1 Samuel 24 - 26
During the course of David fleeing from Saul and for his life, you can imagine the angst he would have felt in knowing he was always in danger. So when an opportunity presents itself to oust Saul, you can further empathize with David’s temptation to finally free himself from this dread. However, not only once, but twice David spares Saul’s life when he was clearly handed the chances to kill Saul (Ch. 24 & 26). Sandwiched in between these two opportunities is another display of David’s mercy towards Nabal, at the behest of his wife Abigail. In all three of these instances, David displays mercy towards those who rightfully deserved judgment and wrath. He is able to value Saul’s life- despite that fact that Saul had been on a murderous rampage for his own- on the account that he still considered Saul to be “the Lord’s anointed” (24:6,10; 26:9,11). Unlike Saul, David is able to prioritize the sanctity of life and God’s anointed over and above his own interests. In seeing what also happened to Nabal, David learns that justice does not always need to be carried out by his own hands. David’s continuous propensity to be merciful in these three accounts further prepare him for the throne. This would be David and Saul’s last direct interaction before Saul’s ultimate demise.
Reflect & Connect
Throughout the narrative in 1 Samuel 24, there is a recurring imagery of “cutting off.” David cuts off a corner of Saul’s robe as a visible sign of his mercy (24:11). Then, Saul requests that David would not cut off or kill his offspring once David took the throne- a customary practice that would take place in the changing of hands of authority. Much of this imagery may also draw from those who are cut off from the covenant community without the sign of circumcision (Gen. 14:17). To be cut off was a significant consequence in the Israelite context. Reflect on the passage below from Ephesians, and meditate on the immensity of God’s grace through Jesus that prevented us from being cut off from God. How has God shown us mercy despite our sin? Consider the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice for us that we might go from being aliens to family members.
- Rev. Nameun Cho
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.