STEADY IN EN GEDIBy: Darrelyn L. Tutt"But there came a messenger unto Saul saying, 'Haste thee and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land.' Where for Saul returned from returning after David ...And David went up from thence and dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi. And it came to pass when Saul was returned from following the Philistines that it was told him saying, 'Behold, David is in the wilderness of En Gedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats."1 Samuel 23:29 & 24:1-2------En Gedi means "spring of the goats;"An abode composed of mountainous terrain familiar to goats. A refuge which yielded groves of Palm, beautiful vineyards (Song of Songs 1:14,) and rocks which served as secure places of hiding.En Gedi was David's chosen haven while on the run from King Saul."Down times" were many and various for David on the journey to Kingship.His would be no easy route, no quick succession,no ease and comfort padding the way to his "crowning."Indeed, if we look closely, we see that David's initial anointing was followed by twelve to fifteen years composed of strife and Saul's unrelenting jealousy.All part of "David's" journey.Let's gather three constructive lessons:1) The favor of God and the jealousy of man is a common DNA strand woven into God's elect. We like to think that the favor of God secures a favor with men and a providential life of ease, but this is simply not the case. Biblical examples abound ... -from Isaac to Ishmael,-from Jacob to Esau,-from Joseph to his brothers,-and from David to his brothers.Highlight distinct patterns woven into "favored" individuals and you'll disover the familiar themes of suffering, difficulty, isolation, and an eccentric "differentness" branding them a special breed of "En Gedi experienced individuals" set apart for God.It's important to regard difficulties, distresses, and disappointments in our lives within the confines of God's love and favor and not read into them a "lack of" His love and favor.The strongholds of En Gedi may be ours for a season,but God's hand will procure, preserve, and prepare us for a more advanced season of position and relationship with Him in return.God's hand will sufficiently lead us to and through our "En Gedi's."-----2) There are favorable things that occur in the "Strongholds of En Gedi:"-Dependence on God heightens and intensifies.-Kinship among men united with a common "DNA" is forged at a new level and fosters camaraderie, security, and loyalty, a factor which can't and shouldn't be underestimated.-Growth in character and preparedness for calling is, of necessity, happening.-Conformity of spirit, wisdom and discernment through experience, and compassion for man is developed.Leaders are born in the "Strongholds of En Gedi."We can be encouraged and strengthened by the invaluable lessons learned in the hard places; they will remain ours for a lifetime.-----3) A composition of spirit is forged in seasons of distress.It's believed that David composed Psalm 54 while in the rocks of En Gedi.Indeed, David's greatest compositions and most meaningful Psalms erupt from the wilderness places and not the quiet streams in the pastures.God does His best and most notable work in our "wilderness seasons" pointing to the reality of His great and glorious presence.His might is made most manifest in our weakness,His strength is most clearly observed in it as well.God's great glory accommodates man's frail story from beginning to end.God's foremost desire is for His Son to receive glory from our lives.Expect Him to reveal Himself best and most visibly in the Strongholds of En Gedi.The Lord is mighty to deliver,mighty to save,and we find our strength in the name of the Lord.We are His favored ones.------"Behold, God is mine Helper; the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies; cut them off in Thy truth. I will freely sacrifice unto Thee; I will praise Thy name, O Lord, for it is good."Psalm 54:4-6------Three Study Suggestions:1) Read today's passages and record the short Psalm, composed of seven verses, in a journal. It will bless you considerably.2) Recreate several "En Gedi" landscapes in your life and consider and reflect on what occurred within you during those periods. How did God manifest His glory to you and to others? What character traits were developed in you?3) Periods of distress and difficulty foster a deepened and developed relationship with God and those He intersects you with. Take time to give Him praise and consider the blessed camaraderie of new and chosen comrades He has linked you with.Appreciate the heights and high places God has brought you to; He is faithful and you are favored.Amen.-----
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