1 Samuel 26:23-24- 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. As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.
Life is filled with opportunities, every day we have opportunities to succeed, to fail, to love, to hate, to sin,to forgive, to be lazy, or to be productive. Opportunity can seem very tempting to take advantage of, almost like it is a divine blessing “from God”, sometimes it is, and many times it is not. Let’s take a look at David.
God had enough of Saul and his disobedience saying, “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions” (1 Samuel15:11). Samuel anointed David even before he became king, David then defeated Goliath and the jealousy of Saul began to form. Saul tried to kill David multiple times and had him on the run. David was give the opportunity to kill Saul in chapter 24 and he says in verse 6 “The Lord forbid that I do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” Here David had been given the choice to end his fleeing, to speed God’s plan for him to be king, to take vengeance against a man whom God’s anointing had already left. David did not use this opportunity as an excuse to sin, he took the high ground.
This happened again, this time in chapter 26; David was given the opportunity to kill Saul. I can imagine David had to have been thinking at this point “ok God, I get the hint, you have put him in my path again, now I will kill him and take my position as king, for you have made it clear to me through my circumstances”… but no! David even had his companion Abishai saying to him, “today God has delivered your enemy into your hands” (v8). David doesn’t take the bait. He corrects Abishai in verse 9 “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives, the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.”
David’s action, or inaction, resulted in a mending (albeit brief) of his relationship with Saul. Saul apologized and said to David, “may you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph” (1Samuel 26:25). Now the story of Saul did not end happily, he consulted a medium in Chapter 28 and died of suicide on the battlefield in chapter 30, but it wasn’t at the hand of David. David saw ahead at the tragic plan for Saul, but he wasn’t going to sin to be a part of it, it wasn’t something that God was commanding him to do, and David wasn’t going to rush God’s timeline. David had his convictions and would not try and hurry up something God didn’t need his help with. The opportunity of being able to kill Saul TWO times might have been too much for most people to ignore, but not David.
How can we use this example of David today? We need to view the act of having an opportunity to do something not as validation for doing it. We need to view the opportunity in light of the Bible, in light of God’s calling on our lives, and in light of God’s direction. Major opportunities decided in haste will often lead to negative consequences. We might be presented with a new job that is not right for our family, a chance at vengeance over someone that hurt us, an opportunity to give into lust without being caught, or to give into anger and hurt those around us. Do not confuse being given an opportunity as a divine appointment being handed to you. When in doubt pray and use the Bible as a filter for every decision.
Now on the positive side, opportunities can be a great opportunity to show love, to resolve a broken relationship, to bring healing to a hurt, to speak truth to someone that needs to hear it, to impact a community, and to tell others about Jesus. A term I learned in business is opportunity cost. It basically refers to the value of something you give up in order to choose something else. Every choice we make has an opportunity cost. Some have low impact, for example, if I go to the movies tonight, I am not at home finishing a book I wanted to read. We need to weigh our choices in consideration of the opportunity costs associated with them. David did this, he didn’t want the ends to justify the means, and theopportunity cost of him killing Saul in that moment would have been a sinful act and could have possibly led to a rebellion against from those loyal to Saul seeing vengeance. What are the opportunity costs when I choose to not go to church, to not volunteer, to not read my Bible, to not pray? While we can be impatient and try to rush things or be lazy and avoid things, we need to realize that God’s timing always is best, we should not rush it, we should ask to be a part of it and be used by Him and for His glory alone.
Discerning Reflection: Do I rush into my decisions on a daily basis? Do I ever pray about them? Do I consider having the opportunity to do something as an excuse to sin? How can I change how I view opportunity in the future?
Prayer: Lord, help me not use opportunity as an excuse to sin, help me see choices I make in light of what you have called me to do and in light of the Bible. Give me patience to see your timing and trust in you during the process. Amen.