Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 24:1-22
And he (Saul) said to David, “You are better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been wonderfully kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it.” (1 Sam. 24:17-18 NLT)
King Saul spent many days and weeks chasing David in the wilderness of En-gedi. 1 Samuel 24:3 says, “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 in that very cave.”
David had Saul right where he wanted him. His men urged him to put an end to Saul’s life. The temptation must have been great, but David refused to carry out the threat. He said, “It is a serious thing to attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him” (1 Sam. 24:6 NLT).
This story reminds me of a time when I was tempted to strike back at a group of people who had betrayed my trust. Refusing to follow the leadership of the Lord’s anointed often results in serious repercussions. Battle lines are drawn. Resistance stiffens. Sides are taken putting friendships in jeopardy. A stalemate emerges. Relationships are broken and trust erodes. More often than not a split occurs, and the testimony in the community is weakened. In those times we need to exercise a lot of grace. That is what David did in the cave at En-gedi.
Why is it so difficult to forgive those who we think have offended us? Is it because of pride? Are we being selfish? Is stubbornness the reason? What part does a self-righteous attitude play in our decisions?
Forgiveness does not come naturally. Forgiving someone may not seem like a risky business to you, but I assure you it will not be easy. There is a war going on between the flesh and the spirit, and the flesh does not want to lose the battle. I’m sure that David faced that battle, but he remembered the grace of God that brought him forgiveness, and decided to show that same grace to King Saul. Like David, we can show our understanding of God’s forgiveness towards us by the way we forgive others. It is difficult if not impossible to worship God when we harbor an unforgiving spirit.
Isn’t it time to put aside that old hurt, those unkind words, that snub, and whatever else keeps you from worshipping the Lord with a clear conscience? Asking God for forgiveness and then forgiving others will bring freedom and release from your emotional baggage. Do it today!
Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you for your grace and mercy that provides me with forgiveness, and I ask that you give me a forgiving heart.