The Light of Forgiveness
Thank the Lord for Jesus, who makes it possible for you to forgive others and to be a peacemaker.
Read 1 Samuel 24:1-22
 After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.”  So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.  He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.  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 lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.”  With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.  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.  He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’?  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 lay my hand on my lord, because he is the LORD’s anointed.’  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. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life.  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.  As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.  “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea?  May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”  When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud.  “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.  You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me.  When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today.  I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.  Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”  So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does David do when the Lord puts Saul into his hands?
Saul walks into a cave not knowing that David and his men are there, thus placing himself in grave danger (3). David has much to resent Saul for, and, prompted by his fellow outlaws, he could easily deliver human retribution (4). But David is in grave danger too–the danger of meeting hatred with hatred and evil with evil. As it is, even cutting off the corner of an oblivious King Saul’s clothing is too much for David (5). Through honest words and honorable behavior, David shines the light of forgiveness into Saul’s dark heart (19). Saul is at last ready to recognize that David will be king, and David in turn promises to respect Saul’s family in the future, just as he promised to Jonathan years before (cf. 20:42). This is a superhuman act of grace and forgiveness from David. We may feel that to forgive at that level is beyond us. Yet we lose nothing by forgiving, and instead we gain an inner peace and freedom that we could never have by holding on to resentment and anger against others.
Now may be the time for you to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged you. How will you do it?
Lord, help me to forgive others, just as I have been forgiven in Christ.