In Gal 6:9 and also in 2 Thes 3:13 we are told not to be weary in well doing. Generally speaking we understand this, but, when we suffer for doing the right thing we don’t like it. Let’s go ahead and say it…”That’s not fair”.
Usually when we have given of ourselves for the gain of others the last thing on earth we expect is to suffer for it. It is these times when we think “Why does God allow this?” Let me share with you the early years of David, son of Jesse. During our fast forward through those early years I will be using “TNF” which stands for “That’s not fair”. When you see “TNF” take a moment to think of David’s plight and how he handled it. Get your bibles out and follow along.
Ten Long Years
After the death of Goliath David was rather popular not only with the people but King Saul had taken a particular interest in him. Sometime after the death of Goliath, David came to live on the palace grounds. This is when David and Jonathan forged their friendship. In 1 Sam 18:5 David was a rising star in Saul’s kingdom; unfortunately for David, trouble was just around the corner. During the parade of the victorious soldiers the women sang songs and a verse of the song says Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.
Fact #1: David, defending his homeland, defeats Israel’s enemies. 18:7-9 Saul hears the song, becomes jealous and tries to kill him. David was demoted and sent away. TNF! David’s response: 18:14 David behaved himself wisely.
Fact #2: It was promised that the victor over Goliath was to wed a daughter of the king. Saul requires a different kind of dowry for his daughter, kill 100 Philistines. (The intent was that David would fail and die trying.) David kills 200 enemies of Israel and Saul has to follow through with his promise. Now Saul considers David his enemy. 18:29 TNF! David’s response: 18:30
Fact #3: Saul puts out a hit on David. 19:1 TNF!
Fact #4: War again and David is the hero. 19:8 Saul throws another spear at him. 19:10 Saul dispatches assassins to his house. Take a moment and read this account… 19:11-15 TNF!
Fact #5: David knows now that Saul will kill him if he finds him so he has to live the life of a fugitive. He has been helped by his wife Michal and by his friend Jonathan to escape Saul’s wrath. Both Michal 19:17 and Jonathan 20:30, Saul’s son and daughter, also taste Saul’s wrath for helping David. Saul even threw a spear at Jonathan. TNF!
Fact #6: David, now on the run, goes to a town of priests to ask for food. (Chapter 21) Saul hears about the aid to David and Ahimelech along with 84 other priests are slain at Saul’s command. 22:17-18 TNF!
Fact #7: During this time David takes in other outcasts until he has a few hundred men. If ever there was a story somewhat like Robin Hood it is here. While on the run the Philistines raided Keilah, a small town just south of Bethlehem. David has his own problems but he takes his band of merry men and crushes the raiding party and brings the spoils back to the town. Saul hears about this and he sends an army to kill David. When David hears the army is coming he inquires of God, “Will the people of Keilah help me or will they sell me out?” God answered they will sell you out. Imagine that, David had saved them. TNF!
Fact #8: Saul has his spies everywhere now and has a mobile force, let’s call it a posse, following up on every lead. He has David surrounded in chapter 23 but war breaks out and Saul has to leave. After the rebellion was thrown down Saul resumes the hunt and tracks David to the caves of Engedi. 24:1 Saul has 3,000 choice men armed to the teeth bearing down on David. One night Saul uses one of the caves to sleep for the night. Guess what? David and at least some of his men are in the cave. Now think with me, David has been on the run for years to this point. Saul has returned nothing but evil for all the good David had done. David’s men tell him the Lord has delivered Saul into your hands, arise and take his life. 24:4 It all sounds perfect, after all David had been anointed as the next king of Israel years before. So what did he decide? David tells them this is the Lord’s anointed, only God has the right to end this. David does cut off a piece of the king’s clothing. David, the next day, after the army had moved some distance away, called to Saul and showed him the cloth proclaiming no evil intentions against the King. He said I have only been honorable in your service. Saul responds in 24:17… You have been honorable and I have returned your good deeds with evil. TNF!
** This story line continues but we are going to stop here. Can you imagine you have always done the right thing and every time you are rewarded with evil? Which one of us today can compare anything we have gone through to what David endured? How are you feeling about Saul?
What Jesus Suffered
I am going to switch gears on you now and look at a few of the things Jesus suffered being totally innocent.
* Jesus heals the man with a withered hand Mat 12:9-14 The Religious Leaders took council to destroy Jesus TNF!
* Jesus said one time in John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? TNF!
* Much like Saul did to David, the Religious leaders sought to kill Jesus. John 7:1 TNF!
* We know that the religious leaders find a traitor, Judas, who tells them where Jesus would be. He is taken bound to Annas the outgoing high priest first then to Caiaphas the incoming high priest and was miserably treated. When the Roman court was open Jesus is taken to Pilate who at first sends him to Herod. Herod’s men treat him badly and sent him back to Pilate. Ultimately Jesus is whipped mercilessly with a device designed to tear flesh with every swing. A crown of thorns was placed on his head and then he is hit over the head with rods driving the thorns into his scalp. He is slapped, slugged and had sections of his beard pulled out. Finally Jesus heads to Golgotha where he is tortured to death on the cross. In 2 Cor 5:21 we are told, among other places, that Jesus never sinned yet he endured all these things. TNF!
Saul was the bad guy in David’s story so who is the bad guy in this story? Let me give you a hint: why did Jesus come to earth in the first place? We are the bad guys in this story. We are the ones returning evil for good. Jesus endured all this so we might obtain a pardon for our evil. (The shoe is on the other foot now) This should bring a sense of humility and unworthiness on our part. This should also give us a greater appreciation for the gift of salvation.
How about the conscience decisions we make defying what we know is right in the sight of God after we are saved? Satan tempts us and if we allow ourselves to dwell on it we surrender to the temptation. Can we picture Jesus watching us as we choose to disobey after all he suffered? This is exactly what happened to Peter at the palace of the high priest. In Luke 22:60-61 Jesus, right after Peter’s third denial, found him in the crowd and their eyes met. The next time Satan comes calling and tempts us we need to think about having to look Jesus in the eye, after all he suffered, and explain why we gave in.
Before we throw stones at Saul we need to ask ourselves, are we being fair to Jesus?