Trust in God Rather than Revenge

Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 26:23-24
23 The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The Lord delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.” 

Reflection: Trust in God Rather than Revenge
By Erin Newton

Christians on social media have been increasingly vocal about leaders and the inconsistency between words and actions. Offenses are brought to light, perhaps going viral, and arguments ensue. Some leaders take to the internet to utter quick, empty apologies or lengthy rebuttals defending their cause. In the wake of the ebb and flow of quips and retorts, trust is forfeited.

David was acutely aware of the damage and ever-lingering effects from broken trust. From friend to foe, David’s relationship with Saul was damaged. Although the king said he was sorrowful and feigned a sense of remorse, his temperamental character revealed his true self. Saul would stop at nothing to bring David down.

Thankfully, David’s trust in God overpowered his desire for revenge and he resolved to let God determine the conclusion to Saul’s life. It is imperative to see that while mercy is shown, the offense is not concealed. He reiterated to Saul that he was being pursued unjustly. David did not avoid exposing the sins of Saul. Avoiding accountability is not love.

We often read stories with ourselves in the place of the virtuous character. We want to be like David, always heralded for our mercy to those who seek our harm. And we should. There are times when abusive leaders must hear the truth of the pain and suffering caused by their own agendas. We seek truth but not vengeance. There is a time and place for our hand to cease and the will of God to be done.

Moreover, let us ensure that we’re not, in fact, Saul. Do we betray the trust of others? Are we posting empty words while waiting for the next chance to strike back? Do we say what is desirable now and mean nothing in the long run? Do our actions support our words? In places of authority, we cannot become tyrannical and narcissistic. What we say and what we do must work in tandem, not in tension.

Trust is broken when words and actions conflict. The great news is that God has been faithful to fulfill the promises of his words. This is why David can trust God with Saul’s life and his own. God promised deliverance from Egypt and it was done. (Psalm 78). God promised salvation and he came to us. (John 1). We can trust God because his words and actions are always aligned.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I have sworn and am determined to keep your righteous judgments. — Psalm 119.106

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Samuel 26 (Listen – 4:30) 
1 Corinthians 7 (Listen – 6:09)

Read more about Revenge to Redemption
When there is no justice, revenge is what we settle for. If we don’t trust in God, revenge may be all we think there is to justice.

Read more about Abandon Human Vengeance
Those who continue to stoop to hatred, fear, and exaggeration are worshipers of results, not the Redeemer.

Contributors’ Choice :: Jon Polk

Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 6.14
By his power, God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.

1 Corinthians 15.56-57
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

From John Tillman: This season of Readers’ Choice has been a joy. I’m pleased to wind it down with three selections from contributing writer, Jon Polk. We will be hearing from Jon in devotions this September as well. Thanks to all for sharing a few steps of your faith journeys with us.

Reflection: Contributors’ Choice :: Jon Polk
Selected by contributing writer, Jon Polk, from Hong Kong

Theology is Like a Watch
Originally posted, January 30th, 2019

Jon: It is easy for us to forget that Jesus likely would not have been considered a “good church member” because he was always ruffling the feathers of the church leadership of his day! When he broke or bent Jewish laws, he did so both to demonstrate that he had come to fulfill the law and that he was Lord above the law. Baxter’s analogy of theology as a watch with intricate pieces reminds us that we should read all of scripture through the “Jesus lens.” 

“‘Theology is a curious, well-composed frame. Just as it is not enough that you have all the parts of your watch or clock, but you must see that every part is in its proper place, or else it will not go, or answer its end; so it is not enough that you know the various parts of theology or law, unless you know them in their true order and priority.’

When Jesus is asked what the two greatest commandments are, his answer tells us how to set our watch by the two guideposts on which hang the entire law—Love God and love others.”

Our Opportunistic Opponent
Originally posted, February 18th, 2019

Jon: This post is an excellent reminder that Satan is neither as powerful as we often like to make him out to be, nor is he uninvolved in the world. Wouldn’t it be much easier to resist temptation if the devil always showed up in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork? 

“Temptations are a time for us to come to terms with our limitations and recognize our sinfulness. In times of tempting, when we feel our limitations, there is comfort knowing that our tempter is also limited. His opportunity to torment us will come to an end. By Christ’s mercy we can resist Satan and he will flee. But just as when Satan left Jesus in the wilderness, he is only waiting for an opportune time to return.”

He Stoops to Raise
Originally posted, June 18th, 2019

Jon: While I acknowledge that the Resurrection is the miracle which provides our hope for salvation, I’ve always felt that the deep miracle of the Incarnation is more profound. God himself, acquiesces to human limitations, being born as a helpless human baby, totally dependent on human parents. God willingly sets aside his divine nature in order to walk among us so that we might know him. What a sacrifice! May it inspire us to do the same, not looking to our own interests but to the interests of others.

“He strips himself.
He lays aside
His Heaven
His throne
His clothes
His life

He lowers himself
Steps down, descends
He stoops
He kneels
Head bowed
He bends”

Divine Hours Prayer:  A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “Disciple is not superior to teacher, nor slave to master. It is enough for the disciple to grow to be like his teacher, and slave like master…” — Matthew 10.24-25

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Samuel 23 (Listen – 4:18) 
1 Corinthians 4 (Listen – 3:15)

This Weekend’s Readings
1 Samuel 24 (Listen – 3:36), 1 Corinthians 5 (Listen – 1:58)
1 Samuel 25 (Listen – 7:12), 1 Corinthians 6 (Listen – 3:03)
1 Samuel 26 (Listen – 4:30), 1 Corinthians 7 (Listen – 6:09)

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Read more about Too Much to Hold
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