“But he refused to drink it; instead, he
poured it out before the Lord.”
2 Sam 23:16
David should have drunk the water with gratitude, for the three warriors had risked their
lives fetching it for him. But the king refused to drink it because, all of a
sudden, he felt so undeserving and unworthy to drink the precious water. He was
merely a man and it was never his intention to demand such loyalty from his
No one deserves such loyalty except God, David must have thought. Had he drunk the water, he
would have usurped the position of the Almighty among his people. He did the
right thing by not drinking it and poured the water out instead before the
Lord, as if he were offering the holy water to God.
I always have a sense of unworthiness, embarrassment even, when someone says something good
about me or what I do. If I serve the Lord with the spiritual gifts he has
bestowed on me, then the honor and praise generated by a job well done should
all go to the Giver, not to the one who has performed the task.
I fear for some popular preachers and tele-evangelists who often bathe in limelight and
seem to accept all the cheers and applause without the slightest reluctance, as
if they themselves deserved every bit of the honor. I guess there is nothing
left for them in heaven, since they have received all their rewards here on
David couldn’t have helped but develop a sense of entitlement after he assumed the kingship of
Israel, yet he had learned to keep it in check for the most part. He was
constantly reminded that he still had feet of clay. Had he not done the
checking on his own volition, the Lord would have allowed some suffering to do
the job for him, making him feel lowly and humble.
What tribulation and pain do to people is to strip layer after layer away from them until there is nothing left but the core
of their beings, which is only a thin layer of dust. We know what happened to King
Nebuchadnezzar when he perceived himself to be the greatest on earth. The Lord
quickly brought him down to the lowest, revealing to him that he was nothing
but a beast unless he lifted the Lord up by glorying him in all he did.
David would have been poisoned had he drunk the water.
He would have been poisoned by arrogance and conceit, perceiving himself to be what he really
wasn’t. There is such a grave danger when humans perceive themselves to be
divine and allow people to treat them as such.
We all know how vehemently Paul and Barnabas reacted when the people of Lystra were trying
to worship them as gods. It was an anathema to them, wasn’t it?