David eschewed bitterness – Part 1
Another Old Testament character whose story illustrates forgiveness is David, the king of Israel.
David may not have been a good role model when it came to managing his family or relating to women. To many, he was a failure in these respects, but he certainly was a magnanimous leader who eschewed bitterness, especially when it came to his relationship with Saul. Yes, before his death, he may have mandated his son, Solomon how to treat Joab and Shimei, but on a balance, his life was free of retribution. He had every reason to be bitter against Saul, but he chose not to. Saul made over twenty attempts on his life, yet when David had the opportunity to eliminate Saul, he refused to touch God’s anointed, despite the pressure his volunteers mounted on him.
Temptations and trials reveal the heart and character of a man. Five instances, show David’s true character as one who neither held grudges against Saul nor against his family. First, at least on two occasions when David had the opportunity to kill Saul, he restrained himself and did not do so. When Saul received word that David was hiding in a cave in the wilderness of Engedi, he mobilised three thousand chosen men to go after David. While seeking for David in the wilderness, Saul unknowingly came within reach of David’s strike, but he bluntly refused to touch God’s anointed. “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. 5 Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 6 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” (1 Sam.24:4-6).
After the incidence at the cave of Engedi, Saul did not give up on trying to eliminate David. He made another attempt on David’s life at the wilderness of Ziph. Once the news got to him that David was in the wilderness of Ziph, he went with his three thousand chosen men to locate where David was. At the same time, David sent out his men to spy on the whereabouts of Saul. When he got word where they were, he went with Abner and Abishai at night to where Saul was and found him sleeping, surrounded by his men. Instead of striking Saul, he quietly took his spear and jug of water. Now, this transpired, “Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him [a]at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” 10 David said furthermore, “As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go.” Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org
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