David is heartbroken. He’s shattered by the news which comes to him that Saul is dead. The man he served and loved – and was violently persecuted by – was, afterall, the Lord’s anointed (v.14). That belief kept David from harming Saul over the years when David was a hunted fugitive. Now he’s told that Saul and Jonathan, David’s closest friend, are dead. It’s obvious that the Amalekite is seeking a reward for not only the news, but for the slaying of Saul. The reward he gets is his own death at David’s command (vv.15-16). David then sinks in grief, and also celebrates God’s goodness, in the lives of these two completely different men – murderous Saul and loyal Jonathan (vv.17-27).
“Weep for Saul” is the King’s command (v.24). That must astonish us. Saul wanted to kill David. David refused to kill Saul. No revenge, no self-defence? The world may call it cowardice, but the Bible shows it for what it is: strength, courage and faith. He will bless, and not curse.
Another King commands His followers, “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt. 5.44). Jesus loved and gave himself for twelve men who were to abandon Him, including one who betrayed Him. He loved them, taught them, washed their feet and bled for them. Can you love, even love those who hurt you, humiliate you, ignore you or wound you in other ways? The King says you can and you must. His grace means that you will. And that life alone is the life of true freedom and peace.
A Prayer to Pray
Father, my heart is narrow and hard, and too often burns only with the fire of self-righteousness and revenge. Forgive me. Empower me, to love, to forgive, to serve, to persevere, all dependent upon Your grace. Make me like Your Servant Son, strong only in the working-out of forgiving love, in the power of Your grace. Amen.