Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 1:1-2:11, John 12:20-50, Psalm 118:19-29, Proverbs 15:27-28.
Okay, so the month of May has been hard for me! I hope the rest of you are doing better than I am. I have kept up (for the most part) with the reading, but have not had time to really dig in and study it. But, I don’t give up! And I hope you won’t either. We will just press on and pick up where we left off.
In today’s reading, we see David being informed of Saul and Jonathan’s death. We would expect great grief in hearing the news of the loss of his best friend, Jonathan, and would equally expect that he would have relief in the death of Saul, his great enemy. The messenger with this news was an Amalekite, one of the very people that David had just defeated. He must have also expected David to be glad to hear of the news of the death of Saul, for as Matthew Henry said, “Saul was the man whom he most feared and Jonathan the man whom he most loved.” Why would the Amalekite feel safe and comfortable coming to the one who just defeated his people? Because he thought David would have a “normal” reaction to the news. He may have thought that he would even be rewarded for his part in Saul’s death. But David wasn’t “normal”, he was a man after God’s own heart. He was not filled with the bitter root of revenge and unforgiveness. He was not filled with the selfish chain of personal ambition. So, when the news came, David surprisingly grieved not only for Jonathan, but for Saul, too. He grieved over the death of his greatest enemy and went so far as to put to death the messenger for his part in his death.
David tore his clothes in grief and wept and fasted. Though his feelings were sincere—which could only come from a pure heart—they also were wise, for Proverbs 17:5 says,
“whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.”
Though David of all men could have gloated over the death of Saul, he did not. He showed respect and sincere grief and he led those around him to the same attitude. And David went a step further. He put his feeling to the pen and used his gift of writing as a means to honor Saul. He wrote this poem as a public lamentation, which would not only honor Saul at that time, but would allow future generations to honor him.
And so, my thoughts turn to my own heart. I want to be one who is after God’s own heart. But am I willing to let the Holy Spirit transform me so that every root of bitterness is gone? Am I willing to let go of every “right” of revenge? Am I sickened by the secret sin of gloating? Am I willing to suffer with those who suffer and rejoice with those who rejoice? Am I willing to move aside and let God so totally consume me so that my reactions, as well as my actions, are totally pure. Am I willing to step aside from “normal” and be renewed by the transformation of my mind—so that I may see as God sees, not as the world sees?
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”