1 Samuel: The almost-assassination

1 Samuel 23:15–24:22

Question authority. Defy it. Ignore it. Humiliate it, if you can. I don’t agree with you, so I’ll do my own thing.

You can’t tell me what to do. Don’t judge me.

This is a cultural story, a worldview, a way we look at the world and live our lives.  As an American living in the 21st century, this is my story. Authority is a word we spit at.

So what do we do we with authority we don’t agree with?

The life of David, and this passage in particular, offer a counter-cultural alternative to the default culture I was born into.

Saul is king, the most powerful man in Israel. But he’s unfaithful to God. Unmindful of God. And it shows in his leadership.

David is charismatic. The distressed and oppressed are drawn to him. He has a following. He inspires hope.

Make no mistake. This is a legitimately broken relationship. David isn’t simply annoyed or dissatisfied or disagreeing with Saul. Saul is trying to kill him. There’s a bounty on David’s head.

Psalm 57 gives us a glimpse into David’s mental and emotional state in this story (Psalm 18 and 54, too). David’s a wreck, stressed out in this situation, but putting all his hope in God.

Saul walks into the cave, drops his shorts to go to the bathroom, completely oblivious to the fact that he’s surrounded by the ragtag misfit militia his chasing. Alone. Exposed. Vulnerable.

So why doesn’t David eliminate the source of all his problems right then and there?

Because he calls Saul “God’s anointed.” He’s convinced that God picked Saul for a reason and purpose. While Saul can’t be trusted, God can.

David understands that nobody, not even himself, has any power or influence that isn’t given by God. God has a bigger picture, and it’s better to trust that than to take matters into his own hands.

I think that’s a lesson David has to teach us.


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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