Chapter 26 finds us walking with David into Saul’s camp. The Lord has placed everyone in the camp into a deep sleep, so no one wakes when David Abishai walk into the camp of the man trying to kill David. In fact, they walk right up to Saul’s bedside. Abishai wants to kill Saul right then and there and be done with all this madness of hiding out in caves. David, however, refuses to let Abishai kill Saul sharing that he believes God will handle Saul on his own. They settle for taking some of Saul’s personal items with them and leave the camp. Outside the camp, David moves far enough away to be heard, but not attacked and calls out to Saul’s company. They reveal that they were in the camp and have taken some things. David points out that he could have killed Saul, but didn’t. Saul invites David to return with no hard feelings. David just wants Saul to leave him alone. The chapter ends with David sharing his hope that the mercy he gave to Saul will be blessings upon himself in escaping tribulation and Saul telling David how what David does will prosper.
The Ziphites, King Saul, David, David’s spies, Ahimelech the Hittite, Joab’s brother Abishai, Saul’s army, Abner, and the Lord.
“”Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.” Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.” Verse 24
Genesis 32:28-30 “Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.””
When I read the Psalms David wrote I have a consistent thought, “At least I don’t have it this bad.” He speaks so dramatically, and my life is never that threatened or challenged.
Until I have a bad week, or someone dies, or we have yet another person upset because Lebanon did not live up to their expectations and we must have made it that way maliciously. Then I start to speak just as melodramatically, saying things like, “No one wants us here, they wouldn’t care if we were dead!” “I feel paralyzed.” “I’m trapped.”
Can any of you relate?
Imagine an enemy that has been chasing you, trying to murder you, and making your life miserable. Maybe it isn’t a person. Maybe it is a circumstance, an addiction, spiritual, or something else that came to your mind and just doesn’t fit a category.
What is trapping you? Keeping you in a cave instead of the castle you were promised?
What if you could walk right up to that enemy while it/he/she was sleeping? Would you want to get rid of it in one fell swoop?
This reminds me of a story in John:
“One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”” John 5:5-6
Do I want to be healed? YES! OF COURSE!
And I know that some of my circumstances are not being removed because God is preparing me. David is going to be King, God has promised that. And David has the faith and confidence in God to sit back and wait for the kingship instead of taking it by force. He wants to take the throne the right way. I want to be healed the right way. I can’t do it on my own, and I need God. So, I will continue to live as David did in blessing my enemies in hopes that God will bless me and remove the cave living. And not hoping in the way we have come to say it, but in the knowing it is going to happen, believing it is just around the corner.
Jesus in the Old Testament*
*The similar themes of chapters 24 and 26 are obvious—both recount episodes in which David has an opportunity to kill Saul but refuses to do so because Saul is the “LORD’s anointed” (24:6, 10; 26:9, 11, 23). But what about chapter 25? Here David has cause and opportunity to avenge himself on the wicked Nabal, a man much like Saul in some respects but not enjoying anointed status. Only by the intervention of a wise woman, Abigail, is David prevented from bloodying his hands (25:23-35). In due course, “the LORD struck Nabal, and he died” (25:38). The clear teaching of both Old and New Testaments is that believers should never exact a personal vengeance, but should “wait for the LORD, and he will deliver” (Prov. 20:22). *
Proverbs 20:22 “Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.”
Romans 12:19-21 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Hebrews 10:30 “For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Deuteronomy 32:35 “Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’ For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, bond of free.”
*While “vengeance” can sound negative, in the Bible vengeance predominantly has to do with the establishment of lawful justice, and God is its rightful agent. The believer can have confidence that, at the right time and in the right way, the “God of vengeance” will “shine forth” (Ps. 94:1), and full justice will be achieved.*
Seeing God clearly, without cultural blinders, is challenging. We sometimes build our own ideas of justice, and in America and Lebanon both it is extremely easy to forget God. To forget He really did create all of this, and that all of it belongs to Him. Sometimes I think we start to believe we know better than God, that we have a better handle on justice than he does. This isn’t true. God is in charge of all justice, and He knows sin without a second thought. He is not tempted by it, while we spend a lot of time trying to justify our sins and explain them away like Adam and Eve in the garden. Let’s seek the God that was willing to sacrifice His own Son because He knew how terribly we have sinned and were going to sin, and He knew we couldn’t fix it. If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we will learn Truth and Justice and Grace, and that they are not separate, but exist together.
Psalm 94:1 “O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth!”
*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.
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