21 April 2016

I Will Never Harm You

"After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.

9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? 10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ 11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.

12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you." ~1 Samuel 24:7-12

No matter what Saul believed or did, David would not partner with the spirit of offense. He would never step into the reality Saul chose while under oppression or consumed with fear or hatred. David's blade was sharp enough to part fabric--probably linen--without pulling on it. Linen is an incredibly strong fiber. Odds are Saul's hem was finely woven fabric of tightly-spun fibers, making it incredibly durable and therefore even more difficult to cut. David wasn't sawing away at that hem while Saul squatted in the cave. He probably lifted a corner of Saul's robe and ran his blade through the fabric hanging from his hand. I've never encountered a blade that sharp--and it gives completely new meaning to the word of God that divides bone and marrow. Odds are David could have killed Saul so quickly with a blade like that that Saul would have hardly known what hit him.

God has been showing me, nearly every day, the tremendous value of His manner of warfare: of returning love for anger, kindness for cruelty, gentleness for harshness. When presented with the healing power of the love of God, wrath withers and blows away like ashes on Holy Spirit's breath. For, when the Lord of Hosts goes to war, He heals. When He retakes territory, He saves souls. The answer is never to return violence for violence, but to offer the world-changing love of Jesus Christ through the presence of His Spirit in us. And even if the one in front of us chooses to still harbor wrath, the flow of the love of God through us softens the blow, healing and comforting us.

Now, don't get me wrong. In this world we will have tribulation. We'll meet violence, harshness, cruelty and anger. And sometimes they will hurt. A lot. But what we allow to flow from our hearts and mouths when those things come against us will determine whether we are blessed or cursed by the encounter--as well as the blessing or cursing offered to everyone around us.

Heavenly Father, I love that Your ways turn all of our worldly wisdom on its head, leaving me astounded and filled with wonder at the miraculous scandal of Your way of doing things. Show me more and more how You approach things, Father, and change my heart day by day to be more like Yours, more like Jesus'. Let me stay in communion and fellowship with You in the Holy of Holies in my heart, that place designed to only be filled by God; the place from whence comes the hunger that can only be satisfied by You. And let this hunger be catching, Father. Let it spread more steadily than the enemy's illnesses, more persistently than the cold that has been gripping our region. And let those who feel this deep hunger for You find You, and be so filled to overflowing that nothing will ever be the same. In Jesus' name, amen.