"And it came about afterward that David's conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul's robe. So he said to his men, "Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the LORD'S anointed." 1 Samuel 24:5-6
BEFORE we talk about the issue regarding David's sparing of Saul's life, let us step back a little. What you see here is not an isolated incident. David's choice to spare Saul's life was from a solid conviction that can be directly traced to his experience of being broken by God.
In the cave of Adullam and through the many stints in the different wildernesses, David saw God . . . so holy, so beautiful, so close . . . that his desire for personal vengeance now became immaterial.
This time, it was no longer a concept . . . it was now something concrete; no longer just a song or a prayer . . . it was a down-to-earth application of the many lessons of brokenness. Remember, in the previous lesson, David learned to inquire from God. Now it really got personal and has become the evidence of a life transformed by the painful and embarrassing, labeled as unfair experiences in life which God allowed.
In brokenness, conquering the desire for vengeance is better than vengeance itself. It does not mean that justice will no longer be pursued and vengeance discarded, rather, in brokenness, David clearly saw God's perspective and promptly responded, reacted in a godly way. His conviction to spare Saul was not a drama. He really meant it! David was aware that his influence on his men was powerful so he wisely persuaded his men to see the point of powerlessness in dealing with the powerful.
The words of Eugene Peterson describe this point exactly and excellently. "In the wilderness years, as David was dealing with God, a sense of the sacred developed in him. While he was living in that austere country, he became aware of holiness, of God's beauty and presence in everything. The psalms, many of which come out of these wilderness years, are our main evidence for this. This story puts holiness on display. In the solitude, silence, and emptiness of the wilderness, uncluttered and undistracted by what everyone else was saying and doing, David was able to see God's glory. The wilderness taught David to see beauty everywhere. The wilderness was David's school in the preciousness of life. Through wilderness testing, David learned to see God in places and things he never would have thought to look into previously. The wilderness immersed David in beauties so profound that revenge was unthinkable . . . The holiness of the wilderness had entered David's soul, and now he saw holiness everywhere - even in Saul." says Eugene Peterson. Brokenness is a blessing that leads the one being broken to meet the God of David, and as a result of such intimacy, we become forgivers by letting brokenness drain all our desires for personal vengeance. Now this is the beginning of justice.
Thanks for reading, I always write from my heart . . . lately learning to write from a broken heart.