David was around 15 years old when the Lord instructed Samuel to anoint him as the new king. He spent the next 15 years both serving Saul and running from him. But Saul’s time was about to be up:
“Now the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons – Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him severely. Saul groaned to his armor bearer, ‘Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me’” (I Samuel 31:1-4a, NLT).
“But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer realized that Saul was dead, he fell on his own sword and died beside the king. So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and his troops all died together that same day” (I Samuel 31:4b-6).
David, off fighting his own battle, had no idea what had happened. “David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect. ‘Where have you come from?’ David asked. ‘I escaped from the Israelite camp,’ the man replied. ‘What happened?’ David demanded. ‘Tell me how the battle went.’ The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead” (II Samuel 1:1b-4).
Fifteen long years of trying to stay alive while a madman sought his life. Surely David and his men were a happy bunch when they heard this news! But no, this is how they reacted:
“David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day” (II Samuel 1:11-12).
David was a man of honor. He trusted God to place in authority whomever He chose. He trusted God to remove that person from authority whenever He was ready to do so. David saw his opportunities to kill Saul for what they were: tests.
David guarded his integrity. So should you. Your integrity is priceless. And there is no real integrity outside of a life committed to Jesus.
“If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference.” (R. Buckminster Fuller)
Copyright © 2012
Judy Woodward Bates