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man sitting with his back against the wall, alone April 19 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Psalm 13; Psalm 17; Psalm 22; 1Samuel 24

Vindicate Me

At one time or another almost every person wants to be vindicated for some injustice. Perhaps we have been accused of lying, cheating, stealing, or some crime. We are innocent, but we are accused, slandered, or perhaps even arrested. To whom can we turn to for our defense?

David the young warrior was the victim of King Saul’s jealousy. Although he never did anything wrong, he was hunted down by Saul and his men— David’s popularity and success were a perceived threat to his throne. The godly young soldier separated himself from Saul and eventually lived in the Philistine territory to escape his monstrous jealousy. Nevertheless, Saul came after him. When he had just about captured David and his men, he received a sudden report that the Philistines were invading the land. He had to break off the pursuit to fight them.

In today's Bible reading, King Saul returns with a choice army of 3,000 men to pursue David once again. He pursues him all the way to the Crags of the Wild Goats (a description of his hiding place). David and his men hide back in a large cave when Saul enters it to sleep. David’s men see this as an opportunity from God to slay his enemy, but he is not persuaded. When David secretly cuts off part of Saul’s robe, he is conscience stricken because Saul, although self-willed and insanely jealous, is still the LORD’s anointed king. He spares Saul's life, therefore, showing honor for his position and an unwillingness to subvert his rule.

Just because we have the opportunity to exercise our own justice does not mean we should. Jesus says, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27, NIV). Do we have a respectful attitude toward the leadership of our government, church or other organization? You may say, “If we don’t remove them, who will?” David appeals to God and so should we.

But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. (Psalm 22:19-21, 23-24, NIV)

Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm. Messianic Psalms usually have a present application to a situation and also a future application to the ministry of Jesus Christ. As David feels afflicted in the desert when Saul's men hound him to kill him, a thousand years later Jesus will be hounded by religious leaders, soldiers, and crowds of people. And, afterwards he will be nailed to a rough hewn cross beam, experiencing great physical, mental, and spiritual pain as he unjustly suffers for our sins.

When we are afflicted, we should remember that Jesus Christ can completely sympathize with anything we have suffered. He was mocked, spit upon, beaten, whipped, and crucified, although he did nothing to deserve it and said nothing about it (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:1-2,11-54). When we are threatened or suffer physical or mental abuse, the LORD will deliver us from our afflictions or help us bear them. He will be our vindication.

How do we deal with those who treat us unjustly? If it is civil or criminal injustice, God has ordained the government (i.e., our police and courts) to help us (Romans 13:1-4). Otherwise, as difficult as it may be, we Christians are to treat them with kindness, honor, and humility.

David does not kill Saul—he spares him. After Saul leaves the cave where he is resting, David calls after him,

“My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He said to Saul, “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. As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.”

“Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand,” (1Samuel 24:8-15, NIV).

Let us not take revenge for wrongs. Instead, we must let the LORD be our vindication. Until then, let us continue to be blameless, kind, honoring, and live our lives with humility.

Lessons to Live By

  • The LORD will vindicate those who suffer injustice, but like David, deliverance may not be immediate.
  • We must be respectful to our governing leaders as being chosen by God, even if they are unreasonable and oppressive.
  • The LORD will deliver us from our afflictions or help us bear them. He will be our vindication.
  • How do we deal with those who treat us unjustly? If it is civil or criminal injustice, God has ordained the government (i.e., our police and courts) to help us (Romans 13:1-4). Otherwise, as difficult as it may be, we Christians are to treat them with kindness, honor, and humility.
  • Just because we have the opportunity to exercise our own justice does not mean we should. God can be your vindication. Jesus said, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27, NIV).
  • Jesus offers us forgiveness and peace, even in difficult circumstances (more...)

Focus Verses

Psalm 22:24 (NIV) “For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

2Thessalonians 1:6-7 (NIV) “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.”

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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A Look Ahead: Like David, we may want vindication, but Where is our Refuge from the storm in the meantime? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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