“The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed.” (1 Samuel 26:23)
God tempts no one with evil, but He does try us to see whether we will be faithful. One lazy afternoon while strolling upon his palace rooftop, David proved to be unfaithful. Pulled by the lust of the eyes, he yielded himself to what would become the most shameful episode of his life. Great tragedies begin with the small, secret choices of the heart. Within us is desire; before us is opportunity. What stops us from proceeding? The fear of God must be greater than our strongest desire.
In another instance, David chose a better route. Saul, the crazed king who was out to kill him, was in his hand. He could finally escape the horrible stress he had been put under. He was urged by his men to end Saul’s life. But despite the “way of escape” offered him, he would not “stretch forth” his hand.
The essence of the lust of the flesh is doing something simply and only because we want to and we can. The opportunity is there. But there is no submission to God involved. The clear fact of the matter was that David could have killed Saul; but the larger issue was whether he should kill him? David answered no. He knew he would not be guiltless if he did so. He refused to take matters into his own hands, but left the situation with God.
True obedience is tested when you can do something but you don’t. In those times we don’t use the power we have to do what is outside God’s will, but we place ourselves and our power under God’s control, with a greater desire to do His will. We reap what we sow. David was recompensed with much trouble and misery for his willingness to yield himself to evil. He was honored for his willingness to abstain from evil. We have been bought with a price. We are not our own. May we present ourselves to God, and do only what He gives us permission to do, even when temptation stares us in the face.