In elementary school, I developed the bad habit of avoiding my father when I needed help with something. Whether it was homework, chores, or putting something together, I knew that my dad wouldn’t allow me to cut corners and often made me take the route that required the most work. This frustrated me. I thought of his instruction as hoops to jump through rather than as important steps to my success.
We see this same attitude in King Saul. His first mistake that took him out of favor with God was just before a battle (1 Samuel 13). Saul had been commanded to wait for Samuel’s sacrifice to God before going to battle. But Samuel was late and Saul was getting antsy. Eventually he took matters into his own hands and performed the sacrifice himself. Of course, immediately afterwards, Samuel shows up and condemns Saul for his lack of obedience. When looking at Saul’s behavior, both in this story and elsewhere, he seems to view God’s commands as hoops to jump through. “Let me just do this thing God told me to do [insert eye-roll], then I can get to the real business of being king.”
In contrast, David viewed God as his Heavenly Father, Who lovingly guides and instructs him through His commandments. Rather than seeing God’s commands as a nuisance, David rejoiced in them. He even wrote Psalm 119 (the largest psalm in the Bible) all about what a blessing God’s Law is to him. For David, following God’s instruction wasn’t an interruption to the business of being king, it was the business of being king.
As I have grown up and become a young father myself, I see the method to my father’s madness. I am very grateful for his instruction. Age and experience has taken me from a “Saulish” attitude to a “Davidian” attitude toward his instruction. He loved me and was trying to provide me with all the tools for success.
Happy Father’s Day. Thank you to the father’s who fight the good fight in their children’s lives. They may not appreciate your guidance until they are older, but your efforts will not be lost. May God bless you and your families.