Summary: In this lesson we see David put in two situations where he could enact revenge on Saul. In both cases he does not take matters into his own hands, but trusts in the Lord. We learn the lesson that we can experience something better than revenge.
A. One day an elderly lady was getting ready to pull her Cadillac into a parking space when a young man whipped into her spot in his red sports car.
1. He got out and she put her window down and said, “Who do you think you are, Sonny?”
2. The young man replied, “I’m young and I’m fast, Old Lady.”
3. He proceeded to go into the store.
4. When he returned to his car, he found the elderly lady ramming her caddy into his sports car over and over again.
5. Horrified, he said to her, “Lady, who do you think you are and what are you doing?”
6. She replied, “I’m old and I’m rich and I’m getting even.”
B. The story is told of a soldier who was fighting over in Iraq who received a letter from his girlfriend that said she was breaking up with him.
1. In the letter she also asked for him to return the picture of herself that she had given him, because she needed it for her bridal announcement.
2. The soldier was heart broken and told his friends about the breakup and about her request.
3. Someone came up with this idea – the whole platoon gave him pictures of all of their girlfriends and told him to send them to his ex-girlfriend with this note – “For the life of me, I can’t remember which picture is yours, so please remove your picture from all of these pictures I’m sending and return the rest of them to me!”
C. What these two stories have in common is that they both involve vengeance.
1. Our natural inclination when someone hurts us is to try to get revenge by hurting them back.
2. Some people hold to the philosophy, “I don’t get mad, I get even!”
3. Many people believe that revenge is sweet, but is it really?
D. The truth that I want to emphasize today is that the people of God do not retaliate.
1. The people of God do not seek vengeance and do not take revenge into their own hands.
2. The people of God experience something better than revenge – they experience the blessing and justice of the Lord.
3. In the midst of their righteous behavior, they experience the peace that passes understanding.
E. If ever there was someone who had a right to take vengeance into his own hands, it was David.
1. As we have been seeing in our recent sermons, David has been conducting himself with humility, and integrity.
2. But Saul is no longer walking with God and is obsessed with jealousy and a determination to eliminate David.
3. So, as we have seen, David is on the run, and Saul is in close pursuit.
A. And so we pick up the story at the end of 1 Samuel 23.
1. The Bible says, “Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David. Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, a messenger came to Saul, saying, ‘Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.’ Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth (which means rock of parting). And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.” (1 Sam. 23:25-29)
2. You will notice on this map that the location of En Gedi is on the west shore of the Dead Sea.
3. The name “Engedi” means “spring of the goat.”
4. It was an oasis in the desert wilderness, where there were fresh water springs, waterfalls, lush vegetation, and countless caves in the rockly limestone cliffs.
5. It was a perfect hideout for David with its supply of water and being a high place provided a natural lookout where he could see the enemy coming from miles around.
B. Let’s continue the story.
1. The Bible says, “After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, ‘David is in the Desert of En Gedi.’ So Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. 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.” (1 Samuel 24:1-3)