1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats' Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 5 And afterward David's heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord's anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.’
1 Samuel 24:1-10, English Standard Version
God had David anointed as the next King of Israel by Samuel; there was only one problem. Saul was still king. Saul knew that his kingdom was going to be torn from him, and as he saw David being continually blessed by God, he soon became suspicious that David would the next king chosen by God. As his suspicions grew his disposition toward David changed; it was not long before David had to flee for his life.
What a sad time for David; he soon had a following of men who were disgruntled with King Saul, but they were in constant flight escaping the armies of Saul. In today's reading, King Saul went into the very cave in which David and his men were hiding. The men quickly encouraged David to kill Saul, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” David refused to kill Saul, but rather cut off a corner of the robe of the unsuspecting king.
Revenge! Oh, how sweet it is. Here was David's crowning opportunity; Saul had already attempted to kill David on two occasions, and was now chasing him as a hunter chases the fox.
David, however, did not see it that way; Saul, was the king, anointed by God. When God chose to remove Saul from being king, it would not be at the hand of David. What a revelation of the character of David; he truly had a heart for God!
What do we do when the opportunity for revenge lies right before us? Are we as confident in God as was David, waiting for God to exact his own punishment upon the wrong doer. We love the fact that God is long suffering when dealing with us, but we wish He would not be so long suffering when dealing with our enemies. What a measure of our own trust in the Lord!
How often do we find ourselves completely frustrated because God chooses to do things differently than we would? Our tiny little view of things is but a shadow of the reality that exists around us; God views everything from the perspective of eternity, rather than from the perspective of time as we do.
Do you seek revenge from those who have wronged you? Pray today that God would give you a calm spirit of acceptance, knowing that God will put everything right in His own time. Is that easy to do? No, it is not. As Christians, we continually find ourselves on our knees pleading with God for grace to live each day to His glory and according to His will instead of our own.
God Bless You,