1 Samuel 24 How to Treat your enemies


Because of Saul’s Jealousy David had to flee the palace and  became a fugitive. Saul lied about him and made it where many people were trying to kill him. Most people we know are not out to hurt us physically but they do  go after our reputation making us look bad in the eyes of others.

What would you have done if you were David?

This was years of mistreatment and your friends and family have suffered and you have been living like a wild animal all because the jealousy of one person. You have already been anointed King by the Prophet Samuel and now it seems that God has delivered your enemy, and the one who is not just hurting you but everyone else around you, into your hands. Saul was in a blind rage at this point chasing after one man who did no wrong instead of focusing on his real enemy which was the Philistines. Saul had to stop chasing David for a time because of the Philistines but as soon as that battle over he took the best 3000 men he had to go and find David. Saul had no regard for any of his men or even the nation he was to serve because he was bent on destroying David s life.  Jealousy is lumped in with demonic activity and so we need to make sure we do not become jealous of others or we to can become like Saul.

1)    Protect Enemy from others

How we treat those who are the most vulnerable says a lot about us. Whether it is a baby in a womb or a senior adult that needs constant assistance how we care for those who are vulnerable says a lot about our character and our view of life.

Saul was in a vulnerable position and he did not even know it and the one who had made David’s life miserable could have been killed without a thought by David’s men.  But how we treat those we hate shows more about us than anything else. There is not one time written in the Bible that we read that  David wanted Saul to be killed.

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

David had pressure from 600 followers who wanted David to kill Saul. This was so unusual of a circumstance that it really did seem that God delivered Saul directly into the hands of David and his 600 men. David’s men made it sound as though they were quoting scripture but nothing they said could be found in God’s word. When people want to justify their actions they sometimes either misinterpret scriptures or make things up that sound like scripture.

We will all stand before God not just for how we are treated but how we responded to those who hurt us.

David’s actions were not just his own but he affected a whole group of men. They would have to all continue to live lives of discomfort because David was doing the right thing. The right thing does not always lead to a life of ease but it does lead to a life that honors God. Even Saul knew that the way David acted was of God and was not the normal course of action any man would take.

Re-Read vs 19

2)    Treat Enemy with respect

Luke 6:31And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

David did not treat Saul as he was treated; he treated him the way he wanted to be treated. When we read about part of the robe being cut off we think that is not a big deal because we do not understand the significance of it. It was an act that showed a transfer of power from one king to another and it made Sauls robe non-compliant to the code of the Torah (Numbers 15:38-39; Deuteronomy 22:12) This is why David was saddened because he knew the gesture he made toward Saul was significant and demeaning to one who had authority.  God had commanded Israel not to curse their rulers (Exodus 22:28) and this action was a curse upon the King that God had established.

David called Saul his Lord and King; He honored his position even though the man was not worthy of the respect he was getting. David’s respect for earthly authority was based on him believing in divine authority. You cannot say, as a Christian, that this is how they treat me so that is how they will be treated. If you do not want to be like your enemy then you need to make sure that hatred does not consume you but also that your actions are not the actions of they one who is trying to destroy you.

3)    Try and Help Enemy see their errors

Matthew 18:15 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

David wanted the relationship to be set back right at the risk of his and the men who were with him.  By David coming out of the cave he was giving his location to Saul and Saul could have easily turned his army loose on David and his men.

David did not blame Saul but an anonymous person that was giving him bad counsel.  David pleaded with Saul and tried to get him to see the errors in his thinking . David wanted Saul to understand that if he killed David, he was killing an innocent man and then he would face Gods judgement (Exodus 23:7) Davids concern was for Saul and not just his own life.

When you can really say that you are trying to help the one that hates you for their own benefit you will understand the heart of God.

Saul was foolish to make the enemy David because the real enemy was the philistines. Christians tend to get focused on a hurt done by an individual that they forget who the real enemy is. Davids words had an impact on Saul because Saul says that David is more righteous than he was. Is that not our goal as Christians to be more righteous instead of having wrongs made right?

4)    Let God judge your enemies

Re- read vs 12

Romans 12:18-21 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[a] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I don’t want God to judge them because He is too nice. We like to take scripture out of context and say things like, “Vengeance is mine sayeth the lord,  I am just His tool”

One day we will all give an account and it will be better if we allow God to be the Judge of others on this earth so that we can stand before Him with a clear conscience on the day of judgment.  David was going to allow God to do the vindicating and he let Saul know that there was nothing he was going to do to harm him.

5)    You don’t have to trust your enemies again

David did not go back with Saul and they did not become great friends.  Forgiveness and trust are two different things and need to be treated as such. When you forgive someone for the hurt they do to you that does not mean you have to let them back into your life again.

In 1 Samuel 26 Saul comes after David again with 3000 men and David had another opportunity to kill him but chooses not to. David this time takes his spear and water jug to let Saul know that he could have killed him twice. David did not trust Saul to the point that he went to live among the Philistines (1 Samuel 27) There are times when a relationship cannot be made right not because of you but because of the other person. Christians are sometimes foolish to keep opening themselves up to hurt and disappointment when the persons actions do not change.

Who is your enemy?

Who has hurt you so badly that you are consumed with their destruction?

What you may not realize is that the hurt you are holding onto is actually keeping you in bondage and not them so you need to ask God to free you from the hurt they have done to you.


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