Young David would have been killed by Saul if God hadn’t provided friends as buffers: Jonathan, Michal, David himself and Samuel. As often happens, however, when crisis headed to denouement God proved David’s absolute security. The passage in I Samuel 19 has lasting principles for us.
One, we need to rid ourselves of hard feelings against others. If we don’t, they’ll likely escalate into hatred of others. Saul represented the person who made his mind a honeycomb, not a sieve, for bad feelings and experiences.
Consider how his suspicions about David turned into animosity towards David. He at first thought to neutralize his influence by keeping him under supervision at court. That failed. He sent him into battle, hoping he’d be killed. That failed. He used his daughter to put David in harm’s way. That failed. He tried to get Jonathan to kill him. That failed. Every failure made him more determined to kill David. Instead of stopping to think, “Maybe I should re-think my attitude,” he continued to think, “Kill; kill; kill!”
As only the emotionally or mentally unstable can, Saul rationalized his hostility towards David. But one passion alone drove him, however he justified it: he virulently despised David and wouldn’t be satisfied till he danced on his grave.
Let’s think about that when we seek reasons to forgive insults or transgressions; or make excuses to harbor, nourish and mature them into grudges. We can’t be both forgiving and uncharitable. We can’t both disarm and hide weapons. Consider that Jesus said we are forgiven AS we forgive Matthew 18:35.
Two, it takes two people to keep the peace when more than one person is involved. One unhappy, truculent, harsh person out of two is enough to roil smooth waters into turbulent white caps. David was all for peace, while Saul was obsessed with war against him. It had to be war because that represented Saul’s aim and his ability to initiate and continue it. David could only respond by fleeing and hiding. While he accepted any kind of detente, Saul demanded conflict. Conflict remained.
Are we like Saul in personal relationships, always finding something to dispute, or an issue to debate? Or like David, willing to forgive, to rebuild relationships, to try again? We can be either person. But which expresses the love of God and the grace of Jesus?
In fact, we may not always find it possible to maintain peace. For some people thrive on sowing discord. They find satisfaction in stirring arguments even when accord is easier. They create friction to irritate even when balm is available. Such people must be marginalized for the good of the group.
Let God’s people determine, as the apostle wrote in Romans 12:18, to do all we can to keep the peace. To forget, to forgive, to renew, to love and love and love in Jesus Christ’s name. – Finis –