Good Heart, Sound Mind
1 Samuel 24:1-6 (1) And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. (2) Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. (3) And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. (4) And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. (5) And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. (6) And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD. In the previous chapter Saul had David surrounded but was foiled by God. One would think that with the amount of frustration with which Saul had met in his attempts to destroy David that he might have concluded that the very stars in their courses were fighting against him (c/w JDG 5:20) and he would have given up, lest haply he be found to fight against God (c/w ACT 5:39). But he is obsessed, driven with the restlessness of wicked men who "...sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall" (PRO 4:16). He is compulsive, persisting in tracking down David at all costs---that is his default habit. He is paranoid, thinking everyone was conspiring against him (1SAM 20:30; 1SAM 22:7-8; 1SAM 22:13). As this and subsequent chapters reveal, he exhibits traits of manic-depressive behavior, flip-flopping between tender regret and harsh animus. He delves into the occult, contrary to his own decree (1SAM 28:3-8). Then finally he is suicidal (1SAM 31:4). Sin brings on much mental and emotional disorders. Mind that this man was one to whom God gave "...another heart..." (1SAM 10:9) which implies a spiritual birth and part in the new covenant (JER 31:33 c/w EZE 11:19-20 c/w HEB 8:10-13). Believers should think gravely, therefore, on the dangers of (like Saul) quenching the Spirit (1TH 5:19). By contrast, David walked with God and so had a spirit "...of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2TIM 1:7). Unlike Saul, David's heart condemned him not and so he had confidence toward God (1JO 3:21). In our text today we see an example of David's good heart. When he could have destroyed Saul he did not, because Saul was Israel's king by God's appointment and anointing. David understood the value of "...Touch not mine anointed..." (PSA 105:15) and when the opportunity here was given for him to be easily overcome of evil, he instead sought to "...overcome evil with good" (ROM 12:21) and in so doing heaped "...coals of fire on his [Saul's] head" (ROM 12:20). David did not avenge himself (ROM 12:19); he wisely deferred the matter to God "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them" (LUK 18:7)? Yes, vengeance is His (HEB 10:30) and He will repay (ROM 12:19). It is thankworthy if we, like David, "...for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully" (1PE 2:19) and so like Christ commit ourselves "...to him that judgeth righteously" (1PE 2:20-23). David was indeed a man after God's own heart. May God help us to be likewise.