Foe or Friend?
God of the dawn and the day, I wait before You now to receive from Your hand.
Read 1 Samuel 26:1-16
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.
The example of John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus is always helpful. His words were, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). Power struggles disappear in the face of such an attitude.
It is not always easy to identify the difference between rivalry and enmity. Anyone reading newspapers or blogs when an election is approaching might think that political opponents were deadly enemies rather than fellow countrymen with different policies. The level of vitriol and personal attack often seems geared to convincing voters the opposition is deliberately setting out to destroy rather than simply providing an alternative way to bring the most benefit to the country.
Saul certainly became convinced that David was not just a political opponent, but an enemy who had to be destroyed by any means available. It was not that he really thought David had any intention of harming Israel. Rather, his own desire to retain power became far more important to him than the well-being of the country. David’s success in defending Israel became a threat to Saul’s position, and for that reason alone he had to be destroyed. The encouragement here is that David had not fallen into the same trap. In spite of Saul’s personal threat to David and in spite of the encouragement of his generals, David refused to destroy Saul. On the contrary, he showed clearly that though he could have killed Saul, he deliberately chose not to.
God appointed David to rescue Israel, but David knew that Saul had also been anointed king–and before him. David’s time would come, but it was God, not David, who would remove Saul from his position. It is worth noting God’s further involvement here. He kept Saul’s soldiers asleep (12) so that David could get near. Perhaps this whole incident was a test of David’s integrity more than of his military prowess. If so, he passed the test! It would be nice if today politicians from all parties were to follow David’s example!
Where are you being tested today? Failing to see God acting on your behalf, where are you tempted to take matters into your own hands? How can the example of David help you in this matter?
Lord, help church leaders today to resist the temptation to think that fighting for the truth and for righteousness must also mean fighting for their own position.
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