If there is an overriding theme to the life of David, one that ties all the various seasons of his life together, then it may well be this: “Let go and let God!”
When David bursts onto the scene in First Samuel 17, he is a young shepherd boy whom defends his father’s flocks against both a lion and a bear. Shortly thereafter, he fights against an enormous Philistine giant named Goliath. In both cases, he is victorious. And in both cases, by his own testimony, he depends upon God to win the victory.
A bit later in First Samuel, as he defends himself against the irrational and dogged pursuit of King Saul, he is repeatedly given opportunities to harm Saul. But he refuses to do so, asserting that he will not harm God’s anointed one. Rather, he asserts that if God desires for him (David) to become king, then God Himself will bring about the demise of the current king Saul. Of course, just as God delivered the lion and the bear and the giant into David’s hand, so also does He deliver Saul.
Later on, in Second Samuel, after David comes to the throne as king, he finds that he must secure his reign by engaging in a seven and a half year long war with forces once loyal to Saul. Once again, he relies upon God; and once again God gives him the victory.
Then, still later, David’s own son, Absalom, rises up in rebellion against David, and attempts to turn the people of Israel against him, thereby usurping the kingdom. Yet again, however, David refuses to fight against a foe – this time his own flesh and blood. Instead, he once again asserts that if it is God’s will for him(David) to remain as king, then the Lord will resolve the situation and secure his throne for him. And of course, once again, God does just that.
Thus, if there is one lesson we can confidently take from David’s life, it is surely the one we find from the very mouth of David himself in Psalm 56:3, when he was up against yet another enemy, the Philistine army, back in First Samuel, chapter 21: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee!”
Elsewhere (in the New Testament Book of Romans, chapter 8, verse 1), the Bible reminds us that “If God be for us, who can be against us?” This great truth is played out time and again in the Bible. Whether it be Moses against Pharaoh, or Daniel against the lions, or Elijah against the false prophets, or any one of dozens of other such examples, the God of the Bible always delivers for His people when they trust in Him rather than their own strength.
And God has continued that deliverance throughout Christian history. One of my favorite stories is that of the citizens of Feldkirch, Austria when Napoleon's massive army was preparing to attack. The invader’s soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border.
Accordingly, a council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. All of this just It happened to unfold on Easter Sunday, when by habit, the people had gathered in the local church.
The pastor is said to have to have arisen and said, "Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord's resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us."
The council saw the wisdom of his admonition and accepted his plan. Shortly thereafter, the church bells rang out. The enemy, however, hearing the sudden peal, wrongly concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the Easter service had ended, Napoleon’s invading army had broken camp and left.
Like David of old, like the believing Christians of Feldkirch, and like untold numbers of other believers throughout history, if we can but bring ourselves to “let go and let God”, we can surely find ourselves victorious - often in ways we might never have foreseen!
STORY SOURCE: Available widely online. See for instance: http://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/the-sound-of-church-bells.
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: https://biblehub.com/kjv/psalms/56.htm and https://www.biblehub.com/romans/8-31.htm.