Archive for March 3rd, 2008

Saul & David’s Last Encounter

Just 3 chapters ago, the Ziphites attempted to betray David into the hands of Saul…it was a failure then and it is a failure again in this chapter (1 Samuel 26).
Saul’s behaviour begs the question “what does repentance look like?” I always think of Luke 17:1-5 when I am tempted to define repentance in a strict sense.
But in this case, let’s just say, the Saul seems to have gone back on his previous repentance shown in chapter 24. At that time, David had opportunity to kill Saul, but did not take it.
Abishai reminds David that God has granted this opportunity yet again. This circumstance was not an accident, God designed it – and the design was for David to take righteous vengeance upon Saul.
Abishai even makes it easy for David: Please let me strike at once with the spear.
David wouldn’t have to lift a finger nor in any way be a participant in the slaying of Saul. Abishai would do it, and David could say to himself and everyone else, “I did not kill Saul.”
Many were the people who tried to convince David that he had more righteous reason than ever to kill Saul. Now, Saul had gone back on a previous promise to leave David alone.
When I am in David’s position, I say, “I showed love and let him off once before. I’m full of love, but I’m not stupid. Saul had his chance and he blew it; this time, this opportunity is from God!”
But love, at least in the eyes of the world, will sometimes act in what the world considers to be a stupid way. Jesus said that we should forgive, and forgive, and forgive again (Matthew 18:21-22).
I would say that since Saul deserved it, it was the “right thing” to kill Saul. But if it was the “right thing,” this was the “wrong way.” Often when we have a right thing in front of us, we will be tempted to pursue it in a wrong way.
Jesus showed us how to refuse to pursue the right thing the wrong way. Jesus rejected Satan’s shortcut to the cross. Jesus never did miracles just to promote Himself. Jesus went the way of the cross instead. Jesus shows us that God’s way may be more difficult – but it is always better.

O God of Second Chances, (and 7 chances, and 70 chances), thank You for Your great patience. I pray for a David-like spirit again today. One that takes the high road despite counsel of those around me. I pray that I may be a child who represents that trait about You to others…a God of forgiveness and second chances!