December 5, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, was first posted on April 11, 2015.  Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Convenience and Preference”

1 Sam 23:5-7

Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

Two times (1 Sam 23:5-7 and 1 Sam 26:9-11), David is given a golden opportunity to take the life of his nemesis, King Saul, the man who was completely bent on killing David. Yet, on both occasions, not only does David refrain from taking Saul’s life, but he denies his men the opportunity as well. 

Try to understand a little of the context in these accounts: David is tired of fleeing from King Saul, hiding in the wilderness. He remembers that he has been anointed by the prophet, Samuel, to be the future King of Israel. He has heard of the despicable things that King Saul is doing, for example, killing the priests of Nob. If those reasons weren’t enough to end Saul’s life, one of David’s men, Abishai, is willing to dirty his own hands so that David would remain clear from any complicity (26:8). 

One swift thrust of Abishai’s spear would have finally ended David’s fear for safety. He would have finally gone home to the praise of the crowds who once hailed David has a heroic warrior. He would have taken the throne and become king just as Samuel had prophesied. He would have ended a ruthless reign and instituted a new era of benevolence over Israel. All of this would come to fruition, while he remained clear of any crime against the throne. 

Yet both times, he was refrained. What would you have done?  

We live in a totally different time with totally different way of life, and so we cringe at the thought of taking anybody’s life, even if the person had all of the traits of King Saul. We’d refrain from taking King Saul’s life as well, but not because of the reason David states. For David, it was clear that as long as Saul remained alive, he was still the Lord’s anointed servant. David may not have agreed with Saul and his ways as a king, yet David knew that God had His own timing, His own way of accomplishing His will, His own way of displaying His glory. 

I don’t believe that today’s churches are filled with people who want to slay corrupt leaders.  However, I believe our activities (and sometimes inactivity, namely prayerlessness) reveal that we’d much rather be the kind of church that takes matters into our own hands, at our own convenience, using our own preferred ways of carrying out God’s ministry. In refraining from taking Saul’s life, David shows that he understood one of the most critical truths in spiritual growth: God’s timing and His ways are perfect. The word of God has given us many insights into the ways in which God accomplishes His works. 

For reflection:  

  • Convenience: Do you sometimes take matters into your own hands rather than wait on the Lord for His timing? 
  • Preference: Do you at times become critical of your church’s mission and ministry because it makes you feel less than comfortable? 

Prayer: Lord, give me a heart that is humble and teachable to Your perfect timing and ways.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Titus 3

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