Creative Media Assistant
As I read today, I was reminded of the verses in 2 Samuel where David learns of the death of Saul and Jonathan. His response is a soulful lament:
‘A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.
How the mighty have fallen!
‘Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.’
Our human reaction to seeing bad things happen to people who have wronged us is really telling of our peace and our identity. The writer of Proverbs says:
‘Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him.’
David exemplified this heart attitude when his mortal enemy, Saul (the man who was trying to hunt him down and kill him) was himself killed in battle. David could have easily taken this moment to rejoice, to celebrate new-found freedom from very real persecution, but he knew that his value was not based on his position within the kingdom. It was not determined by what Saul had thought of him, it was to be found in who God said he was.
When we find our peace in the Lord, we do not need to determine the behaviour of people around us. We do not need circumstances to change for us to have peace. We can trust in every situation that the Lord will grant us peace.
David had been prophetically spoken over years earlier by the spiritual leader of the nation, Samuel. He could have clung to the title that he was promised, living in resentment of Saul and clinging onto the throne, or in righteous indignation at how he was treated.
But he didn’t.
From his youth, he had decided to base his hope in the Lord, to delight in his presence. He chose to worship even while watching the sheep as a young teenager, a lowly task given to him to keep him out of his family’s way. From those formative days, he grew into a man of integrity, stable and at peace as he trusted God to bring about the fulfilment of those promises in His time. Just as when he had been protecting lambs from lions and bears, his peace was still in God. Not in the circumstances around him.
And that meant that when his enemy was overthrown, he was able to mourn for the person of Saul. Recognising the king for a man made in the image of God, appointed to lead the nation, he could mourn a life lost, not dwell on the actions that showed Saul to be flawed, proud and fearful.
When we find our peace in the Lord, we do not need to determine the behaviour of people around us. We do not need circumstances to change for us to have peace. We can trust in every situation that the Lord will grant us peace. And that enables us to value people as heaven intended.
Examine your heart today and decide to value even your enemy as they are loved by heaven.