Life-giving Decisions

MEMORY SELECTION: “As thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.” —I Samuel 26:24

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Samuel 26:6-12, 21-24

AFTER Saul’s disobedience the Lord sent Samuel to anoint David, the son of Jesse, as the future king of Israel. (I Sam. 16:11-13) The Lord, however, permitted Saul to occupy the throne for many years after David’s anointing. In the beginning David and King Saul were close. But as David began to manifest the spirit of the Lord and it became evident that he had the Lord’s favor, Saul became jealous. He endeavored to take David’s life, and it eventually became necessary for David to flee and be a fugitive from the wrath of the king.

On two occasions David had the opportunity to take Saul’s life. The first instance is recorded in I Samuel 24:1-7. David and some of his men were hiding from Saul in a cave. Saul and his army decided to camp nearby, and Saul entered the cave and went to sleep. David had the opportunity to slay Saul, but he did not do so. Instead, David cut off a piece of Saul’s robe, which he subsequently displayed to Saul as evidence that he had spared Saul’s life.

Saul was remorseful for a time, but soon he began to pursue David again. Our lesson is centered around the second incident wherein David spared Saul’s life. Saul and his men encamped again near the place where David and his men were hiding. David and a volunteer went at night to observe Saul and his men and found that they were all sound asleep. Saul was sleeping in a trench, that is, between rows of military equipment. When David came upon Saul, his companion urged David to allow him to thrust Saul’s own spear through him, but David again refused to take Saul’s life. But he did take Saul’s spear and the cruse of water that was at his bolster. The next morning, at the appropriate time and from a safe distance, David again confronted Saul with the evidence that he had spared his life.

David had great love for God and his law and his arrangements. It was David who said: “O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day. … I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy word.” (Ps. 119:97,101) David, of course, realized that Saul had been selected by God to be king over Israel and that he had been anointed with the holy anointing oil. Even though God had removed his favor from him, he still allowed Saul to occupy the throne. Until God removed him, David would do nothing to interfere, even though he had been appointed as Saul’s successor.

The lesson for us in this experience of David’s is that we are to recognize the Lord’s appointments and arrangements in all the affairs of the church. Even though one might become the enemy of righteousness, it is not for us as individuals to accomplish his destruction. The Lord, who has called us to the kingdom and has promised to give it to us in due time, has instructed us that we should live peaceably with all men and exercise patience, moderation, and kindness, even toward our enemies—even toward those who would destroy us or who are pursuing us with the intention of assassinating our characters. We are not to render evil for evil, nor railing for railing, nor slander for slander. On the other hand, we are to speak as kindly of our enemies as we can and to think as generously of them as possible.

The promise to the church is not that she shall receive blessings for well-doing but quite to the contrary. The promise is that the footstep followers of Jesus will receive evil for good.

The Apostle Peter states the matter thus: “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: … who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.”—I Pet. 2:19-23

Dawn Bible Students Association
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