There are two scenarios in 1 Samuel 24 and 26 where it seems Saul has been given into David’s hands, yet David has chosen to spare Saul’s life.
We note particularly three groups of people; David, David’s men, and Saul.
> Saul is officially God’s anointed, and we see him verbally confess his sin and ‘repent’ at the close of both chapters, and yet we also see him continuing in his sin in trying to kill David. He is convicted, believes, confesses, and yet does not respond appropriately to the LORD.
>David’s men we see, take the LORD’s promise of delivering Saul into David’s hands and ‘run with it’ so to speak. They believe the message, respond to it by assisting David obediently, show trust in it by exclaiming the promise, ‘look this is the LORD fulfilling his promise to you!’ Yet there is something missing, they are not sensitive to how they should respond appropriately, they take the promise, the conclusion, and seek to fulfil it their own way.
> Finally David, he believes the promises given to him from the LORD, pursues the ends of these promises, and sensitively obeys the LORD’s instruction. He seeks the fulfilment of the LORD’s promise in step with the LORD’s character. Saul is the LORD’s anointed one, the one the LORD has chosen, and killing him is standing against the one the LORD has raised up, therefore standing against the LORD. David will not kill the LORD’s anointed.
Take an typological journey with me. Jesus is the fulfilment of David, he is the ‘new’ David in a sense. Jesus appropriately and sensitively responds to and obeys God’s word. Even if that involved Him walking to the cross, as it involved David’s persecution from Saul.
David’s followers may be linked to Jesus’ followers, particularly his close disciples; those who believed the message, yet often ran with it, not understanding the greater things of God.
Saul could be most obviously Judas, the one who hears and responds, yet betrays Jesus to His death, and inevitably his own death. Yet perhaps he could be linked to any who hear, believe, repent, and yet are easily choked by the thorns, those who do not respond by changing their lives.
Of course, Jesus can also be linked to Saul in a monarchical form, he is the King of the new Israel, the spiritual Israel. Jesus is God’s anointed one, the one on whom the spirit descends as a dove. The one when appropriately recognised, should not be killed. Do not kill the LORD’s anointed.
This is of course where those at the sentencing of Jesus went fatally wrong, they did not appropriately acknowledge who he was. They had heard who He claimed to be, they had seen the proof in His teaching and in His miracles, yet, they did not respond appropriately, they killed the Lord’s anointed. Whereas David, would not.
So how can we apply this, where can we place ourselves? We can, and often do, place ourselves with Saul, unwilling to act upon what we have seen, to truly live out our repentance, and inevitably in Saul’s role, this leads eventually to two things; first a desire to kill the Lord’s plan. Saul saw and acknowledged David’s fame and relationship with the LORD, he wanted to kill him. We, following Saul would want to foolishly kill the means of God’s plan being vindicated.
Second, an inevitable desire to be self-destructive. Sin is self-destructive, suicidal, not acting upon repentance and not responding appropriately to God’s revealed nature in grace has only one other possible option, walking blindly away from it and towards an Idol, which will destroy us. We see the fulfilment of this in 1 Chronicles 10-11.
Following Saul’s example therefore, will lead us eventually to a violent end. It gives only to killing, either a killing of God’s plan, which cannot be done, or a killing of oneself. Let’s not follow Saul in his killing. Note, this does not mean we are saved/sustained by works, but the effectual working of grace in our lives involves the relational dynamic of daily responding to the gospel.
We also can easily stand with David’s men, or the Disciples of Christ. So often we can take a promise, or piece of scripture and run with it, instead of contextually and sensitively applying it with humility and wisdom. This can lead to a trust in our own ability other than a humble dependence on the King. This leads to dishonouring our King; take the Disciples, one betrayed, one denied, ten deserted, yet eleven restored by God’s grace!
Let us humbly observe and digest the scriptures, considering ourselves more likely to misunderstand, and misapply, being wonderfully thankful to God’s grace when he gifts us with an understanding that changes our lives.
We most difficultly, yet inevitably must stand with David, with Christ. We are pursuing to be Christlike, to be like Him in all and everything we do, to mirror His glory and seek to be satisfied in Him alone. We must therefore in these two Chapters, seek to believe and respond like David, and how does David do that? He does that by not killing the LORD’s anointed. So we too must not, like the 1st Centaury Jews and Romans, kill the Lord’s anointed. We must not seek to kill Jesus. We must therefore flee idols (see Saul above), and flee anything that leads us away from a living repentance, and adversely seek and long to see Jesus living in our lives and the lives of others.
We must take delight in the Living Jesus, the Lord’s anointed, we must not foolishly seek to kill the Lord’s anointed, but seek to make much of His living. Wake up in the morning, longing to want the Living Jesus to be vindicated as alive to the world. We must want to be alive, in Him. We must want to be like Jesus, and seek Him in the scriptures daily, pouring through them to find His nail marks, breathing them in constantly to seek his thorny crown. We must pour out from them, responding, confessing, and obeying Him by seeking to mirror Him, to magnify Him, to glorify Him. We must foremost acknowledge our position daily to Him and ask for His grace to live totally to Him glory.
Let us not seek to kill the Lord’s anointed, but long for the Living Jesus to be magnified in our lives.