Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 23:1-29, 1 Samuel 24:1-22, Psalm 54:1-7, John 19:10-11
When righteous young David has the chance to take out paranoid, egotistical, narcissistic Saul twice and doesn’t do it, part of me wants to throw my hands up in frustration. That’s not how the story should go! The hero is supposed to seize his opportunity to conquer his enemy, then ride off into the sunset as the credits roll.
Instead, David’s anti-climactic showdown with Saul reminds us who the real Hero is. In 1 Samuel 24, David and a small army of followers are on the run. Saul and an army of 3,000 soldiers are hunting David with the goal to kill him.
In an ironic, almost comical twist, the paranoid king decides to relieve himself in the very cave where David and his men were hiding. If I’d been in David’s squad, I would’ve joined their rallying cry.
“Look, this is the day the Lᴏʀᴅ told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire’” (1 Samuel 24:4).
Take your shot! He’s got it coming! Eliminate the threat! Instead, David sneaks up behind his archenemy and cuts off the corner of his robe.
David had already been anointed king, and clearly, Saul was no good for God’s people—his thirst for David’s blood was insatiable. So why then, does David opt to take a piece of Saul’s robe, as opposed to a piece of the man himself?
How could David be so bridled in the face of an enemy so bent on his destruction? It wasn’t that David didn’t crave relief from his enemy. He hadn’t assumed a position of defeat. He knew the battle ultimately belonged to the Lord.
At the mouth of the cave, David said these words to Saul:
“May the Lᴏʀᴅ judge between me and you, and may the Lᴏʀᴅ take vengeance on you for me, but my hand will never be against you” (1 Samuel 24:12).
We don’t have to seek revenge or take out our enemies. David’s defender is our defender. When we find ourselves face to face with a threat, our Father’s advice is to respond with kindness and let Him do what He will (Proverbs 25:21-22).
David’s restraint helps us grasp the big picture. If we widen the lens, we can see that the Lord has disarmed our ultimate enemy. God alone is the ultimate Authority and Judge in this world and the world to come (John 19:10-11).
So we don’t have to head into every fight with fists clenched. We don’t have to be the judge and jury in our search for justice. David’s defender is fighting for us. He is our helper, the sustainer of our lives, and our rescuer in every situation (Psalm 54:4,7). The battle belongs to the Lord!
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.