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 .” (1 Samuel 24:6 NIV)
Considering his situation, it’s understandable why those around him urged him to take that course of action.
David had been pursued and hunted by King Saul, but all of a sudden had Saul right where he wanted him. As the king was about the business of disposing of his own biological waste, he was vulnerable to David and his men and he didn’t know it. David’s men knew there was something special about David. They knew the Saul was in the wrong and as his sworn enemy, David would be justified in wiping out his enemy. The argument was so compelling, David even took out the cutting device to deal the killer blow … to Saul’s cloak.
The Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth, features a man who is foretold rulership in his future. He also swallows some words that leaves him the impression that he will be virtually impregnable and invincible. Rather than waiting to let matters take their course in an honourable way, he is persuaded to take matters into his own hands, to help fate out by killing the reigning King and setting everything up neatly so he could capture the throne and rule as was foretold. As implied, however, there is a reason why the play is referred to as a tragedy. When you take matters into your own hands, sometimes you’re taking it out of the right hands.
David’s conscience kicked in to inform him of this just in the nick of time. This opportunity was a test of his character. Would he take matters into his own hands or leave it in the hands of the One who anointed his King. His subsequent encounter with Saul highlighted that deference to God and the anointed King. That character of servitude and humility was such that it reinforced for all observers how wrong Saul was to be about this manhunt.
God has his people right He wants them to prove Himself to them as well as proving their own character for His purposes. Even when the pressure of persuasion is strong to take matters into your own hands to ‘help things along’, there is great refuge and assurance in continuing to rely on the One who called you to finish His work in you and through you. Even your enemies will at times have to acknowledge the right in you when your godly conscience kicks in to refuse to take vengeance.
As David understood, though, even after Saul’s expression of remorse, you can’t always leave it to the moment to trust everything you hear.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden