God-Hearted #10 — 1 Samuel 24 — Love Your Enemies

Theme: David was a son of his Father in heaven, a God-Hearted man, so he loved his enemy like God does. Let learn from and imitate this man.

1 Resist The Natural Response (1 Samuel 24:1-4)

1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’ ” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.

  • 1 Saul returned from following the Philistines, so now he could return his attention to his vain pursuit of David. An informant told Saul that David was in Engedi, for it is difficult to hide six hundred men.
  • 2 Saul took three thousand chosen men out to find and battle against David’s six hundred stressed, indebted, and embittered men, five to one odds.
  • 2-3 As they searched, they came to the wilderness of Engedi, near the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea shoreline is the lowest place on earth not covered with water. It is a bit lifeless and dry. Even today it feels like it is a lifetime away from civilization.
    • In that dry climate, shepherds had created sheepfolds out of caves, a source of respite from the merciless noon-day sun.
      • Cross reference: Song of Solomon 1:7 (ESV) — 7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?
  • 3 Saul went in to relieve himself in the very cave David and his men were in.
    • Deep in the innermost parts of the cave, David and his men’s vision and hearing was acclimated, while Saul’s was not.
    • He may have been using the bathroom, or he may have been sleeping. But he was likely using the bathroom.
  • 4 The men of David spoke to him, ”Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’”
    • They longed for David to solve all their ills by killing Saul.
  • 4 But David arose and only cut off a corner of Saul’s robe (rather than his head).

  • Note the words of David’s men: When had God said these things?

    • God had actually never said this to David. Obviously, the anointing of David meant he would, at the very least, outlive Saul, and many of David’s psalms indicate that he believed God would take care of Saul, but God hadn’t promised that He would deliver Saul into David’s hand.
    • Natural men with natural vision, they interpreted the events in front of them incorrectly, urging David to take matters into his own hands.
      • And David almost followed their advice! Instead, though, he only cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
  • It is not natural to:
    • After being struck on one cheek, offer the other cheek (Matthew 5:39).
    • After being sued for your tunic, give your cloak also (Matthew 5:40).
    • After being forced to go one mile, go two miles (Matthew 5:41).
    • After being targeted by a beggar or lender, to give and lend (Matthew 5:42).
  • But it is precisely the natural response we are trying to move past, shedding our skin into Christ-likeness.
    • Old self vs. New self — Romans 6:11 (ESV) — 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    • Because the natural response is shortsighted.
      • Had David killed Saul, what would they have done next? David would have been the murderer of a defenseless king.

2 Be Sensitive To Your Sin (1 Samuel 24:5-7)

5 And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD’s anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.

  • 5 Afterward David’s heart struck him: Though he had not killed Saul, or even hurt him, David was cut to the heart that he had touched Saul’s robe.
    • He couldn’t believe he had gone that far.
  • 6 David expressed his remorse to his men by saying how shocked he was that he had done this to The LORD’s anointed.
  • 7 Then David interceded for Saul and persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul.

    • Saul then went on his way.
  • No one would have blamed David if he had slain Saul.

    • He had the excuse of self-defense.
    • He had the excuse of anointing.
    • He had the excuse of divine opportunity.
      • Everyone in that cave rooted for David to take Saul’s life. It would have been easily and quickly justified.
        • But they would have been wrong.
  • David’s heart was sensitive to sin.
    • Was Saul’s the greater sin? Yes, but David still saw his own, which is greatly helpful when dealing with enemies.
      • That was not David, however; he was merely sensitive to sin.
  • We should be sensitive to our sin, especially in conflict.
    • It is easy to only see the fault and blame in someone else. But know that is a sin problem, one which exists in you as well.
    • David did not, in light of the horrible stuff Saul had done, justify himself.
    • Stay tender!

3 Humbly Pursue Reconciliation (1 Samuel 24:8-15)

8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. 12 May the LORD judge between me and you, may the LORD avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! 15 May the LORD therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”

  • 8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul: David risked everything and left the cave after Saul.
  • David:

    • 8 Bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage.
    • 9 Blamed Saul’s logic on the words of men.
    • 8-15 Referred to Saul as…
      • 8 My lord the king!
      • 10 My lord.
      • 10 The LORD’s anointed.
      • 11 My father.
    • 13 Appealed to an ancient proverb to demonstrate his own innocence.
    • 14 Referred to himself as a dead dog and a flea!
  • David took it a step further, following Saul out of the cave.

    • David went out with the right tone to speak to Saul.
      • Proverbs 15:1 (ESV) — 1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
      • Tone is all important.
    • David went out willing to risk his life for the sake of reconciliation.
      • He wasn’t content to let Saul walk away. He wanted to seize an opportunity for reconciliation.
      • David believed that he would not die until God fulfilled His promises.
    • In the church:
      • Matthew 18:15–17 (ESV)
        • 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
        • 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
        • 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
    • God might be nudging some of you to pursue reconciliation, humbly.

4 Recognize God Is Shaping You (1 Samuel 24:10)

10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD’s anointed.’

  • When David interceded for Saul to his men, he began referring to Saul as the LORD’s anointed (verse 6), a phrase he repeated to Saul.
  • David still saw Saul as anointed.
    • The horn guy talking to the flask guy.
    • David realized that Saul was still anointed by God for the purpose of refining David’s character and preparing him for the throne.
  • To a degree, we can be thankful for those difficult people that God has put in our lives to refine us.

5 Let God Be The Judge (1 Samuel 24:12, 15)

12 May the LORD judge between me and you, may the LORD avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you.

“15 May the LORD therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”

  • Throughout his speech, David wanted the LORD to be judge between him and Saul.
    • God would have to:
      • 12 Avenge David.
      • 15 Plead David’s cause.
      • 15 Deliver David.
  • David put his hope in God, not in Saul.
    • Romans 12:19 (ESV) — 19 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.”
    • 1 Peter 2:23 (ESV) — 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

6 Be Wise About What Is In Man (1 Samuel 24:16-22)

16 As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18 And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the LORD put me into your hands. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 Swear to me therefore by the LORD that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” 22 And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

  • 16 When David had finished speaking, Saul, recognizing the sweet sound of David’s voice, lifted up his voice and wept.
  • 17 Saul confessed David was more righteous than he was, for Saul had repaid David evil, unlike David, who repaid Saul good.
  • 18-19 Saul recognized how David had dealt well with Saul, rather than treating Saul as his enemy.
  • 20 Amazingly, Saul confessed, in Jonathan-like fashion, how David would surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in David’s hand.
    • This statement was highly prophetic.
  • 21-22 Saul made David swear his kindness to Saul’s offspring, a covenant David swore to keep.
  • 22 After all this, Saul went home, but David did not go with him, instead electing to, with his men, go up to the stronghold.

  • John 2:23–25 (ESV) — 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.