James Merritt - Revenge Factor - Part 1
Well good morning, I wanna thank you for being here, those who are watching on live, those on our campus at Middle Creek, those who are watching by TV, appreciate you being here today and I wanna begin by telling you about the greatest boxer that most people say ever lived. His name was Mohammed Ali and you probably saw him fight, I saw him fight. And the thing about Mohammed Ali was he didn't just fight with skill, but he was very skillful, he fought with passion. And one of the things that he said was, that he felt made him successful was, before he would fight, back in the dressing room, he would think of reasons why he oughta be angry with his opponent. And why he oughta just really be furious with his opponent. And in his autobiography, he said something that may reveal why he really was such a great fighter. He said, "I'm a fighter, I believe in the eye-for-an-eye business, I'm no cheek turner, I got no respect for a man who won't hit back. If you kill my dog, you better hide your cat".
Now what that great boxer was expressing is what I call the revenge factor. And we were all born with that factor. We were all born with this innate attitude that says, "you hit me, I hit you back. You do me wrong, I do you wrong. You mess with me, I mess with you". It's the temptation we all face. And in fact, I'm gonna tell you a story I'm embarrassed to tell ya, I've never told it before. But it's just embarrassing. I got one spanking when I was in school, one. And what's embarrassing is, I was a sophomore in high school when I got my spanking. Now let me tell you what happened. I was in algebra class, my teacher's name was Mrs. Savage which was a very fitting name for her and she was my algebra teacher. And what Mrs. Savage would do is, she'd take the first part of the class and she'd teach the lesson, and then she would give you the second half of the class and she'd give you the homework that you had to do for the next day.
And if you were fast enough and quick enough, you could do your homework in the class and not have to take it home with you. And I didn't like to have to take homework home. So I was busily working all the problems and I'd gotten to the very last problem and had just about finished the problem when Steve, a friend of mine, got up and went to the pencil sharpener and he was walking by me, he took his pencil and ran it right up the middle of my paper. And ruined the whole page. Meaning I had to go home and do it 'cause you couldn't turn in a page like that, had to go home and do it over. And you know, he was laughing, he thought it was real cool that he did that. Well I wasn't real happy about it, I was really kinda upset.
So I waited til he sat down, I waited for a couple minutes, then I got up and I went to the pencil sharpener and I did the same thing to him he did to me. I took my pencil and I ran it right up the middle of his page. Well I was so consumed with getting my revenge, I didn't notice Mrs. Savage was watching me. And as soon as I did that, she said, "Mr. Merritt, would you come to the front of the class"? And I went up to the front of the class and she said, "I wanna know what you did to his homework". And of course I told her what he did and course, he's grinning like a Cheshire cat, you know, throughout the whole thing. And so her husband, Mr. Savage, and it was a marriage made in heaven. Mr. Savage was the designated spanker of the school. He was the guy that was charged to spank all the kids that got in trouble. And I think the reason why he was the designated spanker is because he really enjoyed it.
So he was right across the room, he was teaching algebra as well, she walked across the room, "I need to see you". Came out, he kinda looked surprised, said she's told me that he needs a spanking. So here I am, like a criminal, hands against the wall, bent over and Mr. Savage made sure that everybody heard the punishment that I was getting that day. And as you guys all know that played football, it's always the second guy that gets caught, right. So I got caught. So what happened was, in effect, Steve got my dog, I got his cat, and the Savages brought up the rear. So that's the revenge factor. And we're all susceptible to it. Even one of the greatest kings that ever lived, a man by the name of David, had to fight the temptation to exercise the revenge factor.
If you're a guest of ours today, we're in a series on a man by the name of David. And the reason why we're taking about nine weeks to study his life is because more scripture is given over to David than anybody else in the Bible except Jesus. When you realize that, it kind of stands to reason, evidently, God wants us to study this man's life. He says so much about him. And there's so many lessons we can learn about him. And today, we're going to look at what I believe may be David's finest hour of everything that David ever did. Now that may surprise you because if you know anything about the story of David, and I were to ask you and you'd walked into our building this morning, "hey, what do you think is the greatest victory that David ever won? What was his greatest accomplishment"? Most of you would say, "oh, that's easy. I believe it was when David defeated Goliath". And I would've said that for a long time myself until I studied the passage we're going to look at today. And now, I beg to differ.
If you brought a copy of God's word, I want you to look with me. It's kind of a funny story. It's in a book called First Samuel, chapter 24. Real easy to find, you just go all the way back to Genesis, start going right, turn about six or eight books and you'll hit First Samuel, chapter 24. Now let me just kinda set up what's going on. I believe that David's greatest victory was not won on a battlefield, it was actually won in a cave. And it wasn't a giant he was facing on the outside, it was a giant he was facing on the inside. Because David in this story is facing a giant that was far bigger and far stronger and far more powerful and far more deadly than Goliath ever thought about being. And it was a giant called revenge.
And by the way, if you're here today and you got somebody in mind right now that you're bitter toward, somebody you'd like to get even with, somebody that did you wrong. That if they were to step out on a curb right now and get hit by a bus, you wouldn't shed a tear. You know who I'm talking? Somebody right now, you say, "oh yeah, I've got that person in mind". I really want you to hear what I'm going to say in the next few minutes. Because you see, fighting Goliath took David stepping up. Fighting revenge took David stepping down. When you fight Goliath, it takes guts. When you fight revenge, it takes grace. When you fight Goliath, it takes might. When you fight revenge, it takes mercy. And the story that unfolds that we're about to read is really a story you wouldn't expect to read because you go back just a few chapters, David has just killed the giant Goliath.
And you would think that because David had killed the giant that nobody else would even fight. You would think that there would have been parades, there would have been rewards, there would have been medals, there would have been promotions. There would have been accolades. You would think that David would have been on easy street, but instead, after he kills Goliath, the next ten years of his life are sheer hell. Why? Well remember, David has slayed the enemy, he's won the medal of honor, he is the MVP of the Israeli army. He's won the Nobel Peace Prize, he's the heavyweight champion of the world, he's become an overnight celebrity, his popularity, however, although it's soaring off the charts, has become a poison called jealousy to a man named Saul who was the king. He couldn't stand it.
Everybody wanted David's autograph, nobody wanted Saul. Everybody wanted to touch David, nobody wanted to touch Saul. David was everybody's hero, Saul was everybody's zero. And David's star was rising while Saul's sun was setting and so, blinded by hatred and burning with jealousy, Saul becomes consumed with one thing: I am taking David out. If I don't do anything else as king, I am going to kill David, it is the number one goal of my life. Now, how all this is set up is really fascinating. Right after David kills Goliath, Saul is very grateful, and so he invites David to come to the palace to be his musician, his chief musician, David played the harp. And Saul was under a lot of stress as a king. And when David would play the harp, it would soothe Saul's feelings. It would make Saul feel good. But he just could not stand it after a while.
Every time he saw David, he just got consumed with rage and jealousy and the scripture says that one day, David was playing the harp, just minding his own business, and Saul takes a spear and throws it at David, trying to kill him and he misses David. It hits behind the wall. Which by the way, a word to anybody out there that's a musician, or you think you're a musician. If you're ever playing a musical instrument and somebody throws a spear at you, you better get another job, that's just kind of a thought for you. But anyhow, he tries to kill David, that doesn't work. Then Saul found out that his daughter Michal had fallen in love with David and David had fallen in love with Michal. And David wanted to marry Michal. So he goes to ask for her hand in marriage and Saul does something that's kind of strange, he says, "David, I will give you my daughter's hand in marriage under one condition". You ready for this? It's why you gotta read the Bible, it's fascinating. "You have to bring me 100 Philistine foreskins".
Now what you do with foreskins, I don't know. The Bible doesn't say, okay. But he says, "if you wanna marry her, you've got to bring 100 Philistine foreskins". And he said, why in the world would he want, he didn't want the foreskins, he's thinking is, surely, out of 100 Philistines, one of 'em can take this guy out. Well David doubles down and brings him 200 foreskins and marries his daughter. All right, Saul says, "okay, that didn't work". So then Saul brings out the Navy SEALs, he brings out the Green Berets, he brings out the Army Rangers, he gets a hit squad of his best soldiers and he says, "I want you to go assassinate David. I'm gonna give you his home address, I want you to go at night, I want you to kill him while he's in bed". But Michal, his wife, finds out about the plot. She warns David and David escapes and he gets away.
Now Saul is so hot, he's so angry, he says, "you know what? If you want a job done right, do it yourself". So Saul gets his entire army together and he says, "we're going to kill David". So we begin reading in verse one, "After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, David is in the Desert of En Gedi. So Saul took 3,000 able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats". Now if you ever get to go to Israel with me, I'm going next year, by the way. We'll go to this place called En Gedi, it's a beautiful, beautiful place. You gotta hike to get there, but it's beautiful springs, it's got a beautiful pond and there are all kinds of caves there. And this takes place in a cave.
Now what you're about to read is, David has Saul for the first time red-handed. He can kill Saul, he can end his ministry, he can begin his ministry as king and he can sleep in peace for the first time in 10 years. He had his chance for revenge. But he didn't take it. And neither should we. And you're gonna see three things that David did in this passage that we have to do if we're going to defeat the power of revenge and bitterness in our life. Number one, you honor the principle of integrity. You honor the principle of integrity. Now the story begins with frankly, a kind of an embarrassingly funny scene and there's no other way to put it, so I'll just read it to you. "Saul, he, came to sheep pens along the way, a cave was there and Saul when in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave".
Now there's really no polished way to put this. I mean I wish there was, but what's happened is Saul feels the call of nature. And as my grandson loves to say, my grandson Connor, "he had to go to the potty". Okay? So I know, when I first read this many, many years ago, I thought to myself, okay, what does it mean when it says "he had to go relieve himself"? Well, when we go to the bathroom as we all know, we only have one of two choices. So I tried to think, how do I put this to my people in the nicest way I can? Let's just say he was behind curtain number two, all right? So Saul goes into this cave, and the reason why I know this is because what David's about to pull off, he would have never been able to pull off if he was behind curtain number one. So the good news is, that Saul is doing something that thankfully, I don't think's hardly mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, so I hope I never have to talk about it again.
Anyway, Saul has gone to the cave, he's taken off his clothes, he's taken off his armor. And while he's attending to his business, he doesn't realize that David's in the stall right next to him. He doesn't know that. And here's David's chance. Here's the man that's been on his tail for 10 years! And now David is literally on his tail. So what's he gonna do? Because if the situation were reverse, we all know what Saul woulda done to David and David's men knew it. So the men said, "This is the day the Lord spoke of when we said to you, I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish". They said "David, here's your chance. God's delivered Saul right into your hands. He is in the most vulnerable position that any many could ever be in. This can be over, just like that, you could end our misery, you could end your misery. You can be king and we can go to sleep for the first time at night and sleep like a baby". And you fully expect David to run his sword right through Saul's backside. But he doesn't. He does this. "Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of his robe".
Well David, why didn't you kill him? He deserved it, he asked for it. Nobody would have blamed you. Everybody that knows the story would've said, "David, you did the right thing, he had it coming to him". But instead, all David does is just cut off a little piece of the robe. And how does that effect David? Listen to this. "Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe". Now why is David so bothered? Why is he so upset? Why is he feeling guilty? I mean, he had the chance to kill him and he didn't, so David, why are you feeling guilty about sparing the man's life? Listen to verse eight. "Then David went out of the cave". Evidently, Saul's done his business, Saul's gone back out, he didn't know David was in there. "David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, 'My lord the king!' And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground".
You see, the fact is, Saul is still on the throne. By the way, in this story, in more ways than one. Saul is still on the throne. Now he may not be the king he needs to be. He may not be the king he should be. He may not be the king that God wanted him to be. But he's still the king. That fact has not changed and he is still David's king. There's an old saying that the customer may not always right always be right, but the customer is still the customer. Well the king may not always be right but the king is still the king. And David understands that and David knows that. Now why is that important? Because of what he says in verse six. "He said to his men, the Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, or lay my hand on him, for he is the anointed of the Lord".
See David knew, it's against God's law to kill the king. That's something God made plain from the very beginning. When God set up the kingdom for the nation of Italy, he said, "okay, one thing you cannot do, you cannot kill the king. You do not dishonor the king, you do not disrespect the king and you do not murder the king". So when you're facing a choice of action in any situation, you can always know what to do by asking the question that David asked himself. And here's the question: "What is the right thing to do"? Now get that picture. All of his men, they're tired, they're exhausted, they love David, they fought with David. But they're sick and tired of this despotic king. They're sick and tired of being on the run, they wanna go back to their families. This is their chance to finally end their nightmare once and for all and David doesn't do it. Because David was a man of integrity. And integrity is always doing the right thing.
So here's what David's men were doing, they were doing what we would do. They were weighing their options, looking at the pros, looking at the cons, looking at their circumstances. They were following their instincts, they were thinking, "you know what, this is really what we oughta do. This is our shot". But they weren't asking one question. What's the right thing to do? Not what is the convenient thing to do, not what is the best thing to do for me and my welfare, what is the right thing to do? See what set David apart from his men was that he understood that what's right in any situation is not what we think is right, it's not what we feel is right, it's what God says is right. And David says, I gotta do the right thing. And by the way, I don't care how great the opportunity is that comes along in your life, if you have to violate your conscience, or you have to violate God's word, it's not the right opportunity.
So if you don't listen to anything else I say, I want you to listen to this one. I'm gonna make this one worth coming for. There are three roads you're always going to take in your dealings with other people. Always, you have to take one of 'em and you will take one of 'em. I call one the low road, I call one the middle road, I call one the high road. Now the low road, I call the low road, that's the Satanic level. That's when you return evil for good. And I know most of us would say, well I don't ever wanna be on the low road, I don't ever try to do evil for good, nobody's done evil to me, I don't wanna do evil for them, you know. And I get that, we all try to stay off the low road. But then there is the middle road. And I call that the sensible level. That's when you return evil for evil, right?
And let's face it, that's the road that makes sense. It sounds logical, you do evil, I do evil. You hit me, I hit you. It's like two little boys that got into a fight at school and the teacher separated them and brought them in and sat them down and she said, "okay, I wanna know what happened". And one little boy said, "well it all started when he hit me back". And that's kinda how we are, right. You know, you don't hit me, I won't hit you, but you hit me back, I'm gonna hit you back even harder. And let's face it, that sounds sensible, right? You do me wrong, I do you wrong. You hit me, I hit you. You mess with me, I mess with you. That sounds sensible. But then there's the high road. And I call that the supreme level. That's when you return good for evil. And Saul even admitted this is verse 17 'cause listen to what he says to David. He said, "You are more righteous than I, you have treated me well but I have treated you badly".
In other words, here's what Saul said. You didn't do to me what I would've done to you. And you did for me what I would not have done for you. David took the high road. Now one of my favorite things that I've ever said to anybody is this, "always take the high road, there's very little traffic on it". Lotta traffic on the middle road, some traffic on the low road, not a lot of traffic on the high road. Take the high road. In other words, be a person of integrity, do the right thing. Honor the principle of integrity. Now the next one is gonna sound like I'm trying to make a political point, and I'm not. I don't do that anymore. But it does have implications for the political atmosphere that we're in. Number two, you honor the position of authority. You honor the position of authority. Now there's another thing that kept David from taking revenge against Saul because notice how he addresses Saul. He says this to Saul four times: "my master," he calls him, "the Lord's anointed," the anointed of the Lord, "my Lord the king". "The King of Israel".
Now notice, he never refers to the person of Saul, he refers to the position of Saul. The Marine Corps has a saying, "you don't salute the person, you salute the rank". You don't salute the person, you salute the rank. In other words, you may not feel like you can honor the person, but you do honor the position. Now frankly, I had to learn that lesson myself many, many years ago. I was pastoring my former church and it was back when Bill Clinton was president and the whole Monica Lewinsky situation had blown up and I was talking about it one Sunday and I'll just say that I said something about the President I shouldn't have said. I said something about the President was very disrespectful, and it was one of those moments I knew the moment I said it, I shouldn't have said it. I knew it, I knew the moment I said it I shouldn't have said it. So it bothered me all week.
So the next Sunday, before I began my sermon, I got up, and I'm gonna tell you, this is exactly what I said to my church. I said, "Folks, before I get up and preach, I need to say something to you. I said something last week that was completely and totally wrong, out of line, and inappropriate. I said something about the President I should not have said. He is the President and his office deserves our highest respect, especially respect from a pastor. So I ask your forgiveness and I will double my effort to pray for the President". So I've been where you are. I've been guilty, and so I'm just gonna kinda chase a rabbit just about this far, just this far. I don't care whether you're a Democrat or Republic or an Independent. I don't really care whether you lean to the right or you lean to the left. I don't even care really right now where you are in all this debate that's going up in Washington about all the stuff that's going on.
If anybody else is not going to do it, we, who are the people of God, need to get back to treating others with respect and with civility and with kindness. Name-calling is not going to get us anywhere. Questioning people's motives are not going to get us anywhere. And I'm speaking to everybody. So I'm just letting you, I'm speaking to, you know, to both parties, both houses, from the President right on down. You don't have to agree with me, I don't have to agree with you. But as a Christian and as a follower of Jesus, I need to respect you, you need to respect me. We need to be civil, we don't need to be calling others names, we don't need to be questioning other people's motives. And by the way, let me just say this to you while we're in the neighborhood, I said this to my boys the other day.
Wherever you are on this whole, and I'm just kinda, again, this far. Wherever you are on the Cavanaugh and Ford situation, wherever you are, that's between you and the Lord, that's fine. How many people are praying for Dr. Ford? How many people are praying for Judge Cavanaugh? How many people are praying for the Democratic senators? How many people are praying for the Republican senators? How many people are praying for truth to win out? That's what we oughta be doing. That's what God has called us to do. That's, and so the point that I'm making is, we need to get back to where we simply respect the position of authority.
One of our founding fathers, the sacrifice United States, John Adams, was writing to someone who was worried about the beginning of the nation and what kind of a future that might be in store, and they were really worried whether or not we could really hold this thing together called the Republic. John Adams also was very fearful and very worried and very concerned about the danger that we face, if we could even hold this country together or not. Now I want you to listen to what John Adams wrote. He said, "There is one thing, my dear sir that must be attempted and most sacredly observed or we are all undone. There must be decency and respect and veneration introduced for persons of authority of every rank, or we are undone. In a popular government, this is our only way".
One of the marks of maturity is the willingness to get under authority even though you may not like that authority, you may not agree with the way that authority always acts. Because look, David knew, Saul, you're not acting like a king. You don't talk like a king, you're not conducting yourself like a king. But you're still the king. And I am still under your authority. Now let me just stop right there 'cause I'm not saying something you may think I'm saying. That does not mean we give into wickedness. It does not mean that we speak truth even to people at the highest places of authority. It doesn't mean that we don't respectfully call out anyone who's not acting the way they oughta act or doing what they oughta do. Nobody gets a mulligan on doing wrong or acting wrong, not even a king or a president or a senator or a congressman. But there's a way we can do that in a respectful way, in a civil way, where we can attack the action and not the actor. Where we can attack the misdeeds and misconducts of the ruler without attacking the ruler.
And so, don't take my word for it, this is a man who would be king. This is a man you knew he was going to be the king. But this was a man who was not yet the king. And he said, I'm going to honor the position of authority. Why? It's the right thing to do. So you honor the principle of integrity. What's the right thing? You honor the position of authority. Now if you thought that was tough, here's the last one, and this is the toughest one of all, you ready? You honor the power of humility. Now let me show you what I mean. You talk about going the second mile and the third mile and the fourth mile, not only does David not kill Saul when he had the chance, not only does he feel guilty just because he cut off a piece of his robe, he does the unthinkable. Because remember at first, it was Saul who was in that very vulnerable position? Well now David voluntarily, on his own, puts himself in an even more vulnerable position.
Now look what David does. "Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, My lord the king! When Saul looked behind him," this is amazing to me, "David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground". Now don't you get the picture? David goes out to the king who's been on his tail for 10 years, who has wanted, dead, forget alive posters all over the kingdom. And David, unbelievably, on his own, voluntarily, he bows down, as if that were not enough. He lays down, as if that were not enough, and then he puts his face to the ground. Can you say vulnerable? A soldier cannot put himself in a more vulnerable position than David just did. He bows down, and what he was basically saying to Saul, okay buddy, you've been after me for 10 years, this is what you want? Have at it, take your best shot. I'm not gonna fight back, I had you in my sights, I'm not gonna kill you, I'm not gonna do the devil's work for him, you do your best to me.
Saul now could do to David what David would not do to Saul. The question is, why is David doing that? Why is David humbling himself before a man who is so obviously out of the will of God? Who is so obviously far away from God? Who is acting unlike a king as any king has ever lived who's ever been king? Well go back again one more time, and let's read verse six. "He said to his men, the Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, or lay my hand on him, for he is the anointed of the Lord".
Now listen carefully, here's what David was saying. It was God who anointed Saul. It was God who appointed Saul. It was God that put him on the throne. And what David was doing, this is so important. David was just not honoring the position of his authority. David was honoring the power behind his authority. He wasn't mainly honoring Saul, he was honoring his position. He was honoring God. He wasn't just bowing down to Israel's king, he was bowing down to the king of Israel's king. Because let me tell you something that's true about every ruler on this planet, whether he's a dictator, whether he's a king, whether he's a president, whether he's a prime minister, whether he's a sultan. It doesn't matter what he is or what his title is, behind every power is the power of God. He's the one that puts one up. He's the one that sets one down. And as the great communicator put it, you do not replace what God has in place. You do not replace what God has put in place. You do not dethrone what God has in throne. And David was humble himself under God because here's what David finally figure out about Saul. If you put him in, you can take him out. If you set him there, you can take him from there.
Now let me make sure you understand something, 'cause I know some of you may be thinking. What we're dealing here, gotta keep this in context, we're dealing with personal revenge, one-on-one. We're dealing with a man who's wanted to kill somebody else who has done nothing to him at all. A man who's trying to return evil for good. We're not dealing with someone like Adolph Hitler. We're not dealing with someone who doesn't just have a vendetta against one person, but a person's on an evil, political, spiritual vendetta to wipe out entire races of people and subjugate and entire world. But the spirit of humility that David had is found in the most important thing he said in the whole passage. Listen to this. "May the Lord be our judge," now he's talking to Saul, he's still on his face, talking to Saul. "May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May He consider my cause and uphold it". In other words, what he's saying, I don't know what you're about to do to me, but whatever you're gonna do, "may He vindicate me by delivering me from your hand". May He deliver me, "may He vindicate me by delivering me from your hand".
Now listen. When you make up your mind, I'm gonna return evil for evil, you got me, I'm gonna get you back. You mess me over, when I get the shot, I'm gonna mess you over. When you return evil for evil, you take matters into your own hands. But you can return good for evil if you'll turn matters into God's hands. If you'll trust the matter into God's hands. See, pride is when you take matters into your own hands. Humility is when you trust matters into God's hands. Listen, let me tell you, I got some bad news for you. If you ever get even with somebody, you didn't get even, you got behind. Because when somebody does you wrong, they're on this level. And you're on this level. And the moment you decide, I'm gonna get even with you, you just brought yourself down to their level.
And see, that's exactly what was going on here. Our job's not to get even with anybody who does us wrong, it's to stay ahead of them. And by the way, even Saul realized that's exactly what David did. 'Cause go back and listen to this, he says, he said David, "you are more righteous than I. He said, you have treated me well but I have treated you badly. You have just now told me about the good you did to me, the Lord delivered me into your hands but you did not kill me. When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? Well may the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands".
You know what Saul just said to David? Saul said, David, I spent 10 years of my life trying to drag you down to my level. And now I finally realized, I need to brought up to your level. The central lesson to learn about the revenge factor is this, okay? Here's the central lesson. Someone may choose to be your enemy but you don't have to choose to be their enemy. And by the way, pastors make enemies. You know, Jesus said, "Well be unto you if all men speak well of you". Well I tell you what, I'm in good company. 'Cause I can tell you, I mean I can, I was talking to one of my best buddies out there, been with me for 30 years, if you want a list of people that don't like me, I got a few. I know where they live, I know their names, I know their numbers, Tracy knows some of them I'm talking about. I know what it's like to be stabbed in the back. I know what it's like to have your motives questioned. I know what it's like to have people say, "you're in it for this or in it for that, in it for the fame, in it for this, in it for that".
I've been there, done that. I've gotten my share of anonymous letters and by the way, I've never got a good one. I think I've told you before, I'm like Dwight L. Moody, you know Dwight L. Moody got an anonymous letter in the mail one time. All it had was the word "fool" written on it, that's all, just the word "fool," it's all it had. He got up in the pulpit the next Sunday, he said, "I got the weirdest letter I've ever gotten in my life, somebody signed it and forgot to write it". I've got my share of enemies. Saul said to David, "you are my enemy". David said to Saul, "you're not mine". I cannot choose whether or not you make me your enemy. I can choose whether or not I make you my enemy.
See this is a story about a man who's being treated like a criminal but he acted like a king, and it's the story of a man who acted, who was the king, but he acted like a criminal. And the whole point of the story was not what David could have done to Saul, the story is all about what David did for God. You know, I've often, as I close this up, when you talk about humility, humility's one of the toughest things in the world to even talk about, right? I mean, think about it. Suppose one of you were to come and, suppose Harvey, you were to come up to me and would say, "Pastor, are you a humble guy"? Well how do you answer that? "Well sure, Harvey, can't you tell"? You know? I mean how do you, it's like a slippery, it's like a greased pig, you can't get a handle around it. Heard about a guy that was voted in church the most humble man in the church, they gave him a badge to wear. He wore it the next Sunday, they took it away from him. I mean how, what are you gonna do?
So I was trying to think, well how do you really, how do you get your hand, how do you even talk about humility? Hit me like a ton of bricks, I read this story. You ready? Humility is taking yourself out of the way so God can get in the way. Humility is taking yourself out of the way so that God can get in the way. But here's my favorite part of this story. 'Cause I'm trying to teach you this, I hope you get it every week. I have people tell me all the time, "it's just a hard book to understand, it's a big book, long book, just so hard to understand". It really isn't. There's parts of it that are, yeah, as a whole, it's really not. Because all of this book is about one thing, it's all about Jesus. From Genesis to Revelations, it's all about Jesus. That's, if you just keep that in mind, "He's the golden key that unlocks the whole thing". It's all about Jesus.
So you think about what we said about David today and you just think about it. What we said about David was true on steroids about Jesus. For example, Jesus always did the right thing. He honored the principle of integrity. Jesus always did the will of his heavenly father. He honored the position of authority. And even at the cross, when he deserved, and could have taken revenge, and had the right to take revenge. He didn't do it. He said, "Father, forgive them, I don't care what they do to me. I choose to forgive them". He honored the power of humility. And if that Jesus lives in you, and if that Jesus lives in me, the revenge factor can never become a factor in our life.