Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Year: 1 Sam 24-26 for Mar 27

David's compassion is highlighted in these three chapters, 1 Sam 24-26.

If God is using circumstances and coincidental events, He is going to use them. That is not the same as attributing all such things to God. Saul found that out in 23:20-21, 28. David knows this in 24:4. He overrules his advisors, and even persuades them that he is right, that the circumstance of Saul visiting them is not the Lord telling David to kill Saul (24:4-7).

David attempts something seldom seen between political or military rivals at the top: personal loyalty (24:10-11). There were glimpses of David's loyalty to Saul before, but in these chapters it reaches to the point of going way beyond what anyone could expect of a leader who is expected to conquer rivals for power.

David spares Saul twice -- not only spares him, but treats him as a father and calls him that (24:11). We know from chapter 25, that David is not doing this out of a personality weakness. In 24:12-15 David shows that sparing Saul is not because he thinks Saul doesn't deserve to be judged for his actions (24:12,13,15). Saul's time of reckoning is coming.

It is because kings are so expected to completely destroy all rivals that Saul makes an agreement (24:21) with David about his family. We would think that there would be smooth sailing for Saul and David after that. But never presume consistency. Perhaps Saul was confirmed again by the trappings of power to pursue David again in chapter 26. Perhaps his subjects egged him on (26:1). In any case, what is the purpose of describing yet-another-attempt by Saul to find and kill David? The event in chapter 26 affirms the importance of David's compassion, it is true. However, 26:12 inserts as a little tiny detail too brief to notice, that God was behind this thwarting of the attempt. From that, the text implies that we must infer that God was watching over David the whole time, not only by a miraculous act of causing a whole army to sleep, but during all David's times of fleeing Saul.

As for 26:25, Saul's blessing, have we not heard this before? In any case, David's part is not to fall in with Saul again (26:21-23), but to re-iterate that the Lord delivers and holds people to account.

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