1 Sam. 18:23-25
So Saul’s servants spoke those words in the hearing of David. And David said, “Does it seem to you a light thing to be a king’s son-in-law, seeing I am a poor and lightly esteemed man?” And the servants of Saul told him, saying, “In this manner David spoke.” Then Saul said, “Thus you shall say to David: ‘The king does not desire any dowry but one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’ ” But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.
It is common to view men who have great power as courageous, accomplished, and strong. Perhaps we expect that they have arrived at their positions by the sweat of their brows and the work of their hands. Maybe we think they retain those positions by the same means, but the truth can be far from it. In Saul’s case, he also operated out of fear. He feared David because the Lord was with him. He saw David as someone with not only the Lord’s favor but the people’s favor, and that made him fear losing his position and power. He wanted David gone, but he did not have the courage to simply do the job. Instead, he tried to orchestrate a way for David to die without him being obviously responsible for it.
Saul was treacherous here. Whatever good feelings he once had for David were long gone. David was now seen only as a threat. Interestingly, David would be just as treacherous during his time as king. He saw Uriah as a threat because David wanted his wife; only Uriah stood in the way. David sent Uriah into battle and asked his cover to desert him, which he did, and Uriah would not survive the attempt on his life as David had. If we see Saul as evil and David as good, we must consider that David once was just as evil as Saul. More than that, where Saul’s plan did not end in death, David’s did. It is a strange cycle of evil that David would end up persecuting another the way he himself was persecuted, even if he did not know it at the time.
There can be hope for the heartless. People are not that black-and-white, and neither are these lives we lead. That hope for redemption and forgiveness is no license to pursue evil, but it becomes our great equalizer. All fallen, all erring, we each have reasons condemnation would be justified for us; none deserve to be made new. Yet, like David’s, God can take the wickedly hard heart and soften it. He can take the spiritually bankrupt and endow them with riches of faith. Let David be our example of God’s refining and redeeming power. Father, thank You for softening and redeeming these hardened hearts and making them useful for your kingdom.