Sunday, March 12, 2023

David cuts the Corner of Saul's Garment in the Cave

Have you ever had something really bad happen, and you wonder to yourself? How could God let this happen? Why is this happening? Or maybe you think, I can’t handle this.

You feel overwhelmed. What do we do when we feel overwhelmed? We get through it. We let ourselves feel it. And we get through it. We know the feleing isn’t permanent. It’s temporary.

But we might be tempted to ask the question: Why God?

Why me?

Maybe a better question is, why not me? We all good through hard times. That’s part of life. That’s part of how God’s system works. Particularly for Christians, we go through trials to test and build our faith in Him.

We may be tempted to start arguing with God. What if instead we trusted Him? Instead of starting to ask those questions, maybe instead, or at least after we ask, we can finally say, I don’t understand. But I choose to trust you God. That’s hard. It’s very important though, because God wants us to learn to trust Him more and more despite our circumstances.

We’ve seen that situation again and again for David, who is on the run, with his band of followers, fleeing from King Saul.

David could’ve said Lord why? I was supposed to be King. But instead I’m on the run. Instead David trusted God. David also wrestled with God. He had it out with him in the psalms. But he kept trusting.

He didn’t give up. That’s the battle I think, really. We wrestle with God as Christians, with questions and fears and emotions, with sins, and the goal in all that is I think to wrestle but stay with God, sometimes people want to run away, but we as Christians run toward. Keep running toward God.

We’ve spent our lives so many of us here running away from things. Running away from our problems running away form people, but now, with God, let’s run toward Him, not away.

If you recall, David and his six hundred men were being chased by King Saul’s army. But at the last moment, Saul was called away due to a philistine attack on Israel.

After fighting the philistines off, Saul goes to work again.

It says in 1 Samuel 24:1-2, “After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” 2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.”

Chelsey our program coordinator was telling me about how beautiful En Gedi is. She traveled to Israel several years ago, and got to visit some of these sites we hear about in the Bible. En Gedi is a desert, but there is a beautiful oasis, with a waterfall, where I’m sure David and his men visited and refreshed themselves at. It’s important to remember that these aren’t just stories, about David and Saul, these are historical events, at real places. Places you can visit even today.

In verse 3 it says, “Saul came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.”

Saul has three thousand men pursuing David, but he has to sneak off to use the bathroom. So he goes off into this cave. And little does he know David is in that cave with his men.

What are the chances right? But that’s the thing. What are the chances any of us would be here today? For some of you, me included, what are the chances you would be anywhere near a church much less in one? That’s what God does. He does the impossible. He sets things up just right for the right moment to happen.

We’re just the right distance from the sun, the Earth is. We’ve just the right number of DNA sequences. The moon is in just the right place to stabilize the rotation of the Earth. Jupiter is in just the right place to absorb incoming asteroid impacts. And God made sure we were all here today.

So David’s men think this is the perfect opportunity to finally take out Saul.

Any other person on the planet would think the same thing. I would think that, if I were in this situation. This is the chance we’ve been waiting for.

In verse 4... The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.”

David doesn’t kill him. He sneaks up, and cuts a piece of his robe off. Then he comes back to his men.

It says in verse 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.”

David didn’t kill Saul, but he’s even upset that he cut off a corner of his robe. How could he do this to the one God has placed as king? This is a man with a very strong conscience. He is grief stricken by the slightest compromise, by the slightest scent of sin. May that be true of us as well. May we be very sensitive to any sin we might commit in our lives and may we allow our conscience, as well as the Holy Spirit, to drive us away from any sin we might commit. May we be as ashamed as David if we are guilty in any way.

Next in verses 8-13: Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9 He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.”

David speaks to King Saul directly. He says, may the lord avenge upon you, but I will not touch you. That is the biblical way to deal with hatred, anger, and the desire for revenge. You let God deal with it. God will repay, not you.

And if that’s tough, you repeat this phrase: Vengeance belongs to God.

God is the only one qualified to deal out judgment. No human has the qualifications for that. Only God.

You forgive. You pray for them. Then God deals with them on his own terms and in his own time. Don’t like it that way? Tough, that’s how it is.

Then David says, verses 14-15 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”

David publicly declares, "God, you judge this situation. Because we can’t. Deal with this God, because neither of us can."  David is so humble! He refuses to manipulate events. He allows God to work things out. He invites Him to. Can we do the same? Can we let God run our lives? Yes we can. We really can. And we will. 

We see Saul's response in verses 16-22: When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.” 22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

Saul is astonished. He weeps he is so amazed by what has just happened. He can tell where this is going. David will be King. So he asks David to not harm his family after he’s gone. David agrees. Saul takes his troops and leaves. David goes back with his men to the caves.

Now the big question, it doesn’t matter if we just hear this message and think hey that’s cool, then go back to business as usual. The point is, to apply this to our lives.

How do we live this?

Five principles

1. Don’t run away when you’re overwhelmed - Run toward God. Just like David, time and again, he stayed with God when he was stressed and overwhelmed and in a storm of emotion

2. Believe that God will line things up just right – It may seem impossible in your life right now. I can’t possibly keep going. Believe that God will work things out just right so you can continue on successfully. You just have to do your part, do the footwork. He’ll bring the miracles.

3. Be a man, or woman of conscience – a man of conscience. Someone who is sensitive to doing the right thing in any situation. Someone who is convicted easily by the Holy Spirit. Have a tender heart like David, eager to do the right thing, afraid to do the wrong thing.

4. Be incredibly humble – We know Jesus Christ our savior was so humble, so humble he being God became a man, walked among us, and was a servant to everyone, served day and night, and then died to free us from our sins. David refused to kill Saul, refused to take it by force, was so humble, he submitted to God, and refused to harm Saul. That’s radical humility

5. Let God be the judge – David refused to condemn Saul for his actions. He said the Lord rebuke you. We must do the same. Refuse to condemn our enemies, instead forgive them, and pray for them. Then let God deal with them.

Run to God, Believe that God will bring miracles, Be a person of conscience, be very humble, and let God be the judge.