1 Samuel 26

1 Samuel 26

1 Samuel 26 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

If there was ever a justifiable moment for David to end Saul’s life, this was it. Saul had repented of his wrongdoing back when David had his first opportunity to kill Saul in 1 Samuel 24. That repentance has proven to be false, or short-lived at best. Once again David finds Saul in a vulnerable position. However, this time is even more tempting given the circumstances of how Saul is sleeping.

The spear he thrust at David several chapters back is planted in the ground right next to Saul’s head. Abishai not only points out the spear but formulates an arrangement convenient for David. He offers to put the spear through Saul’s head himself. For David, the timing seemed perfect. Saul was unrepentant and had proven he was not interested in following the Lord. He was in a deep sleep and completely vulnerable to a clean strike. David doesn’t even have to pull to trigger. All he had to do was give the command for Abishai to end Saul’s life. He could just say he didn’t kill Saul since he wasn’t actually the one to do it.

Have you ever justified a decision that goes against your convictions? I have. I would bet if we’re honest, we all have.

David could have murdered Saul and a large percentage of his friends and acquaintances would have approved. In God’s Kingdom, does a majority approval justify a decision? David could have murdered Saul because he deserved it. In God’s Kingdom, does the fact that someone has earned judgment mean we are the people to execute it? David could have even threatened Saul, holding the spear to his neck and making him vow to never chase him again. Why didn’t he? Because in God’s Kingdom, his servants obey.

David had a conviction. Whether that message came directly from the Lord or it was simply obedience to the law makes no difference. God had placed in David’s heart a line that was not to be crossed. So, in a situation where it looked like God was actually handing Saul over, David stood firm on his conviction. This kind of radical obedience is a direct contrast to the way Saul behaved for much of his life. Just chapters prior, Saul believed that when David was trapped, the Lord had “handed him over” to be killed.

We must be careful of fake spiritualization. Stamping the Lord’s Name on a decision, any decision, without the Holy Spirit’s approval (personally or through the Word) is incredibly dangerous ground. Stamping His Name on a decision that violates His Will already spoken in the Scriptures is willingly sinful.

I will throw out one more point for consideration. The young Abishai learned an incredible lesson that day. He saw the tangible Kingdom of God worked out in the attitude and behavior of David. He saw love and grace conquer sin and vengeance. Who are those that are watching our behavior and being drawn toward the Kingdom of God?

“We are not at liberty to cast ourselves down from the mountain, unless it is clearly God’s will. In David’s case, there was sufficient reason for this adventure; first, that Saul might be warned once more; and second, that the integrity of the young outlaw might be established.”

F.B. Meyer

David illustrates incredible discernment and obedience, but it was not because he was following the rules. David obeyed because he loved God. Saul demonstrated his lack of love for God. That is what many fail to understand.

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