1 Samuel 29:1-3 NLT
“The entire Philistine army now mobilized at Aphek, and the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine rulers were leading out their troops in groups of hundreds and thousands, David and his men marched at the rear with King Achish. But the Philistine commanders demanded, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish told them, “This is David, the servant of King Saul of Israel. He’s been with me for years, and I’ve never found a single fault in him from the day he arrived until today.””
If you have been following the story, We find David in a pickle. The words of King Achish paint a picture of a loyal and faithful servant.
Wait – what?
Can you believe I’m using “loyal and faithful” as words to describe a man who not only left Israelite territory because he needed to put distance between himself and the one he was called to serve, but also has been spending the last years with their enemy the Philistines?
I say loyal and faithful because King Achish is sticking up for David when questioned regarding David’s involvement in this battle.
Achish uses these words to describe David, “the servant of King Saul of Israel”.
That could only mean that David and his men probably never bad mouthed or dishonored the crazed man they were forced to flee from.
Right there is a lesson to be learned.
How many of us burn bridges?
Well if I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve been known to demolish them. When I was done with someone, I was DONE!
I’ve used the reasoning that most people use, maybe even you yourself have used it.
“I’m never going to let them hurt me again!”
“Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!”
Yep, those are ones I’ve used. I’ve not only taken people off my Christmas card list, I’ve taken them off my prayer list.
…”and you call yourself a Christian!”
Hey, I know you have seen the bumper sticker that says, “Christians aren’t perfect just Forgiven!” I lived that as if it were my personal ethos.
I’ll wait for those that had to look that word up.
Don’t we have the dumbest ideas? It’s almost like a Christian get-out-of-jail-free card; act anyway you’d like to act and use forgiveness as an excuse. I’ve heard leaders of the church say this often, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” But there’s nothing Biblical about that; it’s not Scriptural!
If anyone had the right to cut someone off it was David; a man who was unjustly accused, unrighteously attacked, lied about, and slandered.
Men have murdered for less!
How could David suffer such humiliation and still act with honor and integrity?
And why do I act like I have the right to play the avenger? This part of the Scripture is really challenging me. I need to take a deep look into myself and find the root of pettiness and self-importance. I read this and ask…
”John, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!”
If David didn’t exercise his right, what gives you the right? It’s challenging me to rethink how nasty I’ve really been. How very much UNLIKE Christ I have on occasion acted. I’m deeply embarrassed and repentant right now.
But isn’t this how the Living Word is supposed to work? It cuts deep, it rightly divides soul and spirit, it gets down to my real attitude, my true thoughts and heart’s desires.
When I first read this chapter, I didn’t think that there was much to talk about. The next chapter gets really good. Things are about to pop. But for some reason this portion really struck a chord in me. It could have been so easy to gloss over it, to comment on some other part, but God really wanted to reveal something in me.
John, when you exercise your rights, you damage people unnecessarily.
Now I’m not being insensitive to people that have suffered violent and criminal acts against them. By no means! Criminals need to be punished. That’s NOT what I’m talking about. I’m talking about PRIDE and FEELINGS, I’m talking about petty rivalries and shame. I’m talking about things I ask God to forgive me for that I want Him to punish others for.
Not too many of my enemies would ever come to my defense. I’ve built walls after I burned bridges and I’m convicted by this verse.
Oh that my foes could describe me in such a fashion.
“This is John, servant of the Living God, and I have found no fault in him from the day that he arrived until today.”
This one wasn’t easy! Forgive me for my petty, selfish behavior. Enable me to mend relationships that I have destroyed in my self-righteous indignation. I pray that these few words will also stir the reader to do a “system check” in their lives and relationships. Jesus, you were the only one who ever had a right, but still didn’t exercise it. Help us to be more like you. And may those that really KNOW me, recognize a real change in me from this day forward. Amen.