Manipulation is like witchcraft. We manipulate to get what we want, when we don’t trust God. David had two opportunities to take matters in his own hands. Two times the demonized King Saul was delivered into his hands. Once, at En Gedi—incidentally, one of the beautiful places in Israel (and yes, we go there on our tour!), and then later at the Desert of Ziph.
In the first event, David and his men were in a cave, when Saul went in to relieve himself. “Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.” (1 Samuel 24:4) David could have reasoned, “Samuel already anointed me to be king. Saul knows this.” Jonathan, in the previous chapter, already told David:
“You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” (1 Sam. 23:17)
His men urged him to kill Saul saying,
“This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” (1 Sam. 24:4)
Bear, Lion, Giant, Saul
But David had learned, long before, that God was big enough to fight his battles. Long before he killed the giant with one blow, he had defeated the bear and the lion, while protecting his sheep. With Goliath, he rejected Saul’s armor and chose to rely on the arm of the Lord. Listen to zeal of David as he confronts the giant:
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head…the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel…it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Sam. 17:45-47)
“But Ron, in all those cases, David did kill his attackers.” This was different. David had a massive conflict of interest. In the other incidents, he was protecting others. In this case, David would benefit from killing Saul—he would most likely become king. He did not want to become the ruler through his own actions.