A Lesson from the Cave

May 19, 2002

A LESSON FROM THE CAVE by Ray Pritchard This week the “Bible Bus” has taken us on a bumpy ride through the early years of David’s rise to power in Israel. It was a hard road because Saul envied David and repeatedly tried to kill him. At one point David spent several years in the desert, on the run, hiding from King Saul and his army. Finally, the day came when David had a chance to even the score. First Samuel 24 says that Saul went into a cave near the Dead Sea to relieve himself. Little did he know that David and his men were hiding deep in the hidden reaches of that very cave. While Saul attended to his business, David crept forward and cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. He could have killed Saul easily, but he chose instead to spare his life. When his own men chastised him for not killing the king, David replied, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord” (v. 6). After Saul left the cave, David shouted to him across the ravine and told him that he had spared his life. Saul was deeply touched and amazed at David’s kindness: “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me” (vv. 17-18). As I thought about that story, I recalled something that a friend mentioned a few weeks ago. He had been at a conference where a noted Christian author was speaking. During the middle of her address, a man stood up and verbally attacked her. Although taken aback, she recovered and responded with kindness. My friend said, “You find out what you’re made of in a moment like that. It’s easy to be friendly when everyone is friendly to you. But you discover what is in your heart when you are attacked in public without warning.” And I would add that everyone else discovers what is in your heart as well. Here are some questions we need to ponder: 1) How do I respond when I am falsely accused? 2) Am I too quick to defend myself? 3) Do I answer unkindness with unkindness? 4) Do I believe that I have to get even with those who hurt me? 5) Am I willing to spare my enemies when it would be easy to make them suffer? You are never more like Jesus than when you forgive those who have hurt you deeply. Remember this: If God wants to get even, he can do it without your help.

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