Short Bible Study

We Cannot Outstretch God’s Purposes

Joshua Crawford

In 1974, one of the hottest toys was Stretch Armstrong, a 15-inch, muscle-bound man that could stretch up to 5 feet and return to its normal size.  Kids could mercilessly pull, bend, and twist Stretch, but they couldn’t break him or change his shape!  Do we realize God’s purposes are just as strong?  Isaiah 14:27 says, “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it?  His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” 

In 1 Samuel 16:1, the Lord tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem and anoint the next king.  The moment Samuel sees David, the youngest son of Jesse, the Lord says, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” (v. 12)  Though David is chosen by God as the next king, the reigning king of Israel, Saul, becomes so consumed with jealousy, he seeks to kill David and fight the purposes of God. (1 Samuel 22, 23).  Though instructed by God to be king, David says, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul.  There is nothing better for me than I should escape to the land of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 27:1) Due to Saul’s attacks, David is driven from the land he’s supposed to rule over.  How is David to serve the Lord by ruling Israel, when he can’t even safely live there?

David will discover, despite our circumstances, God’s purposes are always being fulfilled; remember, Job learned, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)  Though David has been chased from his native land, God still gives him kingdom work to do; while living with the Philistines and fighting for their army, “David and his men went up and made raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites,” all of whom happened to be enemies of Israel. (1 Samuel 27:8)  In another instance, the Amalekites burn David’s village and capture two of his wives.  “David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled.” (1 Samuel 30:17)  David could have sulked about a crazy king chasing him into a strange land, but he chooses instead to do the work God places before him.  If we read on into 2 Samuel, we discover God’s plan for David does come together, as David becomes a great king.

We may think we can’t fulfill our destiny or purpose because we’re in a bad place, either emotionally or physically, but David proves otherwise.  Like rambunctious kids pulling on Stretch Armstrong, difficult circumstances try to twist and break God’s purposes for our life, but the Lord’s intentions, like the stretchy toy, will never lose their shape, no matter what they’re put through.  Recall, as the Lord says about His word, “it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

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