Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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The Character of David

In 1 Samuel 15 we find that King Saul had transgressed the commandment of God concerning the dealings with King Agag. In verse 24 King Saul acknowledged his sin to Samuel and asked for Samuel to pray on his behalf. As Samuel declined and was turning away King Saul laid hold on Samuel's mantle and tore it. Samuel then pronounced that the kingdom would be taken from King Saul and given to another. In 1 Samuel 16 we find Samuel anointing David as the next king over Israel. As we know, King Saul spent a lot of time and effort in trying to kill David, who was to be the next king. David spares King Saul's life on several occasions when he had opportunity to kill him. In 1 Samuel 24:8-22 we find the discourse between King Saul and David. David declares that he will not put forth his hand against the Lord's anointed one and King Saul acknowledges that he has sinned against David by his treatment against him. In 1 Samuel 26 we find again David sparing King Saul's life and King Saul declaring in verse 21 that he has sinned yet again against David. In all of this, David still did not turn his hand against the Lord's anointed but left judgment to God. Notice verse 10 "As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle and perish". David was not going to stand in the Lord's place and take matters into his own hands. In 2 Samuel 1 we find where David learns of the death of King Saul in the battle of the Philistines at Mount Gilboa from the man who was an Amalikite. The man confesses to David that he finished taking the life of King Saul out of compassion and had brought the crown and bracelet of King Saul to David. David had the Amalikite man slain because he had stretched his hand out against the Lord's anointed. In 2 Samuel 4 we read of Rechab and Baanah killing Ishbosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul. Notice verse 8 "And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the Lord had avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed". David then told them about the Amalikite man's fate and declared that they would suffer the same (2 Samuel 4:9-12). Through these actions of David we see that he remained humble before the Lord. Yes David was declared the next king and even anointed by the Lord but he did not become self righteous and seek or exact retribution against King Saul who had sinned. David did not declare "Saul you have sinned so therefore you deserve what you get and I will see to it that you do". David did not set about to make sure that King Saul was going to be punished because of his actions. David remained humble in his treatment toward King Saul even when David felt that King Saul had done wrong in the sight of the Lord. David's mindset was to let the Lord take care of the corrective measures against King Saul. When Joab killed Abner in 2 Samuel 3 acting on what he felt was right David prayed that calamity would befall the family of Joab due to what Joab did (2 Samuel 3:28,29). David left the retribution to the Lord. We must be careful in our treatment of others that our actions don't cause them to plead their case before the Lord who will hear and consider their prayer against us due to our actions. David fought the rising of revenge and ill-will time after time in his life against King Saul and remained humble before God placing it in God's Almighty hand. We recommend the reading of the Psalms of David when he was pursued by King Saul and various other enemies. In these writings we truly see a humble spirit and not a spirit of self-righteousness like we find recorded in Luke 18:9-14. David exemplified mercy and meekness in his attitude and dealings with King Saul even in spite of King Saul's actions against him. We are enjoined as Christians to also show these same traits (James 2:13; Galatians 6:1). David did not overlook sin but he did place the chastisement solely in the hands of the Lord where it rightly belongs. May God grant us the wisdom to handle the situations which we encounter in our lives so that we may be able to make the same claim as David did in 2 Samuel 3:28 "I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord".

- Larry Bumgardner