Wednesday, November 5, 2008

1 Samuel, Chapters 23 and 24

I delayed publishing by a day to put these two chapters together. I did this mostly because chapter 23 is just a continuation of David’s flight from Saul, but chapter 24 is the climax of this pursuit. In chapter 24, we have a beautiful example of David’s nearly unparalleled character. It is unclear how long Saul pursued David all over the map of Israel. Saul threatened David’s life, forced him from his home, and generally disrupted his entire life. David had every reason to take vengeance if he had the chance, but as wee see in chapter 24, he did not.

8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, "My lord the king!" When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9 He said to Saul, "Why do you listen when men say, 'David is bent on harming you'? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, 'I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the LORD's anointed.' 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, 'From evildoers come evil deeds,' so my hand will not touch you. – 1 Samuel 24:8-13

This is another area of Scripture that speaks to my heart. Vengeance is not ours to take. Still, it is very hard to avoid the urge if it does come up. By human terms, David had every right to get even with Saul then and there. It is not what God wanted, however. He knew that true vengeance would be meted out between God and Saul. David not only did this for his own reasons, but he placed God’s desires ahead of his own. David could have done it solely to regain favor and seek the throne as king of Israel. Instead, he humbled himself before God and allowed the Lord to decide what would happen in this case.

This is why he mentions the Lord’s anointed. He knew that Saul, despite all the evil he had done in turning away from God, was still chosen by that same God to lead Israel. This is another lesson to me as far as learning to put God’s desires ahead of my own. God wanted Saul to lead Israel, even if it was for a little while longer. David didn’t know why, but he accepted it. God wants me to suffer in this job for at least a little while longer. I don’t know why, but I must accept it. As much as I want vengeance against those that have wronged me, and as much as I want out of this prison of a job, I have to go the opposite way, at least for now. I also must trust that God will take care of both.

In my humanity, it is tough to accept this. If I were given the opportunity to hurt someone who has hurt me, I am not sure if I would have the faith to turn it down. With this job, it is clearly what God wants for me at the moment because of the way He answered prayer directly, but I still feel trapped and like it is a complete and utter waste of every second I spend here. It is my prayer today that I will see what God’s will is in both of these situations, and that I will have the faith and strength to accept this will.

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