Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 71:1-8 | 1 Samuel 24:1-25:44 | John 10:22-42 | Proverbs 15:20-21
Today’s Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 24-25
“You are more righteous than I . . . you treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 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. 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” (1 Samuel 24:17-19 TNIV).
David had his chance. He had been chased by Saul and his armies for a long time now. And now Saul entered the same cave that David and his men had made their place of refuge. David was encouraged by his men to take the opportunity to kill Saul while he had the chance.
David approached Saul but was unable to kill him. Instead, he cut off a piece of his clothing.
Even this caused David’s conscience to haunt him: “Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 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.”
Rebuking his men and insisting that they not attack Saul, he followed Saul out of the cave and called out to him and showed respect by bowing down and prostrating himself with his face to the ground. He tells Saul how he has had opportunity to kill him, but chose rather to show mercy.
Instead of taking things into his own hands, David leaves judgment to the Lord.
Saul recognizes the act of mercy. He admits to David that he has treated him badly and is astonished that David would treat him well. Saul asks for continued mercy for his family and leaves David with a blessing: “May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. I know that you will surely be king and that kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.”
How often we would take things into our own hands instead of leaving them to the LORD. David exemplifies the biblical attitude: “mercy triumphs over judgment!”
Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! James 2:13 (NIV)
There will come a day when you too will need mercy. David will find that out all too soon. Those who are merciful are the ones who receive the blessing of God’s mercy when it is needed.
Merciful God, I bow before you in gratitude for your steadfast love, your mercies which are new every morning. I come to you again today for the mercy and grace that I need. Allow your mercy to wash over me and overflow to others. Amen.