[Saul said], “The Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me.” 1 Samuel 24:18
The farmer climbed into his truck and began his morning inspection of the crops. On reaching the farthest edge of the property, his blood began to boil. Someone had used the farm’s seclusion to illegally dump their trash—again.
As he filled the truck with the bags of food scraps, the farmer found an envelope. On it was printed the offender’s address. Here was an opportunity too good to ignore. That night he drove to the offender’s house and filled his garden with not just the dumped trash but his own!
Revenge is sweet, some say, but is it right? In 1 Samuel 24, David and his men were hiding in a cave to escape a murderous King Saul. When Saul wandered into the same cave to relieve himself, David’s men saw a too-good-to-ignore opportunity for David to get revenge (vv. 3–4). But David went against this desire to get even. “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master,” he said (v. 6). When Saul discovered that David chose to spare his life, he was incredulous. “You are more righteous than I,” he exclaimed (vv. 17–18).
As we or our loved ones face injustice, opportunities to take revenge on offenders may well come. Will we give in to these desires, as the farmer did, or go against them, like David? Will we choose righteousness over revenge?
When have you most felt like getting even with someone? How can David’s response guide you as you seek justice for yourself and others?
Jesus, lover of our enemies, may I seek justice Your way.
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Threatened by David’s successes (1 Samuel 18:5–9, 30) and resentful of God’s blessings upon him, Saul tried to kill him (vv. 10–12; 19:2, 9–11). Pursued by Saul, David escaped to the mountainous stronghold of En Gedi (23:26–29). In this episode, David had the opportunity to kill Saul, but refrained because Saul was “the Lord’s anointed” (24:6). Later, David had yet another opportunity, but he chose not to for the same reason. Since Saul was “the Lord’s anointed,” only God Himself had the authority to take his life (26:9–11). David wouldn’t take revenge, but left room for God’s judgment (see Romans 12:19).