When life doesn’t turn out as we hoped, we can become frustrated and impatient. We are tempted to take control and force our will in our time. Rushing into marriage, giving our boss a piece of our mind, moving forward without permission, changing jobs on a whim, getting even with enemies, and seeking fulfillment through drugs, sex, and alcohol are but a few examples of attempts to get our way in life.
In 1 Samuel 24, David provides an example of how to resist that temptation. When King Saul steps into a cave to take a royal bathroom break, he unknowingly places himself in David’s hands. David can kill the king and take the throne or he can practice a “catch and release” approach. Rather than taking matters into his own hands, David does what is right and waits for God’s timing.
Here are the principles that guided David’s actions:
- Don’t rationalize (4). Far too often we employ the “it must be the Lord’s will” to justify our actions.
- Listen to your conscience (5). God gave us a conscience for a reason–to keep us from sinning.
- Don’t ignore God’s instructions (6). If Scripture is clear on an issue, obey it.
- Resist peer pressure (7). Just because everyone you know says, “Do it!” doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. Stand for your convictions and do what is right, even if it is not popular.
- Graciously speak the truth (8-11). You may need to confront your accusers. Speak truth, but do it with grace and love.
- Honor the position even if you can’t honor the person (10). Despite the fact that Saul repeatedly tried to kill David, David still treated him with respect because he was “the Lord’s anointed.” Salute the rank even if you can’t salute the man.
- Trust God for the outcome (12-15). Trust the just judge to settle the accounts in his time.
When we do what is right, God can make our enemies to be at peace with us (Proverbs 16:7). That is evident by how Saul responds to David in the remainder of 1 Samuel 24. He exonerates David (16-17) and notes that he showed grace instead of the typical military strategy of destroying one’s enemies (18-19). Saul acknowledges that David will be the next king of Israel (20). When that occurs, Saul asks David to be merciful to Saul’s family (21).
Rather than take matters into your own hands, do what is right and wait for God’s timing.