The LORD is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8, HCSB)
We talk a lot about how God is always with us…but we don’t talk often about how God “goes before us.”
I was reminded of that this week reading 1 Samuel 21. Young David was on the run from King Saul who was trying to kill him. David found sanctuary with a priest named Ahimilech at Nob. Because David left Saul’s palace so quickly (having a spear thrown at you will do that), he left without grabbing a weapon.
So he asked Ahimilech: “…Do you have a spear or sword on hand? I didn’t even bring my sword or my weapons…(1 Sam. 21:8).” The priest’s answer surprised even David: “…The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it, for there isn’t another one here.” (1 Sam. 21:9)
God had gone before David and left a sword for him.
Mind you, this was not just ANY sword! This was Goliath’s sword. You can hear the excitement in David’s voice: “There’s none like it!” David said. “Give it to me.” (1 Sam. 21:9). The sword was Excaliburesque in its fame. Not only that, but David knew this sword. He had used it before on the day of his most epic and heroic moment (see 1 Sam. 17:51).
So here’s David, running for his life…afraid of King Saul. He discovers that God has gone ahead of him. But the Lord doesn’t just give David the bare provisions he needs to survive – God gives abundantly. David would have been happy with any sword. But the sword God gave him reminded him who he was.
He was David, the giant-killer. He had fought the odds before – that time with a slingshot. As David unwrapped that sword, felt its heft, saw the sunglight glint off the blade, his confidence returned. He was David. God had protected him before. God would surely do it again.
As you head into the unknown and often scary future, remember: God’s already there. Do not be afraid or discouraged.