I noticed this phenomenon as I published my post last week. I kept feeling that every time I went to my Bible, I would come back with the same lesson. I wanted to know why. My immediate question was whether I wasn't applying myself well enough to that lesson (and the Lord still wanted me to learn) or if I wasn't applying myself well enough to my studies (and thus couldn't go beyond learning what I already knew).
Last Friday morning, the Lord provided the answer. I was simply not applying the lessons I had learned. Throughout that day, I worked on applying the lesson to my life, and the next day, the Lord taught me a vastly different lesson in my devotions than that which I normally receive. That is what I would like to talk about today.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that was my introduction. I may be a bit long-winded today. But I'll try to keep it interesting nonetheless.
Last Saturday, I read in my devotions from II Samuel 1. The events take place after what we have discussed last week. In that battle with the Philistines, Saul has fallen. Meanwhile, David's battle with the Amalekites has been won; David has returned to work on restoring his home. At this point, David has not yet heard that Saul is dead.
But have no fear, he will know soon enough. Enter random unnamed Amalekite!
This Amalekite sees an opportunity in this situation. After all, David has long been thought to a threat to Saul's kingship. Now that Saul is dead, David will gain that opportunity. To claim credit for his death will mean that I will be rewarded for establishing David's kingdom.
Thus is the Amelekite's logic. He expects this to be joyous news in David's eyes, or else he would never have claimed credit for such a heinous action.
Yet at the end of the Amalekite's announcement, David responds in a most unusual way. In II Samuel 1:11-12, we hear,
"Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword."
David would later enact justice on Saul's behalf, and the lying Amalekite is killed.
Yes, David laments Saul's death. I'm sure that David remembered that Saul had tried to kill him. But apparently it doesn't matter to him. David will lament the tragedies of his enemies, and most likely praise in their successes.
But I know that I wouldn't be able to do such a thing. When someone tries to hurt me, I can't help to become bitter against them.
I'm sure I'm not alone. Today, for different reasons, people hold grudges. Whether these reasons are petty or not, we as Christians need to get over it, to forgive, to choose love.
Yes, it's not easy, but we must strive to forget the actions against us, or even our friends. We must learn to let go. We must love people enough that we can easily forgive them.
After all, when a family member hurts you, you are able to forgive them more quickly because of the love and bond you share. This should be true of everyone we come in contact with.
Let us learn to praise in the successes of everyone. Let us learn to cry at the hurt of whomever. Let us learn to abide by Jesus' exhortation in Matthew 5:43-44,
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."