When last we met David, he was in the Forest of Hereth. Since then he has rescued the village of Keilah from the Philistines. In appreciation for his heroism, the citizens of Keilah plan to report his whereabouts to King Saul who almost catches David again. David and his men move to the wilderness of Ziph where Jonathan comes to encourage him. Later he narrowly escapes capture in the wilderness of Maon when Saul breaks off the chase when he hears that the Philistines have invaded Israel.
On the run again, David and his men—some 600 strong—come to a place called En Gedi, an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea. There the barren mountains rise almost straight up from the shore. The mountains are limestone, lined with steep ravines, and honeycombed with caves.
One more detail, David and his men have found a cave large enough for all 600 of them.
I.An Opportunity Too Good to Pass On, 1-4.
A.Saul once again hears from his network of informants that there has been a David sighting, 1-2.
1.So, Saul takes an army of special forces (3,000 choice men) to go chase David.
2.Maybe an overkill, but Saul does not want to leave anything up to chance.
B.After the journey, Saul hears the call of nature and steps inside the nearest cave to relieve himself, 3.
1.In God's providence, the cave he chose to use as a port-a-potty was the exact cave that David took his man into when he heard Saul was coming.
2.Little does Saul know that the man he seeks is only a few yards away, hidden by the rocks and by the darkness.
3.While Saul attends to his business, 600 pairs of eyes watch from the darkness.
C.If you listen really closely, you can hear a whisper spread though the men, 4.
1.This is the moment David has been waiting for.
2.It is as if, David's friends are singing, "This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made."
II.David Is Being Tempted (Tested), 5-7.
A.His men are saying, "Stick it to him. Get him while you have the chance."
B.Only they cover their desire for revenge with a thick coat of religious varnish – "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.'"
1.They believe it is God's will for David to kill Saul.
2.After all, Saul's been trying to kill David.
3.They say, "Do God a favor and waste him right now."
C.So David did something that may have seemed funny at the time.
1.While Saul was preoccupied, David crept up and cut off the corner of his robe. Just a practical joke, really. No harm done.
2.When Saul puts his robe back on, he's going to be wearing a miniskirt.
3.David didn't quite want to kill Saul, but he also didn't want to disappoint his army buddies.
D.But it was wrong to do it, 5-6.
1.It was wrong because of several reasons.
a.It made the king look bad.
b.It showed a lack of respect.
c.It wasn't David's place to get even.
2.But the main reason it was wrong is that David did what only God should do.
a.Do you remember the last time a robe was torn in 1 Samuel?
1 Sam. 15:26-29 – But Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel."And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.So Samuel said to him, "The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He isnot a man, that He should relent."
b.Cutting the royal robe symbolized the taking of the kingdom from Saul, and God had said to David that God would give the kingdom to him, not that he should take it from Saul.
c.This is another example in the Bible that helps us see that the end doesn't justify the means.
1)God wants us to become something.
2)God has appointed the means by which we are going to become that.
E.An evidence of David's genuine repentance is that he strongly rebuked his army buddies, 7.
1.The Holy Spirit uses a play on words.
a.David tore Saul's robe and that was wrong.
b.Now he literally tears into his friends and that was right.
2.It seems that David's valiant men wanted to finish the job of killing Saul, but David restrained them.
III.I Could Have Killed You, But I Didn't, 8-15.
A.Saul leaves the cave to rejoin his men without a clue that anything unusual has happened.
B.Saul, why do you chose to believe that I am against you when all the evidence you have points to the opposite?9-11.
C.David trusts in the Lord for the motives of his heart, 12-15.
IV.Promises That Will not Be Kept, 16-22.
A.Once again Saul promises that he will stop persecuting David, 16-19.
B.In a rare moment of lucidity, Saul acknowledges that God is right, 20-21.
C.David doesn't quite buy Saul's sincerity – he stays in the wilderness while Saul goes home, 22.
V.A Miscellany of Applications
A.David understood that revenge belonged to the Lord and he rested on that.
Rom. 12:19-21 – Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeanceis Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1.Who among us has not felt the sting of unfair criticism?
2.Who here has not been surprised sometime in life by the conduct of friends?
3.Who here has not been disappointed by someone close to us?
a.It may have been at work when you were denied a promotion for which you were clearly qualified.
b.It may have been a coach who passed you over for a starting role even though you knew you deserved it.
c.It may have been when your husband or wife walked out on you.
d.It may have been when people you thought were friends turned on you.
4.We have no control over things like that.
a.We wish we did, we wish no one would ever let us down, no one would ever disappoint us, no one would ever turn against us.
1)We will never stop people from attacking us.
2)We will never stop people from breaking their word.
3)We will never stop people from trying to replace us.
b.But we do have complete control over how we respond.
c.There are two options and only two options for how we respond when we are hurt by others.
1)We can try to get even or we can do what David did in 1 Samuel 24.
2)We can try to get even or we can trust in the Lord.
B.How should we respond to mistreatment and the temptation to get even?
1.Watch your words
a.Angry people say things they later regret.
1)Under pressure we may blurt out something that will end a friendship forever.
2)Or we may say words that wound all out of proportion to the original offense.
3)Or we may escalate the problem until it blows up in front of us.
b.You will rarely regret the things you don't say, but you will often regret the things you do say.
Pro. 10:19 – In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.
2.Focus on the Lord Jesus Christ
a.We are called to be like our Lord who, when he was reviled, reviled not again, when he was cursed, cursed not in return, when he was abused, refused to repay in kind, when he was mocked, he did not retaliate, who when he hung between two thieves, crucified for crimes he did not commit, prayed for those who killed him.
b.Of all people, he had every right to seek revenge, but he chose instead to submit to the Father's will.
c.When you feel tempted to give in to anger and bitterness, remember the words of 1 Pt. 2:21
1 Pt. 2:21-24 – For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Whocommitted no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
3.Lay your burden down.
a.Sooner or later you have to stop fighting the battle.
b.Sooner or later you have to put down your weapon.
c.Some of us are chained to the past because they will not let go of remembered hurts.
1)In the end the desire for revenge hurts you more than it hurts anyone else.
2)It is an all-consuming emotion that destroys you from the inside out.
d.The story of a wise older monk and his young apprentice who were walking together along a forest trail.
Their monastery had a rule forbidding all contact with women. Coming to a river with a fast-flowing current, they saw an old woman weeping near the shoreline. She asked for help, saying that she couldn't cross the river on her own. Without a word, the older monk picked up the woman and carried her to the other side. She went on her way while he and his young colleague continued on their journey. Two and a half hours passed without a word being spoken, but the young monk was seething on the inside. When he could contain himself no longer, he blurted out, "My Lord, why did you carry that woman across the river? You know that we are not supposed to touch a woman." The wise older monk looked down at the young man and said, "I put her down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?"
1)Why are you still carrying the burdens from the past? Isn't it time to put them down once and for all?
2)Let me say frankly that it's not easy to return good for evil, to refuse retaliation when it lies within our power, to refrain from bitter words, and to appeal to our adversary's nobler side even at the cost of our own dignity.
3)But we are called to exactly that kind of supernatural life.
4)And there's no guarantee it will work out.
a)Sometimes our enemies stay that way until the day we die.
b)That may not be good news but it is reality.
e.Some of us are walking around with a heavy load of bitterness and frustration.
1)Perhaps you find it easy to get angry with someone for what they have done to you.
2)Maybe you are carrying a burden of third-party resentment—that is, maybe you are angry about how someone else you care about has been mistreated.
3)It's time to lay that burden down.
a)Maybe it's resentment toward your parents or toward your employer.
b)Maybe there's someone who has done you wrong and day and night you dream of a chance to get even.
c)Maybe it's a friend who let you down in a big way.
d)Maybe it's someone you trusted who walked all over you.
e)Whatever it is, it's time to lay that burden down.
f.How?Two passages that will help us.
Mt. 11:27-30 – All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
1 Pt. 5:6-7 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1)Believe that the yoke and burden that Christ has placed upon is his burden and yoke, which is light and easy.
2)In humility, acknowledge that bitterness and revenge are burdens to heavy for you to carry and lay them on Jesus who is more than willing to bear them for you.
Think of that one person you want to get even with.Most of us won't have any problem thinking of the one person we would most like to get even with. It's time to give that person, that event over to Christ. It's time to be set free from bitterness. The key is this: you have to call it what God calls it—sin. If you are willing to do that, then you can be set free.