David Showed Mercy
1 Samuel 24
“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your rule is for all generations.” Psalm 145:13a
David’s relationship with King Saul was complicated. Early on, David served the king by playing the lyre for him whenever he felt unwell. After David killed Goliath, he became good friends with Saul’s son Jonathan. But David’s success made Saul jealous. Saul could see that David was rising in popularity. He won victory after victory. Saul made several attempts on David’s life, and David fled to the land of Moab.
David wasn’t alone. His family and other men—anyone who was 2 “desperate, in debt, or discontented” (1 Sam. 22:2)—joined David, and he became their leader. About 400 men were with David. Once in Moab, the prophet Gad instructed David to return to the land of Judah. When
Saul found out David’s location, he pursued David, intending to kill him. Yet God protected David from Saul.
Saul was in pursuit of David when he stopped to relieve himself. Imagine David’s surprise when Saul entered the very cave in which David and his men were hiding. This was David’s chance! Saul was outnumbered and could easily be defeated. David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe, but he did not allow his men to hurt Saul.
When Saul left the cave, David followed after him. He acknowledged Saul’s authority—”My lord the king!” (1 Sam. 24:8)—and showed Saul the corner of his robe, proof of David’s passed-up opportunity. Saul wept upon realizing David’s mercy toward him. God had put Saul in David’s hand, and David let him go unharmed. Saul realized God had clearly chosen David to be Israel’s king.
David showed mercy to Saul, his enemy, because David trusted God’s plan. As you teach, point preschoolers to Jesus, who also trusted His Father’s plan. He died on the cross so His enemies could experience God’s mercy and live forever as part of God’s family.
BIBLE STORY SUMMARY:
- Saul wanted to hurt David and went looking for him.
- Saul went into the cave where David and his men were hiding.
- David showed mercy to Saul and did not hurt him.
KEY PASSAGE: Psalm 145:13a
BIG PICTURE QUESTION:
- How is Jesus the perfect King? Jesus perfectly rules over everything.
FAMILY DISCUSSION STARTERS:
- Why did Saul want to hurt David?
- What would you have done if you were David?
- Why did David show Saul mercy?
- How does Jesus show us mercy?
- As you discipline this week, choose an instance to show mercy to a child. Point her to the mercy we have in Jesus.
- Ask family members to identify someone he or she does not get along with. Make a list. Pray as a family daily for each person on the list for a week. Ask family members to tell how they feel about that person at the end of the week.