by Rev Joel Yong
1 Samuel 24:1-11
When Saul came back from fighting the Philistines, he was told “Now David is in the desert near En Gedi.” Then Saul took 3,000 of the best-trained men from all Israel and went to search for David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. He came to some sheep pens along the road where there was a cave. Saul went into it to relieve himself while David and his men were sitting further back in the cave. David’s men told him, “Today is the day the LORD referred to when he said, ‘I’m going to hand your enemy over to you. You will do to him whatever you think is right.'” David quietly got up and cut off the border of Saul’s robe. But afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the border of Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “It would be unthinkable for me to raise my hand against His Majesty, the LORD’s anointed king, since he is the LORD’s anointed.” So David stopped his men by saying this to them and didn’t let them attack Saul. Saul left the cave and went out onto the road. Later, David got up, left the cave, and called to Saul, “Your Majesty!” When Saul looked back, David knelt down with his face touching the ground. David asked Saul, “Why do you listen to rumors that I am trying to harm you? Today you saw how the LORD handed you over to me in the cave. Although I was told to kill you, I spared you, saying, ‘I will not raise my hand against Your Majesty because you are the LORD’s anointed.’ My master, look at this! The border of your robe is in my hand! Since I cut off the border of your robe and didn’t kill you, you should know and be able to see I mean no harm or rebellion. I haven’t sinned against you, but you are trying to ambush me in order to take my life.
He had the perfect opportunity to cease life on the run. He could slay Saul and take the kingdom.
Despite the lure it must have posed to him- David resisted it. He was troubled at just having cut a slice of Saul’s robe!
He opted instead to try and speak sense into Saul’s head – to persuade Saul to not pursue him anymore instead.
No wonder God calls David a man after His heart.
He showed mercy even to the undeserving. He did right even when under the cover of darkness.
And this illogical act of sparing one’s enemy worked.
Here is how Saul responded:
1 Samuel 24:19-20
When a person finds an enemy, does he send him away unharmed? The LORD will repay you completely for what you did for me today. Now I know that you certainly will rule as king, and under your guidance the kingdom of Israel will prosper.
Saul now knew that David was truly God’s chosen one to replace him as king.
This tremendous act of grace touched even the corrupt king’s heart.
The world laughs at the teaching of Jesus to His disciples to “… turn the other cheek” and to “forgive your enemies”. But it is in mercy, that the greatest strength is shown and not in vengeance.