Pastor Chris continued in our series on the life of David, sharing how David cultivated a soft heart by trusting God through mistreatment and injustice. David knew that he was not the one who called the shots in his own life, and he trusted in God’s intervention. When we are mistreated, we can either dull our hearts against God or trust him to fight on our behalf. Our hearts will never be more on display than the moments when we respond to man’s mistreatment or rejection.
“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” — Anne Lamotte
Matthew 5:44 (ESV)
44 But I say to you, Love (unselfishly seek the best or higher good for) your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (ESV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Resist the Natural Response
1 Samuel 24:1–3 (ESV)
1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.
God’s Deliverance or Man’s Deliverance
1 Samuel 24:4–7 (ESV)
4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’ ” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
Romans 13:1–2 (ESV)
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
The Dangers of Assuming
- Is God big enough?
- Is God able?
- Is God’s timing right?
- Will God finish what He has started?
- Has God asked you to act?
Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.
1 Samuel 24:8–11 (ESV)
8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it.
David’s Appeal for Reconciliation
- David affirmed his love and loyalty for Saul.
- David did not accuse Saul of his part of the conflict.
- David appealed to Saul’s heart.
- David presented the problem without accusing Saul.
1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Colossians 3:13–14 (NIV)
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the Lord be the Judge
1 Samuel 24:12–15 (ESV)
12 May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! 15 May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”
Psalm 37:5–7 (ESV)
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Why is Revenge Dangerous
- Revenge is forbidden by God (Leviticus 19:18, 1 Peter 3:9).
- Revenge is not the spirit of Christ (Luke 9:55-56 NKJV).
- Revenge is taking over Gods work (Romans 12:19-21; Deuteronomy 32:35a).
- Revenge makes you feel worse, not better.
- Revenge keeps old wounds fresh.
Trusting God When Mistreated
1 Peter 2:23 (NLT)
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
Romans 12:19–21 (ESV)
19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Psalm 31:5 (ESV)
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
Psalm 31:15 (ESV)
15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
When David “committed his spirit” into God’s hands, he was committing to God everything that deeply touched his life—his reputation, money, possessions, position, and impact, etc.
1. Have you ever been mistreated or misrepresented publicly? What was your natural response to this injustice?
2. What was David’s natural reaction to the injustices of Saul against him (see 1 Samuel 24:4-6)? What stands out about his immediate reaction after he cut Saul’s robe?
3. How does God’s deliverance differ from man’s deliverance?
4. See Colossians 3:13. If the Lord would have us forgive others as He has forgiven us, what should forgiveness look like practically in our lives? How can we grow in Christ’s likeness in this area (see the above action plan for help)?
1. Do you struggle to love your enemies? Post Matthew 5:44somewhere in your home where you will read it often.
2. Meditate on the 5 questions to ask when trusting God (see above) this week.
3. Pastor Chris “We must detox ourselves from taking things into our own hands.” Meet with a friend or mentor this week and commit to honoring a specific person who has historically mistreated you.