1 SAMUEL 24
In this chapter, we see a beautiful picture of God shining through David, the one who was later called "the man after God’s own heart." David has been on the run from Saul for a very long time. Then, suddenly, in a reversal of fortune, Saul enters a cave where David and his men are hiding. David could have easily ambushed Saul; instead, he cut off the corner of his robe. (And even that got to his conscience later on.)
After not killing Saul, David confronted him outside the cave: "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 lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.'" (vs 10) Incredible, isn’t it? David is still referring to Saul as the Lord’s anointed. Even though David knew God had chosen him to be the next king, he didn’t feel the need to take matters into his own hands and "make something happen." He was content to let God make him king in His own time.
Saul had a momentary lapse into contrition at the end of the chapter. Deep down, he knew his problem wasn’t with David—and David proved that by not harming him when he had the perfect opportunity. I think it’s the same with us and God. If there is an issue between us and God, God isn’t the one with the problem. And even if we have done great wrong to Him, God does not retaliate. Given the chance, He won’t harm us. Instead, as David did with Saul, He will try to reason with us and show us that we have no reason to be afraid of Him.
David had his shortcomings, but in this, he truly was a man after God’s own heart. By continuing to treat Saul with graciousness and respect, he revealed the very heart of God as a place where revenge and retaliation do not reside.