T-minus three days till Soulprint releases. Here’s an excerpt from a chapter titled The Crags of the Wild Goats. It’s a chapter about epic integrity.
He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, “I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
I Samuel 24:3-4
David and his band of brothers are deep within the crevices of the cave when Saul shows up. Then, in a comedic scene that would have the most catatonic Broadway critic rolling in the aisles, Saul goes into the cave to relieve himself. What he doesn’t know is that David is in the stall next to him!
Now, this is where my seminary training comes in handy. This is where I dive into the original Hebrew language and ask questions like these: What does the word “relieve” really mean? Are we talking number one or number two? What do the text and context suggest? What is the scholarly consensus on the point?
Based on the amount of time spent in the cave, and leaning on personal experience, I think the evidence points to number two. Why? Because David has time to cut off a corner of Saul’s robe! I don’t think he would have time to make that maneuver if we’re talking about number one. And I think this number one vs. number two business has far more spiritual significance than we may realize.
If it had been number one, David would not have had much time to think about what he was going to do. If we’re talking number two, however, his integrity is far more impressive. David had plenty of time to kill Saul. He didn’t just resist a short-fused temptation. He had time to think about it and act on it. It had to feel like an eternity to David as he weighed his options. Do I kill the king and assume the throne that rightfully belongs to me? Or do I risk missing the opportunity of a lifetime and keep living as a fugitive?
The men who are with him certainly perceive it as a divine opportunity, but just because something looks like or feels like a God thing doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a God thing. Just because it’s endorsed by your closest confidants doesn’t mean it’s a God thing. Just because it seems like a golden opportunity doesn’t mean it’s a God thing. An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity. If you have to lie on a résumé or withhold information during an interview process, then it’s not worth getting the job. If you get the job by compromising your integrity, then you’ll keep compromising your integrity. But if you are straight up right from the get-go, then either your potential employer will respect you for it and hire you because of your integrity or they’ll do you a favor and not hire you.Jan 15, 2011 | Mark Batterson