1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand men out of Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good to thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord. 7 So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went his way. 8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. 1 Sam. 24:1-8
And we wonder why David was a man after God’s heart!
And we wonder why we never seem to touch God…
But the things that touch God are the things of the heart.
Imagine: here was David’s mortal enemy, Saul, sitting on his haunches right in front of him, defence-less. All it required was one strike with the sword, and all David’s problems would be gone. Well, at least that was what David’s men thought. But David was a man of the heart. Moreover, David was a man after God’s heart. That is what makes the difference. Always.
But, in a moment of weakness, David did that which was unthinkable with God: he stretched forth his hand and cut off a piece of his enemy’s robe. But, almost immediately,
“David’s heart smote him.”
And David firmly prevented his men from doing any harm to King Saul.
One time, my wife called me from her place of work. She asked me, “Are you at home?”
“Yes, I am”, I replied.
“Oh great!” she said cheerfully. She then told me, “So-and-so is traveling to Dar es Salaam and he asked me if we could lend him that big suitcase of ours since his is not big enough to carry the stuff he needs to go with. I answered him yes.”
I almost burst a vein. ‘So-and-so’ was one of my wife’s co-workers, but he also happened to be my mortal enemy. He consistently showed the uttermost contempt to my wife, even though she was his superior at work. By extension, I took it that he was insulting me also – and I had taken it to heart.
On this particular day, when my wife called me, I got extremely angry. I answered her right away, “Wife, I have an appointment in town and I am leaving right now. Tell him he can come pick it up tomorrow.”
I had no appointment with anyone in town; but I wanted to give the fellow a run for his money.
“Baba Keren”, my wife pleaded. “He has already left.”
So much the better, I thought as I hung up.
But just that morning, I had read my Bible; and the particular scripture I had read was Ephesians 6:5-8:
“5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”
The Lord had led me to read that scripture that morning because He knew I would need it. The portion that had especially touched my heart was verse 5:
“… obedient… as unto Christ.”
At that particular moment, after I had hung up on my wife, all of a sudden I realized I was not being obedient to Christ. I was not serving Christ, but my ego. I realized I needed to be serving Christ. But at what a price!
I jumped up and hurriedly picked up my phone and dialed my wife’s number. Oh, the joy of hearing her voice answering at the other end.
“Flo”, I said, trembling.
“Yes”, she replied.
“I am sorry.” It came from the depths of my heart. “I will wait for ‘So-and-so’ right here at home.”
“Ok, no problem dear. He will be there in half an hour.”
Initially, I had planned that even if he found me at home, I would wait for him inside the house. But now that had all changed. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I rushed to prepare the suitcase. I washed my face and smartened up. Then I took the suitcase and went and waited for the man outside the house. I stood there, greeting passers-by, until the man arrived half an hour later.
I knew I was serving Christ.
When the man arrived in the company car, he found me waiting for him. My heart was beating so hard because I knew that through serving this man who regularly tormented my wife, I was serving Christ.
I walked up to the car and warmly greeted the man. Then I lugged the suitcase and put it inside his car. But I did not walk away. Instead, I stood there and engaged the man in the friendliest small talk I had ever had with anyone. All the while, the man was looking intently at me. But, unbeknown to him, I was serving Christ.
When I was done, I bid him goodbye and walked back into my house. I waited to hear the sound of the car leaving, but the man did not go. He stayed there in his car outside my house for a long time. I don’t know what was going on in his mind, but I would love to think he was pondering the treatment I had given him.
Whatever the case might be, when we have the heart of Christ, we do things exactly as Christ would do them.
[And now, for your listening pleasure…]