Saul, the king of Israel, wants David, his best warrior who had slain Goliath, dead. He’s jealous. He’s angry. He’s gone round the bend. Now, he is hunting David down like a predator seeks out his prey. He has a lead.
So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats. 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 farther back in that very cave! (1 Samuel 24:2-3 NLT)
David has done nothing but treat Saul with kindness, respect, and honor. He is loving his neighbor as himself, even when his neighbor is abusing the power of his office to hunt David down. Now, Saul is served up to David on a silver platter. David is faced with the very man who wants him dead.
"Now's your opportunity!" David's men whispered to him. "Today the LORD is telling you, 'I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.'" So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul's robe. But then David's conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul's robe. "The LORD knows I shouldn't have done that to my lord the king," he said to his men. "The LORD forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the LORD's anointed one, for the LORD Himself has chosen him." (1 Samuel 24:4-6 NLT)
Sometimes, we are surrounded by friends, family members, and neighbors who tell us it is ok to get angry. “We shouldn’t keep it in,” they will tell us. “You should get people back for the way they treat you,” they will say, “They’re only getting what they deserve. Don’t hold back. Let it out.” The problem with this is the voice inside that keeps saying, “Stop. Let it go. They’re fighting battles of their own.” That voice is the voice of God.
So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, David came out and shouted after him, "My lord the king!" And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him. Then he shouted to Saul, "Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn't true. For the LORD placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, 'I will never harm the king--he is the LORD's anointed one.' Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn't kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me. (1 Samuel 24:7-11 NLT)
It doesn’t matter what they say. It matters what God says. It doesn’t matter what they think. It matters what God thinks. It doesn’t matter what they want. It matters what God wants. God says that we need to love. God thinks that they are valuable, important, and knit together in God’s image…just like you. God wants a world with people who don’t hurt one another but, instead, love one another just as God loves us. No matter how we are treated or guided by those around us, God empowers us to live a life of love.
It is God's will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. (1 Peter 2:15 NLT)
David lived a life of love. Even when Saul gave in to temptation and turned against him in a terrible way, David lived a life of love. David honored the king. Whether visible or hidden, in public or private, around enemies or friends, David lived a life of love. That’s integrity. That’s a man after God’s own heart.
For you are free, yet you are God's slaves, so don't use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. (1 Peter 2:16 NLT)
How about you? What will you choose? How will you live? Will you live a life of love?