“Serves ya right!”
Have you ever said those words? I have – mostly to my siblings when they broke the family rules or got into trouble for picking on me when we were kids. Even now, as a grown woman, I admit I feel like spouting them when someone wrongs me and later falls into a difficult time. Oh, the wickedness of the human heart.
If anyone had reason to say “Serves ya right,” it was David. Saul had chased him, thrown spears at him, taken his wife from him and married her to another man. Saul’s jealousy had nearly killed him countless times, forced him into hiding, and dethroned him from being a celebrated military leader to the commander of a few hundred motley men.
Then Saul died in battle.
What was David’s response? He had every reason to say “Serves ya right!” but he refused. Instead, he avenged Saul’s death by taking the life of the man who said he’d killed him. He composed a funeral song for Saul (and Jonathan) and commanded that the entire population of Judah learn it. He said Saul was beloved and gracious. He called him a mighty hero. And he promised to reward the men who gave him a decent burial (2 Sam. 1:15-2:6). Amazing.
What enabled David to respond this way? I believe several factors played into it:
- His understanding of who God was. He knew that God was bigger than his circumstances. He recognized that He was in control of every detail of his life even when Saul behaved like an idiot.
- He feared God more than he feared the king. He held God in high esteem, and knew the value of standing in good relationship with Him.
- He respected Saul as a person even though his behavior didn’t deserve respect. Perhaps this ability also came from his understanding of God’s role in his life.
Frankly, I stand in awe of David. His attitude towards Saul encourages me to check and change mine where necessary. To be gracious in spirit when someone wrongs me. To treat the offender with respect and encourage others to do the same.
If we all made this our goal, the world would turn upside down!