For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. – Proverbs 3:12
52 For no good reason, my enemies hunted me down like a bird.
53 They shut me up in a pit and threw stones at me.
The history of Christianity is marred and tarnished by outrageous, vicious persecution of others within the Christian faith that held to different beliefs. Such disgraceful activity sullies the faith and ultimately dishonors the Lord Jesus Christ. For many, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is discredited as a viable option.
Divergent interpretations of Scripture are at the core of much of the friction. In the 16th century, a significant point of contention was baptism. Most people who called themselves Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant, believed in infant baptism. Small minority groups, here and there, held that baptism should only occur after a person accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. This came to be called “believers baptism.”
The Anabaptists were one of those groups. Protestants and Catholics alike reviled them. They were persecuted, hunted, and massacred in large numbers. Anabaptist means “re-baptizers.” It was the name given to them by their enemies
In Zurich, on Jan 28, 1525, city authorities ordered two bible teachers, Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz, to stop teaching interpretations of the Scriptures that contradicted the officially approved doctrines of the city. They did not stop. So Manz was murdered by drowning. This method of execution was intended to mock and to show contempt for adult baptism. The Anabaptists fled to Moravia, where they were welcomed.
In Moravia, Jakob Hutter became their leader. Jakob Hutter and his wife Katherine Purst became hunted fugitives. Eventually, they too were found and killed. Surviving Hutterites emigrated to the United States. Presently, thousands live in Canada, the United States, and Paraguay.
In the Scriptures, King David was also hunted. Initially, David was welcomed by King Saul. Saul loved the sounds and melodies of his beautiful music. David’s harp playing brought great comfort to Saul. Soon things changed drastically. Saul became resentful and sought to kill David. He threw a spear at him twice. Finally, Saul sent assassins to kill David, but they failed (1 Samuel 19). David was stalked for the next 15 years.
What was the source of Saul’s hatred? Jealousy!
1 Samuel 18:7-8
7 This was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”
8 This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next, they’ll be making him their king!”
REFLECT & PRAY
It is easy to be foolish and rude, but it is never wise.
Father help me to learn from the examples of David and Abigail. David was obedient and followed Your word. Abigail was wise of a serpent and gentle as a dove.
As the hunted, what did David do when he had the opportunity to kill Saul? David spared Saul’s life twice. The Father arranged circumstances in which Saul was very vulnerable, and David could have easily killed him. Why did the Father give David the opportunity to kill Saul? The Father was transforming David’s character. The opportunities that the Father gave David were actually tests to see how well his maturation process was going.
David passed the Father’s exams with flying colors. Perhaps no more excellent example of the practice of wisdom is found than in David’s response to Saul (Constable).
But there is more to the story. With a touch of irony, a two-sided object lesson plays out. No one was to harm the Lord’s anointed. “David proved that he was not trying to kill Saul because Saul was the Lord’s anointed. Furthermore, he showed that it was inappropriate for Saul to seek to kill him because he, too, was the Lord’s anointed, as Saul now knew (1 Samuel 24:20). David modeled for Saul what the king’s dealings with him should have been” (Constable).
The Father gave explicit commands regarding those who are His “anointed.”
1 Chronicles 16:22 “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”
The Scriptures are also clear regarding revenge and retribution. Sooner or later, the Father will take care of the matter. Just leave it in His hands.
Deuteronomy 32:35 ‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near, and the impending things are hastening upon them.’
David spared Saul’s life in a cave near the Rocks of the Wild Goats. (1 Samuel 24:3-7). In doing so, David followed both the letter and spirit of the Father’s law.
1 Samuel 24:6 He said to his men. “The LORD forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the LORD’s anointed one, for the LORD himself has chosen him.”
David was a warrior with a temper. He was more than willing and able to kill his enemies. Remember the song sung by the women in cities throughout Israel, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” (1 Samuel 18:7-8)
David had learned a great lesson because of Nabal and Abigail. Nabal was cruel, harsh, rich, and selfish. That, in and of itself, is a terrible combination. Today’s news is replete with stories of how it plays out.
David and his men had guarded Nabal’s flocks and shepherds. They protected them from wild animals and thieves. The time came for fitting payment to be made for their services. David sent ten of his men, and they politely asked for appropriate compensation. Nabal rudely rejected their request. This may be an appropriate time to mention that Nabal’s name means fool.
When David hears what Nabal did, he is furious. He takes 400 of his men and heads off to totally wipe out Nabal and his men. As the Father would have it, Nabal’s wife Abigail was far wiser than Nabal. She was no fool. She gathers up various types of foods, wine, and sheep. She meets David and pleads with him for mercy. She takes personal responsibility for all of Nabal’s stupid behavior. She is very clever with her words.
1 Samuel 25:27-28
27 And here is a present that I, your servant, have brought to you and your young men.
28 Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. The LORD will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the LORD’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life.
She looked to that future time when David would become king and replace Saul. Up until now, he had a spotless record. He was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). She cautioned him against tarnishing his reputation with one reckless act of rage.
1 Samuel 25:30-31
30 When the LORD has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel,
31 do not let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the LORD has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!”
David stopped in his tracks. Her wisdom and grace had saved the day. She has prevented him from committing murder that could well have dogged him for the rest of his life. He praises her for her wisdom and the bountiful provision for his men. David recognized that the Father had sent Abigail to prevent him from seeking his own revenge.
1 Samuel 25:32-33
32 David replied to Abigail, “Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today!
33 Thank God for your good sense! Bless you, for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands.
The Father Himself brought a rather swift end to the matter. Deuteronomy 32:35 “I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip . . ..” (Deuteronomy 32:35). About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal, and he died (1 Samuel 25:38).
Having passed his first test with flying colors regarding Saul, I imagine the second time around was a tad bit easier. He had seen the Father terminate Nabal for his audacious, rude, boorish, and foolish behavior. But it still was a test. Once again, the Father arranged circumstances where David could easily kill Saul. Saul is asleep at night in his camp (1 Samuel 26:5-11). Again, David spared his life.
1 Samuel 26:11 “The LORD forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!”
How are your exams going?
© Dr. H 2022