Do not touch the Lord’s anointed

Jenny ThompsonPosted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by Jenny Thompson

David spares Saul’s life

Readings: I Samuel 24:1-17 & Psalm 46
Key verses

“Afterwards, 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 lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.’ This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord gave you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, “I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.” 
I Samuel 24:5-7, 10

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1


In the Old Testament only the Prophets, Priests and Kings were anointed, but in the New Testament the whole body of Christ is anointed, not just some certain people in the body, everyone shares the same anointing.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

The story of David sparing the life of King Saul reveals wonderful spiritual strength in the heart of David. As we know David was far from perfect but God had worked within him over the years just as He does with all of us! He had learned some vital spiritual lessons that would ultimately prepare him for being a great King in Israel who governed the Israelites well and was loved by them. it is important to notice that the word touch here actually means not to cause physical harm. The most important lesson David learned was not to touch the Lord’s anointed one! You may remember how Saul was so jealous of this young man who played the harp so beautifully. Who was such a great warrior killing tens of thousands of men in war. You see Saul knew the anointing was going to pass from him to David and Saul seethed with anger and jealousy and so tried on numerous occasions to kill David, but God kept him safe!

Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.
Psalm 105:15

1. David did not get revenge on the Lord’s anointed.

Have we ever felt like getting revenge on those who have hurt us! I am sure we have, this is our natural response when we have been hurt!

Saul had been anointed as King over Israel by Samuel, so he had a position of rulership that was soon to be over owing to his disobedience to the Lord.

David, knowing that he was next in line refused to physically touch the King as God’s anointed and remove him from his position prematurely. It was God, not David who would remove Saul from his position.

Abishai said to David, ‘Today God has given your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.’ But David said to Abishai, ‘Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives,’ he said, ‘the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.
1 Samuel 26:8-10

So David had this opportunity to get his revenge and kill Saul! Abishai said that God had given him this opportunity! This was of course a natural response! Do you think David was tempted? He must have been! However David saw this as a test from God! Was he going to take that opportunity or not? Of course David won the test, we know this because he even felt bad about cutting a corner of his robe! Of course also the reason he did this was to clearly show to Saul that he could have killed him, but decided not to!

Well Saul went into battle on one occasion against the philistines and the philistines won, Saul was killed along with his sons. God finally removed Saul from his position!

2. David understood the high importance of the Lord’s anointed.

But while David went up and cut of the piece of Saul’s robe, his conscience began to disturb him. He became troubled about it. And for a very good reason;
this is a very critical moment in David’s history. had he listened to his special counsellors who urged him to do what providence, seemingly, had put in his way, his life of faith would have come to an end, right at that point.

How often, in our experiences, have we wished for something to happen that might deliver us from our trials! Look, if he had just plunged the sword into Saul at that moment, well, just think of the things that would happen. In that moment; he’s now the king; he’s a hunted man; but now he’s the King. Farewell poverty. Farewell the life of being hunted by Saul. What will he have? The praises and the shouts of the people, their favourite king has come to the throne, but at the sacrifice of faith, at the sacrifice of a humbled will, ever waiting on god’s perfect timing. Faith will wait. Faith has to wait for us as well!

David was suggesting to Saul that, “I’m going to succeed you. I’m going to take the throne from you”, the robe being the sign of his authority.

So David totally understood that he was not going to get on the throne by killing Saul! If he did that he would be thwarting the plan of God! In any case to kill Saul would certainly cause him to lose his anointing anyway! So what would be the point of that? Killing Saul would not actually ultimately get him anywhere!

You see he had learned to trust God and allow Him to do things His way, and in His timing! I know how hard it sometimes is when it appears that wickedness is ruling and reigning everywhere and that person who has it in for us, well if we are honest we wish something nasty would happen to them!!

He is still sovereign and ultimately He will deal with those who refuse to follow Him, or those who oppose us or are blocking the purposes of God in our lives!

So what are we to do?

How we live our lives is so important because we can lose the anointing. We are to honour the anointing in one another! We must not try to take matters into our own hands no matter how tempting this may sometimes be! We are to trust as David did believing that He will have His way ultimately despite present circumstances dictating otherwise.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” says the Lord.
Romans 12:19

It is God who protects His anointed,

Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed. He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Psalm 20:6-7

Charles R. Swindoll says of Psalm 46,

In times of physical catastrophe in our lives or in our world, what is our response? Usually, it’s “Why, God? Why me? Why us?” In contrast, God’s Word says in times of physical catastrophe, “we will not fear”. If the worst should happen we must not fear. Easy to say but I know not so easy to live by.

Matthew Henry says,

We have seen Saul seeking an opportunity to destroy David and to his shame, he could never find it. David had a fair opportunity to destroy Saul and to his honour, he did not make use of it.

David did not get revenge on the Lord’s anointed. He overcame his natural tendency to want to take Saul’s life, revealing the way to life that pleases God.

David understood the high importance of the Lord’s anointed. He knew that if he killed Saul he would lose his anointing and even though he would be King, he will still be a hunted man! It was not worth it!

May the Lord help us by His grace not to give in to jealousy, anger, hatred and revenge like Saul did but rather to show love and forgiveness like david did, remembering that each one of us is the Lord’s precious anointed!

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