1 Samuel 26:1-6

Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, “Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?” Abishai said, “I will go down with you.” So David and Abishai went to the army by night; there Saul lay sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the army lay around him.

Abishai said to David, “God has given your enemy into your hand today; now therefore let me pin him to the ground with one stroke of the spear; I will not strike him twice.”

But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” David said, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him down; or his day will come to die; or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed; but now take the spear that is at his head, and the water jar, and let us go.”

So David took the spear that was at Saul’s head and the water jar, and they went away. No one saw it, or knew it, nor did anyone awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them. 1 Samuel 26:6-12

Saul was after David. He was literally chasing him down. David had done absolutely nothing wrong. Saul was just jealous and paranoid. But David was in trouble. That is what makes this story so surprising – David finally had Saul in a place where David could end his own troubles by ending Saul’s life.

But he doesn’t do it.

He holds back, not because he loves Saul, but because he fears and respects God. Saul was God’s choice for king and David trusted that God would and could take care of Saul.

Oh those are juicy moments when we have the goods on someone else, especially someone in a position to affect our lives. We feel powerful, finally on top. We can taste the temptation to fire back, to lash out, to take our revenge.

Smart people say that resentment is the kind of poison that we take and expect someone else to die. In the end, we get hurt.

God gave David pause that night. God intervened that night. David’s dark side lost the battle that night. There would be more battles to come and his dark side would not always lose but this time, it did. And rather than remembering David as a godly soldier and king who respected God and spared Saul, he would have been just another power hungry and bloodthirsty tyrant out to get his.

Who do we want to be? What swords do we do well to put down?

Let us pray: Dear Lord, so often we are tempted to take our frustrations and pain out on other people, especially those against whom we have long held resentments. Come to us in those moments, helping us remember that following you takes us down roads of forgiveness, understanding, and restraint. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “1 Samuel 26:1-6”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    What a wonderful sermon on a current problem. I am so glad that you are back. We need you every day to keep our eyes on things that matter.

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