by Brenda Black
Knock. Knock. “Mommy, are you in there?” Without fail, they will find you at your most private and most vulnerable moment. After hours of postponement, you seize the opportunity to nab some privacy and that's when they need a cup filled or clean up from a cup spilled. They will hang just outside the door and get into a knock-down, drag-out tussle with their sibling. Or, and here's the kicker, answer the phone and announce that Mom's in the bathroom.
If you think your child's timing is amazing, wait until you read about King Saul's close encounter of the commode kind. David and his valiant men are in hiding. King Saul and his 3,000 chosen men are in pursuit. In the Desert of En Gedi, near the Crags of the Wild Goats, a cave is being used as both a hideout and an outhouse.
“[Saul] came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, 'This is the very day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, “I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.”' Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul's robe.
“Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, 'The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.' With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.” (1 Samuel 24:3-7)
So many thoughts race through my mind as I read this strange account. The whole scene is more like something from a sixth grade boy's prank than from the Holy Scriptures describing two warring men risking their lives. I can almost hear the snickers from David's cohorts as their leader belly crawls silently across a dampened cave floor. I imagine David's wince as he gets close enough to cut off the end of Saul's robe only to be stricken by the humanness of his nemesis. Then, how he did slink back into the inky depths of the cave without notice, bearing his clutched royal slice of fabric.
Pardon the pun, but behind all this privacy in a privy is one amazing lesson that sorts the waste from the trustworthy – David's noble decision to honor one who has done him wrong. David's men spoke correctly when they said this very day the Lord will give you your enemy. What they failed to see that David rightly discerned was the second part of the promise – “for you to deal with as you wish.”
For David to defeat his enemy, he had to first conquer temptation and spite and disrespect. And he had to let God fight the battle for him rather than take things into his own hands. Had David seized his rival at his most vulnerable moment, what glory would there be in that? It would have been a cowardly act wrought with ridicule. Had David elevated himself in order to humiliate King Saul, could he have maintained his innocence? And what of the command that none of his army lay a hand on the sitting duck? David was granted a wish and he wished for the truth to be revealed and peace be restored. So he ventured to Saul once more his noble intentions rather than lower himself in the eyes of the Lord.
“'Why do you listen when men say, “David is bent on harming you”? 'This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, “I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the Lord's anointed.” See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.'” (1 Sam. 24:9-12)
David's dirty crawl through the cave ended with clean hands and a pure heart. Even in the most private of circumstances, David did what was right. That was his wish. And God was pleased to honor him straight from the mouth of his enemy. “May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today,” Saul proclaimed. “I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.” (1 Sam. 24:19b-20)
The lesson from this latrine clearly merits recording the tale in God's Holy Word. Consider it adult toilet training. “When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7)
Brenda's latest release is a child's story book Cowboy Pete. Enjoy a fun-filled rhyming ride and help lead your child to Christ with this colorful, hardcover, glossy keepsake written to grow with your child from infancy to pre-school. Get a copy to share with your family today by visiting www.thewordsout-brendablack.com