No questionable means need be employed to help out God’s plans for our advancement (v. 10).
God can weaken the strongest and befool the wisest on our behalf.
Wait His time.
I Samuel 1
1 And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?
2 Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
3 And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.
4 David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed.
5 ¶ And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him.
6 Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.
7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him.
8 Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.
9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless?
10 David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.
11 The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.
12 So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them.
13 ¶ Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them:
14 And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king?
15 And David said to Abner, Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord.
16 This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD’S anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.
17 And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.
18 And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand?
19 Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods.
20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.
21 ¶ Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.
22 And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it.
23 The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed.
24 And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.
25 Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
I Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Samuel 26:1-12 – Sparing His Enemy’s Life
The Ziphites’ treachery served as a foil to the intrinsic nobility of David’s character. God made the wrath of man to praise Him, and restrained the remainder, Psalm 76:10, so that His servant escaped as a bird out of the fowler’s snare. Read here, Psalm 54.
It was a bold act for David and Abishai to thread their way between watch-fires and sentries, and talk in whispers over the prostrate body of the sleeping monarch. As David says in one of the Psalms (Psalm 18:29), “By thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.” The special share attributed here to God is the deep sleep which had fallen on the camp, I Samuel 26:12. The Lord who put the resolve into David’s mind, cooperated in its execution. We are sometimes led by a divine impulse, and God will set His seal on our act; but we should not throw ourselves into peril unless the occasion plainly requires it. We are not at liberty to cast ourselves down from the mountain, unless it is clearly God’s will. In David’s case, there was sufficient reason for this adventure; first, that Saul might be warned once more; and second, that the integrity of the young outlaw might be established.
1 Samuel 26:13-25 – Facing the Truth at Last
It is good to notice David’s frequent references to the living Lord. See I Samuel 26:10, 16, 23. The fact is that he was always waiting on God. See Psalm 40, which may have emanated from this period in his life. David would take no mean advantage of his adversary. He would not retaliate nor avenge his wrongs. He refused to admit the specious argument that opportunity means permission, and license, liberty. He quieted the fever of his soul, resisted the subtle temptation of the adversary, and elected to wait for the slow unfolding of the divine purpose. Calm thyself; God is working out the plan of thy life! In His own time—the best time—he will give thee thy heart’s desire!
When David gave such unmistakable evidences of his loyalty, innocence and affection, Saul was overcome with emotion, and confessed that he had played the fool. It is thus that we may win men still. The man who can watch with God shows that he is possessed of spiritual strength which others must acknowledge. Fret not thyself because of evil-doers; trust in the Lord; delight in the Lord; roll the way of thy life on the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
I Samuel 26:21—Then said Saul, I have sinned.
The Apostle makes a great distinction, and rightly, between the sorrow of the world and the sorrow of a godly repentance which needeth not to be repented of. Certainly Saul’s confession of sin belonged to the former; whilst the cry of the latter comes out in Psalm 51, extorted from David by the crimes of after years.
The difference between the two may be briefly summarized in this, that the one count sin a folly and regrets its consequences; whilst the other regards sin as a crime done against the most Holy God, and regrets the pain given to Him. “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” (Psalm 51:4).
Obviously Saul’s confession was of the former description, “I have played the fool.” He recognized the un-kingliness of his behavior, and the futility of his efforts against David. But he stayed there, stopping short of a faithful recognition of his position in the sight of God, as weighed in the balances of eternal justice.
Many a times in Scripture we meet with this confession. The Prodigal, Judas, Pharaoh, David, and Saul, uttered it; but in what differing tones, and with what differing motives! We need to winnow our words before God; not content with using the expressions of penitence, unless we are very sure that they bear the mint mark of heaven, and deserve the master’s Beatitude (Matthew 5:4), “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
When sin is humbly confessed, the Savior assures us (Luke 7:47, 50): Thy “sins, which are many, are forgiven…thee; go in peace.” “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).