May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. -.
1 Samuel 24:12 ESV
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.”
1 Samuel 25:39 ESV
And David said, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord ‘s anointed…”
1 Samuel 26:10-11 ESV
Self-control. It’s a fruit of the Spirit David exhibited many times during his years in hiding. Twice he had the opportunity to kill Saul, and both of those times the men with him encouraged him to do so. Yet both of those times he refrained from taking the life of the one who was out to take his.
David held himself back from taking matters into his own hands. Why? He knew God had promised to give him the kingdom. He knew Saul’s end would come. But He also knew God would be the one to handle it. David understood that favorable circumstances do not always equate with God’s will. Not all open doors are ones we should walk through. Good looking ways are not necessarily God’s ways. Sure, twice David was able to sneak up on the king, but it was not so David could kill him; it was so God could further equip David while also revealing to Saul why David was the one with the heart like God’s.
When Nabal, a wealthy yet selfish and heartless man, refused to give David and his men gifts that were expected according to tradition and decency, David almost went forth to kill Nabal and every man with him; David almost acted on that anger impulse we’ve all succumbed to many times in our lives. His sword was strapped, his army was gathered, and he was ready to fight. Yet God sent Nabal’s wife Abigail to remind David that God would take care of his enemies. Her plea for mercy snapped David back to righteousness, so David gratefully refrained from taking matters into his own hands. Yes, gratefully. He was thankful God had stopped him from making the mistake of acting in the flesh.
David had a heart like God’s because he longed to do God’s will–a will that included letting God defeat the enemies who rose up in his life. Sure, David had every right in man’s eyes to kill both Saul and Nabal when given the opportunity. After all, Saul had been attempting to kill David for a long time. Saul was the very reason David was in hiding! And Nabal was a ruthless, selfish man who many would say deserved “to get what was coming to him.” Nevertheless, as Romans 12:19 reminds us, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Vengeance is God’s. It does not say “Vengeance is man’s.” God is the one who will repay each of us according to our deeds. God. Not us.
So are you surrounded by the enemy today? Do you feel someone is out to get you? Are you angry with the way you have been treated? Frustrated with the atrocities those around you appear to be getting away with? Well, let God remind you today of His Truth. First, God sees it all. He sees your enemy; He sees you. And He’s got it under control. Nothing will go unpunshed, and God’s timing of that punishment will be perfect. Remember Proverbs 11:21: “Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.
Second, remind yourself of the words of Jesus:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
John 15:18-20 ESV
If you’re a follower of Jesus, you will have enemies. People will hate you. You will be persecuted. Yet rather than payback in the flesh, pay it forward in the Spirit. Follow Paul’s reminder: if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head (Romans 12:20 ESV).
God promises to recompense us all according to our deeds. So rest in this Truth today. Trust in God’s justice and God’s timing. Let God handle your enemies in His way and as He wills. No, it may not feel good at the time to refrain from payback, but you will be grateful later when you see the results of paying it forward, when you hear your Father one day speak to you, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34 ESV).