Friday, September 29, 2017

EmmDev 2017-09-29 [Lessons from Samuel] Another example of integrity

Another example of integrity

(This is a piece I wrote a while ago - it echoes the message from yesterday.)

6 David then asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, 'Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?' 'I'll go with you,' said Abishai. 7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him. 8 Abishai said to David, 'Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won't strike him twice.' 9 But David said to Abishai, 'Don't destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD's anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the LORD lives,' he said, 'the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD's anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let's go.'       (1Samuel26:6-11)
Significance has to do with character, and character has to do with who we are when no-one is looking. Character is about choosing the road less travelled.

David had been anointed as King - he knew that Saul was simply keeping the throne warm for him. Saul however was insanely jealous of David and had hunted and pursued David, killing those who showed any kind of support for him. It was clear to almost everyone that Saul was clutching at straws and that David was God's choice.

As David and Abishai snuck into Saul's encampment, a golden opportunity presented itself: Everyone was asleep and Saul (who should have been protected and who himself should have been more careful) lay defenceless. Abishai, and we cannot blame him - Saul had made their lives miserable - saw this as an opportunity. He even saw it as God's hand. 'Kill him - and your problems are over, and you can become king in peace.'

David saw the temptation. Although he did not necessarily respect the man, he respected the office. He knew that to become King by treachery and bloodshed was not God's way. He made a character decision to wait and to skip the shortcut. In doing so he taught Abishai and all who would have heard the story ('We were in his tent - he was snoring away!') all about loyalty, uprightness, character, and dignity.

The temptation to take the easy road, or grab what looks like the most convenient solution, especially if it requires only a small compromise, is a very real issue. But it is our characters and our reputation that is at stake. It is easy to pass on a piece of gossip that will damage our competitors in the office. It is easy to piggyback on someone else's work and not acknowledge them. But our lack of respect for our own and other people's dignity will find us out.

David made the right call in a very tempting place - may we too!

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