What I read today
1 Samuel 25-26; Psalm 130; Ezekiel 7; Matthew 13; Romans 8
David has been chased all over the countryside from the King of Israel who is bent on ending his life. He’s had to leave his wife, his home and everything he holds dear and he now lives in the wilderness. He’s constantly looking over his shoulder and around every corner.
Now David is standing over the sleeping King Saul. He’s got a sword in his hands. The man with him offers to take the King out. Now, what do you do? Do you take vengeance? Do you make the King pay for everything he’s done to you?
David chooses to walk away.
Walk away, we don’t do that much today do we? If we’re attacked we attack back. If a driver cuts us off on the road we start blowing the horn, we scream out of our window and sometimes through a few gestures in for good measure. If someone at work attacks us we plot and scheme for ways to get even. If our neighbor does something we don’t like we run straight to our neighborhood association to complain.
From the letter to the editor in the newspaper to our various forms of social media, we sure act like we’re hell-bent to get even.
David chose to allow God to provide the justice. David chose to step back and not cause any harm. David understood that while he may have had the right to take Sauls life out of self-defense, that in the end taking Saul’s life wouldn’t do David any good. He’d have to live with the consequences of that action for the rest of his life. The Kingdom of Israel would likely split into followers of David and followers of Saul’s family and civil war would likely have consumed the country. David knew that God had planned for him to become king. He also knew that it was up to God when and how that happened. He would have read the stories of Isaac and Rebekah trying to “help” God with his plans. He would have known how Moses failed when he tried to become Israel’s leader before it was God’s time. David knew that he could shame Saul even further by simply walking away and refusing to fight.
The Apostle Paul tells us how we should respond in these situations in Romans 12 verses 18-20:
If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”
Seeking revenge ultimately makes you angry and leaves you bitter and it seldom changes anyone’s mind about what happened. Sometimes it’s better to just let it go.