David Cuts Saul’s Garment, Part 1

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 offense 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.

To Be Continued Next Week
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