The Crucible // Part 6
This evening, we continue in our quest to see how God fashions a man/woman of God. This series will come to include ten teachings and this is number six. Last week, we learned that a man/woman of God:
Let’s move on to another great lesson for the man/woman of God.
Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.
David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down. And David said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. /// 1 Samuel 24:1-12 (NKJV)
David’s whole world has turned upside down. Once a hero of Israel, David has become a fugitive – running for his life from the king. David has an opportunity to destroy Saul and end the nightmare. He has an opportunity to make the prophecy regarding his kingship over Israel come to pass. David’s men encourage him to take matters into his own hands and end the suffering they have endured and usher in a new and righteous reign in Israel.
Put yourself in David’s place. You have been judged unjustly. You have been evicted from your home and have become a criminal. You have a prophecy declaring you to be the next king of Israel. The current king has become so mad that at his command, the priests of the Lord have been murdered. Wouldn’t God want David to end his suffering and the suffering of his people? What better way to bring justice and usher in what is right by bringing judgment upon Saul? Isn’t this the will of God – to stop this man who violates his kingly rights? Most of us in this room would – in the name of God – attack Saul. And, we would have been very wrong! Look at David’s response to his men who urged him to kill Saul:
And he (David) said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” /// 1 Samuel 24:6 (NKJV)
You could say that David answered this way: “The Lord forbids me to do this to Saul.” David knew that Saul became king under the anointing of God. Since God had instituted Saul’s reign, only God could end it. Most of us would kill Saul because we were suffering. Most of us would kill Saul because we carry an anointed prophecy of authority. David understood that God holds the times of His anointed in His hands. David understood that God uses pain in the life of His people just as He uses good times. Personal pain on David’s part was not a reason to end Saul’s reign. God is alive and well able to deal with Saul. Since David is not yet king, he has no right to bring justice outside of the anointed position to do so. Only God knows the true nature of the heart of both Saul and David. Therefore, David must consider that if he is not yet king, there is a very good spiritual reason for it! The man/woman of God knows this:
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. /// Psalm 75:6-7 (KJV)
David wrote this song of praise later in life:
Do not touch My anointed one, and do My prophets no harm. /// Psalm 105:22
As a man of God, David could not take matters of His own promotion nor of the demotion of another man of God into his own hands! David understood that it was not his place as Saul’s servant to end Saul’s reign. David understood that it was not his place as God’s servant to promote himself. Sometimes, people are put into a position in which an authority figure is accountable to them for godly behavior. This was not the case in David’s situation. Saul was not accountable to David so David must wait on God’s intervention in the situation. Even the quite “harmless” action of cutting the corner of Saul’s robe caused conviction for David. Jewish men often wore a tallit or prayer shawl. Attached to the corners of the tallit or in some cases – their garments were tzitzit – special woven and knotted fringes attached to the four corners of their shawl or garment. The tzitzit served a specific purpose:
"It shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God". /// Numbers 15:39-40
Can you imagine David cutting off the corner of Saul’s garment and looking down to see the tzitzit hanging there? What do you think he thought about? The Word of God which tells him not to touch Saul.
- 1 Samuel 24:1-12 (NKJV)
- Psalm 75:6-7 (KJV)
- Psalm 105:22
- Numbers 15:39-40
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