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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: Psalm 13; Psalm 17; Psalm 22; Psalm 54; 1Samuel 24

Vindicate Me

Sometime 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 found out the LORD is his vindicator.

David was the victim of King Saul’s jealousy. Though David never did anything wrong, still he was hunted down by Saul and his men; David’s popularity and success were a perceived threat to Saul’s throne. David separated himself from Saul and eventually lived in Philistine territory to escape Saul's 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. Soon thereafter, Saul gathered a choice army of 3,000 men to pursue David once again. He pursued David all the way to the Crags of the Wild Goats (a description of his hiding place). David and his men hid back in a large cave while Saul came into the cave to sleep. David’s men saw this as an opportunity from God to slay his enemy, but David was not persuaded. When he secretly cut off part of Saul’s robe, David was conscience stricken because Saul, though he was self-willed and insanely jealous, was still God’s anointed king. David spared Saul's life, showing honor for his position and an unwillingness to subvert his rule. Just because we may have the opportunity to exercise our own justice does not mean that we should. Jesus said, “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 appealed 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 had a present application to a situation but also a future application to the ministry of Christ. As David was afflicted or felt afflicted, Jesus would be more so when he hung on the cross of Calvary, suffering unjustly for our sins. When we are afflicted, we should remember that Jesus Christ can completely sympathize with anything we have suffered. Jesus was mocked, spit upon, beaten, whipped, and crucified, though he did nothing to deserve it and said nothing about it (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:1-2, 11-54). Though we may be threatened or suffer, God 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 did not kill Saul; he spared him even against the counsel of his own men. After Saul left the cave where he was resting, David called 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, 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:

  • God 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.
  • God 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 may have the opportunity to exercise our own justice does not mean that we should. Let God 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...)

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Psalm 22:24 “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.” (NIV)

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