end, David eventually became King. He went back to Judah and God protected him and showed him his faithfulness at every step.
When we are prepared to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and step out of the stronghold we will be sure to find once again that God is indeed faithful.