I Samuel 24 struck me as a sad story today because of the contrast that is so evident in the life of Saul and the life of David. David and his men were hiding from Saul because Saul was hunting David down to kill him. Saul was enraged at David’s popularity and was obsessed with protecting his throne from David.
As the story picks up, David was hiding with his men in a place called Engedi. It was a beautiful hidden oasis on the western side of the Dead Sea. I actually was able to visit that site recently. This oasis is in the middle of a barren wasteland! It is somewhat hidden from view and you need to walk back a narrow path between rock cliffs to find it. When you get to the oasis, there are a series of water falls that provide refreshment from natural springs. Along these rock cliffs are also caves and it is apparently in one of these deep caves that David and his men hid. Amazingly, it is also the same cave that Saul entered to relieve himself. David and his men hid deep in the cave, but Saul was now completely vulnerable to David and his men and could easily have been killed by them.
What strikes me is that you have a man (Saul) obsessed with having his way by destroying David to protect his throne and a man (David) desperately trying to have God’s way and he chose not to kill Saul even though the opportunity presented itself and his men were urging him to kill Saul. David chose to wait for God’s timing and not force his will to be done! The story is the clash of a person seeking man’s will with a man seeking God’s will.
When David let Saul go and confronted him with the opportunity he had to kill him, Saul, the king, was deeply convicted of his evil ways and began to weep. He predicted that David would be king one day and he left a defeated man and went home. The story does not say that Saul repented and confessed his sin to God, but he made a deal with David not to kill his family when he became king. That is a very sad reality to me. Saul was broken, but not broken enough to confess his sin to God and yield to his leadership.
There have been times in my life when I desired my way no matter what God wanted. I can even say there are times that I knew what he wanted, but I wanted my will more and was going to make it happen just like Saul. I can also say that God has let me see the error of my ways many times and I have broken like Saul, BUT I also confessed my sin to God and gave up my will by yielding to God’s leadership. The key is that I saw my sin as sin against God first and confessed it to him and then chose to yield to his leadership. Saul seems to have missed this crucial truth.
Father, thank you for this story in the lives of David and Saul. They represent the clash of two destinies. Saul was seeking his will and destiny and David was seeking your will and destiny for his life. May you help me to live like David. A man who was patiently awaiting your leadership to accomplish your will rather than me trying to achieve my will. Help me also to understand the difference between the two.
Following Jesus with you,