Read – 2 Samuel 1
Focus on verse 11-13
True honor is a rare commodity particularly in our political culture, or at least so it would seem by the reports we hear daily from media outlets. I might add that honor does not seem to run deep within most of the main stream media outlets. One might suggest that our culture is at a crisis in part due to a gross lack of honor on nearly every level.
In today’s reading David demonstrates further his consistent attitude of honor toward Saul upon receiving the news of his death.
Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?”
“I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite,” he answered. (v. 11-13)
It would seem that the man who brought the news of Saul’s death to David was expecting that David might reward him for killing Saul. While this man may have been aware of the fact that Saul had tried to kill David numerous times, he was obviously not familiar with David’s character. Surely David would rejoice upon hearing of Saul’s death and graciously honor the man who killed David’s enemy. Unfortunately for this this young Amalekite he did not know David’s heart. He did not know that if David had really wanted Saul dead, Saul already would have been dead by David’s hand. Rather David was a man of honor. He honored the Lord’s anointed king right to the very end and mourned his death as one might mourn a family member. Had this Amalekite known this he might have chosen not to lie about how he had personally killed Saul. In addition, had this Amalekite been aware that David had just returned from defeating a clan of Amalekites that had captured his family and burned his house down, he might have chosen to lie about his ancestry instead.
Whether David’s choice to have the man executed was motivated by vengeance or by honor is not entirely clear. Perhaps, a little of both? He was executing justice upon a foreigner who had informed him he had killed his king and whose kinsman had just burned down his home. The fact that king Saul had been trying to kill David did not stand in the way of David honoring the position that God had placed Saul in. Another fact that may have influenced this decision is that way back — early in Saul’s reign, God had given Saul clear instruction to entirely wipe out the Amalekites, which may have further influenced David’s order to execute the messenger.
The current political climate we find ourselves in in America is one were it has become fashionable, even desirable to discredit and dishonor men and women who—according to Romans 13—God has placed in positions of authority over us. David’s attitude toward Saul — despite repeated attempts on his life, give us a great moral example to follow in how to relate to those in authority over us. David was not perfect in the sense that he made no mistakes as a leader, but his heart was tuned to hear God first. This is what made him the great leader that he was. His consistency in this was occasionally frustrating to some of his more impulsive militaristic men following him, but his consistency in honoring God before men is also what drew their respect and devotion to him as their leader.