In Lockdown With David


Not long after Saul became king of Israel, he very quickly turned away from God and His ways and as a result, God intended to remove him from the throne and replace him with David.

‘But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.’ 1 Samuel 13:14

And make no mistake about it, Saul hunted David down like a dog, determined to kill him. In fact, he tried to kill David on at least 14 different occasions.

In contrast with Saul’s efforts to kill David, David had two opportunities to kill Saul but refused to kill him. Once whilst he was in a cave at En Gedi and second when Saul was lying inside his camp, with his army encamped around him.

I want to speak about David’s first opportunity to kill Saul. This is an event which David would later write about in Psalm 57:1-11. After being told where David was, Saul got three thousand men together and set out to find David.

‘After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.’ 1 Samuel 24:1-2

The name ‘Ein Gedi’ means ‘spring of the goat,’ referring to the wild goats that lived in this area and in this area, there were many caves.

‘He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.’ 1 Samuel 24:3-7

Now David and his 600 men are in lockdown inside one of those caves. But can you imagine what was going through the minds of David’s men!

I can imagine when they look out of the cave and see Saul and his army coming near, they would be panicking.

I can imagine them thinking that they’ve come to the end of the road, they’re going to be killed along with David.

And as Saul comes closer and closer to the cave, David and his 600 men go to the back of the cave to hide and arm themselves to get ready to fight.

Little did they know that Saul simply wanted to go into the cave and use it as a bathroom and so, in a sense David’s men were also relieved.

David appears to be totally oblivious to what his men are thinking and so, he sneaks up to Saul and cuts off a piece of his robe.

But notice David’s conscience got the better of him.

Why was this, why was he troubled because of what he had done?

Well, remember Saul was the Lord’s anointed king. By cutting off a piece of his robe that might lead some to think that David was against the Lord’s anointed and wanted to take over his throne.

This shows us how much respect David had for God and God’s anointed king. David knows it was God who has raised up Saul, and it is God who will remove him.

To some extent, we can sympathise with David’s men here because they too have been hunted down like dogs. As far as they are concerned, it was God who caused Saul to come into the cave so that they can kill him.

I mean if you were being hunted down like a dog, and if your enemy came into a cave where you were hiding, wouldn’t you want to kill him?

I can imagine his men saying, David, just kill the guy now and be done with it. If you kill him now, we won’t have to live on the run anymore.

David saw things differently, he knew that it would be better to live on the run than be guilty of killing God’s anointed king.

What would you have done in David’s situation?

Would you have killed Saul in order to get respect from your men?

Or would you have done what David did?

“We ought to obey God rather than men.” Act 5:29

David’s lockdown came to an end, as the lockdown we’re in will also come to an end.

After the incident in the cave, David comes out of lockdown to meet Saul.

‘This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the LORD’s anointed.’ See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.’ 1 Samuel 24:10-13

David could have had his revenge in the cave by killing Saul but instead, he showed kindness and compassion towards Saul.

And we too when we come face to face with our enemies, need to show kindness and compassion to them.

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” Proverbs 25:21-22

No wonder David is called a man after God’s own heart.

‘After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22

Stay blessed, stay focused, and stay in Christ.