“Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession.”
1 Samuel 10:1
Whilst away this week in the Peak District we visited Thor’s cave, which is a natural cave and has been used by people over many thousands of years. It was a large cave which you could access quite easily, but as you went further into the cave there were hidden passages and it quickly became very dark.
Being in the cave reminded me of the story in the bible of David hiding in the cave with his men as a fugitive from King Saul who wanted to kill him. Saul came into the cave not realising that David was in there. He passed so close to David that he was unknowingly completely at his mercy but David restrained his hand from killing “God’s Anointed One”. He did however cut the edge of Saul’s robe but even felt guilty for doing that.
“Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe. But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.”
1 Samuel 24:4-6
Saul was certainly not behaving like God’s anointed one and God had already rejected him from being King. Samuel had already anointed David who God had chosen to replace him but Saul was still at this time King. Here we have two men both anointed by God. One whose time was over but was still King and the other who had not yet become King.
“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” 1 Samuel 16:1
David could have taken Saul’s life in the cave and probably would have felt justified for doing so, but he was not prepared to usurp his position and take matters into his own hand. David was prepared to wait for God to position him and fulfil His plan for his life. Self-Promotion was within David’s grasp. It would have fulfilled the prophecy over his life. He had been anointed to be King. The temptation was there to take advantage of Saul but David did not fall into the trap. He waited for God’s promotion.
Notice how David’s men even encouraged him to kill Saul saying that it was God’s will that God had put him in David’s power that day to do as he wished. A word that sounded good and in the circumstances could have persuaded David but this was not a word from God. It was not God’s intention that David killed Saul. It is so important that we test and discern words, even if they are from those closest to us who may have our best interests at heart, so that we do not act on anything contrary to God’s will and purposes.
There are people anointed by God for certain times and seasons. There are people who have received prophecies over their lives or clear direction from God of what the Lord is calling them to do. They have visions of ministries which God has given them. David’s reaction in the cave is a great lesson to us to wait for God’s timing to bring about His plans for our lives and not seek to take the inheritance too early or in the wrong way. God will bring about opportunities and open doors or close others in His timing. We submit to Him and actively seek His will. Let us beware and avoid the trap of self-promotion or being encouraged by others to move too quickly before God’s appointed time.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” James 4:10
David didn’t just have one opportunity to kill Saul, he also had another one when he snuck into Saul’s camp past his bodyguards. Even though, David was again encouraged by his companion to kill Saul, he still refused.
“No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one? Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!” 1 Samuel 26:9-11
“Here is your spear, O king,” David replied. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. The Lord gives his own reward for doing good and for being loyal, and I refused to kill you even when the Lord placed you in my power, for you are the Lord’s anointed one. Now may the Lord value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles.” 1 Samuel 26:22-24
David was willing to trust God and allow the Lord to deal with Saul in God’s way and in God’s timing. I believe there is a lesson and encouragement in this bible story for somebody today. May God bless you richly.