1 Samuel 24:8-12
I have had my share of adversaries in my life. Just like everyone else, there is always someone who, for some reason or another, doesn’t like me or seems to “have it in for me.” And, I must confess, some of these conflicts have stirred a fait amount of anger in me.But, I have found that when I encounter the other person in the presence of their own family – children, siblings, parents – I come to realize that they are not entities which exist in a void, but they are people like me. That makes it a little easier to forgive and forget.
Saul has been pursuing David. While searching for him, Saul enters a cave where David is hiding but does not see him. David has the opportunity to kill this adversary, but instead cuts away a piece of cloth from Saul’s robe.
How does David greet Saul? What does David want to know from Saul? How does David prove he is not out to harm Saul? What is David’s final vow?
If any man had the right and plenty of reasons to kill another, David did. Close reading of the many chapters detailing Saul’s relationship with David indicates that this king is mentally and emotionally unbalanced, excessively jealous, and apparently unable to see reason.
David has had a great deal of torment from King Saul. Beginning in 1 Samuel 18 Saul has sought ways to kill David, and twice tried to “pin him to the wall” with a spear. Because of this animosity and jealousy David has had to live in exile and in hiding. Yet, when an opportunity to end the conflict comes, David refuses to do harm to Saul. (David spares him again in 1 Samuel 26:9.)
David has every reason to kill Saul but he will not because he respects the man, even though Saul does not deserve respect. David recognizes that, although Saul has been rejected by God, there was a time when Saul was chosen by God (see 1 Samuel 10:1).
We may be in conflict with others. We may be angry with other people, and there may in fact be those who intend us harm. But we must remember that even our enemies are children of God. Even those who will do us harm or torment us with words are loved by God.
As difficult as it may be to love our enemies, it might be easier when we remember that they are part of the family of God. If God can love them, perhaps we can too.
DAILY CHALLENGE: Pray for your enemies.