David's Principles

     The life of King David holds many lessons. He exemplified strength and intelligence while manifesting human frailty. He could be a noble son, servant and king but he was also a man of passion as we saw with Bathsheba and Uriah. David was like us and we are often like him. We have our principles and we work to maintain them but we sometimes come up short.

     It is easier to remember a famous man’s failures than his successes. Perhaps doing so makes us feel a little better about ourselves and our shortcomings. But when we think of David we ought to remember he was a man of principle. He could not bear the thought of Goliath standing down Saul’s army so he did something about it. Even in that sad sinful episode with Bathsheba he repented when Nathan told him “You are the man.”

     An outstanding example of David’s reliance on principle was his sparing King Saul’s life not just once but twice (1 Samuel 24 and 26). We remember that Saul went through times when he pursued and attempted to kill David. Now, it is altogether reasonable that a man defend himself when another man is trying to kill him. One might well see that a state of war existed between David and Saul. We find in both accounts David’s man saying that the Lord had delivered Saul into his hands with the implication that the pragmatic thing to do would be to kill him there and then. But David did not do it. He cut off the corner of Saul’s robe the first time and took his spear and water jug the second time.

     Some might say that David was just being clever, angling for political advantage. I do not doubt that David was clever, sometimes too much for his own good. But here, this is a matter of principle. Saul had turned out to be not the king he should have been. But he was still the “Lord’s anointed.” The people had made a mistake by wanting a king, but God let them learn their lesson by giving them Saul. He was still the king though David would hold the office soon. David did not kill him because he had been chosen by God. David did what he thought was right.

     That’s what a man or woman of principle does. Not every decision is to be made based on practical consequences. Some things are to be done because they are the right things to do. Some things must not be done because they are wrong. David helps us see this truth, even today.