1771.) 1 Samuel 24

En Gedi — a canyon,  a large oasis, a fresh water spring — lies along the western shore of the Dead Sea.

1 Samuel 24   (NRSV)

David Spares Saul’s Life

When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.”

The En Gedi canyon runs westward from the Dead Sea. One can still see the good sized creek flowing down the canyon, making En Gedi, with its waterfalls and vegetation seem more like a tropical paradise than the middle of the desert. The numerous caves made great places for David and his men to hide out. In the middle of barren desert, scouts could easily detect approaching troops. There was plenty of water and wildlife and many caves and defensive positions.

–David Guzik

2Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to look for David and his men in the direction of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.

3He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4The men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’” Then David went and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak.

5Afterwards David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak.

David is a man after God’s own heart. The robe is a symbol of Saul’s royal authority, and David regretted having done anything against Saul’s God-appointed authority.

6He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the Lord’s anointed.” 7So David scolded his men severely and did not permit them to attack Saul. Then Saul got up and left the cave, and went on his way.

from This Day with the Master
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

WILLING TO WAIT

The key to David’s character may be seen in his reaction to Saul.  Samuel had anointed him, so David knew that he was destined to be king.  He knew that he was called of God to that role.  In fact, the Spirit of God had already departed from Saul and had come to him, making him qualified to be king.  He had all of the kingly authority, and it was all gone from Saul.  Moreover, the people of God were suffering under Saul’s tragic leadership.  It seemed an ideal time for David to make his move.

One day David was hiding from Saul in a cave, and Saul came into the cave to relieve himself, not knowing that David and his men were lurking in the shadows.  One of David’s men turned to him and said, “The Lord has delivered Israel.  God has given him into our hands.”  The temptation for David was to think, Now I have a chance to fulfill God’s will and save Israel. But David said, “Don’t you touch him.”  It was God’s business to put David on the throne, and David was not about to put himself there.  He believed that when God wanted to make him king, he would do it.

We can never rush the will of God.  David could wait because he knew he could trust God.  Our efforts profit nothing; only the Spirit of Jesus gives life and direction.  During these days, do you have a spiritual need in your heart?  Are you pushing him?  Today is the day to meet God.  Do not be content until you are free to let the Spirit of God order your life.

_________________________

Music:

It is not easy to wait, especially for something we feel the Lord has in mind for us.  But like David, we must learn to guard our hearts and wait for God’s timing.  He is never late.

HERE  is “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller.

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

_________________________

8Afterwards David also rose up and went out of the cave and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.

9David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of those who say, ‘David seeks to do you harm’? 10This very day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11See, my father, see the corner of your cloak in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the corner of your cloak, and did not kill you, you may know for certain that there is no wrong or treason in my hands.

1Sam24 torn robe

Through this cut robe, God sent a message to Saul. The robe was a picture of Saul’s royal authority, and through this God said, “I am cutting away your royal authority.” In 1 Samuel 15:27-28 the prophet Samuel rebuked Saul for his hard-hearted disobedience to God. In his distress, Saul tried to keep Samuel from leaving, and grabbed his robe, and a portion of the prophet’s robe tore away. When Saul was left holding the torn piece of Samuel’s robe, Samuel said to him: The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. Now, when David confronts Saul with the torn robe, Saul must be reminded of this incident, and God’s message to him was loud and clear.

–David Guzik

I have not sinned against you, though you are hunting me to take my life. 12May the Lord judge between me and you! May the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you. 13As the ancient proverb says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you.

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Ephesians 4:31 (NLT)

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.

Romans 12:21 (ESV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

14“Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A single flea? 15May the Lord therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and you. May he see to it, and plead my cause, and vindicate me against you.”

16When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17He said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18Today you have explained how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19For who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20Now I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not wipe out my name from my father’s house.”

22So David swore this to Saul.

Twice now, David has made the promise to protect that family — to Jonathan, and to Saul.

Then Saul went home; but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

Saul’s repentance seems to be deep, sincere, and emotional. We will see how long it lasts.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
En Gedi.    http://www.bibleplaces.com/engedi.htm
men’s room sign.    https://www.newtondistributing.com/prodimages/1501-mens-room-sign_300.jpg
“Kind hearts are the garden” poem.    http://www.joyfulheartsfarm.com/graphics/fruittree.gif
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