Hatred and its Opposite; Forgiveness
Hatred is an unforgiving attitude which is fundamentally the opposite of love. This is one of the hardest things to overcome and is one of the things that is essential to bring true peace.
Bitterness and hatred are like a corrosive acid that burns away all the good things in our spirit. They are an aggressive cancer that if not removed in the beginning, rapidly grows until it consumes and destroys us.
The beginning of peace is to forgive others, and the beginning of forgiving others is to sincerely repent of our own sins against God and against others, and then to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves.
The burden of guilt can be overwhelming and we need to accept that God has forgiven us and wiped the slate clean, so we can go forward into eternity.
There will be a future article on the heavy burden of guilt that many unnecessarily bear.
To stop hating others for their sins against us; we have to acknowledge our own sins against God and against others: Who has not offended some other? Is that other not a creation and child of God? When we hurt or offend others, we have hurt and offended God.
How many godly parents enjoy seeing their children fight with and hurt one another? Are we not suffering and agonizing over our children as they hurt one another? Is God different? God loves all of his children as we love all of our children!
Do we not rejoice when our children forgive one another and peace is restored? Our heavenly Father also rejoices when HIS children forgive one another and peace is restored!
Once we accept that we are also sinners, we regain our perspective of the situation and realize that ALL have sinned.
When we realize and acknowledge our sins and sincerely repent before God; we begin to understand the magnitude of the love and mercy of God, and we are humbled enough to be willing to forgive others.
It is written that perfect love casts out fear; and I add that perfect love forgives and casts out hatred, which is how fear is cast out. For hatred and fear cannot exist in the presence of love.
Jesus Christ gave his life in perfect love for those who hated him at that time; calling his killers his friends who did what they did in ignorance. Stephen was able to ask God to forgive his killers, because of the love of Christ in him for even his enemies.
Jesus taught to love our enemies and to return good for evil.
It is God who is our judge and will judge righteously, not after the hearing of his ears or the seeing of his eye, but in truth and righteousness. Therefore it is up to us to warn our brothers in love, to be always forgiving, beyond even 70 times 7, and to love our enemies understanding that they are really our friends who have been deceived by the evil one.
The true source of hatred and murder is Satan, and we need to realize that fact and to forgive our enemies who have been deceived. We need also remember that we too are sinners and have offended not only God but many other people and need their forgiveness. When we understand these things it will be easier to forgive others.
When eternity comes the Father will wipe away EVERY tear! How? by pouring out his love and tender mercy on all his children, and by his faithful children also loving others in love and tender mercy to forgive all past offenses and reconcile with God and with one another.
We are forgiven only as we forgive others, and in the coming resurrections we will have our work cut out for us as we teach humanity to forgive one another.
Yes, we will teach Gazan’s to forgive Israeli’s; and Israeli’s to forgive “terrorists”; Nazi’s to forgive Jews and Jews to forgive Nazis etc. etc. etc. Hatred for past genuine atrocities may be the hardest thing to overcome for humanity in their time.
We will teach all people to forgive and to erase all the bitterness of history; and how can we do that if we have not learned to forgive even our worst enemies ourselves?
For the past six thousand years Satan has filled this world with hatred and murders and bitter sorrows, turning nation against nation, neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother.
Our job will be to reveal to all that the real source of hatred and all evil is Satan who deceived humanity into the sin that caused offenses, hatreds and murders; and to destroy that hatred and teach each one to forgive his brother. Then hatred and sin will be banished for eternity; through the tender mercies that flow from our Father.
That does not mean that God tolerates sin, it means that God loves all humanity and therefore will banish sin and destroy the author and source of sin, Satan the Adversary, Satan the merciless, Satan the implacable enemy of all that is is right.
We are to love others so much that we can see beyond the present offences to understand that nearly all people are sincerely deceived into evil.
Yes, even the Islamic extremists who are slaughtering “unbelievers” are deceived into thinking that they are pleasing God!
Brethren, the way to peace is to banish hatred and all sin; to forgive our enemies and do good to them; and leave the whole matter in the hands of an all wise God!
This Sabbath please do a word study in the New Testament on hatred and forgiving.
Galatians 5:19-21 ~ Hatred, a Work of the Flesh
Hatred is one of the works of the flesh; it begins in the heart and is manifested by ungodly hurtful attitudes toward others which can range from cruel words or rude behavior right up to murder of the one that is hated.
What is hatred, where did it originate and why is there so much of it in the world? What would our world look like if this one work of the flesh were to be banished from the heart of humanity?
This week we look at the seventh work of the flesh as listed in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Definition of Hatred
The Greek word for hatred is echthra ( Strong’s #2189b) and exthrós (Strong’s #2190) both mean enmity, hatred, implies irreconcilable hostility, proceeding out of a “personal” hatred bent on inflicting harm, driven by irreconcilable, deep-rooted enmity. From a primary echtho (to hate); hateful (passively, odious, or actively, hostile); usually as a noun, an adversary (especially Satan) — enemy, foe.
(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and HELPS Word-studies)
English Definition: a feeling of intense dislike; enmity
Synonyms: abhorrence, abomination, detestation, execration, hatred, loathing enemy, foe.
Where Did Hatred Originate?
The Father and the Word, who would later become Jesus Christ, have always loved each other throughout all eternity, for by their very definition they are “LOVE.” We have a very clear description about how they are this kind of divine love in 1st John 4:7-12, where it also says that “God is Love”. This is a description of their divine nature. Both the Father and Son are all about love.
There was no such thing as hatred throughout all time until Lucifer, a created archangel, became full of pride, turned against God, and became filled with hatred for Him and everything He stands for. Lucifer became Satan which means to be, or to act as an adversary (satan – Strong’s #7853).
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Ezekiel 28:12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Satan is the author and originator of the spirit of hatred. And because Satan was able to convince one third of the other angels to rebel against God, they too are full of hate and are adversaries to God’s law of love and His plan for mankind. They have infiltrated the minds of men with their carnal spirit of hatred and have corrupted most of mankind with the propensity toward envy, enmity, cruelty, competition, murder, wars; all of which are the fruit of hatred toward other persons. For now, they are the rulers of this world until Christ returns to take over their reign on earth; until then, they have filled the world with their hate. And because men have carnal hearts at this time, they are at enmity with God’s law, which means to hate God and His law just like Satan does.
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Because men hate God and His laws and they allow the influence of these evil beings; this is why our world is filled with hatred at this present time, with Satan and his demons as its rulers on earth; and because men refuse to acknowledge God as their Almighty Creator, they have turn their backs on Him and His ways.
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 1:31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
But those who are being called and who have chosen to obey and follow Christ at this time, realize that God is totally sovereign over all of Satan, his demons and what is happening in the world. He is allowing all of this for His own divine purpose and that things will all work out in the end for all those who do eventually come to acknowledge and embrace all of His ways.
Murder Begins in The Heart [Mind]
Man’s laws are geared to deal with those who commit violent acts toward others. In most societies it is a crime to assault or to murder other people (except in the case of the unborn child, for some insane reason). But God’s laws go from the literal act of murder to the very core of the problem, and that is where the act starts, in the thoughts of a man or woman’s heart, the seat of their very being. The law of God is not only against the act of murder but He is against the motive behind those acts.
He commands that we bring even the thoughts of murder and doing harm into captivity and to put far from us the works of the flesh, which include hatred (which is the spirit of murder) that begins with this evil attitude taking root in our minds.
For a follower of Christ, merely abstaining from acts of violence and abusing others is not enough; rather God requires that we obey the very spirit of the law that says we are not to commit murder, and any other law that forbids harming others.
The New Covenant law takes the Old Covenant letter of the law even further by commanding us to root out attitudes and evil desires that may be lodging in the inmost crevices of our hearts and minds that make a person want to cause some kind of pain to their object of hatred, even to the degree of taking that person’s life. If only people could bridle their inward thoughts and motives, most crimes of violence and even war would be squelched from the start. Hatred is an insidious poison that fuels these kinds of harmful acts against humanity.
In the sermon of the mount Jesus commands that we replace hate with love and to do good even to those who have hate toward us.
Even in the Old Testament God showed that hatred was a sin and commanded the Israelites to deal with any kind of grudges that they might be harboring; and then replace hatred with love for their neighbors.
Leviticus 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer [him to sin] sin upon him. 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.
In this verse the children of Israel were told to love their neighbor and not to hate him; they were not to avenge or to let any kind of anger fester in their hearts that would cause them to hold grudges against that person; but they were to go to him and rebuke any offenses that he may be doing, in a proper way.
The sixth commandment tells us that we must not commit murder; but here in Leviticus 19, Christ through Moses, is addressing the very source of murder; it comes from a heart that is full of hatred and anger for the person that it seeks to kill.
Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
In the sixth commandment we are told: “You shall not kill [murder]” which forbids the act of murder which is the literal end result of anger and hatred. But in the sermon on the mount, Jesus expands even more upon the statute against murder. In this part of the sermon, Jesus teaches that even our words can cause great harm and hurt, and tells us we must be careful of how we treat our brother by our words.
When spoken with hate, they too are a form of murder. A careless expression said to someone we are angry at or have hatred for, is as much in the spirit of murder and is sin as the act itself. Our angry words against others can do much damage; they can belittle others and make them feel worthless; they can incite violence; can lead to broken relationships, divorce, damaged children, and even start wars.
In this Matthew 5:21-22 passage Jesus emphasizes the importance of words and our speech. Not only do they make an impact on others, but they also impart responsibility upon us for what we say to others. And they convey what is really in the heart. When malice and evil capture the heart, a person becomes full of spiritual darkness and evil thoughts. In the following passage Jesus says, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Because action follows thought, Jesus is against hatred, malice and envy, all of which are included within “evil things.” Each is a form of the spirit of murder and is a precursor to the act of murder. His concern is not only with how we act, but also with why we act; not only in what we actually do, but also in what we desire to do in our heart of hearts.
In Matthew 5, in addition to the following verses, the different writers identify the root causes; or kinds of things that can culminate in the final act of murdering a brother. They are anger, hatred, envy, lust, competition, selfishness, covetousness; all of these things are components of hatred and can cause aggression of some type towards others, either in our actions or by our words.
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: [ malice is kakia (Strong’s # 2549) evil works, wickedness, vicious disposition, spite.]
These verses trace the root causes of murder and war to a carnal heart full of hatred, anger, and the spirit of competition all of which spring forth from a person that is self-centered, and lacking of empathy or love for others.
“Angry without a cause” in Matthew 5:22 indicates someone who lacks self control and quick to erupt without getting all the facts or thinking issues through.
It describes a person that is so full of pride; he is easily angered over really insignificant things; he is so overly sensitive or insecure that he strikes out with words of hate. He lets everyone know what he is feeling and that he has been offended; which in his mind justifies his harsh treatment of the person he insulted. He then feeds on his anger/hatred and nurses it into a grudge. When we do these kinds of things, Jesus says that we “shall be in danger of hell fire”. In the following verses we read that whoever hates his brother abides in death and is a murderer and this person will not receive eternal life.
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
All of these verses show us why it is so important not to have hatred in our heart; it is in reality the spirit of murder lodging in our heart. Yes, we do get angry sometimes and we can feel resentment that may spring up upon us suddenly as a result of something that happens, or we may be filled with righteous anger. That does not necessarily mean we are sinning, but if we hold on to it or we direct our anger at people, and then nurse it into a grudge; it could very well destroy us and lead us to forfeit our heritage and not be a part of the resurrection of the firstfruits. When we begin to feel anger or any kind of resentment we must deal with it quickly to keep it from leading us to sin.
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
We Cannot Come Before God to Worship If We Have Hate in Our Hearts
Matthew 5:23-24 also addresses this concept of quickly dealing with hurt feelings between our brethren. He says that we are not to even come before God in worship until we have removed any spirit of enmity toward another. This verse comes immediately after Jesus’ statement about being angry without cause, which is another way of saying “having hatred in our hearts” and is the spirit of murder.
Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Why are we denied the privilege of coming before God if we have hatred in our hearts? It is because hatred is sin, it is the spirit of murder, as we have just read and sin separates us from God.
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Peter also addresses this very thing in regard to our prayers if there is strife between married people; our spouse too, is our brother or sister.
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
This pertains to both husband and wife for then Peter goes on to say that we all must be of one mind, to be courteous and kind, which is the opposite of having enmity toward each other. And if we will only do what Peter is saying here then God WILL have his ears open to our prayers. But just as in Matthew 5:24: “but his face is against them that do evil” and evil includes hatred.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
We are told that the Father is looking for those who worship in spirit and truth. When we have hatred for someone in our hearts how are we able to sincerely worship God? And we know that we cannot hide anything from God for He knows the inmost parts of our hearts.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
We cannot be in right standing with God unless we are also in right standing with men… as much as it is possible for us to be so. “if it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” Romans 12:18
Recompense to No Man; Evil for Evil.
When people wrong us, we naturally tend to feel like we need to right the injuries they have done to us. We may never ever think of hurting them to the extend of actually killing them, but the spirit of revenge can sneak into our hearts and come through in other ways such as character assassination and gossip.
It is so easy to want to put someone down when they have put us down in some way, and thinking that it is our right to repay by engaging in this form of vengeance more often than we realize. It just comes so naturally and we are so conditioned by the culture we live in, and the media that we are exposed to, that its easy to say something flippantly or sarcastically to mock others that have spoken badly or have gossiped about us.
Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Proverbs 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
But as followers of Jesus and wanting to be like Him and to be conformed to His image in every way; put-downs, sarcasm, joking about them, insults, speaking badly about those who oppose us; is never an option for those who call themselves Christians and who want to emulate Christ. We may think that we are perfectly justified in “punishing” those who have hurt us, thinking well “I would never do harm to their person but they do need to be brought down a peg so I should say something to let others know what they did to me and what I think of them”, etc.
A previous verse to Romans 12-17-21 is “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” (Romans 12:14) Paul was repeating the same concept that Jesus taught his disciples in the sermon on the mount.
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
To love our enemies and to bless them is what it means to “be not overcome with evil; but overcome evil with good”; by not becoming evil ourselves back to them. But we are to overcome evil with good, (blessing them by taking care of their needs if we have the opportunity i.e. doing good and praying for them).
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
God says that it is He that will repay those who become our enemies and those who try to hurt us. But He will do it in His own way and in His own time. It is not our prerogative to do it for Him. It is His responsibility and we usurp His authority when we take on the vengeance to do ourselves. “Our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways”; we just do not have the proper wisdom and total knowledge of what is best for each person, no matter what they may be doing to us.
This takes real faith to leave the vengeance and punishment to God and let Him execute judgment, because sometimes it seems like those who are doing evil and not keeping God’s commandments the most, are getting away with it and are even being blessed in life more than the ones that they are persecuting.
Perhaps God is giving them time to repent or to reap what they are sowing in unseen ways that will bring them to repentance. Only God has the infinite wisdom to know what is best, and in the meantime, His children are learning to have faith, patience, forbearance and godly love while we wait for His appearing.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Some may think well that just isn’t fair; why should the godly suffer while the ungodly are getting away with their bullying and persecution.? But even Jesus had to endure suffering at the hands of hateful people and He set for us a perfect example.
1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
We are being called to follow in the example of our Lord and Savior that we may become like Him and to have the same mind as He has.
1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
To love our enemies and to not seek revenge takes real godly agape love, but it is so very important as it is at the very heart and core of what it means to have faith in God’s sovereignty over us and over all His creation, all His works and what He is doing to bring many sons to glory.
Jesus set us the supreme example in that He “committed Himself to Him who judges rightly” (or righteously) and Jesus did it right up to dying a horrible death on the cross. If He had to suffer to be brought to perfection, those who are following in His footsteps will need to suffer to be brought to perfection as well.
Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
God is aware of every situation and He will perform exactly what is needed to do what is right for everyone involved. This teaches us that God is truly in control of all things and we can trust Him even when we do not see how things could ever work out in our situation without us taking over the reins of control to “help Him along” in dealing with those who persecute us or even when we are going through other hard trials as well. In this way we develop the FAITH we need, knowing that all things are going to work for the good when it’s all said and done; and that God really does know best as to how that will all come about.
Paul writes to Titus how we should be living, endeavoring to live at peace with the people in our lives, while at the same time knowing that we too previously lived foolishly in malice envy, hate and yet by the grace of God, He has called us away from all of that. He died for us even while we were still His enemies. And God is going to give all this chance at some point either now or in the future, to go from being His enemies to becoming His friends.
Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
We are to Love Our Enemies
When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mount that day, He made a very unusual statement that they probably had never understood before; perhaps had never heard before, because it is the very opposite of what our carnal human nature wants to do and goes against every grain in our being.
Think of your children as examples that we can deeply love them even when they do something wrong, and remember that we are all God’s children.
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
This means we are to do good to all whether its to our friends that are kind to us or to those who have set themselves to oppose us and have hatred toward us. We are not to lift a finger to retaliate against those who curse us, hate us, spitefully use us, or persecute us; but to return blessing in return.
This command may seem unfair and unreasonable but this is God’s will for those He is calling out of this carnal world, to be lights for those who are watching us, just like Jesus was a light in His day when He exemplified this way. By our examples we are to show that the antidote of hatred and the spirit of murder is love and doing good to our neighbor no matter what. This is a kind of love that is NOT a sentimental feel good kind of feeling with no regard for wholeheartedly keeping of God’s laws.
This can be a very difficult kind of love, to have concern for the well being of others even when they may have negative feelings toward us. And only those who have God’s Spirit and have the mind of Christ can have this kind of love. This is the kind of love that Paul teaches in 1st Corinthians 13 and is the antithesis of what hatred is. It is the love that motivates us to do good rather than react with the same kind of aggression shown to us. And we must constantly seek this kind of love from God. “He is love” and He is the only source from which we can draw from as His people who have been called out of this world to show the world a “better way” than how it operates.
This is spiritual warfare at its peak, and to be conquerors we need to be on our knees daily praying and asking for more of God’s Spirit to enable us to be victorious over Satan’s spirit of hatred and murder.
This is a difficult and major test for the Bride of Christ. You could say it is like a final exam. God wants us to be victorious over hatred so that we may become made into His spiritual likeness, that we become like Him and grow up to be spiritually mature and are no longer babes in Christ, but having the very mind of Christ and the Father, being ONE with them.
Most of the world’s people on earth have made themselves God’s enemies, they have enmity for Him and His commandments; they curse Him and say all manner of evil against His truth and against His people. In any event we are to follow this mandate to love even our enemies SO: “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)
God is still providing for mankind the things needed to live on earth even though most hate Him and disobey Him; but He is going to provide for them even more once the “manifestation of the sons of God” becomes a reality and the ones that have qualified by overcoming hatred are helping Christ to set up and administer a world that is finally hate-free!
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
These verses give us HOPE for a wonderful, beautiful world that is coming and we do so look forward to a time when we will be delivered from the works of the flesh, including hatred. Our battle with our own human carnality and in resisting the spirit that is in the world must begin in the heart, in our minds and we must fight against the attitudes that motivate humans to murder others. Christ created men in His image and gave them life and we must never take that for granted and think as the world does; that life is cheap. But instead we must do all we can to love our fellow man and seek for their ultimate salvation just as our Father and His Son so desire for all humanity.
The apostle John writes in his letter:
1 John 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
If we are one of God’s called out ones, He is calling us out of the darkness of hate, envy, malice; and if we have God’s Holy Spirit God, promises us that He will shed His love bountifully in our hearts if we are seeking Him with our whole hearts.
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
This is the kind of love we are to show others, the love that God has shown to us and also the keeping of all of God’s commandments, including the commands to love each other and even our enemies. In this way we become a beacon of shining light to the rest of the world.
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
After Jesus tells us that we must love even our enemies and return blessing for their cursing He tells us:
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
It is by keeping all these things, that we can become perfect [complete] like our Father in heaven along with His Son who are the very epitome of LOVE and they want all men to be saved, all those who are willing.
1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
We can know God’s children by their fruits and if one shows the spirit of hatred as a fruit he does not have the love of God, for God is LOVE. No one that is walking in the works of the flesh, including hatred which is the spirit of murder, and if he or she will not repent, will have any part in the millennial Kingdom of God.
From all God’s promises contained in His Word, we can imagine a world that is coming that has no hatred in it! What a marvelous and beautiful world that will be.
Isaiah 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
All people on earth will finally come to know God and there will no longer be hatred in their hearts!
1 Samuel 24
24:1 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.
24:2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.
24:3 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.
24:4 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 unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily.
24:5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.
24:6 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.
24:7 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 on his way.
24:8 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.
24:9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?
24:10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.
24:11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.
24:12 The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
24:13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
24:14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.
24:15 The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.
24:16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.
24:17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.
24:18 And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lordhad delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.
24:19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.
24:20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.
24:21 Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house.
24:22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.
1 Samuel 24 Commentary
How Can We React Properly To Our Enemies – To Those Who Hate Us?
When King Saul continually refused to obey God and keep His commandments, the Lord sent Samuel to tell him that God had rejected him from being king over Israel and that the Lord was going to give the kingdom to someone else who was better than Saul.
1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king. 15:24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 15:25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord. 15:26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. 15:27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. 15:28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
In the very next chapter we are introduced to David as the young man that Samuel was sent to by God to anoint as the future king of Israel that would someday replace the rebellious Saul. We are told that Samuel took a horn of oil and anointed David in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. (1st Samuel 16:1-13)
Just after this event we can read about how God began to orchestrate the events in the life of David, as he is brought before Saul to play his harp for him. The Holy Spirit had departed from Saul and a distressing spirit from God was sent to trouble him.
1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. 16:15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16:16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.
Whatever Saul’s problem was, it was temporarily relieved by listening to soothing music. It was generally believed in ancient times that music had a restorative effect on those who were being plagued or oppressed by demonic forces.
Because of his reputation for being a skilled harpist, David was summoned to serve the king with his music and to become his armor bearer. When he came to stand before the king (an expression for entering the king’s service), the Bible tells us that David found favor in Saul’s sight and that Saul loved him greatly.
1 Samuel 16:21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armour bearer. 16:22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
But at some point Saul’s great love toward David turned to a bitter hatred, to the point that he tried to murder him one day when David was playing his music for him. The only “crime” David committed was to have the praises from the women singers ascribing more slain Philistines to him than those slain by Saul.
1 Samuel 18:5 And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 18:6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 18:7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 18:8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 18:9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. 18:11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. 18:12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.
The rest of the book of 1st Samuel has many accounts of Saul’s deadly envy of David and of all his various attempts to have him killed. (1st Samuel 18:17, 19:1,10, 11-15, 20-24, 20:31)
Finally David fled from the hand of Saul and had to live as a fugitive, along with a gathering band of men in the wilderness areas just to escape Saul’s continuous assassination plots.
1 Samuel 23:13 Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth. 23:14 And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.
The rest of Chapter 23 tells how Saul tried to hunt David down and how he had spies to tell him of his whereabouts so that he could come and kill him; all because of his consuming hatred for David. It seems that Saul could not rest until he saw David dead.
We might wonder what could have caused Saul to change from having great love toward David into having an all consuming hatred for him? It appears that Saul developed a deep seated envy of David when God began to bless him. At first Saul saw David as just a shepherd youth that could play skillfully on the harp and he used David’s soothing music to drive away the evil spirit that was causing him distress.
“David behaved himself wisely”, reveals that David was using godly wisdom to live his life with skill and tact; and that his trust in God was helping him to achieve a certain amount of success. He was becoming a national hero and the women came from all the cities to sing of him. They were only doing the usual custom of singing and celebrating because of the military victory that God had provided for Israel. The women had not intended to offend King Saul, but they were simply praising God for His intervention and for blessing their nation with military success. But Saul took the celebrating and praising of David (more than himself) personally and began to keep his eye on David from that day forward.
1 Samuel 18:8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 18:9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
As David grew in popularity and acclaim, Saul could see that God was with this young warrior who had triumphantly slayed the giant that had threatened all Israel. In direct contrast, Saul knew that God had departed from him and was no longer with him anymore. Instead of repenting of his rebelliousness and seeking God’s forgiveness and favor once again, Saul instead let his resentment for David fester in his heart. He began to feel that his mission in life was to destroy him to keep him from ever being a threat to his rule. By this time he most likely suspected that it was David that God had chosen to replace him as king some day. The words of Samuel would have been forever seared into his mind that day when Samuel told him that God was going to give the kingdom to someone that was better than he. (1st Samuel 15:28)
As for David, he had unexpectedly, “out of the blue” been anointed the future king of Israel; came into the graces of the then reigning king through his musical skills; had risen to the challenge of slaying Goliath, Israel’s enemy; had won the hearts of the nation of Israel and had become a national hero overnight; had won the hand of the king’s daughter in marriage; all within a short period of time. But as he became more and more successful, Saul could discern that something was happening with David and that he was being blessed; whereas Saul was not. He began to envy him and his envy turned into pure hatred; and from that time forward his whole life became obsessed on how he would destroy David.
And even though it appeared that David’s achievements (and God’s blessing) at that time in his life were short lived, as he fell from the graces of King Saul and became like a hunted animal; God was actually using the situation of Saul’s persecution of him to further David’s training to some day be king; a king that would not be like Saul, a man that had turned his back on God’s commandments and had become embroiled in the gall of bitterness and iniquity; but rather a man of God, a man after God’s own heart who would someday shepherd the children of Israel in righteousness. In 1st Samuel 24 we learn even more about the character of David as he dealt with the hatred that was unjustly directed at him by his own father-in- law, the king, and one that he had previously only sought to serve as a loyal subject.
*1 Samuel 24:1 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. 24:2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.
In this chapter we find David and his men hiding out in a cave. David had been taken down from being a national hero, living in the courts of royalty, being a son- in-law to the king, sharing in Saul’s family activities and dinners; to becoming a fugitive, on the run, living in the wilderness and in caves.
It seems that at this point in his life, God had removed every single support that David had formally relied on, and that he was learning the difficult lesson that only God is trustworthy enough to be leaned upon. David was in the process of being taught that he must always look to God rather than his own human strength and abilities, intellectual prowess, family affiliations or personal achievements.
Just as we, Brethren, who have become followers of Jesus Christ, have been inducted into intense spiritual training to get us ready for the millennial Kingdom. There is an old saying I once read many years ago on a container of herbal tea that said: “Harsh schoolmasters make for hardy students” [meaning strong and sturdy students] (author unknown). Through the years this quote has often come to mind when facing something that seems harsh and unfair.
And as it was with David, it is the same with us today; we are those God has in training to become future kings and priests. Most of us have never had the death sentence hanging over our heads nor have had to live in caves, [Except we do know some of you have, those who have had to experience war and severe hardship, and maybe many will in the future experience these things] but we all have been and are going through tough trials that may seem just as difficult and are as heart wrenching as what David had to go through. It is all for a purpose and God is allowing it, because He is a good God and He would never allow anything that is not for our good. As 1st Corinthians 13:12 tells us,we see through a glass darkly and just do not see everything that God is doing and the possible final outcome of having to suffer as David did and as His people do.
*1 Samuel 24:3 And he came to the sheepcotes [a place that kept the sheep together at night] 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.
Just by chance [or so it may have seemed] while David was in that particular cave that day, he was presented with the opportunity to eliminate this man who had become his mortal enemy. Oh the revenge that could have swelled up in his heart as he thought about how miserable Saul had made his life and the many times that Saul had tried to kill him. This person had even taken his beloved first wife away from him and had given her to another man. And here David is presented with the chance to exact revenge on his enemy and to put an end to all this suffering and fugitive living. Plus, David knew that he was destined to be the king when the time came when Saul was no long alive. If he did away with him, he could instantly come into his power and receive the kingship for himself.
While David and his men were hiding in that cave, what may have seemed like coincidence, King Saul went into the very same cave where David was hiding. It appeared to be the the perfect opportunity to kill Saul, claim the throne and elevate himself to his rightful place that Samuel had anointed him for.
David could have even reasoned that God was delivering Saul into his hand in order for him to take care of this “problem”, to kill him and be done with the running and hiding forever.
But David did not see it that way and he did not do what most people would have done in that situation. Instead of taking advantage of this unexpected chance to respond with hatred, and to retaliate by killing his enemy, David instead shows restraint and uses wisdom to continue to trust God for his deliverance in God’s own timing and in His own way; and not by taking things into his own hands even when he had the chance to do so.
This incident shows us what a trusting and faith-filled heart David had! and what insights He must have possessed to have been able to see the big picture of what God was doing. David willed in his heart that he would not try to push God’s hand ahead of time by making something happen in his own strength and by doing it through an act of vengeance. This was clearly a test from God and David passed it perfectly! Instead of reacting with hatred, revenge and murder; David displayed a total trust in God. In this small glimpse into the life of David, we are allowed to see how God was developing a real heart for righteousness in this man and getting him ready to be king in the days ahead in his life at that time, but more importantly in the future Kingdom of God when David will be king over all Israel under Christ.
As we study these passages in 1st Samuel 24 about this incident in the life of David and Saul we must consider the implications for us and what God is trying to teach his children who are being trained to someday rule in God’s Kingdom. Just like David, we will often find ourselves in the same kind of situation as to what David found himself. Someone will do us wrong or will try to hurt us in some way and we will be offended and wounded by their actions. Then, at a later time, the opportunity comes along that gives us the chance to pay that person back or to get even with him; to retaliate for what he has done to us. What we do at that moment defines us! And just like David, how we handle our emotions and restrain the urge to get even when the opportunity to strike back presents itself; will reveal the true character of our heart and how much we are really willing to trust God to handle the problem in His own way.
We all get hurt from time to time from those who are close friends or family members or even from strangers who offend us either intentionally or unintentionally; wounding us with their actions or words or by trying to take advantage of us in some way. When we are wounded, we tend to want the one who is so willing to hurt us to feel pain in return. But, the lesson that David’s life offers; is what to do during those times when others offend us.
Why Did Saul Have so Much Hatred for David?
1 Samuel 18:9, 15, 17, 21, and 26, show incidences that make it clear that Saul became envious of and therefore hated David to the point of wanting to put him to death. Saul hated David because he could see that the Lord was blessing David because David was a man of God and he was not. He knew that he had been rejected by God and saw that David was accepted by Him. He hated David because he really hated God and all that God stood for and David represented what God was about because of Davids obedience and His devotion to Him.
Saul was following the ways of Satan and because of his rebellion toward God, had opened the door to being influenced and plagued with evil spirits. His bitterness had corrupted his heart and he was infused with the evil attitudes of hatred and envy toward God. Saul was filled with jealousy and hatred because David was the man of God that he, Saul refused to be and he became fixated on destroying David by putting him to death. Saul was consumed with hatred and envy and it had taken over his whole life.
Saul hated David, not for anything David had done wrong to him, for David had never wronged Saul, (except for cutting a small piece from off his robe). From the time Saul first sent for him, David had tried to serve him; first with his musical skills, then by risking his own life many times fighting in the wars against the Philistines for him. Saul hated David because David’s life was pleasing to the Lord and his life was not; so Saul sought to put David down to rid himself of a feeling of intimidation from him.
As Christians, we too will find ourselves up against those who hate us for no other reason than we want to serve God and seek to please Him in every aspect of life. Because we truly believe the Bible and we want to obey what we have come to see is true and commanded by God, the people around us (and maybe even those of our own household) who do not see any necessity to believe and obey, will become our enemies.
Those of Our Own Household May Become Our Enemies for Serving God
God says in several places that it is usually those nearest to us that find fault with us. If they see no need to obey God or to believe what He says, they will come to hate us because we do not believe as they do, nor will we conform to their ungodly lifestyles anymore. They feel threatened because we don’t believe like they do and we appear to them as “know-it-alls” because of what we profess and what we teach from the Bible. They may feel that we are trying to make them feel guilty because they sense that we do not approve of their beliefs and actions because what we believe and do is different from them now. They may feel rejected by us because we refuse to join in with them in their worldly pursuits. We don’t even have to say a word; we can be loving, giving, kind to them, and yet they just see that we are different and they will come to hate us for our differences.
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
But we must be sure that if we do find ourselves at odds with others that it is for the right reasons and not because we are not following the ways of God.
1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
As followers of Jesus we must be sure that we live what we believe and what we teach others from the Bible; otherwise we can bring justified wrath upon ourselves by those who view us as hypocrites. That is why it is so important to walk the walk and to be lights to those who know us and not stumbling blocks for the cause of Christ.
It is inevitable that some people will be against us, even our own loved ones; but we must always obey God rather than the people in our lives no matter how much we love and care for them; knowing that if we confess God and His ways to them, (perhaps with our words but especially with our example), that God will eventually reward us for doing so.
We can have faith that God will open their eyes some day and that they will come to see that the friend or family member that stood their ground and refused to acquiesce to them, was right all along for wanting to obey God and to confess Him, no matter how much they were ostracized or persecuted in their lives.
Later, they may be very grateful to that friend or family member for having stood up to them. And because that person remained faithful, his example may in some way pave a way for them at a latter time when they begin to understand and they too will finally want to know more about the true God.
Perhaps it will be because of seeds that were planted that will eventually help them to understand as they recall the memory of a loved one’s godly example in their life time. And as members of the Ekklesia, we can look forward to a great future time of rejoicing when we finally are reunited with loved-ones who finally come to understand God’s grand design for mankind. It will be at that time they will want to be with us learning all the precious ways of God.
Zechariah 8:23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
Sometimes people are against us for good reason but if people are to find fault with us, let it not be because we are stubborn, hateful, or retaliatory; rather let is be because we are holy, decent and good; just as Saul could truthfully say of David, if he could honestly admit to what he knew in his heart about him.
All That Will Live Godly in Christ Jesus Shall Suffer Persecution
Saul was obsessed with hunting David down and killing him and in 1st Samuel 23:25-28 we read that Saul found out that David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon. Saul and his men pursued him and entrapped him on a mountain and was about to take him. Then word came to Saul that he must hurry back because the Philistines and invaded the land of Israel. This news caused Saul to immediately stop his pursuit of David to go take care of a more ominous problem at home. God used this interruption to miraculously deliver David again from the hand of the insanely murderous king.
But when Saul returned from going after the Philistines, his attention was again riveted to pursuing after David and it was told to him that David was now in the wilderness of Engedi. Saul then went all out in his pursuit and took an army of 3000 men to seek out David to accomplish his mission of destroying David once and for all. Saul’s all consuming focus in life was to take David down and to keep him from becoming the next king of Israel.
Like David, we who have answered God’s call to obey and to follow Him are embarked on a training program to become future kings under Christ; and we also can feel like we are being hunted down, by those who are under the influence of Satan and his minions. Those who hate us or have a disdain for us because we are followers of Christ are constantly trying to hurt us by any way possible to discourage us, destroy us, and to bring us down to defeat.
In the New Testament, Jesus warns us that this would happen if we become His disciples. He tells us that if the world has hated Him, then it will hate those who embrace His teachings and try to live by them. As we strive to live by every Word of God, there will be those who will disagree with us and they will try to oppose us. Because they are at enmity with God and His laws, they well be at enmity with us because we represent His way of life and are keeping the laws that they hate so much. They will say all manner of evil against us and may seek to harm us in some way; it is an inevitable part of life as we live in this present evil world.
Luke 17:17 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Every person on earth has been hurt to some degree by the words or deeds of others and as Christians we will suffer these things as well, and also even more because we are Christians. We will be offended, just as the men and women of God were as recorded in the Bible (Hebrews 11). People will hate us and will offend us and try to hurt us; but what others do should never be allowed to derail or define or lives.
It is possible to overcome the evil others do to us and it is possible to rise above it and get passed it by the help of the Mighty One who is mighty to save and deliver just like He did for David on so many occasions! When we are surrounded by trouble, we can first look back to God’s faithfulness in the past when He intervened on our behalf and on the behalf of others. Then, remember that He is our just Judge and Protector.
The Way of the World is to Retaliate Against Those Who Seek to Harm Us
If we were to put ourselves in David’s place as he was being hounded, pursued and hunted down, but had done nothing that had harmed or had caused injury to his pursuer, how would that make us feel? It could be that the person who wants to do us in, is the very one that we had given a huge part of our life to in serving and doing everything possible to provide for and to please that person.
This person (or people, sometimes its more than one) is doing everything in his power to defame us, falsely accuse us, destroy our lives; possibly has tried to have us convicted on false charges or he may even want us dead. Then by shear chance, out the the blue, an opportunity comes along to get back at the perpetrator and destroy him instead. All we have to do is reach out our hand or say the right words and we could take him down just as he has been trying to take us down. They are defeated, destroyed, humiliated and we feel could feel vindicated and victorious. We win and they lose. This is exactly the scenario presented to David that day in the cave when he was given the opportunity to even the score with Saul, but instead of reaching out his hand to destroy Saul, he refrained and spared him, while at the same time resisting the urging of his comrades to kill him while he had the chance. What would we have done?
*1 Samuel 24:4 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 unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily.
It is a false worldly concept that we must take revenge ourselves on those who are hurting us. If we too are still harboring these false illusions on what is right and what is wrong, then we could feel justified in exacting revenge on others when they hurt us. We could feel pretty good about ourselves when we destroy someone that is trying to destroy us, seeing ourselves as victorious over another and that we were able to win, like it is a type of game of some sort.
However, if we are looking at the situation through God’s perspective and what He deems as right and wrong, we would probably do something entirely different. David may have had to overlook his own thoughts about what the right thing would be to do and instead he chose to see things through the eyes of God and perceive the big picture of what was really happening.
It is amazing that Saul went into the very cave where David and his men were hiding, seemingly not having a clue that he was making himself vulnerable to the very one that he was chasing. As David peered through the darkness from the recesses inside the cave he could make out the old familiar physical traits of the man who had become his worse enemy. He must have been incredulous at first. But then the thought could come to mind: “here is my chance to get even, to end the chase forever, and take by force everything that God has promised to me”. David must have entertained thoughts of revenge in that moment. Saul had been handed to him in the very cave he was hiding and it kind of appeared that God had delivered him to be snuffed out without a fight. No one would blame him if he killed the demented king, in fact, many would have celebrated the fact that David had vindicated himself and would be free from him forever.
Even his men who were with him, were egging him on to “just do it”, as it must have been from God to deliver him into his hand in this opportune way and they urged David to do what “seemed good to him”. But David resisted listening to them and heeding their urgings to kill.
David was Not a Weakling or a Coward for Sparing Saul’s Life
David’s men looked to him as their strong leader and if David refused to kill his enemy at that moment when he had the chance, what would they think? David could have also been tempted to appear valiant in their eyes, not wanting to risk losing their respect and their esteeming him as their hero. He was their leader and future kind, and if he let this man go, would they see him as a coward or maybe someone who was weak, maybe too sentimental and too emotionally attached to the man who was once his master and father-in-law? Along with getting even with someone who was making his life miserable, there could have been the subtle temptation to protect his valor and reputation. This shows us an even deeper insight into the integrity of David’s heart, for he resisted the temptation to care what others thought of him for doing what was right in God’s eyes.
As Christians we too must resist the subtle temptation to protect our reputation by retaliating against those who are hurting us. We may not want others to think we are weak or that we are some kind of doormat, so we lash out when we have the chance, thinking it makes us look strong and important to those who are watching us, or even to those we may be over in some capacity. We do not want to lose our “self respect” by saying or doing nothing to seek revenge against those who are making our lives miserable.
But this too is a false concept that attempts to trap us into doing things the way the world does things. This is not the example that Jesus and His apostles presented when they were persecuted and treated badly. To seek revenge does not make us look important to others but shows spiritual immaturity and pettiness when we seek to retaliate just to save face before others.
1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Matthew 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
David was learning these valuable lessons to be like His Lord rather than to go the way of the world and of his peers. He was able to discern just what he should do, even in the face of those who were looking to him to do the obvious thing, that is take revenge for himself. In his humbleness, his reputation meant nothing to him at that moment. He quickly considered what he should do and he choose to refrain and thereby exemplify a true man of God; not only for his men but most importantly before His God, who was testing him. The REAL opportunity was to display the spirit of His Lord and Savior by choosing not to take revenge and to let God be the ultimate Judge as to what would happen in deciding his ongoing case between him and Saul. (1st Peter 2:23)
The Lord says that He will fight our battles if we will only trust Him and not take matters into our own hand.
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still , and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14:14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace .
Romans 12:19-21, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
This is the opposite of the way of the world, but it is the will of God. God teaches us that the whole idea of revenge is merely a misconception. We can never “get even” with anyone. It is impossible to repay hurt for hurt and to have the scales of injury balance out. This is the way of Satan and only leads to escalating and never ending revenge and settling scores which only leads to more strife, war, destruction, and death. The only possible way to come out on top is to learn to respond to hurt and offense with a godly attitude.
David Shows How to Respond Correctly to Those Who are Harming Us
*1 Samuel 24:5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. 24:6 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. 24:7 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 on his way.
When David realized what was happening and that he had the chance to kill Saul and exact his revenge; he refrained from doing so. Instead, David secretly cut off a small piece of Saul’s robe. And as soon as he did it, his heart smote him, meaning his conscience convicted him that he had done wrong even in doing that much. It occurred to him, and he knew that no matter how cruel and wicked Saul had become, that he was still in the official office of king and that he (David), as a man of God, must still respect the office that God had appointed Saul to. David described him as being the anointed of the Lord. David defended his refraining from doing Saul harm by telling his men that the king is the Lord’s anointed and commanded them not to rise up and do him any harm as well.
In those first few moments in the cave David must have contemplated on the situation at hand and came to a conclusion as to what course of action he should take. It appears that he immediately knew that his thoughts of revenge and his desire to get even were not from the Lord and he understood that taking matters into his own hands would not be pleasing to the Him.
David had learned in life that the offenses and injuries he received from those who were against him are matters best left in the hand of God and if he truly trusted in God’s justice, it was not for him to take things into his own hands to seek revenge. David came to the realization that he did not have the right to play judge and jury in the life of Saul, even though Saul was trying to play judge, jury, and executioner in the life of David.
When we take matters into our own hands and try to get even with our enemies or we seek to make others hurt as they have made us hurt, we are actually taking the place of God. When we appoint ourselves as another person’s judge and jury and we determine their punishment, we are trying to take on God’s job.
A spiritually mature Christian understands the truth that we are all at different levels, and none of us do everything perfectly. We all fall short and we know that we ourselves are all guilty of hurting others at some point in our lives and that ultimately, we will all have to give an account to God. Even though we must judge the actions of another when they are sinning, we must leave matters of their judgment and punishment in the hands of God. And even if a person is harming us and we must remove ourselves from involvement with them or fellowshipping with them, we need to recognize that they will have to answer to God and not to us. Only God can perfectly and accurately know a person’s heart and see their motives from His divine perspective. The command to not take vengeance, but to let God be the Judge is taught throughout the Bible. Here are some of the Scriptures that show us how we are to handle these kinds of situations and leave things to God.
Romans 14:9 Who art thou that judgest [condemns] another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
Proverbs 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.
Proverbs 24:29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
Luke 6:27-36 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. read more.
Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
When David’s heart convicted him for taking a small measure of revenge against Saul by cutting off a piece of his robe, he immediately repented of doing so. This shows that David had a heart that was tender and even doing what may be considered a small thing brought him a sense of conviction and condemnation; “that he would even think of doing such a thing to God’s anointed”.
We like David must consider our own words and our deeds and never strike out to hurt any one even with a little bit of sarcasm or hurtful retort. If we are walking with God, and striving to obey Him with all our being, then our hearts will instantly “smite us” and we will want to repent and set our hearts right with the ones we have hurt and with God.
Boldness in Confronting Saul and Warning him that God Would Judge and Avenge
*1 Samuel 24:8 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. 24:9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? 24:10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed. 24:11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it. 24:12 The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
When Saul departed from the cave, David followed right after him, and spoke right up to him. He presented Saul with a speech with his view of the ongoing conflict, trying to reason with him to come to his senses and to stop persecuting him. It was David that took the first step to try to resolve the strife between him and Saul. He humbled himself before Saul and showed honor to him. He then let him know what had just happened in the cave and that he could have killed him on the spot if he had wanted to. He spoke the absolute truth concerning the whole situation that was going on. He confessed his own act of cutting off a piece of his robe, but then used it as evidence that what he had just told him was true. David continued to confront him with the whole state of affairs between the two of them and asked him why was he doing what he was doing. What wrong had David ever done to him to deserve the kind of treatment from him in seeking to take his very life?
*1 Samuel 24:13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. 24:14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.
He then further challenged Saul, insinuating that he was a wicked man by quoting a proverb about wickedness; David went on to say that no matter how wicked Saul is to him, he, nevertheless, will not raise his hand to take vengeance against him. He tells him that he (David) is a nothing and that it does not make sense that Saul, who should be acting like a king, is coming after someone that is a nobody and has done him no harm.
*1 Samuel 24:15 The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.
Then David boldly declares His faith in God, that God WILL judge fairly and will be on his (David’s) side, will defend him and that God WILL deliver him out of his hand.
Biblical Principles Used By David in Confronting Saul’s Sins Against him
David risked his life to tell Saul these things, for he must have known that he was dealing with an irrational man. To try to reason with a person that cannot be reasoned with, is always taking a chance that he will not hear what we have to say, will twist things, and then turn and rend us for speaking the truth to him.
He was trying to appeal to Saul’s sense of fairness and common sense, if there were any of those things even left in his bitter and envious heart. And it seemed to have worked, at least for the present time, for Saul admitted that all that David had said was true and that he, David, was in the right and that he, Saul, was guilty. But David went back into the stronghold for he knew that all the noble words spoken in response were not to be trusted by such a man as Saul. And in reading the rest of the book of Samuel we see that Saul’s response to David were only a hollow ring in the ears of the ones present that day; as the subsequent events of the book of 1st Samuel show that Saul did not really mean what he said, for in the days ensuing he changed his mind and continued to persecute David for the rest of his (Saul’s) life.
By this example, David followed clear, biblical principles that teach us how we should react when we are wronged by others. Look at what he did:
1. David made the the first move to try to reconcile.
2. David humbled himself before Saul.
3. David honored Saul for his office as the king
4. David spoke the truth in love concerning the whole affair.
5. David confessed what he had done to Saul while in the cave.
6. David declared that he would continue to do the right thing regardless of Saul’s sin.
7. He spoke the “truth in love” to Saul that he was a wicked person.
8. David warned him that God would avenge him of the wrong that he was doing against him.
9. David then placed his case in the hand of the Judge of the Universe to decide between them, warning Saul that God sees and that He would judge rightly and deliver him out of his hand.
We as God’s people must commit ourselves to doing the right thing, regardless of what any other person’s conduct is or no matter what others wants us to do. We realize that if someone offends us, that person will face the Lord in judgment; just as we will do for the wrong things that we do! Ultimately, we must place our case in the hands of God and leave it with Him. If others are angry at us or have hatred for us, we must not have anger and hatred for them in return.
If we continue to carry around all the hurts and pains of this life from what others have done to us, those things will infuse us with bitterness and will eventually destroy us and eat us alive! We must not allow the things others have done to us to shape and ruin our lives and our witness for God. I know this is not easy at all and will take a lot of prayer, and walking close to God to overcome; but just as David did who is a teacher and example for us (as Jesus is in his day of trial and crucifixion) we must follow their example. We can overcome and must do so if we are to qualify for high positions of authority over others and to be able to teach them to trust God for offenses done to them in their lives. This is one of the hardest things to do in life, but it is the will of the Lord and if it is His will, He will make a way of escape for us to be able to bear it.
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain and to then let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life and those we associate with. This is a hard thing to do, but it is part of the curriculum that God puts us through so that we will never become as Saul became; but will qualify to go on to be His loyal and devoted spiritual children throughout all eternity.
*1 Samuel 24:16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 24:17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. 24:18 And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not. 24:19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day. 24:20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand. 24:21 Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house. 24:22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.
David’s grace in this situation seemed to have touched the hard heart of King Saul as least temporarily. God used the decision to not retaliate and the words of David to bring about peace, at least for that day. David did not do something that he would have regretted for the rest of his life. He did not try to take matters into his own hands and try to set things right; but because he placed things in the hand of His Lord and Savior, he demonstrated grace instead of bitterness. A short time after this incident, David was rightfully and honorably given the kingship after King Saul died; but Saul’s death came by consequences of his own stubbornness and by his own hand; and not by the hand of David.
What About Us in the Ekklesia Today Who Have Been Wronged?
There are many of us who have been a part of the Ekklesia for many years and we have experienced many wrongs and abuse at the hands of others in the church and from the leadership. We may have been offended, led to believe false doctrines, told that we would not make it if we disobeyed the ministers and the “pastor general”; we have given of our hard earned tithes and offerings just to have the money wasted and/or provide luxurious living for those who demanded it of us. We may have had family members disown us, abandon us, or had church leaders tell us we cannot be a part of their fellowship anymore; or we may have been told that we have become heretical and are no longer a part of God’s people; because we refuse to go along with time honored traditions that we have come to see are in error that have been taught by leaders for years.
But Brethren, it is time that we lay all of our hurts and offenses down and go forward to receive all that God has in store for us. It will be all worth it if we qualify as David did by not taking vengeance and not harboring hatred for Saul, who is representative of all those who have hurt us. We must NOT let these things from the past and even things that we are currently experiencing make us bitter; or let these things ruin our lives and keep us from growing any further.
Yesterday, I was sitting down at the beach in front of the lake watching a huge sail boat go by. In no time at all it had sped swiftly across the Straits from one end to the other. The thought came to me “what would happen if the ship had a rope that was tied to an anchor dragging on the bottom of the lake?”
Holding on to grudges and hurts from the past can be just like that. When our hearts still have a line to a hurt or grudge it will drag along the bottom to slow us down; or it could even stop us in our tracks so that we are unable to move forward at all. We need to cut the ropes from our past hurts and hatreds and then sail…. full speed ahead.
Some of us (myself included) need to cut down the old mangled trees from the past and put them away and root out all bitterness that is still residing in the crevices of our hearts. God has a wonderful future planned for His children and we must go forward to receive all that He has for us, to be helpers with Him to bring the rest of humanity to salvation eventually. What happened in WCG and is happening now in many of the offshoot groups, will actually work for good; for it will separate the men from the boys, the Sauls from the Davids, and God will then know who He can entrust the rulership of His Kingdom to.
Today, let us search out and discern the things that may be causing a root of bitterness in our hearts and meet the challenge from God’s WORD, (not mine or anyone else’s) that we must let go of all our thoughts of vengeance and to extend grace to those who may be against us, even if we can only release them in our hearts at this time if they are still unwilling to reconcile. If we are still dealing with wounds, with any kind of a hurt from the past or from being hurt currently, let us go to God and have Him cleanse us and give us a heart of love and forbearance rather than take on the “works of the flesh”, namely hatred and bitterness toward those who have hurt us and have taken advantage of us. When we are willing to do these things God will start blessing His Ekklesia in ways that we can hardly imagine.
And when we do clean His spiritual Temple out of all hatred and bitterness, we do it for the glory of God and for the coming Kingdom; where no one that has a spirit of hatred will be allowed to be a part of it.
We Are to Lift Up our Voice Like a Trumpet to Show People their Sins
This is not about seeking peace with others at all costs and remaining quiet about things that are clearly wrong, (another example of David was to confront Saul and speak out about his sin) but about repenting of the “works of the flesh” that is all about having hatred and bitterness in our hearts when others have hatred in their hearts against us.
Just as David did, we must resist becoming like they are and show them that we will not seek revenge when they seek to do us harm; but we will leave the matter in God’s capable hands. When we do this, we allow God to do His work and to show forth His mighty deeds of protection and deliverance for His own begotten children; and when we let Him fight our battles for us, we glorify Him rather than trying to get glory for ourselves.
When we do not seek revenge towards our enemies, we may appear very weak to others that are watching; but it actually takes more strength and fortitude to have faith that God will do what is best for all parties concerned. We can have faith knowing with all our hearts that His truth and justice will prevail in the end. When we trust Him to fight our battles, we will be true witnesses of His ways, and even if we have to suffer for a time (like David, Jesus, the apostles, Stephen and many other true servants of God) in the end everyone wins (everyone who eventually do come to sincere repentance and choose to accept God’s way of living).
David’s was an example of one who was being hunted and persecuted by a ruler who had gone bad, but David did not remain silent about it. He came out of the cave, following after Saul, probably risking his own life by showing himself. He could have just stayed hidden in the cave and not have said anything. But he did come forward and he gave Saul a piece of his mind about what Saul was doing to him. He stated his case against Saul letting all that were present know that Saul was wicked and was persecuting him unjustly; and that God was one day going to judge him and come to David’s defense.
David in essence, lifted up his voice like a trumpet to show Saul, and all the other men that were with them that day, how Saul was transgressing against him for no reason. David was an example of what the Church of God is to be doing, even as we are mocked and persecuted for being followers of Christ, we still must love enough to show the people their sins and how they are transgressing against God and transgressing against their brethren; then admonish all who will listen to repent of those transgressions.
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
We Are Qualifying to be Kings by How We React to Our Enemies Now
And we must have love in our hearts and not hatred or bitterness in telling them. David’s experiences were most traumatic and his heart must have been broken to have this man that he loved, the man that he served by killing Goliath for; then return David’s love with such extreme hatred. David had spent his young manhood and had risk his life many times going to war with the Philistines to defend this king and his people. This man was his father-in-law and the father of his best friend, Jonathan, and yet he was unjustly and ludicrously trying to kill him. David could have become very bitter and hateful himself at having to go through these years of running and hiding, living off the land and sleeping in caves, but it he did not let it destroy him. With God’s help this difficult time in his life made him into the man that God could use to become a great king over Israel, not only for his time, but for a future time when David will rule over all Israel under Christ in the millennial kingdom.
Yes, Saul was an embittered, envious, insane old king and he was very harsh to David, but it only made for even more hardiness on the part of his “object” of hatred. God took a situation that Satan had meant for evil and destruction and turned it into the molding and making of a king that will be a king for all eternity.
Saul was a tool of the devil, we all can see that; it was really Satan who did not want David to be king over Israel just like he does not want us to be kings and priests ruling in righteousness with Christ in the future. Sometimes it seems like we too are victims in his hands and that the unrelenting trials may destroy us; but we must always remember that the devil is not the opposite of God in power, he is only a created being and he is less than a speck of dust compared to the infinite Mighty God of the Universe. He is only a tool in God’s hand to help mold us and fashion us to be the holy people of God.
David’s trials are over now. When he died, his time of fighting against the evil principalities and rulers of this present evil world and enduring the cruelty of Saul and all of his other enemies is over with.
He is asleep in his grave waiting for the time when he will be resurrected to a new life. He is awaiting a life of goodness and righteousness, with a new spiritual body capable of all power to do all good and to live with Christ in all its fullness; forever! The Bible says that David has qualified to be a king and priest and now he is just waiting for the time of his entrance into the Kingdom of God through the resurrection.
And David did prove to be better than Saul by how he showed that he was a man after God’s own heart, and did not let any kind of bitterness or spirit of hatred take root in his heart even when others had that spirit toward him.
When I started out to do this study on this one chapter of the Bible (1st Samuel 24) I didn’t realize how much treasure of spiritual insight it contained. But reading about the lives of both Saul and David, I began to see how much they are symbolic of the children of darkness and the children of light; and how they are analogous for all of us who are alive now and qualifying for our places in God’s Plan.
God uses those who are on a path to destruction in this life, to help sharpen and strengthen those who are being trained to be wise and righteous leaders under Christ in the soon to be here Kingdom of God, where righteousness will reign supreme.
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2016, which I then completed for posting.
Ye have heard that it hath been said,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:
for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good,
and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?
do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only,
what do ye more than others?
do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father
which is in heaven is perfect.