Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Reflections for December 12, 2016

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Reflections for this date are based on the following scripture passages:
1 Samuel 24

Entrusting Vengeance to God

"May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD take vengeance on you for me, but my hand will never be against you." (1 Samuel 24:12)

David, who was to become king of Israel, was being pursued by king Saul who wanted to kill David due to his jealousy of him and his fear that God intended David to take his place as king. On the occasion of 1 Samuel 24:12, David had opportunity to kill Saul when Saul went into a cave, where David and his men were hiding, to relieve himself. David cut a corner from Saul's robe to show that he had opportunity to kill Saul but didn't. Then, when Saul left the cave, David came out and confronted him, showing the piece of his robe and the opportunity he had to kill Saul.

It was in this exchange with Saul that David spoke the words of 1 Samuel 24:12. We see in this scene the sharp contrast between the two men. Here was Saul, seeking to kill David due to his jealousy and nothing David had done. And then there was David, who could have been excused for killing Saul to protect himself. However, he would not have been excused by God, for God holds to Himself the right to extract vengeance. We feel we have every right to avenge ourselves when wronged, but God says, "No, that is my right." God did bring vengeance on Saul and when He did, what was David's reaction? Did he gloat that his enemy had finally been given his comeuppance? No, David grieved over Saul's death.

Such actions are among the most difficult to pull off, for this desire to avenge ourselves when wronged is extremely strong. So strong, in fact, that we can become obsessed with it. Only a complete reliance on God can deliver us from this obsession and desire for vengeance, but the question becomes, "Do I want to leave this in God's hands?" And often the answer to this question is "No!" We want to withhold this action for ourselves. But here is a prominent measuring rod of our spiritual maturity. Can we entrust vengeance into God's hands?

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