The Right Defense

“But David escaped his presence twice.”

– 1 Samuel 18:11

It is difficult for us today to imagine a mighty warrior such as David, who had already beaten Goliath, running from the likes of Saul. The people’s king made several attempts on David’s life. Yet we find David’s humility in his retreat. It makes one wonder if that same spirit of humility David displays with Shimei is demonstrated here also. It is as-if the same meekness that fell on him through the warning of his future bride Abigail was present at this time. And in response to her plea to stop him from killing Nabal, David repented and said, “you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand” (1 Samuel 25:33). God had a plan and did not need David’s intervention. Had David followed-through, it would have stained his ministry.

The future king of Israel was in a position that was out of his control. Fleeing from Saul for long durations found him unable to worship God in the prescribed manners. And yet, we see the Lord still with him. Amazing! The only thing David could control was his emotions and response. And on those occasions where he had the opportunity to take Saul’s life, he resisted. The Bible tells us after he cut off a piece of Saul’s robe secretly, his heart troubled him with conviction (1 Samuel 24:6). Therefore, we find a man who had every right to defend himself yet wholly submits to the Lord’s authority.

When we see David react rashly, we find him pretending to be insane, and in places he should not be. The “man after God’s own heart” even found himself getting ready to battle his people alongside the enemy at one time. How far we can be from the Lord when we take life into our own hands! The man who had some of the highest peaks and lowest valleys in his life at one time proclaimed some of the most temperate words we will ever read. To his enemy Saul, David declared, “Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked'” (1 Samuel 24:12-13). May you leave your life in the Lord’s hands, as David did here, the next time you sense an enemy rising against you. The role you assume in a fight will reflect who you truly believe is in control. 

“A holy man will follow after meekness, long-suffering, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue. He will bear much, forbear much, overlook much, and be slow to talk of standing on his rights.”

– J. C. Ryle
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