David is widely known for his songs of worship and thanksgiving to the Lord. The Psalms are filled with such expressions. Similarly, several Psalms reflect pleading anguish written in desperation as Saul pursued David seeking to kill him.
In light of those realities, we would expect David’s song of 2 Samuel 1 to read differently. What do I mean by that? Let’s review some of what had happened.
- As king, Saul had repeatedly disobeyed the Lord and demonstrated his own willful rebellion against clear instructions God had given.
- God had clearly expressed his disappointment with Saul, even giving Samuel instruction to anoint another king.
- God had selected David as king. In fact, His selection was made clear while Saul was still in office. It was not to be realized until Saul’s death.
- Saul’s opposition to David was obvious. He repeatedly attempted to murder the incumbent king.
So as the news trickled down to David from Mount Gilboa, one would expect David to
rejoice. After all, he would finally be able to assume the office for which he had been selected. He would no longer have to be a man on the move, looking over his shoulder in fear of Saul’s next attempt to take his life. It would seem to be the news that David had longed to hear.
But it wasn’t.
The man who expected to endear himself to David with a fabricated story of taking Saul’s life on Gilboa must have been surprised too. Instead of being heralded as a hero, David had the man killed for taking the life of God’s anointed. Instead of writing a song of praise, David wrote a song of mourning. Instead of listing off all of his bad experiences with the man, David chose to honor him.
Rather than harboring anger and wishing ill on an enemy, David extended forgiveness and chose to see Saul as a person deserving of respect because of the position he held.
Friends, that example has broad application from how you respond to an enemy to how you speak of elected officials!