A desire to retaliate is in our nature as human beings. Out battlecry is an “eye for an eye”. But we must learn, like David, that, when morally wronged, vengeance does not belong to us. Rather, it belongs to our faithful and righteous God.
Throughout the book of 1 Samuel and here in chapter 19, David was on the run from a man by the name of Saul whose hatred for David had caused him to go out of his way to pursue the death of David. Over the years, Saul had become so focused on building his own kingdom that he was willing to eradicate anyone that seemed to get in his way. Such was the case with David. David had become a perceived threat in the mind of Saul that needed to be eradicated. In chapter 19, we see Saul’s third attempt to kill David. Saul made it clear what his wish was in verse 1 when he “spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.” Thankfully, Jonathan, Saul’s son helped to protect David by letting him on to his father’s plans. Later, when David was back in the palace after defeating the Philistines in battle, Saul became jealous and “sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin” (v. 10). Thankfully, once again, David was able to flee out of his presence. David couldn’t even go back and find safety at his own house because of danger his life was in. Finally, David fled to Samuel who went with him and dwelt at Naioth. Saul heard of this and tried to send three squads of soldiers to kill David but, once again, God protected David.
David lived a life where he constantly faced relentless attacks from Saul. Yet David realized a very important lesson in the midst of this. In many of the Psalms and in today’s reading (Ps. 35), David’s prayers are recorded. And what we see is a man who is hounded by his enemies because of his stand for the Lord and, yet, we never see David seeking retaliation against his enemies. Rather, David had a proper perspective. In Psalm 35, David said “Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help” (vv. 1-2). David understood that God was his sustainer, deliverer, and righteous judge. David realized that vengeance belongs to God. David learned to triumph in the deliverance of God and His promise that He would execute righteous judgment upon the enemies of God.
When we are in trouble, distressed, ridiculed, mocked for the sake of Christ, and done wrong against, we must learn like David to turn these things over to the Lord in faith, trusting in Him to plead our cause and to fight for His own.