I'm a huge Mel Brooks fan. Yeah, his movies are a little off color and probably even offensive to some, but we've already established the fact that my sense of humor is a little warped. One of his catch phrases, and one that he uses in more than one movie is, "It's good to be the king!" He says that as Louis XVI in "History of the World," as King Richard in "Robin Hood: Men in Tights", and a couple other times.
I guess it is good to be king. But from what I've seen, being king makes you more than just a little paranoid, and I guess the same is true for just about any position of power. We have an example in today's readings about one very paranoid king. This was a man who had been commissioned as king by God, but then, had also seen that commissioning removed.
A new king was being put on the throne. This king would also be commissioned by God to lead the people of Israel, but King Saul just wasn't ready to give it up yet. King to be David was on the run because Saul was trying to kill him. I told you being king must make you a little paranoid.
You can almost expect a de-throned king to be a little paranoid and want to go after the one to replace him. And you might even expect the "king to be" to want to remove any threat from his predecessor, and one way to do that is through death. Maybe that is what Saul was thinking, and that is why he was after David. I would have to go back and look again. But the beautiful part of this story is what happens when David's enemy has been delivered to him, and how he responds.
Saul had slipped into a cave to "relieve himself" (we'll just leave it at that) and did not know that David and his men were hiding in the back of the same cave. David's men encouraged him to slip up behind Saul and kill him since God had obviously delivered him into David's hand. Instead, David slips up behind Saul and clips the corner of his robe. As Saul leaves, David calls to him, holds up the corner of Saul's robe and convinces Saul that he is not trying to kill him or he would have when Saul had been delivered into David's hands. It's only then that Saul realizes how paranoid he has been.
To me, that was what made David good king material. I mean, sure, he had his moments of weakness. The whole Bathsheba thing was absolutely scandelous, but he also had his moments where God shone through him. His treatment of his enemy, Saul, was one of those. It would have been so easy. One quick thrust of his spear, or quick slide of his sword, and his enemy would be no more. It would be over and he could move on.
But he didn't. And that is the lesson for me as a pastor, and for us as Jesus followers. The easy thing to do, most of the time, is to avenge our hurts on those who hurt us. Doesn't scripture even say "an eye for an eye"? (Ok, that was a little sarcastic) The more difficult, yet noble, way to respond is to let those who have hurt us walk away unharmed. I really think that is exactly what Jesus would have done. Actually, I'm not even sure he would have clipped the robe.
So, this is very difficult for me to say but here goes, for those past hurts that you're still carrying around (and me too), it's time to let them go. Our enemies have pursued us long enough. I'm not about to say it's easy, and the one example that keeps coming to mind for me is going to be especially tough. But I think I'm through hiding in the caves. It may be good to be the king, but it's even better to be a child of the king.