Once More With Feeling

david had the opportunity in a cave to kill the king who was hunting him down.  In the open the same opportunity occurs.  David shows how he is submitted to God’s will and God’s annointed by demonstrating his power over Saul without abusing saul personally.  Saul’s erratic and possibly borderline behavior comes through as he regrets his pursuit of David.

It is hard knowing how to deal with those who have mental illnesses.  However, it must be harder to be a person afflicted with one.  Again, I feel sympathy for Saul.  However, this does not justify his actions.  Although David’s actions are righteous and merciful, Saul’s actions are the result of sin.

Imagine what it must be like to be borderline.  Borderline is defined as: 

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:  

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. 

  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. 

  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5. 

  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior 

  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). 

  7. chronic feelings of emptiness 

  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights) 

  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

If Saul is diagnosed as bipolar, paranoid and borderline, does that negate the idea that an evil spirit from God brought about his actions?  The two ideas need not be mutually exclusive.  The evil spirit from God might have profound psychological affects.  What do you think?

1 Samuel 26

 1The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?”

 2 So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search there for David. 3 Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, 4he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.

 5Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.

 6David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?”

   “I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.

 7So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.

 8Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”

 9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

 12So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the LORD had put them into a deep sleep.

 13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. 14He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?”

   Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?”

 15 David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. 16What you have done is not good. As surely as the LORD lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the LORD’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”

 17Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?”

   David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18 And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the LORD has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the LORD! They have driven me today from my share in the LORD’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the LORD. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

 21Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.”

 22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 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. 24As surely as I valued your life today, so may the LORD value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”

 25Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”

   So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.

Questions

  1. Where was David hiding?
  2. What opportunity did David have?
  3. Why didn’t David kill Saul?
  4. What shortcuts can you take on the work God has given you to do?
  5. Is there a circumstance where you can respond with mercy and grace rather than righteous judgement?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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14 Responses to Once More With Feeling

  1. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. David was hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon.
    2. David had the opportunity to kill Saul while he was sleeping.
    3. David didn’t kill Saul because he recognized that Saul was God’s anointed, and that it was not David’s place to kill him
    4. I can do things my own way, doing what I think is best rather than trusting God and waiting for Him to do His will.
    5. I can respond with mercy and grace rather than righteous judgment when I am dealing with people who have done wrong to me or if I have been treated unfairly.

  2. Rebecca Langer says:

    1. Where was David hiding?
    David was hiding in the wilderness by the hill of Hakilah which faces Jeshimon.
    2. What opportunity did David have?
    David again could have easily killed Saul.
    3. Why didn’t David kill Saul?
    David did not kill Saul because Saul was the Lord’s annointed and he did not want to lay a hand on one whom the Lord had chosen.
    4. What shortcuts can you take on the work God has given you to do?
    I can assume that if there is an easier way than that way is from God. This is definitely not always true.
    5. Is there a circumstance where you can respond with mercy and grace rather than righteous judgment?
    Yes. When someone wrongs you, you can show forgiveness and grace instead of anger.

  3. Amy Kringle says:

    1. The Hill of Hakilah
    2. The opportunity to kill Saul while he was asleep.
    3. Because he was the Lord’s anointed.
    4. I can run away from responsibility and pretend it is not my “calling” to do something, like encouraging others, or caring about the oppressed, or standing up for truth.
    5. Being the first to step forward in a friendship where wrong has been done both ways and apologize first instead of waiting for an apology on their part.

  4. Cassie Clark says:

    1.David was hiding in the Desert of Ziph.
    2.He could have killed Saul, very easily.
    3.He considered Saul to be chosen by God and knew it would be wrong to harm him.
    4.I can (and do) give half my love and effort into the relationships God has entrusted to me.
    5.Yes. In the relationships that have failed me, it is so easily to offer

  5. aaron wright says:

    1. close to the hill of hakilah
    2. Saul was sleeping and David had the easy opportunity to end Saul’s life
    3. Saul was anointed by the Lord and David honored that
    4. I can become lazy in school and become apathetic to the priorities that He has placed in my life
    5. Yes, some people speak hatred out of a lack of proper self identification and I can choose to love them back despite what they say to me because a loving word is what they really need

  6. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. David was hiding on the hill of Hakilah.
    2. He could have killed Saul was he was sleeping.
    3. David did not kill Saul because he was God’s anointed.
    4. I can decide to slack off and not do things to the best of my abilities.
    5. When people sin against me, I can respond with grace and mercy and forgive them instead of responding in judgement. It is not my job to judge them, rather it is my job to forgive.

  7. HeeJin,Choi says:

    1.Where was David hiding?
    -The Hill of Hakilah
    2.What opportunity did David have?
    -He could have killed Saul.
    3.Why didn’t David kill Saul?
    -Because he thought that He should not harm God’ anointed with his hands, and even if Saul had a sin to be punished, the judgement will be carried out by God.
    4.What shortcuts can you take on the work God has given you to do?
    – There should be nothing, but I’m taking a shortcut in many situations.
    5.Is there a circumstance where you can respond with mercy and grace rather than righteous judgement?
    – When forgiveness for others is needed

  8. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. Daivd was hiding on the hill of Hakilah.
    2. David had the chance to kill Saul.
    3. David didn’t kill Saul becuase he knew that he was the Lord’s annointed and it would not be right for him to kill him against the Lord’s will.
    4. I can take shortcuts in my school work, by just getting it done as fast as I can and doing the bare minimum, or I can learn and meditate on what the Lord has so graciously allowed me to study by placing me at Moody.
    5. In my relationship with my mom I often want to respond in righteouss judgement but I pray that the Lord will help me respond in grace and mercy.

  9. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. he was hiding on the hill of Hakilah.
    2. David had the opportunity to kill Saul while he was sleeping.
    3. He didn’t want to kill Saul because Saul was God’s anointed.
    5. When someone wrongs me, I’ll forgive because Christ forgave me.

  10. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) He was hiding in the Hill of Hakilah
    2) When we went over to Saul’s camp at night, he had the opportunity to take his life, but he chose not to.
    3) He didn’t want to hurt the Lord’s annointed.
    4) I can follow my own path, trying to find the easy way out through being dishonest.
    5) At work with my managers, I could respond better when I get upset.

  11. Moon Jung Kim says:

    1.Where was David hiding? on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon
    2.What opportunity did David have? David had the opportunity to kill Saul
    3.Why didn’t David kill Saul? Because Saul was an anointed one by God, David thought it was wrong to kill him.
    4.What shortcuts can you take on the work God has given you to do? sometime I take shortcuts to decide things that I am supposed to consider more of. (and always regret doing that after it happened)
    5.Is there a circumstance where you can respond with mercy and grace rather than righteous judgement? when I forgive others… However it’s not always responded with mercy and grace. sometimes I should let it be responded with righteous judgement for the person who did wrong.

  12. [ED2203-01] HyeJin Lee says:

    1.Where was David hiding?
    – David stayed in the Desert of Ziph.
    2.What opportunity did David have?
    – David had the opportunity to take Saul’s life.
    3.Why didn’t David kill Saul?
    – David believed that he shouldn’t kill God’s anointed king.
    4.What shortcuts can you take on the work God has given you to do?
    – I sometimes take easy ways by choosing not to observe rules.
    5.Is there a circumstance where you can respond with mercy and grace rather than righteous judgement?
    – I sometimes see many people doing obviously wrong, and I have a tendency to judge them doing it. However, I really think that I need to respond with those situations with mercy and grace just like God has forgiven me with the mercy.

  13. Kristen Patush says:

    1.Where was David hiding? Desert of Ziph
    2.What opportunity did David have? To kill Saul
    3.Why didn’t David kill Saul? David didn’t want to kill God’s anointed king.
    4.What shortcuts can you take on the work God has given you to do? “Sliding by” in school, negelcting my studies, not giving all I am to my PCM or church ministry.

  14. Grace Yoo says:

    1. David was hiding in the desert of Ziph.

    2. David had the opportunity to kill Saul.

    3. David did not kill Saul because Saul was anointed by God and it would be wrong to kill something that the Lord has appointed.

    4. Some shortcuts that we can take on the work that God has given us to do is in schoolwork or reading the Bible. If I read the Bible for homework, I will count it as a quiet time.

    5. There are many circumstances when I respond with mercy and grace rather than righteous judgment when I am trying to understand others and forgive them.

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