1 Samuel 26:23
The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness. The LORD delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.
God anointed David as the heir to the throne after Saul, the first king of Israel. David was the youngest of eight sons of Jesse and he tended sheep in the field. Why was David favored and blessed by God although he was a mere shepherd? That was because David’s heart and inmost being was truly good.
- Having courage in faith
In 1 Samuel 17 is a scene where the Israelites were waging war against the Philistines at the Valley of Elah. In the camp of the Philistines was a champion named Goliath. He was three meters (nine feet) tall and wore full armor including a bronze helmet, a coat of scale armor of bronze, and bronze greaves, and carried a bronze javelin. He was so strong that his armor alone weighed about 57 kilograms (about 125 pounds). He defied God every morning and every evening for 40 days. Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified even though he defied God in a loud voice.
At that sight, David said, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Then David took his staff in his hand, put five smooth stones in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand he approached the Philistine. And he cried to the man, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line and he slung a stone and struck the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
Just as 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,” David was not afraid of Goliath because he loved God from the inner heart. He courageously took the stand with faith relying on God’s name when His holy name was defied. This is deemed as goodness in God’s sight.
Suppose your father or mother is beaten or cursed by somebody. What kind of actions would you take in goodness? Is it good for you to remain silent thinking you should not quarrel but have peace with everybody? If you stand off because the other person looks too strong and it would be of no use for you to take the stand against the person, is it a proper excuse? Standing silently in that situation is neither honoring your parents nor goodness in God’s sight.
Jesus did not accept those who confused the Holy Temple of God and courageously reproached them (Mark 11:15-17). I hope you realize it is goodness in God’s sight to courageously take the stand like David for the glory of God in accomplishing His kingdom.
- Touching confession and unchanging good deeds
When David and Saul were returning home after that victory, the women came out from all the towns of Israel and sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” At these words, Saul became jealous. His jealousy grew bigger day by day, and one day when David played the harp for Saul, who was suffering from an evil spirit, he tried to pin David to a wall with a spear.
While Saul chased him, David met with a good opportunity to take revenge on Saul. When David was in the Desert En Gedi, Saul happened to come into a cave where David had taken refuge. This scene is shown in 1 Samuel 24. In that situation David’s men urged David to kill Saul.
David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for it, and said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” He did not allow his men to attack Saul. When Saul was far away from them, David cried to Saul with good and humble words and let him know he had no desire to kill him. At these words of David, Saul was moved to the shedding of tears and withdrew his soldiers.
But his heart was so evil that he once again had the desire to kill David. He took three thousand chosen men of Israel with him and made perfect preparations. One day Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him. There Abishai said to David in 1 Samuel 26:8, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won’t strike him twice.”
But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.” So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and stood on top of the hill some distance away. There he called out to the army and let them know again that he had no intention to kill Saul. Then David said in 1 Samuel 26:23, “The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness. The LORD delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.” Then Saul was moved again and returned home.
These verses tell us about the second goodness of David. David treated his enemy, who was trying to kill him, with goodness and touched the heart of the enemy with good words. Suppose you spared the life of your enemy according to the duty of a man and showed him that you had no intention to kill him. But again, the enemy is chasing you to murder you. When you gain a chance again to kill the enemy chasing you, can you treat that enemy with goodness sparing the enemy’s life a second time?
David was goodhearted and did goodness unchangingly, so he could fulfill the good will of God. Although he was anointed as the next king by God’s prophet, he did not try to kill the present king, Saul, to become a king and did not persist that it is the will of God for him to sit on the throne. He trusted God from his heart, so he committed everything into the hands of God to the end so that God could fulfill His will.
David did not treat Saul with goodness just outwardly because he had been anointed by God, but alos from a true heart he desired Saul to be prosperous in everything and tried to comfort Saul with good words. When David was told that Saul and his men were defeated by the Philistines and that Saul killed himself, he wept with tears and fasted. And he gave thanks to and blessed people of Gilead who had buried Saul.
- Immediate repentance and gratitude for trials
David had a good inner heart to follow God’s good will, but he had not cast off the evils hidden in his nature because he did not live in the Age of the Holy Spirit. When David reigned over Israel peacefully as the king after Saul died, his evils hidden within were exposed. God permitted a trial to refine David more perfectly, so He did not prevent David from taking the wife of Uriah, a good man in his service. David sent Uriah to a fierce battlefield to be killed by the Gentiles in order for him to conceal his sin.
When everything seemed to be solved in the sight of David, God sent His prophet Nathan and had him severely reproach David. The Prophet said to David in the first part of 2 Samuel 12:9, “Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes?” And he rebuked David in detail. Then, David immediately repented of his sin and said, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt.” He told David of the trials that would follow. Afterwards David seriously suffered from the trials, but was thankful for those trials.
This is the third goodness of David. Although he was a king, he immediately repented of his sin when he was rebuked by the prophet. And he was grateful for the trials given to him. Beginners in faith are thankful and try to change themselves when they are rebuked, but when they grow in faith, many of them do not find any joy in being rebuked. But goodhearted people receive rebukes, even from children, in a humble manner if their words are in accordance with the truth.
While David was fleeing from the royal court because of the rebellion by his son Absalom, Shimei cursed David and his men hurling stones at them. One of the David’s men told David he would kill the man, but David stopped him. David neither complained nor attributed a trial to another person when he was suffering from trials. But he took those trials willingly looking up to God who would make him more perfect through those trials.
Goodhearted people will look back at themselves rather than to attribute the sufferings to their situations or those around them. And in their goodness they will realize the will of God who has allowed those trials to them and thank God. They will confess the word of Job 23:10 from their heart, saying, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” And they will be able to pass those trials easily.
David had to suffer from severe trials but when he passed them with goodness he became a real man after God’s heart. And he was given a much higher position in heaven and would enjoy the honor of a glorious rank for ever and ever as well as having enjoyed the king’s honor on earth.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May all of you accomplish perfect goodness in your heart resembling David’s goodness and enjoy seeing and hearing goodness so that you can live in emotion of goodness every day in the name of the Lord I pray!