by: Jonathan Painter
“And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty. Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean.” – I Samuel 20:25-26
We find here in this story from the first book of Samuel that Saul is seeking to destroy David out of jealousy. We would see if we read the preceding chapters that Saul made attempts on David’s life. David behaved himself wisely with the realization that there is but one step between himself and death. In light of these facts, David felt that discretion dictated that he not attempt the king’s feast for his nobles and princes. Therefore, when the feast was put on, we find that Abner, Jonathan and King Saul was there, but David’s place was empty. The king had expected the presence of David at the dinner, but when he was absent we find that Saul simply reasoned within himself that David was unclean. Saul assumed that David had a problem or an issue that hindered his attending rather than the truthful fact that David was absent for fear of what hr would do, and had already tried to do.
We are quick to recognize the folly of Saul’s reasoning, but would we be so quick to admit that we are the same way? We may not be seeking to kill someone as was Saul, but our reasoning for actions that we take follows along the same line.
It’s not MY fault!
Saul could not recognize that HE was the cause for David’s absence, but rather that David must have been unclean. We do not want to admit that if we are involved with a strained relationship it might just be our fault. We gripe and complain about the other party involved, but we never analyze the situation honestly to see if we might be at fault. We complain about how we can’t ever get anything from our parents, but we fail to recognize the bad attitude we display that is straining that relationship. You get upset at a peer at school because they irritate you, but you won’t realize that you are simply an irritable person. If you are in a strained relationship or a conflict with a friend or authority in your life, you would be wise to step back and analyze the situation and find where you are at fault. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matthew 7:3
Let me throw a pity party!
Unfortunately, Saul’s life illustrates a disturbing pattern that develops when we are unable to recognize our own faults. “That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” 1 Samuel 22:8
Saul continues to blame David for his problems and also Jonathan, but he goes a step further and begins to get upset because nobody seemed to be sorry for him. Saul wanted to have a pity party; he wanted his servants to be weeping over him and consoling him because he was in a conflict with his servant David, and his son Jonathan.
Sadly, this is often our response to conflict. We have to tell everyone about it in order to receive consolation from our “friends.” I have found that in a conflict, the party who speaks the loudest is usually the one at fault. David simply tried to be faithful, but it was Saul who had grown jealous and sought the destruction of David. Saul could not see this, and furthermore was attempting to move all those around him against his faithful servant, David.
Innocent people are hurt
The conflict between Saul and David became so great that innocent bystanders were hurt. “Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house? Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.” 1 Samuel 22:14-16 Saul allowed this conflict to get so big with his inability to recognize the real problem that innocent people suffered.
When you let the conflict you are involved in fester for so long it will eventually affect people who aren’t even involved. We begin to talk about the conflict and influence others against our “enemy” causing enmity between them. You may not physically kill someone because of your conflict, but you might kill a friendship or spiritually wound someone. Don’t let a conflict linger because you are unable to recognize your own fault in the issue at hand. Analyze it honestly with thoughtful prayer, fix yourself and you will find that most conflict will dissolve very quickly if you would just recognize your fault.
Lincoln Baptist Church