Read – 1 Samuel 24
Focus on verse 4-6
I have always enjoyed a lively discussion, as long as it doesn’t escalate to the point where people take things personally and when the discussion stays focused on the issues. This kind of sparring with people who see things differently than I do helps me to broaden my understanding of issues that often have no clear answer. Occasionally, I will actually attempt to defend viewpoints I actually oppose in order to attempt to see it from the other side. This does two things, it helps me understand the motivation of people who sincerely defend it, and it gives me greater insight into which aspects of it might be logically indefensible. This kind of debate has also caused me to realize that one can justify almost anything if one chooses words carefully.
In today’s reading David passes an incredibly test of character. David and some of his men have hidden themselves deep in the recesses of a cave, which just happens to be the cave Saul choses to go into to relieve himself. How easy it would have been for David to justify killing Saul right there in that cave with exactly the words the men with him were saying to him.
The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’ ” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” (v. 4-6)
How men use all the right reasoning, “what are the chances? God must have set this up just for you David.” It almost seems as if David is entertaining the thought to do it, but when he sneaks up near Saul he chooses only to cut off a corner of his robe, and then is immediately convicted about doing even that, and he convinces his men not to attack Saul as they were prepared to do. In the final analysis this turns out to be a better solution as when David confronts Saul with the fact that he could have killed him but chose not to, and calls upon the Lord to judge between the two of them, Saul has a momentary onset of sanity and confesses that he knows David will be king, asking David to promise not to wipe Saul’s family out when that occurs, and David gives his word – and then Saul goes home and for a time there is peace between the two of them.
It was David’s heart that struck him in regard to not harming the Lord’s anointed. Only a man with a heart in tune with God would have listened to that still small voice at a time like that. Can you imagine the level of the adrenaline flowing in in David’s blood at a time like that? His men who were hiding with him in the cave where ready to spring into action at that moment? Can you imagine again, how right it might have seemed to them — that it was the Lord’s will for them to kill Saul at that moment? Yet in David’s heart he knew that this was not God’s way; that it was not up to David to chose the time of Saul’s demise. Saul may have been a tyrant, and he most certainly was trying to kill David, but he was also still the Lord’s anointed king at that time, and David chose to leave the time and method of removal of that anointing squarely, and entirely in the hands of God.