May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you.
1 Samuel 24:12
Saul’s pursuit of David was interrupted by the need for Saul to go defend the kingdom from the Philistines, but Saul went right back to hunting for David when the Philistines had been dealt with.
During this pursuit, Saul steps into a cave to relieve himself and David happens to be hiding in the depths of the cave. Saul does not notice David, but David and his men see Saul. David’s men tell David that it is time for him to kill Saul and take the kingdom, but David refuses. He cuts the edge off of Saul’s clothes and sneaks back over to his men to talk them down from wanting to kill Saul.
Afterward, David shows Saul the bit of fabric and lets Saul know that he (David) could have killed him (Saul) and the army could not have stopped it. David said quite a bit in his talk at Saul and Saul received it, but this morning’s verse hit home for several reasons.
First, David calls for God to do the avenging. David says May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD avenge me on you. He had the perfect opportunity and he walked away from it, preferring to leave vengeance to God. Elsewhere in the Old Testament, God says that it is His place to take vengeance and repay (Deuteronomy 32:41). And Paul would tell the Roman believers to vengeance to God and quote the verse from Deuteronomy (Romans 12:19). The writer of Hebrews also quotes Deuteronomy (Hebrews 10:30). Clearly, The Bible indicates that vengeance is God’s domain.
My part is the same as David’s. David says my hand shall not be against you. In essence, David will not pursue vengeance against Saul. He had every reason to do so. Saul had chased David through the wilderness trying to kill him even though David had done nothing wrong. If anyone ever had a reason to kill someone, David had one with Saul. Yet David preferred to leave things to God to handle.
People will wrong me. I have the choice to take vengeance or to leave vengeance to God. Let me leave it to God.
Father, thank You for David’s heart toward vengeance. Those who have wronged me have done nothing by comparison. Please give me a heart that seeks to leave vengeance in Your hands and to do nothing against those who wrong me.