“And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.”-1 Samuel 18:14
It’s important to understand that when the spears began to fly, David did not stick around to be pierced through by Saul. He removed himself whenever he could from these difficult moments. However, removing ourselves is not always an option and so David adopted another way of handling Saul’s persistent attacks. He behaved wisely in all his ways!
The bible is clear about how we should respond to those trying to harm us:
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”-Romans 12:17-21
The Bible says not repay evil for evil, but rather we are to let God take care of bringing about justice. It’s not enough that we simply don’t wish bad things to happen to our enemies, but He goes so far as to say that we should demonstrate compassion towards those who wish to do us harm. Jesus takes the idea even further in Matthew 5:44-45:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Through each of these passages God is challenging us to choose honor rather than vengeance, something David chose in regards to King Saul:
“And David said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you.”-1 Samuel 24: 9-12
David chose the path of honor. One which each of us is called to follow:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”- Philippians 2:3-4
This is a noble pursuit, but what happens if they persist. Remember King Saul tried to spear David three times, sent messengers to kill him, pursued him in the wilderness repeatedly in an attempt to capture and kill him and yet every time David demonstrated honor.
In fact, David refused even to rejoice in his enemies ultimate demise:
“Therefore David took hold of his own clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”-2 Samuel 1:11-12
I never see it recorded that David ever bad mouthed, gossiped, or slandered King Saul in any way. Choosing honor protected David’s heart from becoming bitter and from becoming resentful himself!
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church