So Saul rose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, with three thousand chosen men of Israel, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph. So David and Abishai went to the army by night; there Saul lay sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the army lay around him. Abishai said to David, “God has given your enemy into your hand today; now therefore let me pin him to the ground with one stroke of the spear; I will not strike him twice.”
But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” So David took the spear that was at Saul’s head and the water jar, and they went away. No one saw it, or knew it, nor did anyone awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.
Then David went over to the other side, and stood on top of a hill far away, with a great distance between them. David replied, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and get it. The Lord rewards everyone for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the you into my hand today, but I would not raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I took an Old Testament class in grad school I liked very much. We had a passionate teacher with a gift for bringing colorful stories like King David’s to life. But it felt strange to approach my Bible for the first time as assigned reading and not as a tool for worship.
Adam Gopnik considered these feelings in The New Yorker recently. He wrote that when we open sacred texts, “We forget at our peril that, through most of their history, these have been not books, to be appreciated, but truths, to be obeyed.” In other words, it’s fine to take a reader’s pleasure in King David’s adventures, but our call as believers is to find and pray with lasting truths. Some aren’t easy to live by!
We have a challenging faith lesson in this reading, paired with today’s Gospel (Lk 6: 27-38): God gets to judge, not us. Whenever I feel pulled to take on that role, I must remember, as David did, that only God has the perfect vision to judge and to act on it. Resisting judgment does not mean we approve of sin. It is an invitation into deeper patience, a better understanding and mercy.
Jesus lived his lessons. Ask for his guidance and help in your walk with him today!
——Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province currently finishing his second year of Regency in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life,
your heart is a glowing furnace of love.
You are my refuge and my sanctuary.
Consume my heart with the burning fire
with which yours is inflamed.
Pour down on my soul those graces that
flow from your love.
Let my heart be united with yours.
Let my will be conformed to yours
in all things.
May your will be the rule of all my desires and actions.
—St. Gertrude the Great
Please share the Good Word with your friends!