The skill of strategy is lost on me.
I was ten years old, and my dad decided it was time to teach me and my little brother how to play chess.
He explained the movement and purpose of each piece. The king is the most valuable piece, followed by the queen, then the bishop. The knights and rooks guard the royalty, but the pawns are like commoners. They really have no power. They’re the defenseless front line.
I learned the basics of how the game was played, but any efforts at teaching me how to strategize, overpower, and dominate were lost on me.
Michal wasn’t a very good strategist either, and she ended up defending and protecting the would-be King David from her father, the then-current King Saul. Love ruled her heart and strategy was not on her mind when the events surrounding the demise of Saul and uprising of David began to unfold; she became a pawn used by both. With power at stake, King Saul used his daughter as a reward for David, who was victorious in carrying out the king’s demand. Michal was captivated by David, but her heart was not his goal. She was the means to an end and came as spoils of a win.
Her story continues …
King Saul made another move. With David continually on the run from Saul, he took Michal away from David and gave her in marriage to Paltiel, a man who deeply loved her. Later, as part of an agreement to negotiate peace with the northern tribes of Israel, David demanded Michal to be returned.
Far be it from me to criticize God’s anointed, but Saul was no king of hearts, and David’s heart was not in this relationship. Michal’s heart was bumped, bruised, and battered with each strategic move and advance in their back-and-forth power struggle. David ascended to the throne, Saul was eventually killed, and Michal’s story did not end well because she was unable to rid herself of the bitterness, contempt, and resentment created and stirred up in her heart by the two players. (Read her story at 1 Samuel 14 – 2 Samuel 6.)
How anguished Michal’s heart must have been — and how distressed mine has been — when those to whom care and protection of hearts was entrusted do not fulfill obligations or promises, or keep their word.
Has your heart ever been broken or betrayed by a “player”?
Have you ever felt violated when you discovered a “strategizer” used you for some gain?
Have you loaned to someone from the labor of your hands and goodness of your heart, never to be repaid?
I hate to admit it, but — check, check, and checkmate! — each of those has happened to me, leaving me as vulnerable, weak, and defenseless as an exposed pawn in the game of life. With one move, a player tries to wipe me off the game board.
God never intends for my heart to be “gamed” by others seeking to achieve their goals, and God himself will not be mocked by either the player or me. Galatians 6:7 tells us, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Far too many times I have propped up little “kings” in my life, supporting and defending them. And when they deceive, abandon, or forsake me with less-than-kingly behavior, I am the one who is hurt.
But it is my own heart which has betrayed me, for those I have invited to the game table and promoted to undeserved positions are mere flesh-and-blood humans flawed from living in a sin-filled world. Motivated by my desire to be loved, accepted, approved, I “play” my own heart!
Jeremiah 17:9 reads, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” There is only One who truly understands my heart, and His desire is that I pursue His heart above all others’.
Michal’s father, and mine and yours — or anyone we give our love to more than God — has NOTHING on the King of the universe, who loves and adores us more than any earthly king ever could. He not only advances for us on the playing field of life, He places himself on the frontline. Forging ahead of us to protect His own against the foe, His game is defending His kingdom from the enemy’s advances.
Will you allow Him to proclaim to the players in your life, “Checkmate”?
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Pam Weyant recently traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. When she is not spending her time as a freelance court reporter, you will find her loving up her adorable cocker spaniel, hiking, traveling, writing creative nonfiction, or working out. Her passion is sharing her story so others can join her in celebrating the freedom found in a redemptive Savior