1 Samuel 24:1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines (looking for David), he was told, “David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to look for David and his men in the direction of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 The men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” Then David went and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. 5 Afterward David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the Lord’s anointed.” 7 So David scolded his men severely and did not permit them to attack Saul. Then Saul got up and left the cave, and went on his way.
V.2 tells us there were 3,000 men with Saul, which is almost 10 times the number of men with David. David is vastly outnumbered and then finds himself trapped in a cave in which Saul, the man who wants ti kill David, enters the cave to relieve himself. If there was every a golden opportunity to take out Saul, this was it. But David refuses, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord…”.
In one sense, this may have been a strategic move. David would likely have succeeded in killing Saul, but that would still leave him outnumbered almost 10 to 1. David would likely have ended up dead along with all of his men.
However, the sense I get from the passage is that David didn’t think it was God’s time yet. He believed God would make good on his promise to make him king of Israel – eventually. And given God’s faithfulness to David in the past, David could afford to let Saul live.
One of the clearest traits I admire about David is his faith that the Lord would keep his promises. Trust means I can leave things in God’s hands when appropriate. It’s not all up to me. Lord let it be so. Amen.