Rewards of Patience

“Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, ‘Is not David hiding himself on the hill of Hachilah, which is east of Jeshimon?’ So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph with three thousand chosen men of Israel to seek David… When [David] saw that Saul came after him,.. [he] rose and came to the place where Saul had encamped…

“So David and Abishai went to the army by night. And there lay Saul sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head, and Abner and the army lay around him. Then Abishai said to David, ‘God has given your enemy into your hand this day. Now please let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.’ But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. But take now the spear that is at his head and the jar of water, and let us go.’ So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head, and went over to the other side and stood far off on the top of the hill, with a great space between them. And David called to the army…

“Then Saul said, ‘I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.’ And David answered…’The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.’” 1 Samuel 26:1-3,5,7-14,21-24

In the immediacy and frenzy of being pursued for his life, David never lost sense of God’s call on his life or hold on his heart. His pursuit was righteousness before his Master, not his right to revenge wrongs done him. His patience in awaiting God’s timing and trusting His ways gave witness– to Saul, his armies, and David’s men– of a life yielded to the Lord and under His control. They displayed the faithfulness of God to care for His own and convict of sin. (John 16:8; Galatians 5:22-23)

We get our dander up at snubs, bullying, accusations, affronts to our egos. We are easily offended, and let ‘touchy’ reign. We allow threats to trigger anger, attacks on our ‘safe space’ to incite counter-attacks. But David’s response to the dogging and unfair treatment by King Saul, to whom he had been only loyal and true, was to cast his cares on God, and respond with kindness. Think what we miss when we do not do likewise! (Psalm 54)

Are we quick to react, to justify executing vengeance with anger or malice? Do we rush to take retribution in our own hands, or will we deliberately, patiently leave it in the Lord’s? (Romans 12:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8)

Father, keep my feelings under Your control, and my actions displaying Your grace.

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