One of my biggest fears in the darkness is that it may mean that God has forsaken me forever, that, like Saul, I have been forsaken by the living God. Which places this quote into the context of beautiful relief when I read it yesterday morning. It’s from Dale Ralph Davies commentary on 1 Samuel and the random bit when Saul consults the witch of Endor. Interesting reading for a first jaunt back in the Bible for a while. But utterly appropriate for my head.
“Some believers are convinced that they are cut off from God’s presence, doomed to his silence, forever under his frown. One can understand why believers in Jesus might draw such conclusions: God’s presence does sometimes seem distant; sometimes he seems to have cast them off. Sometimes God leaves us in our affliction for so long that we are tempted to say he has forsaken us. And the Bible acknowledges that such conditions can prevail in the lives of God’s flock. The Bible recognizes that someone can be- shall we say objectively forsaken by God (as was Saul) and that others can seem to be forsaken or fear that they have been.
Have we any clues to help us distinguish the one situation from the other? I would at least point to one. Look for example at Psalm 13:1 ” How much longer, Yahweh will you go on forgetting me? Forever? How much longer will you keep hiding your face from me?”. When believers are terrified at God’s absence they instinctively turn to the God they think has forsaken them, and complain to Him about forsaking them. And then they go on having dealings with this God, crying to this God to answer because they have no-where else to go and so keep clinging to him. Psalm 88 is almost as bleak as 1 Samuel 28 for that Psalm does not have a confident end in Yahweh’s deliverance and favor. The faithful man’s anguish is still unrelieved at the end of his prayer, but he is still speaking to Yahweh about it.
Cool rationalists will never understand it but true believers do. Eventually they see that the clearest evidence that God has not turned away from them is that even in his ‘absence’ they keep turning to the God who has turned from them.” John6:67-68 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”
(Dale Ralph Davies – 1 Samuel)