Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20)
David was highly favored by King Saul. Whatever asked by Saul to do David did fully and successfully. So Saul loved and made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul’s officers alike. Then there was a war between the Israelites and the Philistine. Both David and Saul fought, and God provided a victory to them. When the victorious Israelite army was returning home, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song:
“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands!”
This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. Then the relationship between David and Saul quickly was getting worse. Finally, Saul decided to kill David. He threw his spear to David, but David escaped Saul twice. David had to run for his life. It was started by one simple praise by women. Saul’s jealousy quickly turned into an extreme hatred, even a murderous heart and action.
On the other hand, God helped David. Even Saul’s own son and daughter helped David to run from Saul. Although he did nothing wrong to Saul, he became a fugitive. One day, Saul was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats.
At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! David’s men whispered to him: “Now’s your opportunity!”, “Today the LORD is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe. It was the moment that David could be free from the misery by eliminating its cause – Saul.
But David did not kill Saul. Instead, he had cut Saul’s robe. Then David told his people with him, “the LORD knows I shouldn’t have done that to my lord the king, the LORD’s anointed one, for the LORD himself has chosen him.” (1 Samuel 24: 6) So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. As soon as Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him. Saul realized that David saved him. Saul stop chasing David, and went home.
Saul’s jealousy did not leave his heart after the dramatic event of being saved by David, whom he tried to kill. One day, some men from Ziph came to Saul at Gibeah to tell him, “David is hiding on the hill of Hakilah.” His jealousy was so strong. Saul exactly repeated as he did before. Saul took 3,000 of Israel’s elite troops and went to hunt him down in the wilderness of Ziph.
Saul camped along the road beside the hill of Hakilah, where he was told that David was hiding. When David learned that Saul had come after him into the wilderness, he slipped over to Saul’s camp one night to look around. Saul was sleeping inside a ring formed by the slumbering warriors, with his spear stuck in the ground beside his head. Saul had a false safety because he was surrounded by his army, he was in a deep sleep along with all of his army.
Abishai who went with David whispered to David, “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time! Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!” What would be our action if we were at this scene? Not just once, this is the second time that David could end his fugitive life by killing Saul. Bible continues:
“No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the LORD’s anointed one? Surely the LORD will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. The LORD forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed!” (1 Samuel 26:9-11a) So David took the spear and jug of water that were near Saul’s head. Then he and Abishai got away without anyone seeing them or even waking up, because the LORD had put Saul’s men into a deep sleep. God was with David, who was faithful to Him.
David climbed the hill opposite the camp until he was at a safe distance. Then he shouted down to the soldiers to wake them up. Saul recognized David’s voice and called out, and confessed “I have sinned. Come back home, my son, and I will no longer try to harm you, for you valued my life today. I have been a fool and very, very wrong.” And Saul said to David, “Blessings on you, my son David. You will do many heroic deeds, and you will surely succeed.” Then David went away, and Saul returned home.
David knew that Saul would continue trying to kill him. He escaped to the land of the Philistines, his enemy country to hide from Saul. He stayed there with his people for a year and four months. Then there was a battle between the Philistines and the Israelites. Saul was critically wounded. In fear of being abused and killed by Philistines, Saul took his own sword and fell on it. Thus, the era of King Saul came to end. David endured in faith, and he was finally freed. Even so, David mourned about the death of Saul and Saul’s son Jonathan who was his close friend. He made a lament song for them, and commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. David was a man of faith, and finally people made David their king.
Yes, David had to endure a long time, but the long and harsh period made the David whom we know today. God carved out the real David from the raw material of David. It was God’s blessing to David. David faithfully kept His Word, and put all his heart to God without revenging his enemy by his own hand. Thus, David was able to save Saul’s life twice although he had two perfect opportunities to eliminate Saul. Saul was there with his army to kill David.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:43-45a)
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