Today's devotion from Psalms 58, 59, & 60.
We're kind of used to wishing our enemies were dead. We hear stories, read books, and watch movies that train us to want those opposed to us obliterated, extinguished, and removed from the equation. In fact, one might say that the death of the antagonist is almost glorified in our culture. (On a side note, I'm wondering if some of this psychology is tied to the current demise of civil discourse in our society?) We've even read many psalms in which the author pleads with God to destroy his enemies while preserving him and proving the Lord's ultimate love toward those who follow Him.
That's why the words of Psalm 59:11 struck me. The psalmist writes, "Kill them not, lest my people forget; make them totter by your power and bring them down, O Lord, our shield!" (Psalm 59:11, ESV) The title informs us that this was written during a trying time in David's life when Saul was scheming against him. David had opportunities to kill Saul, but refused due to his being the king.
I think David was wise. Had he simply killed Saul, he would have been just as illegitimate as any other dictator ascended to power through questionable means. No. He had to trust in God's timing and sovereignty, but that did not mean that this time was unfruitful. For those watching, they could see the descent of Saul. They could learn much from watching his arrogance grow at the expense of his faith.
This goes for us today also. We don't necessarily need those opposed to God to die in order for our faith to grow or His plan to develop. In fact, I think David is on to something that we often forget. The absence of God in some lives stands in stark contrast to His presence in the lives of believers. It is this contrast that makes the believer's testimony so powerful. As painful as it is, there is much to learn from the tottering life of the unbeliever. Perhaps the greatest lesson, regardless of how much they rail and rebel, is pity for the lost and gratefulness for the grace we have found.