Phew! These chapters read like a fast-paced basketball game! Saul is on the hunt for David. David is on the run. Someone tells Saul where David’s latest hide-out is, and Saul chases him, only to just miss him. The one time he almost caught up to him, a messenger came and told him the Philistines were attacking his city, so Saul abandoned his pursuit of David…in the nick of time.
I have nightmares sometimes that I am being chased by something bad. I don’t always know what that bad thing is, but in my dreams whatever IT is, is downright creepy. Usually it’s a person out to harm me. I wake up from those dreams feeling as if I had just finished running a marathon (not that I’d personally know what that really felt like, but hey, I can dream!). My leg muscles are tired, my back feels tight, my neck is cramped, and I am exhausted beyond belief. And that was just a dream! I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to be in David’s sandals. Spies were everywhere. No one could be trusted. There was no safe place to rest…only in damp caves could he find sufficient cover for hiding.
It was in one of these caves that the conflict came to a crisis. David’s personal tormenter, Saul, went into David’s cave to go to the bathroom. He was in a vulnerable spot. David could have ended the crisis then and there by killing Saul on the spot, but he did not. Instead, he cut off a piece of Saul’s robe to prove his own restraint. Then he followed Saul and showed him the proof that he, David, was not out to kill Saul, as the evil spirit had led Saul to believe.
Suddenly the veil was removed from Saul’s eyes, and he saw he truth staring at him from David’s eyes:
David, you’re a better person than I am. You treated me with kindness, even though I’ve been cruel to you. 18You’ve told me how you were kind enough not to kill me when the LORD gave you the chance. 19If you really were my enemy, you wouldn’t have let me leave here alive. I pray that the LORD will give you a big reward for what you did today.
20I realize now that you will be the next king, and a powerful king at that. 21Promise me with the LORD as your witness, that you won’t wipe out my descendants. Let them live to keep my family name alive.
22So David promised, and Saul went home. David and his men returned to their hideout.
What choice would I have made had I been in David’s shoes? Unless the Lord himself appeared to me and told me exactly what to do and to say (as He does through the Holy Spirit), I would probably have remained hidden safely away in the cave, breathing a sigh of relief when he left the area. But I like the way David approached the problem. Tired of running, he walked straight into the conflict at considerable risk to his own life…remember, Saul had been acting crazy. He did he same thing with Goliath. I wonder if that is a theme with David…that he ran TO something rather than AWAY from something…
If only I could have a smidgen of his courage…I wonder what the Lord would have me run towards?