Avenge Not Yourselves


Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10Proverbs 5Psalms 21 – 25

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Matthew 6:33

Read the “0405 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “I’ve Got Your Back.

“4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD. 7 So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.” (1 Samuel 24:4-7)

In today’s reading, we saw that King Saul is becoming increasingly unstable in his insecurity and obsession with David. In chapter 22, Saul had all the priests of Nob and their families killed because he thought that they had intentionally helped David. In chapter 23, Saul pursues after David in Keilah, a city that David had just delivered from the armies of the Philistines. It was revealed to David by God that even though David had saved the people of Keilah from the Philistines, they were still going to turn him over to King Saul. It is sad to think that people will do whatever is necessary to protect themselves, even betray a good friend.

In chapter 24, Saul and three thousand of his men pursued after David in the wilderness of  Engedi. In Engidi David had a perfect opportunity to kill Saul but refused to do so. He spared his life and stated that he would not “stretch forth [his] hand against [Saul].”  David is still thinking clearly and he is following the will of God even though he is under tremendous pressure to react in the flesh because of Saul’s insane and unwarranted obsession and jealousy of David. David chooses not to act in vengeance against King Saul and instead turns him over to the Lord. David trusts that God will take care of Saul in his own time. Note – David will have another opportunity to eliminate Saul in chapter 26, but will again refuse to do so.

This willingness to restrain himself from vengeance that David exemplified in the Old Testament was also taught by the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount.

“43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

It was also taught by Paul in his Letter to the Romans:

“19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19-21)

If you and I are living for God, there will be people who the Devil will raise up to attack us. Not everyone will applaud us for doing the right thing. There may even be carnal believers who will oppose what we are trying to do. Worse yet, there you may have friends that will turn against you like the people of Keilah did to David.

When we are persecuted for righteousness sake, we need to follow the example of David and not attack back. Hopefully, our enemies will turn to the Lord in repentance and faith, but even if they don’t, we can be sure that God will always do what is right regarding our enemies. He will take care of the situation. We just need to leave it in the Lord’s hands.

The Lord said when He was being crucified: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Martin D. Niemöller once told of his incarceration at Dachau. His cell was in plain view of the gallows. Day after day he watched men and women go to their deaths. He could hear their cries, curses, and prayers. He declared that the gallows became his best teacher. Through that horrible experience he was haunted by two questions: “What will happen on the day they lead you there and put you to the test? When they put that rope around your neck, what will be your last words? Will they be, ‘Father, forgive them’ or will they be ‘Criminals! Scum?’ ”

Niemöller said that if Jesus had cried out in vengeance, there would have been no New Testament, no church, and no Christian history.[1]

[1] G. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1986), 95–96.

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Bob Fenton
Bob Fenton
1 month ago

Amen Pastor. True words spoken forgive, forget, keep your eyes on the Lord and keep moving forward for the cause of Christ. like the post.

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