In The Making of A Man of God: Studies In the Life of David, Alan Redpath gives us a wonderful quote concerning the man of God in relation to the people of the world. He writes:
It is impossible for a man chosen of God to be at peace with the children of the devil. A man anointed of the Holy Spirit is immediately the target of Satan…It is possible that for a while you, like David, may be able to soothe your enemy and make him happy if you play your spiritual harp to him. But the moment the world discovers what you are, when the obvious evidence of heavenly reality rests upon you, they will begin to sling the javelins at you.
The story that Redpath has in mind is found in 1 Samuel chapters 16 through 18. The teenage David would play the harp for King Saul whenever Saul was depressed and melancholy, and David’s playing would refresh the king. The situation changed, however, after David slew the Philistine giant Goliath and became a national hero in Israel. Following that, Saul became so insanely jealous of David that one day, while David was playing the harp for him, Saul threw a spear in an attempt to pin David to the wall. The spear missed but the message was sent. From that moment on, Saul was out to get David.
Whereas Redpath spoke of javelins being slung at David, the Israelite patriarch Jacob spoke of arrows being shot at another man of God, his son Joseph. In Genesis 49:22-26, the elderly Jacob offers up his deathbed description of Joseph, verse 23 of which says:
The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him, and hated him.
Now, was Jacob talking about literal archers with literal arrows, just as Saul had thrown a literal spear at David? No. First, Jacob was talking about his ten oldest sons, whose jealousy and hatred of Joseph had led them to sell him into slavery (Genesis 37:1-36). Second, he was talking about Potiphar’s wife, who had falsely accused Joseph of attempted rape when he had spurned her sexual advances (Genesis 39:1-18). Third, he was talking about Potiphar, who had sided with his wife in that whole scandal and had ordered that Joseph be thrown into prison (Genesis 39:19-20). Fourth, he was talking about Pharaoh’s chief butler, who had reneged on a promise that he had made to Joseph (Genesis 40:1-23). You see, each of these individuals, with his or her actions toward Joseph, had shot an arrow at him in an attempt to wound him.
But why am I telling you all this? I’m doing it to let you, the man or woman of God, know that when you step out into the world and start serving God in an uncommonly high way, you’d best know how to duck. Trust me, stuff will start flying at you! I don’t figure that it will be literal stuff, but, hey, you never know. Just ask David on that one. The point is, though, that the world recognizes the person who walks out of step with it, let alone the one who stands as a daily rebuke of it.
But please don’t let this warning deter you from going all out for Christ. Remember that the same David who had the spear thrown at him wrote about the Lord preparing a table for him in the presence of his enemies (Psalm 23:5). That tells us that God can not only keep His servant safe against the world’s spears and arrows but also provide a bountiful table of blessing for that servant right in the midst of the servant’s enemies. I like the sounds of that, don’t you? So, don’t give up on serving the Lord when those spears and arrows start flying. Instead, start looking for God’s table of blessing. It will be there.