Morning Light – May 29th, 2015

MLx250Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Twenty-Four]: David Cuts Saul’s Garment. There will come a time in your life that the Lord will deliver your enemy into your hands. Those who have persecuted and lied on you. Those who have prayed for and openly sought your hurt and destruction. Time and circumstance will conspire by the hand of God to give you the opportunity to retaliate. What will you do in that moment? Will you strike with righteous vengeance or will you hesitate as David did realizing that a far greater test of character is being carried out by God’s hand over your life.

[1Sa 24:1-22 KJV] 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.

In this chapter Saul continues in pursuit of David with 3000 chosen men out of every tribe of Israel. David is a shepherd and the rocks and wilderness are familiar territory for him to avoid Saul. David and his men are deep in a cave when to their surprise Saul himself comes in to “cover his feet”. The covering of the feet is a euphemism meaning to relieve himself. This is an amazing bit of good fortune and David’s men whisper to him that God has delivered his enemy into his hand. David obviously thought about it and agreed somewhat. He approaches Saul with sword drawn and could have easily cut him down. That is certainly what his men looking on are thinking he will in fact do. Instead they observe as David simply and very stealthily cuts a corner of Saul’s garment off and returns to his hiding place. He wanted to prove to Saul that he COULD have killed him and didn’t. David was a man of war by necessity and not desire. He wanted peace with his father-in-law Saul. However even in doing this small act of cutting Saul’s garment his heart smote him. He realized that he has encroached upon a man with God’s anointing on him to be king. He knows in his heart that even the small act of cutting Saul’s garment is an offence not just to the man but to the anointing on the man.

In this act we see David’s utter and deep esteem for the anointing of God. He was certainly not reticent to kill. He had killed many people and committed many things that we would consider atrocities. Many of the battles David had fought would have by today’s standards branded him a war criminal and brought him up before a war crimes tribunal. But this one act shows that David understood something about the anointing even upon a deranged man who unjustly sought his life. You have to look at yourself and your own relationship with leaders of poor character who may have persecuted you, said evil of you, or judged you in some way. Were you able to distinguish between the man or woman and the anointing upon their lives? In today’s spiritual climate if a leader shows himself unfit Christians tear at them like a pack of wild dogs until there is nothing left and they are nothing more than a joke and a by-word of derision and scorn.

Take Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart for instance. I was in the Assemblies of God Louisiana District when Jimmy Swaggart was shown on Baton Rouge television openly consorting with a prostitute. As a matter of happenstance the following day I was in a meeting of Assemblies of God officials and pastors. We gathered for coffee and the vitriol and scorn being heaped upon Jimmy was as poisonous as it gets. I was a young pastor and listened for awhile and finally spoke up. “What an amazing thing that Jimmy is all of the horrible and despicable things you now say he is – yet in his corrupt, sinful and evil state he has led more people to Christ that all of us every have and perhaps ever will. Gentlemen let’s be cautious here not to cut Saul’s garment and touch the anointing of a man used of God far more than all of us here combined…” Obviously that didn’t go over very well because my fellow pastors lived in a spiritual climate where rending a fallen pastor limb from limb was the accepted practice and it was unthinkable to do otherwise.

On another occasion I received a call from a former friend – a man I had found in the gutter and helped raise him up, training him in leadership and eventually sponsoring him financially through the church I pastored to go out and start a church on his own. In time his church became and still is one of the largest churches in the area – far larger than the church I myself pastored. With all this man’s success he was so insecure he raised a very public and detestable assault against my ministry and me personally. He openly courted every church member I had seeking to sway them to leave my church and join his fellowship nearby. He stated repeatedly in the pulpit in front of hundreds that this was his time and everything that Russ Walden had belonged to him and it was God’s will to take from me and give to him. He encouraged his entire congregation to get behind this despicable campaign of destroying my ministry and assassinating my character.

Again a few years later I received a phone call. He had been caught in a sexual indiscretion and unceremoniously exposed, rejected and fired from the church he himself had built with our initial sponsorship. He wanted to see me. I was dumbfounded that he would even call me but agreed to come see him. It was several miles away and as I drove along I heard the Father say “I have delivered your enemy into your hands. What are you going to do with him?” I drove on for sometime before I answered. I honestly paused longer than I should. The pain this man inflicted upon me while posing as my dear friend was one of the worst things I have experienced in my life. Finally he was vulnerable and exposed before me. What was I going to do to him? “Lord” I said, “I’m going to love him …” The Lord answered me back – “Just checking!” When your enemy is on the ropes so to speak it is the greatest test of your character.

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. 7 So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on [his] way. 8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. 9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? 10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and [some] bade [me] kill thee: but [mine eye] spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he [is] the LORD’S anointed. 11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that [there is] neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it. 12 The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. 13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. 14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. 15 The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

If you do anything in this life that reflects seeking the kingdom you will have enemies. They will lie on you. They will cheat and steal and spread salacious rumors. They will study your life and thrust their blade of sedition and criticism into every vulnerability and crack in your life. They will persecute you because of what you do right. They will mock you because of things you have done wrong. They will launch campaigns of public scorn to destroy your ministry and your reputation. In all of this what will be your response? Jesus said this:

[Mat 5:43-44 KJV] 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Always remember that David in his responses was a man after God’s own heart. If you try to vindicate yourself you have lowered yourself to the level of your enemies. You can’t solve the problem on the level of the problem. I you try to fight your own battles God will fold His hands and wait for you to exhaust yourself in vain effort. When you are in a contest such as this LOVE is the only response that leads to success and resolution. 1 Cor. 13:8 says that love never fails. If love never fails why would we resort to any other tactic and step into failure. Now that doesn’t mean you love these people on their terms. You have to do what you see the Father do and this is exactly what incites these enemies to rise up against you. They want you to go away. They want you to stop doing what God has led you to do. This is not an option. However on the backside of these circumstances when your enemies are spreading lies, repeating rumors, courting defections in your ranks you must not return evil for evil. Keep walking in love. Keep your eyes on the harvest. Trust in God that the truth will always outlive the lie. Love never fails but everything else runs out of energy. In due time God so worked in this man’s life that he moved to Missouri and worked as an employee in my business at a very critical time that I needed someone to help. He was a key figure in a time of shift from the business world to launching into full time ministry. In all of this the man never changed his heart or his tactics. He was and continues to be a contrarian individual who cannot maintain fidelity with those who are brought into his life. Leave these individuals to God’s hand and keep seeking the kingdom. Don’t be surprised if the enemy who rails against you today will be forced by God’s sovereignty to be an unwitting tool to bring about blessing in your life.

16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, [Is] this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17 And he said to David, Thou [art] more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. 18 And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not. 19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand. 21 Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house. 22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.

Saul has a moment of clarity when he realizes how close he was to dying. He is an anointed king yet he has disobeyed and sinned away his opportunity before God to fulfill his destiny. He admits to David that he knows that David will be king. As Jonathan the only thing he asks is that when David ascends to the throne that he will not cut off his seed or exterminate his family. There will be moments like this for you. Will you demonstrate a Saul response or a David response? Will you be a man or woman after God’s own heart or will you touch the anointing and impede your destiny?

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